Let's start from the beginning...
I brought Indy out for some sun this morning as I believe all creatures of Nature need the sun. It is healing.
Cow and Tiger followed closely.
Indy kept wanting to go to the road to be under a car, but I had to stop him and bring him back.
Cleo is watching Indy too.
And so is Tabs. She's decided to adopt our house and all of us as her family.
Soon it was time to begin the long trip to TTDI, to Dr Susanna's practice for Indy's acupuncture. The trip was, fortunately, not as noisy as I had expected it to be. Either Indy understands we had to make this trip, or he had no more energy to complain after having not eaten for 2 days now.
On the way, I spoke with our vets on the phone and told them how Indy had been over the last 24 hours. They were very concerned and agreed I should send him straight to the vet in PJ after the acupuncture, which was my plan, anyway. I know Indy needs to be on drips as he had not eaten for 2 days now. I cannot afford to wait for things to change for the worse.
We reached TTDI and found the place.
Indy is salivating again...he does that whenever he is upset or frightened.
Dr Susanna spent quite a long time getting all of Indy's history. Among all the vets I've ever visited, she is perhaps the one with the most patience to listen and record every single detail. It is very interesting that TCVM (Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine) is so very different from western veterinary medicine, even in its approach.
Dr Susanna even asked, "How would you describe Indy as a person?". From my description, she already knew, and based on Indy's history (which she asked in detail) that Indy is a "water type".
Her understanding of what Indy is like was spot-on. So, before we even begin the treatment, Dr Susanna already knew a lot about Indy.
Dr Susanna used 8 needles on Indy's kidney and spleen points. These are the "yin" organs and Indy's kidney and spleen are generally weak. So is his pulse.
And while we were waiting for the 25 mins where the needles had been inserted, Dr Susanna gave me an extremely informative lecture on TCVM and how things work. This lecture is important so that I understand and can work together with her to help Indy. I found this extremely illuminating.
According to TCVM, there are basically three inportant organs in the body, namely, the kidneys, the spleen and the heart. The kidney and spleen are "yin" (cool) while the heart is "yang" (hot) and these three organs must work together to create a balance in the body so that the qi (energy) flows smoothly.
Indy doesn't have enough qi right now (his pulse is very weak), and Dr Susanna says it is probably due to the food he eats. That is a long story altogether, but for today, we will only concentrate on getting his kidneys and spleen to be energised before we do more.
Indy completed the 25 mins of having all 8 needles inserted. That was good. But he was very nervous and kept salivating. Dr Susanna agreed that Indy ought to be on drips since he had not eaten for 2 days, so from her practice, we went straight to the vet's in PJ.
As I was driving there, our Subang Jaya vet called me with yesterday's blood test results. Everything is normal, he said, which to me, was a relief, but to him, was now becoming a bigger puzzle. If everything is normal, what IS wrong with Indy? Why isn't he eating?
For our vet, he thought Indy was fast deteriorating, so he said to get him on drips immediately and get the ultrasound taken. That really got me very worried.
We reached the clinic in PJ and I explain the whole long story again to the vet here, and it was agreed that Indy would be put on drips. I asked if subcut fluids would be enough, but the vet said Indy was already dehydrated, and the drip was necessary. I was hoping to take him home this evening, but the vet said it would be better if Indy stayed overnight.
Indy's temperature was normal. No fever.
But the moment the drip was inserted, Indy suddenly started flipping violently on the table, and that really frightened everyone. He was probably trying to tell us he doesn't like it at all. Indy may be a scaredy cat, but I think he is silently very strong-willed and stubborn.
The vet also said Indy would be given injectible antibiotics since I said he threw up all the oral medication.
Here we are with the drip set.
We then waited our turn for the ultrasound. It was a long wait.
Finally our turn came and that was a bit of a struggle as well. I had to hold Indy down. Hence, no photographs. Also, photography is not allowed inside.
Two vets did the ultrasound and took lots of photos. They scanned various parts of the abdomen and everywhere looked pretty normal except for the stomach. There appeared to be gas in the stomach (which was expected, because Indy had not eaten for 2 days), but above this gas, was a layer of "liquid". It was dark on the image, which indicate fluid. That was strange because gas ought to be on top, not fluid. That remained a puzzle.
There was no evidence of pyelonephritis. That was a relief. But Indy's left kidney is larger than his right. This could be due to various reasons, one of which is maybe the right isn't working very well, so the left is compensating.
Judging from my description of Indy regurgitating everything from his stomach, the vet suggested that we do a chest X-Ray to check the esophagus and also a Barri Meal to check the GIT (gastro-intestinal tract). In a Barri, dye mixed with milk, which would be fed to Indy, and over a period of 8 hours, imaging is done to ascertain where the dye has flowed to.
The Barri could only be done tomorrow as we did not have 8 hours today.
So we proceeded with the X-Ray.
The vet did a whole body X-Ray and again, found nothing abnormal at all.
The plot thickens.
What IS wrong with Indy?
We went back to our room. The vet attending to Indy came by and I asked for possibilities. She said it could be gastritis that is causing Indy to regurgitate and the stomach to reject food. But she also mentioned a very remote possibility of stomach cancer, which she said, was highly unlikely due to Indy's young age.
Gosh... the "C" word is always frightening.
I camped there with Indy all afternoon. Indy was clearly uncomfortable.
I guess he just wanted to go home and go under a car.
Indy soon urinated and we collected some urine to run another urine test. This time, the urine was normal and the specific gravity was actually good. It was 1.05! Now, that is a very good reading. So, his kidneys are okay, after all.
Soon, the vet said we'd try syringe-feeding Indy some AD. She gave very small amounts, with Indy inside the cage and we were glad Indy did not salivate.
The acid test would be to wait for the regurgitation. One hour passed, and no regurgitation! Yay!! Now, that's an achievement, isn't it?
But then again, the vet also injected antacid through the drip, so that probably stopped the regurgitation.
I was so happy Indy did not regurgitate, but to the vet, it broadens the mystery...if it's not the stomach, then what IS wrong with Indy?
At this point in time, all I wanted was that Indy could hold down food again, and hopefully, can eat by himself (WANTS to eat by himself). What is wrong with him? If we cannot answer that, but he can be well, I'd rather he be well. As my Subang vet said, "sometimes, the trick is to keep them alive and let the body sort itself out". I tend to agree, that is, IF the body can sort itself out.
Maybe it can...who knows?
I covered the top of the cage with a towel so that Indy would feel safer. It would be like being under a car, I hope.
It took a VERY long time before Indy finally got some sleep.
By late evening, I thought Indy perked up a little bit as he sat up by himself and there was some response when I talked to him. That's a small mercy I'm very thankful for. Every sign of recovery is celebrated.
I asked the vet if Indy could have a bit more food.
Soon, another vet came in and said to bring Indy to the examination table for feeding. The moment he was placed on the table, he started salivating. This time Indy was fed by hand instead of syringe. The vet fed quite a fair bit, too, until Indy spat out, indicating he's had enough.
I brought him back to the cage, and within minutes, he started regurgitating again.
Sigh...out came all the food.
I think it's because he didn't like being on the table or being fed too much? Or, being fed by hand?
From this, I'm more convinced now of this very simple theory that I have:
1. When Indy is angry or upset, he salivates.
2. Then when we forcefeed anything, it makes him more angry.
3. He regurgitates everything out OR his negative frame of mind makes the stomach reject everything in it.
That's a very simple theory up there, but I proposed it to the vets and they said it is possible that Indy's problem is a mind-over-matter one.
Come to think of it, it all began with a nerve problem (hind legs limping) plus a fever (but was the "fever" of 40.7 actually caused by fear of being at the clinic?). He was given Neurobion and Denzo for the limping. Later, the urine test showed the presence of leucocytes so he was started on Baytril which he absolutely hates and he began salivating each time medicine was given. During this time, Indy was still eating as per normal.
After 2 days on Baytril, he stopped eating. And he would salivate each time medicine was given, followed by regurgitation after one hour.
Could this be the whole problem? That Indy just developed his anger towards being forcefed medicine ("I'm not sick, why are you forcing medicine literally down my throat??") and that caused his stomach to reject food and he stopped eating altogether and just wants to sit under a car and puke?
As simple as it sounds, maybe that is the whole problem and we are all looking in all the wrong places!!
With Indy's hyper-sensitivity, it's highly possible.
But now that he's warded, the vet would want to do more diagnostics on him to be sure.
Indy's blood test yesterday also indicated slightly elevated glucose level, so by evening, the vet changed his glucose drip to saline (NaCl) so that she can run another glucose blood test tomorrow.
If Indy no longer regurgitates, we can skip the Barri. If he still does, the vet may want to do the Barri.
Also, the senior vet will be coming back to work tomorrow, so maybe he could throw more light on the ultrasound images and find something we all missed.
It was 8.15pm, past closing time.
I have to go, Indy. I'll come see you first thing tomorrow when the clinic opens. You be a good boy and get well, okay? Don't be afraid, Indy, you'll be alright.
When I came home and walked into the house, I heard the pitter-patter of footsteps and the jingling of a bell. It was Tabs trotting down from the sofa to greet me! Tabs, the new kid on the block who has adopted our home. What a great destressor...
Dr Susanna keeps reminding me that how I feel is very important for Indy's recovery. She says I have to stay very positive. My plan now is to give Indy all the acupuncture treatments he needs and hopefully, revamp his diet. Indy's qi is weak, and acupuncture can strengthen that. Once the qi flows stronger, I think many problems will, as my vet says, "sort itself out".
The body is self-healing. We just need to provide the nutriment (fuel) needed for it to heal by giving it the proper foods. Cats are carnivorous and they need high protein.
I recently heard from a vet that western veterinary nutritionists are looking at NOT reducing the protein content for senior cats now. Even senior cats need high protein. This is something new for them.
TCVM already knows this.
East is East and West is West and never the twain shall meet?
Not so. The twain SHOULD meet.
I hope Indy will be okay tonight. I look forward to a better day tomorrow.
I'll send positive vibes to Indy tonight.
Last but not least, I thank everyone who has sent comments and emails wishing Indy (and me!) well. Your thoughtfulness is highly appreciated and I am deeply touched. Thank you, my friends. I have not even had the privilege of meeting so many of you, yet our hearts are near and dear.