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Old 09-11-2008, 12:05 AM
ashleywong ashleywong is offline
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Default Mites Infection is not just mere annoyance - it is life-threatening potential

Hi all

just wish to share here on mites infection and why it is potentially lethal to your cat.

at one point in time, our cats will get mite infection which may clear up on its own or with medication intervention. it may be a short battle or protracted battled with unsightly loss of hair and itchy skin but will eventually clear up.

or does it?

my nicky recently came down with a "mysterious" illness. he started off with small symptoms that i didn't catch as i ascribed it to stress-related due to the presence of two new cats in my house which i had rescued. he turned quiet, less interactive, not that interested in his food, prone to "sulk" more in a corner, became withrawn and inactive finally came down with a roaring fever and lost of weight. i didn't really take note of this even though i noticed it as my mind was on the rescued cats and their future.

prior to this i also tried some raw meat diet on him which was touted as good. he came down with mild fever and diarrhea which may or may not because by this change in diet or maybe due to my improper handling of the raw meat caused him to have mild food poisoning. in any case the mild fever cleared up only to return and turned into a major illness accompanied by mysterious symptoms. he had recurring high fever, lost his appetite and lost his weight rapidly (which is serious), became weak and even had diarrhea. he was hospitalised and put on general antibiotics as the vet couldn't find out what was wrong with him and his symptoms was too general and broad to pinpoint any possible diagnosis. he recovered a bit to become worse. he was hospitalised for another more week and was put on drip to help control his fever and feed him his food via glucose drip, his hand was shaved so they can insert the iv drip into his vein and it hurt him. he mewed pitifully and fought while they fed the needle into his vein. they needed to take blood sample from his throat as by then his lymph nodes had swelled tremendously and as hard as they tried, no blood came out. he was in great pain and wasting away. for more than a week, the good vets tried different type of medication on him based on their observation, his reaction to the medicine, blood tests, and their diagnosis of this all.

the final verdict came in - they can't find out what is wrong with him other than he won't respond to the antibiotics they put him on, he didn't suffer from what they suspected him to suffer, although he was loud in his protest and seemed to prefer wet food to dry food, he was weakening but the IV drip helped to "prop" him up and they fear that it might be an infection somewhere in his body that the usual blood test didn't turn out. luckily a full blood test showed normal organs functions except for low platelets and increased white blood cell. blood test was taken every 3 days. they finally said i might have to sign approval for a minor surgery for them to take a biopsy of the lymph nodes tissues and send them to singapore for analysis - they fear it's either a major infection brewing somewhere and undetected or worse, cancer. the cost would run up to RM700++ just for the biopsy surgery and blood tests alone. i visited nicky every day and he begged me loudly to take him home. he made known his dislike of the vet clinic and of the horrible sounds and weird smells of the animals around him. the moment he heard my voice at the reception counter, he mewed his objections loudly that it can be heard all the way throughout the clinic. he can be loud if he wanted. he was tired of being imprisoned in the tiny cage. he never had to suffer any caging at all. the vets were good enough to place him in the consultation room so at any one point they can keep an eye on him and his behavioural reaction to stimuli as part of their observation and diagnosis. they didn't tell me this but i found out later.

as the day approached for me to give my approval for the surgery, my heart grew heavy as i fear to hear bad news. i didn't want to sign the approval form yet i know i had to do it for nicky's sake. but the vet never called me. i went there after work with a heavy heart. no mention of surgery. the receptionist smiled when i entered. i grew slightly hopeful. then the vet told me they have cautious good news. nicky responded to the new antibiotics they put him on and he may not need the biopsy surgery after all. i was non-plussed - something new has happened and yet the doctor wasn't that enthusiastic.

they told me they found out from another blood test done in-situ (on the site and directly taken from the lymph nodes) good news was there was no pus therefore no infection in the lymph nodes. bad news was nicky was suffering from a bacterial infection of the blood system. since his lymph nodes has the bacterial, it was a safe assumptions that the bacterial infection is throughout his whole bloodstream. it is serious enough to warrant immediate attention but at least they know what they're fighting against. i was non-plussed. nicky has been an indoor cat fore more than half a year already. he didn't get into any scrapes. the rescued cats were tested healthy blood tests and all. how did he get the bacterial infection into his bloodstream. was it airborne? did i unknowingly pass it to him

the vet assured me it wasn't what i passed to him. they said from the look of his red blood cells, the bacterial came from mite infection. his red blood cells were covered with tiny "dots" - bacteria that infect the blood and were passed on by mite bites.

i was again non-plussed - mites? nicky has his monthly treatment for mite/tick/fleas ever since he was old enough to have one and he's been indoor and samantha and gabriel and chloe (the rescued cats) were certified tick/mite/flea free. they were even FeIV and FeLV negative.

doc explained that it could have been contracted at any point of his life, and he has managed to control it. the infection died out but he carried the bacterial in his body where it is latent and controlled by his immune system. however under stressed condition or when his immune system is down, the bacterial gained the upper hand and turn into a full-fledged infection.

i don't mind telling you i was so scared for nicky during those trying two weeks - i was prepared to pay for any treatment and any tests but i was afraid he might not be strong enough to survive the anaesthesia much less the biopsy surgery - he was that weakened. i was very very much relieved that the good vets has managed to find a way to diagnose his illness and they tried all they can - the whole staff force was concerned about nicky and i could see it from the way they talk about him the way they looked at him and they way they let soothe him and cajoled him by letting him out for little walk around the consultation room after they closed down for the night.

nicky was discharged soon after that when his swollen lymph nodes returned to normal and his blood test turned normal. he was to be put on 1 week's medication and at the end of that time, returned for his blood test. for that 1 week, he was qurantined from the rest of his siblings to reduce possible stress. he was holed up in our room with his litter tray and food bowl and water bowl for company. he constantly had diarrhea daily for that 1 week, he only passed motion only once a day, he ate little and only wet food- we can't tell whether diarrhea was caused by the canned food or by his medication as he refused to take kibbles. he was restless every night and he didn't get much rest either at night or daytime. he chaffed at the imprisonment and he didn't seem any better. my sis and i took turn to sit with him through the night and we spend the night in his room. not much sleep for him or either of us. we were constantly on the phone with the vet on his symptoms. at the end of the week, we took him back to the vet under protest and waited to hear the worst. his temperature was normal, he his blood test showed good positive readings and no more swelling at the lymph nodes. he was more perky and attentive and he was also well behaved with the vet.

the vet said he can be "treated" at home but maybe for a prolonged period of time, maybe months. he is now on medication for another 21 days and he's recovering his strength, his appetite and his usual joie de vivr. he seems to be on the mend but i'm keeping a close eye on him as he has yet to regain his proper weight. this is the 2nd week of his medication, we had another closed call two days ago as for 2 days in a row, he vomited out his medicine and grew quieter and he ate slightly less. in another week or more, he'd get another blood test and we'll know for sure whether he has to continue the medication because the bacterial infection is under control but not totally wiped out or he has fully recovered.

it's a long story here but the point is - it is important to ensure that your cat gets regular and consistent treatment against tick/flea/mite infection - for it is more than a mere itching inconvenience - it may mean deadly blood infection...unseen and dormant but lethal time bomb waiting to go off.

do give your furkids the requisite flea/tick/mite treatment BUT DO seek your vet's advice and instruction - don't simply get over the counter medication and solutions - we're dealing with poison after all and the wrong solution or wrong application may be lethal to your beloved furkid. never scrimp and skimp on consultation - it is not expensive. get proper medical advice and suggestions on which medication to use and how to use - then you decide whether to get the recommended medication directly from your vet or buy the same from pet supply store. but it is always advisable to get it from your vet.

i know this is a longwinded piece but i hope to share information here for your knowledge - you'd never know when it will become handy.

here, i must really record my heartfelt gratitude to the staff of the brickfields veterinary hospital for exemplifying "service before self" and doing their heartfelt best to help each animal and human that passed through their clinics. besides providing counselling and advice for your furkids, they also indirectly provide counselling and advice to the fur-parents. they;re trully a dedicated bunch right down to their admin and ops staff who take care of the animals and kennels at night. i really salute them.

Last edited by ashleywong; 09-11-2008 at 12:18 AM.
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