Monday, May 27, 2013

What to do with Martin?

Martin has been having a rough go of things lately. He’s usually quite personable and photogenic. He loves to hang out on the furniture, play with his squirrel toys, and help me in the office. Heck, he even almost went to college.

Martin on the couch
But Martin hasn’t been feeling very well lately.
It all started three weeks ago. To make a (very) long story (sort of) short… he had kidney stones. And one got stuck in his ureter (the tube that goes from the kidney to the bladder). So he and his kidneys had some major problems. He did manage to pass the stone, but not before his kidneys suffered some damage.

So he went to the Purdue Veterinary School Small Animal Hospital to get some more tests and figure out what we could do for him from here.

He got shaved for intravenous catheters and for an ultrasound exam. He got shaved in a few places.

Martin at Purdue
(Don’t make fun of his belly fat… he’s sensitive! And he’s still sick!)

He was at Purdue for four days before we brought him home. In addition to his kidney stones and recent kidney damage, he had a few other problems. Turns out he’s had some minor chronic kidney disease (like Leo has) that we didn’t know about. The kidneys are pretty amazing things, and can compensate for a lot of damage before an animal (or a person) will show signs of kidney disease.

He also has mild heart disease. The cardiology department took a look at his heart and sent him home on medication for that.

Martin coming home
So he came home with much less hair, on a special kidney diet (the same one we have Leo on), and a medication for his heart.

He had a few rough days when he first came home. He got dehydrated and his kidneys had a little trouble again. But we got him back on some supplemental fluids, and he perked back up again. He got up on my desk (with some help) and did a great job holding down my external hard drive while I got some work done.

Martin feeling better
Later that week, he decided that jumping on top of the desk was too hard, so he camped out underneath the desk instead. At least he was hanging out with me instead of hiding in a corner somewhere.

Martin under the desk
But this weekend we had a major setback again. His “mild” heart disease got much more severe, very fast. As far as we can tell, he had an episode of acute heart failure. This made his lungs fill up with fluid, and he had a very hard time breathing. We brought him back to our veterinary hospital (he wouldn’t have made the trip back to Purdue), gave him some medications to help get rid of the extra fluid in his lungs and gave him supplemental oxygen to breathe. He did much better, but still needed the extra oxygen to stay comfortable.

So we rigged up this temporary oxygen cage for him. He’s in the back of this cage that’s covered with plastic wrap (yes, and duct tape). We can pump oxygen into the cage so he has an easier time breathing, and he has plenty of room to move around, use the litter box, and get some food and water (if he ever feels like eating).

Martin in the oxygen cage
Martin still has a long road ahead of him… assuming we can get him through this acute episode of heart problems, we still have his kidney disease to deal with and now a worsening heart problem. He’ll need a special diet and more medications…

We can manage the longer-term maintenance, but we are really worried that he won’t make it that far. As I write this (9:00pm on Sunday), he is comfortable, breathing much better, and tired. I’ll be up most of the night checking on him, just in case things get worse again. Hopefully he’ll be able to get some rest and feel better in the morning…

Keep your fingers crossed for our little Martin man!

1 comment:

  1. The one positive in this situation is that Martin's parents are both veterinarians so the best possible knowledge and resources are available to him nearly instantly :-)

    I'm hoping for a speedy recovery (the the extent recovery is possible)!


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