My Pet is Chronically Ill

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Don’t panic. Drink water. Remain calm. Be sure to find the nearest ER(s) BEFORE you need them.

My cat has been chronically ill for the last year. I use two veterinarians – one in Northern Virginia which handles the bulk of his case, and one that is more local for the incidentals. You can still get ill aside from your illnesses. He also has a facility near us that managed his radioactive iodine injection and also has cardiology available. It’s 15 minutes or less from the house as long as you take the toll road.

Keep your EZPass loaded. Even if the place you are headed to is faster without the tolls, the ride may be more comfortable or a quick detour if there is an accident along your main route.

What are you options going to be for transport? Tommy gets car sick, so I had him on a Kurgo Wander Hammock until we did a better plan. I bought him a new carrier that is nothing like his old one, which had transported him from Arizona to Maryland, and that way there were no associated feelings. It’s huge. He can see out of it. We also have Cerenia tablets to break apart and give him before the car trips. He does pretty swell. Remember to leave your carrier out for days at minimum, or longer if you can, before you have to depart for the next appointment. Most of our cats take turns sleeping in the carrier in our living room until it’s time for Tom to go for a ride. It’s not OH SHIT THE CARRIER and then out the door, ya know? I do however get a negative from him about his harness and leash. He runs from me. If I am not looking at him, and his dad goes to put the harness and leash on him, they just go outside and explore the property.
Mom+Harness=Doom

Plan ahead and get a scale. I hate to say this but there are a fair amount of Chonks out there that you need to have a scale that weighs up to 30 pounds, and can do pounds and ounces (kilos if you prefer) so that you can keep track of weight at home. Pet scale or infant scale: your choice. More than an 8 ounce weight loss in a month is cause for concern. It will fluctuate on when the last time they went to the litter box is, so I weigh Tom out of a nap after his lunch and before his next natural waking or eating period. He’s pretty empty by then and has weighted meals, so that’s consistent.

Educate yourself. Prescription diets generally are a good idea to bring your pet to a neutral, but you may opt to get more involved in their diet after 4-6 weeks. I don’t know that I will ever feel like I can 100% trust a doctor that gives you prescription DRY food for a cat. Half of the problem is that they are kibble. If I were to find the chart that shows you dry matter basis plus how much water they have to drink with it to stay fully hydrated, you’d feel as bad as I did when I learned that “he drinks from the fountain all the time” wasn’t actually enough.

Fountains do encourage fluids vs bowls. Circulating water is very appealing and the temperature is generally lower, and with so many options you can use filters and adjust the output to mimic the faucet trickle from the bathroom sink. Plus the bottom of the fountain is cool and all to mimic those that love to drink from the toilet, too.

I have no idea why but a cat loves a cool mist humidifier. It’s fun to sit with fog blowing you in the mug and then it humming you to sleep. Please don’t try to make it fancy by putting anything in the water except the occasional teaspoon on sanitation solution. Human stuff can make pets sick.

In my free time I tend to look at available research studies and clinical trials. Didn’t know this could be an option? What am I even talking about? Check out this info and I’ll try to get back with you soon.

AVMA Animal Health Studies Database – Learn About Veterinary Clinical Studies