Diagnosis Unknown, Rapid Deterioration

Ron and I were trying to plan our schedules to take Apollo in for a senior health checkup this week.  Recently, she’s lost a lot of weight.  Both of us know that rapid weight loss in a cat is not good and there’s usually a serious underlying cause.  Even though we haven’t been home 24/7 to monitor her eating habits, we thought it may have been possible that Apollo had hyperthyroidism.

Wednesday afternoon, Apollo wasn’t herself.  She spent most of the afternoon curled on the couch with Ishtar.  Although this may not seem out of the ordinary, she just didn’t look right.  It’s hard to explain.  But every pet guardian knows in their gut when something is wrong with one of their furry friends.  I got that gut feeling.  Apollo perked up a little bit when I talked to her, but not much.  Ron also concurred that something was wrong.  We were going to make an appointment for the following morning, instead of Friday.

Just before Ron and I were getting ready for bed, we noticed Apollo lying on her side in the dining room.  It looked like she was on her way to the food dish, but ran out of steam before getting there.  Ron gently picked her up and placed her in front of the bowl.  Apollo sniffed at the food, then started to dry heave.  She sorta staggered back a bit, tilted her head to the side, and flopped over.  Apollo was responsive and we rushed her to the emergency vet.

At the emergency vet, Apollo was giving sub Q fluids, a vitamin injection, and anti-nausea medication.  The attending vet thought that maybe she had an electrolyte imbalance.  It would explain Apollo’s weird head tilt.  Results from her basic blood work panel didn’t show any abnormalities, so the vet told us she would fax over all her notes to our primary veterinarian.  We were still taking Apollo in the morning.

I brought Apollo to Animal General at 11:30am.  She was relatively quiet in the car and waiting room.  Normally, she is pretty vocal.  Doctor Z noticed her weight loss immediately, as well as the head tilt.  A series of physical tests were administered – to check her eyesight, hearing, and brain.  Doctor Z said that it looked like she had a stroke, but nothing would be able to be confirmed until we took her to a neurologist for an MRI.  She also told us that it could be possible that there’s a problem with the liver causing neurological problems.  Doctor Z took more blood for a comprehensive in-house panel, then a liver test, and finally urinalysis.

We got the test results back today.  The liver test confirmed that there was something wrong with her liver.  However, there wasn’t enough information to determine the cause or exactly what it was.  The problem with the liver could be primary or secondary, and there was no way to tell for sure until Apollo had an ultrasound of her liver and an MRI.  Overnight, Apollo refused to eat.  She didn’t eat this morning either.  Ron called the vet back to discuss other options.  Something needed to be done within the next 24 hours.

Ron just called me from the vet’s office.  Doctor M was with her.  When Doctor M tried to feed her she refused.  Apollo spit out all of the food when Doctor M tried to syringe feed her.  Ron said that we were gonna try steroids to spark her appetite.  We would see a difference within 12-24 hours (we saw this when Morpheus stopped eating).  It wouldn’t be a cure, but it would buy more time to discover the underlying cause.  He also said that Doctor May was distressed about Apollo’s behavior; it was like she stopped caring and gave up on life.  She is rapidly deteriorating

If the steroids don’t work, we will need to put her to sleep Monday morning.

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