Friday, August 30, 2013

Cautiously Optimistic

Martin has made some serious progress since my last update! He took another step backwards, but this past week and a half has been very positive for the little bugger!

Martin in the window
Martin first started having problems because of his kidneys. He was making kidney stones, and wasn’t able to pass them. So his kidneys got obstructed, and they couldn’t clear the toxins from his blood like they were supposed to. So he didn’t feel good, and he stopped eating.

We got the kidney thing taken care of. But he still wouldn’t eat. So he had a tube placed in his esophagus so we could feed him, even if he didn’t want to eat by himself. Most cats tolerate these tubes really well. Martin did, but not for as long as we would have liked. After about 6 weeks, he started having some serious problems. We think he got ulcers in the lining of his esophagus from where the tube was sitting.

snuggles with orange cats
We tried to “rest” his esophagus by not feeding him for a few days, but keeping the tube in place. We started him on some ulcer medications that should help to reduce his stomach acid, and one to act as a “band aid” on the ulcer spots in his esophagus. These medications did help some, but he was still having problems.

Farmer Doc and I were out of town a lot during the first half of August, so we left Martin at our veterinary clinic under the care of our very excellent staff. He was still having troubles.

So, when we were finally back in town, and I was back at home to keep a super-close eye on him (I call it practice for being a helicopter mom), we tried something new.

We had it on pretty good authority that since the esophageal feeding tube had been in place for so long (we’re talking 10 weeks now), we should be able to take the tube out, leave it out for 24-48 hours, and then put it right back in.

So we tried, on Monday 8/19.

cuddles with Leo
It didn’t go so well. We tried to put the tube back in on Tuesday 8/20, and the darn cat had healed himself so fast that we couldn’t get it back in!

So, Martin was left to fend for himself. He was still on the same ulcer medications, and some fluids under his skin to keep him hydrated. We started him on another medication that is an appetite stimulant for cats. And then it was up to him to start eating.

And wouldn’t you know… he did! It took him a few days to start to get his appetite back, but by Sunday 8/25 he was doing pretty well! He is still not eating as much as he should (he’s eating about half of what he used to in a day), but he is making progress and eating a little more every day.

Even more important, he is acting more like himself. He had been spending most of his time alone in the bedroom, not hanging out with the other cats, not interacting with me and Farmer Doc. But within a day or two of getting that tube out he is really showing his true Martin colors.

my friend is my pillow
He is hanging out with the other cats. He is spending time with me and Farmer Doc in the living room in the evenings. He tried to play with my yarn while I was knitting a hat for Baby Doc. He is waking me up in the morning because it is breakfast time, and he is bugging me 3 or 4 more times during the day because he’s hungry again. On Tuesday, he decided he was feeling well enough to come back to work, and he came to visit me in the office. (He helped me edit his photos in this post.)

He still needs to get his appetite back up to normal, but we’re heading in the right direction. He needs to gain some serious weight back, but he hasn’t lost any weight in the last 7 days, and I’m pretty excited about that for a starting point!

Martin, you make us crazy, but we love you! (And you sure are one lucky cat!)

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