Thursday, February 5, 2009

UPDATE

I've been nearly completely out of the kitty blogosphere for the past few months. I've not hardly even been commenting at Goma, Praline or Bhu's blogs and I usually follow these fluffies daily!
It's only today I finally feel like posting here again -- because, thank God, I think Zuzu is finally healing.

To make a longish story kind of short, sometime in December, Zuzu began developing scabby, itchy spots on her tail base and along her back. Anna had some too, but to a much lesser degree. As I have been battling fleas since August, I assumed this was flea allergy dermatitis and to date, that's what the vet still thinks it is. I kept flea combing the girls, but the truth is, I've been a bad mommy here for two reasons:

1. At least out here in CT, I am convinced Frontline has stopped working effectively. There is some talk that perhaps our east cost fleas have developed a resistance to it -- whatever the reason, it has never worked well for me. So after about three months treatment of Frontline, I decided to switch to Revolution for the cats, K9 Advantix for the dog. Bad Mommy should have switched products sooner! Finally, I think we've won the war on fleas!

2. I am kind of a freak when it comes to flea medication. I hate it. I worry about it WAY more than I should: that maybe it's more harmful to both humans and animals that the manufacturers let on, etc. For this reason, Bad Mommy went well over 6 weeks between applications, hoping the flea combing by itself would do the trick.

(You might be thinking, "What's the big deal about a little flea allergy dermatitis? Why would a little something like that make her so upset she didn't even want to blog? Get a grip!"

You'll see ... keeping reading.)

In early January, I inspected Zuzu's skin again and was horrified: the scabby patches had increased drastically in size and number. Additionally, instead of being "scabby," these patches had turned into lesions: angry-looking red, weepy patches of skin all along her back.

Thus began our (expensive!) multiple trips to the vet.

First, I FINALLY applied the Revolution to both cats, Advantix to dog. All three animals got Capstar, a pill which is supposed to kill all fleas on them in hour. THEN I vacuumed the whole house from top to bottom AND did load after load of laundry: cat and dog bedding, throw rugs, even my comforter where Zuzu likes to sleep. I was then to give both cats 14-days of oral antibiotics, twice a day.

Giving meds to cats is a nightmare! For the first week, I had to wrap Anna in a towel and quickly squirt the meds into her mouth -- which I HATED doing! Eventually I found I was able to mix it into canned food which made me SO happy! No more feeling like I was traumatizing her! Zuzu, however, will not eat canned food at all -- and after about 4 doses of meds via the ol' wrapped-in-a-towel trick, she got wise and squirmed so horribly -- and looked so UPSET -- I gave up.

So back to the vet for Zuzu as I could not get her meds into her -- and her lesions were getting worse.

I need to switch the subject here to give some background:

I've mentioned Little Girl, my first Himalayan, here a number of times. LG also developed flea allergy dermatitis. As treatment, she received injections of steroids, about six of them, in a period of less then two years. Shortly after her last steroid, she developed diabetes.
Steroids are known for their propensity to cause diabetes in cats:

One
Two
Three

For starters.
Keep Googling "diabetes" "cats" and "steroids" and the links keep coming. With steroids, it's a gamble: some kitties have multiple injections of steroids and do just fine. Others, like Little Girl, develop diabetes.

Thing is, during LG's period of injections, NO ONE TOLD ME there were alternatives to steroids! Like a dumb, trusting fool, I let my former veterinary hospital keep poisoning my kitty.
She died, as you know, and her death was long and traumatic.

ANYWAY, so now, here I am, two years or so later, another Himmie and more $#&$ flea allergy dermatitis -- and the possibly of those horrible, $#&% steroids again. All the memories and details of LG's illness and death came flooding back. I couldn't believe I might be facing this nightmare again.

Thank goodness our current vet gets it. He confirmed that, yes, steroids can trigger diabetes in kitties, and supported my decision to NOT treat Zu with them -- except as a very last resort. As I couldn't get the meds into her, the vet gave her an injection of antibiotic which was supposed to last for two weeks. Then sent us home to wait and see.

A week and half later, perhaps a hint of improvement but Zuzu still had lesions all along her back and some on her neck. Back to vet. This time he sent me home with Cortisoothe shampoo and also did blood work in case Zuzu would need the steroids after all. The test would determine if she showed a preexisting condition that would put her at a greater risk for developing diabetes -- if so, steroids would definitely be avoided. (Note: these tests were NOT done on Little Girl, nor was I ever told such a test existed. More evidence of negligence from our former vet hospital. My hatred for that hospital is intense and rages as fresh as if Little Girl died yesterday. Best to leave it as that. Zuzu's bloodwork came back fine, by the way.)

So my husband and I gave her a bath. Overall, she was pretty good about it.

And now, about a week and half later, SHE IS BETTER!!!
Not completely -- I may have to give her another tubby with Cortisoothe but her skin is much, much, much better AND WE DIDN'T HAVE TO USE THOSE CRAPPY STEROIDS!

Zuzu: Ah HATE tubby!

Kim: But you're better, Zuzu!

Zuzu: Hate HATE tubby! An why u wrap me in that towel and force ICKY in mah mouths?

Kim: Groan. I'm sorry, Zuzu. Please try to forget about that -- I was trying to help you!

Zuzu: Harumph! Sorryzuzu NOTHING! Was bad!

Anna: I ALL BETTER! An' want more wet foodies, please!

Kim: I'm glad you're better, Anna -- but you really don't need more canned food. You're kinda fat, you know.

Anna: I NOT THAT WHAT YOU SAY, THAT "TOO FAT!" I NOT THAT!

Anyhow, so far, so good!
Next flea treatment is due next week and you bet your boots I'm giving it to both cats and the dog right on schedule!

Now that I can stop worrying so much, hopefully we'll be back to blogging as we missed everyone!

OH!
Nearly forgot!
As some of you may know, I have, um, a few tattoos. After spending my 30's kind of regretting them as, I've finally learned to say, "I LIKE my tattoos! Who cares what anyone thinks?!"

Here's my latest, just got this one about three weeks ago -- look, Sachie!
A Japanese Maneki Neko or "lucky kitty!" as I call him. I have a whole bunch of these in my house -- don't know if they bring me luck or prosperity, but I've always loved them!

(That's my elbow at the bottom of the pic -- kind of hard to tell where it is from this picture.) I wanted the horseshoe in there for its "luck" symbolism -- but also as a tribute to my love of horses. Thanks to my buddy H for suggesting this!

Finally, some pics of wet Himmies (we gave Anna a bath too, just to be sure, as the vet said it could only help soothe her itchies too!)

Anna
Zuzu

8 comments:

Sweet Praline said...

Oh poor Anna and Zuzu! I have missed you! I hope the battle with the nasty fleas are over.

I don't like baths either!

Patty Skypants said...

Me iz loving the wet floof photos! xxoo Bhu

Poor AnnaB and Zuz!! Bhu is having a similar affliction at this point with the Frontline not working thoroughly and the "blippies", as I call them, returning. But all you have written is so helpful, I can't thank you enough!! xxoo Patty

Cliff and Olivia said...

Poor cats. Sounds terrible. We hope you get all well. And more blog posts with photos. We especially like the wet photos. We're glad it ain't us!

Laila and Minchie said...

We missed all of you! We are so glad you're back. What a nightmare you've been going through! Hopefully those nasty ol' fleas will stay away now.

hugs and purrs

GOMA+SACHIE said...

OMG! I will not blame you one bit Kim for not writing because it must have been terrible seen Zuzu go through almost same thing as your little girl!!! I am SO GLAD SUPA HAPPY about Zuzu getting finally better and didn't need to get Steroids!!! I know it must be so horrible but I am tankful that you told us about Steroids so no cats have to go through it EVER!!! so thank you so much Kim!!! Ohh I miss you guys Anna and Zuzu, I hope you will never get flea again!!

Goma: Zuzu ur skin itchys?? ok I will come eat al lyour fleas!!!

SACHIE: I don't think so Goma.

Sweet Praline said...

Pee ess - Mom trimmed my claws today because she found a spot where I scratched too hard under my chin. No evidence of fleas, but she thinks it is dry skin because of the cold weather lately. You should see my mom's dry legs!!!

Kim, Annabelle and Zuzu said...

Zuzu: Pralines, yes, you DOs has dry skin, I am betting! I has that TOO and I TOO scratch under my chins! Mommy say, You stopitzuzu, but I do anyways! Dry skin not fun but at least not fleas! I HATES it, the fleas!

Cranky Yankee said...

Get well soon kitties!