The Other Christmas Lights..... (356/365)

December 22, 2015 – Christmas brings light displays on houses and in trees….but it also brings lots of brake lights and traffic lights too. Everyone gets stupid on the roads at this time of year.

This afternoon was frustrating. We had to load up Loki and drive across town to the Vancouver Animal Emergency Hospital where we had an appointment for a consult with a new vet, an internal medicine specialist. Our regular vet has reached the end of his abilities with Loki. With another, crappier, blood cell count last week, he sought advice from a specialist across town and helped us set up an appointment to work with her to try to figure out what is going on with Loki.

Poor Loki, he couldn’t figure out why he didn’t get his full breakfast today, only enough to get his pill down and that was it. And poor Milo was in the same boat since they normally eat out of the same dishes. They probably both thought we’d lost our minds when we took away the food dishes…but neglected to put them back down.

And then, to add insult to Milo, when we headed out the door an hour before the appointment in order to make it across town in time, we neglected to put the dishes back down for him. So he fasted too.

We had a 2pm appointment, and though they sent us into the exam room right away, it was almost an hour that we sat in there before someone came to take Loki’s vitals and then the vet finally made it in. I get it, it’s a triage centre, and things come up that they can’t expect, but it would have been nice to just have someone stick their head int he room once or twice to let us know we hadn’t been forgotten. Neither of us had really eaten today to that point either.

We were a ‘hangry’ little bunch, all of us.

Eventually the vet arrived and we had a long and very good discussion. She made a few suggestions for the next tests – a chest x-ray, another complete blood cell count, urinalysis, blood tying…just in case we got to a point where he needs a transfusion (that was hard to hear), and a bone marrow aspirate.

In the end we agreed to everything but the bone marrow aspirate for now, and the tech came in to take him out. He was calm and went out alright in her arms, we tried to warn her, probably not well enough. I think all we said was “He’s probably cranky by now, he’s having a bad day without any food.”

What we should have said was “Loki really hates to be restrained…and he’s very strong…”

We could hear a bit of a kerfuffle, and a cat that sounded very angry. Loki is a loving, sweet, and gentle cat. We’ve only heard him growl once in nine years (at a dog at the vet clinic), and hiss three times…two of those today when they took his temperature. So it was hard to imagine that what we were hearing was Loki.

Until the vet came back in with him and she said, “Well, no one saw THAT coming!” Apparently he staged a bit of a revolt in the back room and all they managed to do was get a blood sample.

No urine collection, no chest x-ray.

We said we’d take him to our regular vet for those, they seem to understand his behaviour there, they’ve dealt with his insubordination and have it figured out that if we get him in early on a quiet day with no other animals around, and get him in the back super quick without any exam, they can usually surprise him and get what they need before he decides he’s had enough.

On the upside, the bill wasn’t the just-shy-of-a-thousand-dollars we’d been quoted since they couldn’t do half the work….but it was still just slightly less than half that amount.

While we were waiting I sent an email to Loki’s breeder to ask about one thing that was niggling away at the back of my mind…Pyruvate Kinase deficiency is a recessive genetic condition that is more common (but still relatively rare) in some breeds, Abyssinians being one of those breeds that it’s most common in. It is an inherited haemolytic anaemia that occurs in about 25% of the kittens from parents that are carriers of the gene. If that turned out to be what it was, then it was a death sentence for Loki.

When the vet came back in I asked her about the possibility of PK deficiency and her experience with it. She said she’d encountered it in less than six animals in all her years, but was familiar with it, and with the fact that it was a possibility for the breed. She said it was an easy test, but that it had to go to California to be run and that the lab there did it in batches when enough samples came in, not as a one off. But it was a thought worth considering. I couldn’t remember the names of Loki’s sire and dam, but the breeder’s website had testing certificates from 2008for PK deficiency for her breeding cats, and the vet was impressed that the breeder would have done that kind of testing on her cats, that it indicated a caring and responsibility level not seen in many cat breeders.

And then, after three and a half hours at the clinic, it was a frustrating drive home through stupid rush hour Christmas season traffic. Stop and go, stop and go…. dimwits blocking intersections, and just general bumper to bumper gridlock. Over an hour from Granville Island to North Vancouver.

On the drive home I received a response from the breeder. She had looked us up, and Loki, and gave us his parents information, both parents had been tested and both were double negative for the PK deficiency gene. There was no way that Loki had the condition. She provided the certificates and asked for as much information as I could provide on Loki and his condition, she’s very dedicated to the health of her animals and their progeny. So one more thing in a shrinking list has been ruled out, and I’m glad that one is off the table, there is no cure for it.

I’m so glad today is over.

So is Loki.

He now has a full belly and is curled up by the fire, sleeping off the day’s stress.

That seems like a great idea…..