Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Miracle No.1: Bosco made it through the night, and it may not be the little toad's fault...

My apologies to everyone for this belated post. I know many of you are rooting for Bosco and I owe you all an earlier post, but I just got home, and it's been an exceptionally long day.

In a nutshell, Bosco is hanging on, is able to sit up and meow, and the little toad may not be the culprit after all.

Here is the full story:

I drove down to PJ at 8.45am, and with the help of some directions on the phone, I was able to find the clinic. It was already 9.30am when I reached there.

As I entered the clinic, I kept looking at the faces of the vets and the assistants to see if their expressions could tell me anything and give me a hint of whether Bosco had made it through the night. No one said anything.

The assistants were cleaning the boarding area, but the vet was kind enough to let me in.


You made it, Bosco!!  You made it through the night! Miracle No.1 - thank you!

He meowed when I touched him and it sounded like a bit of grumbling too. Well, I would be grumbling too if I had a needle poked into my hand and I was kept in a cage AND I didn't know why.

 Grumble all you want, Bosco! It's perfectly okay.

I waited outside as the assistants needed to clean up the area. I was so relieved and so happy that Miracle No.1 had happened. Bosco is on his way to recovery now....

Soon, the vets took him out for a check-up.

The ear-prick blood test showed that he is still leukopenic (that means, his white blood cells is still very low). We need time for this reading to pick up.

I told the vet that I have a strong suspicion it could be due to toad poisoning, but the vet said it made no difference now because the treatment would still be the same - to be on drips. Moreover, she said Malaysian toads are not known to be venomous.

I asked if it could be some allergic reaction due to the spot-on I had applied. But the same tube was used for Raven and Bosco. Raven had no reaction, but Bosco developed a burn spot after 4 days. Then, the spot got worse and I brought him to the vet to have it checked. The vet said it was alright and just needed some iodine. The next day, Bosco fell sick. The spot-on was applied on 10th October. It was only 10 days later that he fell sick.

The vet said anything was possible, so she decided to shave off the burn spot so that she could clean it properly with water.

 We started shaving and discovered that the "burn" spot was much bigger than what met the eye.

 That's how big it is.

The vet cleaned the spot with water and applied iodine. But if indeed the spot-on had caused a reaction, it would have gone systemic by now as it's already been 12 days. Sigh...what should you do, actually? Cats need to be de-fleaed because fleas carry diseases, even deadly ones like Hemobart. Morever, I had to de-flea Bosco because he was with Raven and Raven had mange.

But poisoning by toad or allergic reaction were just conjectures. There were other possibilities as well. The first vet yesterday had suggested that we test Bosco for parvovirus. Although Bosco did not have the classical symptoms of bloody diarrhoea and vomiting, it was still possible that he had been afflicted with parvovirus.

The vet got some fecal sample and it was dropped into the parvovirus test kit. We waited...only one red line appeared and I was hopeful. A timer was set at 5 mins. That's how long we would have to wait. Nearing the end of five minutes, a very faint grey line appeared.

The vet said if it was a strong positive, another dark red line would appear quickly, or a pink line. But this was a faint grey line. What did it mean?

Could the test kit be faulty, I suggested. Let's repeat the test. But the vet said there was no need to. We'd take it as a faint positive, which could mean Bosco is mildly infected with the parvovirus. It could even be a false positive.

 I asked if we could administer RetroMAD1 and the vet said it was alright to try, but perhaps there is no need to do it yet. I had brought some along with me in ice (leftover from Baggy's).

 Look at the burn spot. It is quite bad.

The vet asked if I had followed the correct dosage as determined by the weight. I did, and actually, I even gave less than the full dosage for Bosco because 1/3 was given to Raven. So, Bosco was only given 2/3 of the actual dose (according to his weight). Both shared the same tube. Can an underdose cause such a bad burn spot? Can it even cause such a severe allergic reaction?

I suppose anything is possible as there would always be the rare case. For example, I am allergic to the Hepatitis B vaccine. I could die from a shot of it and I actually almost did, many years ago. Luckily a quick-thinking and quick-acting doctor saved my life with a shot of adrenalin (to revive me after I went into anaphylactic shock). I heard I was the only case in Malaysia - nothing to be proud of, of course.

For the record, I also applied the same spot-on on Bunny, Tabs and Tiger on the same day and they are perfectly alright. No bald spots on them.

Anyway, let's get back to Bosco now...

Bosco went back to his cage. I had earlier offered him some wetfood but he wasn't interested at all.

He is still on drips, so that's not so worrying. At least he is getting fluids and nutrients.

I went in to check on him many times. He was facing the wall.

Why, Bosco?

Poor little guy, he must be feeling quite miserable.

Cheer up, Bosco. Stay strong and you will get well soon. Then, I'll take you home and you can play with Raven again.

I stayed with him, talked to him, sang to him, and each time, he would wag his tail.

 By noon, Aunty Cathy came.

 She brought a feather for Bosco. There was response from him when he was tickled, so that's good.

By then, I had waited for almost 4 hours but the senior vet was still not in yet. Later, he called to say he was still engaged at another clinic, but he told me not to worry as he would do everything possible for Bosco.

Then, we saw the vet assistants bring Bosco upstairs and we asked why. It was for isolation because Bosco has parvovirus. I was confused now. I thought it was a faint positive or even a false positive?

Apparently no. Any line, no matter dark red, pink or grey means it's positive.


Now I got worried, and I quickly administered the RetroMAD1. Then I asked if there was anything else that would help and the vet said Vetri DMG would but the clinic had run out of it. So I called a friend to get a bottle (I had a bottle at home but to drive back would be too far). I gave Bosco both the RetroMAD1 and Vetri, but he was angry. He didn't want any of it. A bit of it was spat out.

The only "treatment" for parvovirus is supportive care. We are already doing it - the IV-fluids and the Baytril injections. And I've added the RetroMAD1 and Vetri DMG. There isn't anything else to do except to pray.

Transferred upstairs to the isolation ward. In a way, it may be a bit better because there is only one other dog here. More peaceful.

By now, it was already 2pm and I had to get back to take Raven to the clinic for vaccination. So, Cathy stayed with Bosco while I made my way home.

 Bye Bosco! I'll see you tomorrow after work.
You be strong and get well soon, okay?

I drove out from the vet's and alas...unknowingly made a wrong turn. To cut a very long story short, the signboards were all so unfamiliar and none of them said Subang Jaya, Shah Alam, Lebuhraya Persekutuan or Klang. They were all names of KL places and I didn't know where I was.

I ended up in Kepong, or was it Batu Caves, I am not sure. Yes, I have what I coin "directional dyslexia", ie. I am hopeless with directions no matter how many times I have been to the place.

By the time I finally made my way back to Subang Jaya (with thanks to many desperate phonecalls), it was already 3.15pm. I was already mentally exhausted, thanks to all the driving and unhelpful signboards!

I quickly called the vet to make an appointment for Raven at 3.30pm. I went home, disinfected myself and scooped Raven into the carrier and off we went. I thought of getting Rosie and Ginger too as both were just sitting nonchalantly on the culvert, but I didn't have time or the energy then.  Raven's case is more urgent as she was so close to Bosco.

We reached the vet's. Unfortunately, it was FULL, and the wait would be very long.

I decided to take Raven to another vet, and in doing so, got myself into another massive jam. I was hoping to do it fast so that I could get back to see Bosco before the 4.30pm jam starts which would make it almost impossible to get out of Subang Jaya.

Me not so Gremlin now, huh? 

By the time Raven got vaccinated and dewormed and we finally got home in another crazy traffic jam, it was already too late for me to make another trip to PJ to see Bosco.

I'll just have to see Bosco tomorrow and hope for another miracle.

Some websites say that if a parvo cat makes it to Day 5, it should be home-free. Today is Day 3. We have two more days to go.

Bosco will need all the prayers he can get. The vet did say he had seen cases where the parvo-cat seems to recover only to be followed by sudden death. Apparently, sudden death is very common for parvo-cats. Cathy and I were hoping that since Bosco was so down yesterday but better today means the worst is over...? Not necessarily so, the vet said. Sudden death can still happen. He has seen many such cases. That really dampened my spirits, but that is the reality and it's better that we are told so that we can be prepared.

I am worried, but I know worrying will not help, so I have to think positively and hope for the best.

By the time I reached home, settled Raven and fed my brood, I thought I would write this post.

Just then, my husband got home and I thought it would be best we caught Rosie and Ginger and get them vaccinated as well since they are in the community and parvovirus is deadly.

I managed to catch Ginger while my husband caught Rosie, but Ginger struggled a bit (which was still manageable). However, when I tried to put him into the carrier, he went berserk and BIT me real hard.

He escaped, and Rosie escaped as well. They both fled and I don't think they would trust us again for a long time.

The bite was so painful as he bit right onto my bone. I was immobilised for a good few minutes as the pain penetrated into the bone and up my arm. Now I am typing with two bite marks on my hand and a scratch on my leg. I hope it doesn't get any worse. Or else, I would have to see the doctor as well.

Well, that's life. These things happen and we would just have to cope with it.

Now, I'm going to help scrub the porch with diluted chlorox. Next, would be all the cushion covers.

Please keep Bosco in your prayers and wish all the community cats well. I hope there is no parvo outbreak.

Thank you for your patience and thank you for all your good wishes.  We need Miracle No.2 for tomorrow. And one more, then we ought to be home-free, I hope.

Updates at 10.00pm: No phonecall from the vet. I hope that's good news. Not that it matters, but I am still wondering whether it is really parvovirus or poisoning, or even something else. We all know parvovirus is so deadly contagious, yet I don't see any sick cats in the community. Touch wood, but Raven seems fine. She is still happily bouncing from cushion to cushion right now.

Remember when Bosco first appeared in my front porch, he had eye discharge and yellow mucus from the nose. Two days of Vetri DMG healed him and he was as happy as a lark, as fit as a fiddle after that. Then, he suddenly comes down. Isn't it strange?

Oh well, whatever it is, I hope the supportive treatment that we are giving will make him well again.

And meanwhile, I am deeply touched that some readers are concerned about my hand. No worries, it's already been 3 hours now and it "seems" to be okay. The puncture wound was very shallow. It was just so painful because Ginger bit my bone (I have bony hands!). I think Ginger has very blunt teeth...!!  Now, thank goodness for that.

 See? It looks okay. No swelling. My anti-tetanus is still up-to-date.

Thank you very much for your concern.


cindy said...

YES. When I finally had time to check the site around 18:30 KL time, no updates. I thought - bad news.

OK .. I normally do not pray. BUT I WILL KEEP thinking of Bosco.

I hope you clean your wounds with iodine?

MS said...

Hope you feel better. I had a similar burn spot on one of my cat after using a certain brand... i stopped using it n switched to another brand. Wonder if the first brand is too strong for our cats, not all of them can take it (it stated on the box as well)

But, strangely, I found a similarhairless spot on the neck area... After 4-5weeks of the second brand.... Now, I'm puzzled if there's any toxin free solution to fe-flea our cats? Tx!

chankahyein said...

I had burn spots with two brands too - Indy, Cleo and now, Bosco. I've tried a third brand and no burn spots was spotted on my brood of 7 previously. I've heard of non-toxic de-flea treatment but don't know how effective it is. The other way, of course, is to give good nutrition - it keeps the fleas away too.

Alicia said...

Snowy and I will be praying for Bosco to get better each day.

You take care too Dr. Chan.

chankahyein said...

Thank you, everyone! Bosco says thank you too.

Yen Ling said...

The burnt mark is scary. I suggest not to use Revolution (although my vet says, it is the best among all). Is so strong and damage the skin. :(

I do sometimes use tea tree oil (Thursday plantation) I pour it onto a damp cotton pad and cover the spot with tick. The tick will loosen itself and I can pinch it with the cotton pad. Agree, good nutrition and daily combing can help. Jack uses only 1 tube of Frontline once every 2 months.

Bosco, you hang in there. Stay strong and take care, Dr. Chan.

Wil said...

Will continue to pray for Bosco.u take care of ur wound too.Hope u don hav to go to the doc.

Wong Yoke Mei said...

Hope that Bosco will be more perky tomorrow. The word "Parvo" really sends shivers to my bones. A vet told me that Parvo virus are area concentrated, meaning it normally lingers in the same area for sometime. Will send positive vibes to Bosco from all us. It's best to get Ginger & Rosie vaccinated soonest possible, just in case. I know cats are more wary once they have a bad experience with the human, but who knows, maybe they know that you are doing something good for them and they walk right up to you.....Have faith and hope...

Mei Leng said...

Glad to know that Bosco is improving. Parvo virus is very deadly and it is fatal for kitten. But Bosco is an adult cat and according to Dr. Tan (who treated Brave), adult cat will have higher chance to survive.

Yes, cat bite is REALLY pain ! i was bitten by one of my community cat when i tried to trap him for spaying. it took me two weeks to recover. I suggest u go for injection to prevent further infection because cats month and teeth is very dirty and full of bacteria and virus.

chankahyein said...

Thanks, Mei Leng. My anti-tetanus is still "valid", I think. :) It was just very painful, but no puncture. I think Ginger's teeth are blunt! Last time Cow bit me and it took me a few MONTHS to recover. Cow's teeth are....lethal.

Connie said...

Yikes! Dr Chan, better get a tetanus immunisation booster.
Poor Bosco, I hope the test was false-positive. Another 2 days Bosco, stay strong ya! Will pray for your quick recovery.

Bern said...

Glad today went well....Will continue to send positive thoughts. Will be waiting anxiously for your update tomorrow.

May said...

Poor thing, sounds like he's suffering I hope the best for Bosco and prays that he'll be fine.

I am also someone who will get lost anywhere in KL area. Find it much easier to navigate with a Garmin GPS. Perhaps you can consider buying one during computer fairs, they are really useful, while it is abit pricey and a splurge, it has save me many times!

chankahyein said...

Hi May, I have TWO Garmins. Both don't work for me....sobs! It would take me in the opposite direction. It's just me and directions - we don't gel.