Sophie update

Sophie has had a bad week, health-wise. The upshot of it is, unless her status changes dramatically for the better over the weekend, we will most likely have a painful-but-pretty-clear decision to make on Monday.

We have known this was coming, so we are as prepared as we could have been, but it’s still hard. She has been with us longer than we’ve been married, so she is close to 18. We have had a long and happy time together, but that doesn’t make it any easier either.

I will keep everyone posted. Thank you as always for your kind support.

19 thoughts on “Sophie update

  1. nekodojo

    Medical details here… this is totally optional reading, and I’m not looking for any advice, really… just recording here in case people are curious or in case it helps others in similar situations.

    Sophie has had some pretty serious conditions up until now:
    * Diabetes, known for something like 8 years now, twice-daily insulin and ear-prick glucose monitoring required. Once resulted in a seizure due to low blood sugar, but most of the time blood sugar was on the high side of managed.
    * Arthritis, mostly in her lower back and legs, making it painful sometimes and keeping her from jumping up at all.
    * Lung cancer, discovered in the last 9 months or so, she has had a 2-cm tumor in her lung that stayed there for a while not really hurting her
    * Neurological symptoms like head-twitching, kind of like mini-seizures but didn’t seem to distress her or anything. Our guess is that the cancer is in her brain too but we can’t be sure. (Phenobarbitol was given for twitches)

    Last week she developed a new symptom: fluid in the nose and throat causing sneezes. Xray showed no signs of fluid in lungs or pneumonia, just the mass that was there before, not growing noticeably. She got an antibiotic, just in case it was something more than a normal kitty-cold, but that was deemed most likely.

    Saturday we noticed that she was throwing up and not able to hold down food. This turned quickly into an emergency, because we had already given insulin that morning, and if she doesn’t eat, low blood sugar can be deadly. Emergency vet admitted her and gave fluids and supplemental sugar via IV. Blood work labs showed everything normal, other than low sugar. She continued to throw up but got a bit better. We are still quite mystified as to the root cause here, but xray and two ultrasounds didn’t show anything suspicious. It’s possible this was a reaction to antibiotics, which we stopped. She was in the hospital 3 nights (2 emergency, 1 VMS, our special-cases vet) and came home Tuesday. We visited her Sunday and Monday to reassure her that we were still here, but still, 3 nights in the hospital and many hours in a small cage is no fun.

    Tues/weds/thurs of this past week we have been keeping up the meds and continuing to offer food to make sure she eats. Insulin was stopped entirely until we could establish whether she still needs it. We will probably resume it tomorrow at a lower dose (only once per day).

    Today (Friday) we had a new problem show up – she was unable to put weight on her right front paw and thus unable to get up and go feed herself. This wasn’t there after coming home from the hospital, just showed up this morning (and now that I think about it, she didn’t come up on the bed last night, which she does almost every night.) This turned out to be a blood clot lodged in her leg, as confirmed by two of the docs: one paw is warm, the other isn’t, and there is a noticeable, serious drop in blood pressure measured in one arm versus the other. We will now add Plavix to her regimen, an anti-clotting drug. Doctor says that the clots are being thrown into the blood by some other part of her body (most likely the lung tumor but could be another spot where cancer is happening). The clot in the leg is not expected to go away, but it’s possible she could regain some use, if circulation starts to take other pathways around it. This means it might get better, but it’s not likely, and even then, “better” would be something like “able to walk around to feed herself, but still painful and far reduced in function”. A painkiller was also sent home with us.

    So, for the weekend we are going to continue to bring her food and monitor whether she eats it, and continue to check on her often. She will continue to get everything: insulin, barbituate, anti-nausea, steroid, pain killer, and anti-clotting agent. We will be keeping a close eye on her to see if she starts to recover, but at this point she’s not expected to, so our focus is going to be more on keeping her comfortable, fed, pampered, etc.

  2. nekodojo

    Our primary criteria for deciding when to continue care so far has been: Is she comfortable? Is she happy, and especially is she able to do things she enjoys? And finally, if not, is she expected to get better? These are the things we will be thinking seriously about over the weekend.

    Thanks as always for the support. It is appreciated.

    1. torquemada

      I know that you love Sophie and I trust that you’ll make the best decision for all of you — if you think that she would be better being put to rest, then that is what’s best. I know that doesn’t make it much easier, and I’m sorry.

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