Internal Infections In Cats
by Elisa Black-Taylor
Sealy has an internal infection
I wanted to write about internal infections in cats to inform everyone of a potentially deadly mistake we almost made with our cat Sealy.
Sealy has been the topic of many of my articles lately. Mainly because we've never dealt with such a serious external injury on a cat before. I hope my telling Sealy's story will help others care for a critically injured cat.
Sealy had been scratching some at his external injury at the beginning of last week so we put him on a low dose (5mg.) of prednisone. This is a common drug and a common dosage for his symptoms.
Within thirty six hours Sealy was throwing up a small amount of clear liquid. This would only happen a couple of times a day. Even after eating, he would only vomit clear stuff. Keep in mind Sealy was still eating, drinking and very alert. He still peed and pooped normally and showed no signs of illness other than the occasional vomiting. His head injury showed no signs of infection at all.
I had planned to take Sealy in to the vet on Saturday for a check up to be sure he was healing well. I made the appointment on Friday afternoon for 8 a.m. Saturday morning. He was the first case the vet saw. On the sign in sheet I listed vomiting as the reason for the visit.
The first thing the vet assistant did was to take Sealy's temperature and get a stool sample. Sealy had a 104F. temperature. So he was sick.
The vet came in and took one look at his head injury and quickly peeled off the dead tissue on it. This is something I hadn't done because I don't have any experience on what should remain on the wound and what should be gotten rid of for the injury to heal.
After examining the injury and finding no signs of infection there, my vet examined the inside of what was left of Sealy's left ear. He pulled out a wad that was a combination of ear mites and pus. When he said the word pus, my daughter Laura decided it was time to go throw up. Sorry Laura.
The vet explained the ear mites were causing Sealy to want to scratch and he administered medicine to kill the ear mites. The internal infection was a surprise to us. We thought we were being good cat mommies because we've been very diligent about keeping his head and his living conditions as sterile as possible.
The very small amount of clear fluid Sealy was spitting up only a couple of times a day didn't seem unusual considering he'd lost a good portion of his head to a fan blade. And if we'd determined the need for a vet visit based on peeing, pooping, eating and drinking, he never would have seen the vet. Sealy eats a pouch of cat food around every six hours and has an exceptionally good appetite.
Sealy had been off the Baytril for almost two weeks since no sign of infection was present on the wound. He took the entire round of it and that was that.
Internal infections in cats are very dangerous because if they get too bad or get in the blood stream, the cat can die. This could easily have happened to Sealy.
Our game plan now is to finish the new round of Baytril and then take him back in to have the inner ear examined again. We also plan to have his wbc (white blood cell) count redone to be sure he's healing. It's the best way to ensure Sealy not only looks healthy, he is healthy.
Sealy may be on antibiotics for a couple of months. I have foster mom friends who have had to keep cats on antibiotics that long for certain conditions. We had erred and thought three weeks was enough time and it wasn't. Thank goodness we took him in for the recheck last week.
I asked the vet whether the infection was the reason Sealy was vomiting and he told me it was. He threw up less than a teaspoon a few days after starting the new round of Baytril. The vet had given him a strong dose by injection on Saturday so we didn't have to pill him until Sunday.
Sealy also had his left front and left rear paws wrapped to prevent him from scratching. He's not too happy about that. Most of the time he leaves the bandages alone. He's toothless, so he can't do much to rid himself of them. We have to change them when they show signs of being dirty just in case he does scratch.
I have a very good vet to suggest the bandages. A money hungry vet would have recommended declawing. Sealy has something wrong with him where his claws stay out all of the time. So it was important to take away the risk he had of hurting himself.
I write this story to warn readers that internal infections in cats don't always have a lot of signs that they're there. If anything out of the ordinary begins to occur with your cat, please see a vet. A lot of my friends thought Sealy may have had something as simple as a hairball. A hairball can cause the same type of vomiting. But a vet visit is really needed to be sure the cat isn't sick. Cats can hide illness and pain so well.
As far as Sealy's head wound is concerned, we don't believe he's in much pain from it. I suspect he had nerve damage at the time of the accident. We don't know yet whether he can hear out of that ear. He does respond from across the room when I call his name. We do know his inner ear was causing him pain because he went nuts when the vet examined and treated it.
Sealy has been a remarkable patient. He didn't so much as growl or hiss while having his temperature taken, blood drawn or a catheter put in for a sterile urine sample. When he received sub-Q fluids for three days, he didn't complain at all. He must really have been in pain to have attempted a nose dive off the exam table when the vet checked his ear.
For those of you who want to follow his progress, please go to www.facebook.com/prayersforsealy. I post photos and updates on his condition daily, including any backsliding on his condition.
Take a lesson from us and from Sealy and don't risk an internal infection killing your cat.
In closing, I'd like to give one tip as to how to arrange payments for a vet visit. I had a talk with my vet and explained my situation. He agreed to give me a ten day hold on my bill. Even if that bill is several hundred dollars. Some vets may set up arrangements to pay on a monthly basis. There are even a few credit cards out there primarily to cover pet care expenses. Go to www.carecredit.com/vetmed for more information on this. There are payment options. If you trust your vet, ask about prepaying a certain amount to the clinic so the funds will be there when you need them.
I believe it shocked my vet to have people calling their office to put money down on the bill. The options are out there. You just have to be willing to speak up and ask about them. Beg if you have to. Your cat's life may depend on this vet visit and your ability to negotiate payment.