Aunt Kristin and Frankie
Frankie Close Up
I Own This Boppie
Angus thanks you for your kind wishes. He may not have been sweet to you all in the past, but he promises to turn over a new leaf once he gets better. Angus perked up for a while this weekend and seemed to be responding to treatment, but on Tuesday began to throw up all the food we gave him. Everywhere. We’ve never been happier that there isn’t an ounce of carpet in our entire house. Even though he clearly feels terrible, he is happy to be pet and loved. The vet has proposed trying something new since he’s not responding -- a little something called Reglan, which you may or not remember from a previous Breeders post about breastfeeding. Turns out Angus will be taking the same drug I took in August (to increase breast milk production!) to decrease any nausea he might be experiencing. Does mean Angus will be lactating? Frankie hopes so!
Frankie's Brothers and Sisters
Most of you know Angus. You may have been victim to a bite or a scratch or some other such mauling. Or he may have bestowed upon you hard won affection. Angus can be a bastard, it is true, but we love him despite this. Dave and I are the only ones who generally get to see the softer side of Angus. The side of him that loves to be pet and rubbed.
The vet thinks that he caught a bacterial or viral infection which caused him to stop eating. In turn, this caused liver problems – a condition called hepatic lipidosis. Hepatic lipidosis forces a cat to begin to metabolize its own body fat rather than energy from food. It is more common in larger cats like Angus because they metabolize fat more readily than thinner cats. Cats do not metabolize fat well in general, so it builds up in a "backlog" in the cells, eventually making it unable to perform its normal functions at all.
The vet inserted a tube the goes straight into his stomach. We will inject a high calorie food 4-5 times a day to try to get his weight back up and reintroduce an appetite. We also inject his three meds – antibiotics and something to try and make him hungry. The tube is actually the best possible way to do these things with Angus. Can you imagine us prying open his mouth? Surely, one of us would lose a hand.
He’s taken his meds and first two feedings today well, so we have a good feeling about this. Anyway, the point of all this is that whether or not Angus has harmed you, please say a little kitty kat prayer for him as he is sick. This post is not about Frankie, but I figured it was relevant since it’s about his brother.
Speaking of pet relatives, I am also sad to say that our dog Polly was put to sleep a couple weeks ago. She and Chloe were staying with Grandma and Grandpa Breshears. She had Cushings disease, which does not have many treatment options. Grandma and Grandpa took very good care of her in her final months and she went very peacefully. Chloe, howveer, is thriving and recently received a clean bill of health from the vet.
Frankie in Towel
That’s what we call the purple, bubbly growth that has taken over Frankie’s right shoulder. The technical term is hemangioma, “vascular malformations or localized collections of blood vessels that are abnormal in structure or number, lead to altered blood flow, and are not cancerous” (WebMD). From my limited research, it appears that Frankie has a “cavernous” hemangioma, a “malformation of dilated blood vessels characterized by multiple distended “caverns” of blood that flow very slowly. The blood filled vascular spaces are surrounded by blood vessel walls that do not have enough smooth muscle and stretchable material, so they are not strong and get distended” (WebMD). I also learned that low birthweight infants have a 26% chance of developing a hemangioma. Just another surprise for preemie parents out there!
It has been increasing in size since his birth and recently began to turn white – the process of “involution” -- which is generally a sign that it is healing. Then, it began to crack and peel and turn burgundy in small areas. If the hemangioma begins to bleed, Frankie will have to go to the Emergency Room. This change in its structure did not bode well. (I should note that it looks terrible and is potentially dangerous, but it doesn’t actually hurt Frankie.)
So, the poor kid has been to four doctors in two weeks – his pediatrician, his surgeon, a gastroenterologist and reconstructive surgery specialist. Three were related to the hemangioma and the gastroenterologist appointment we had scheduled a month ago. He had a steroid shot yesterday to begin to treat the hemangioma and will get a blast from a gigantic laser (visiting from Houston) at the end of the month. He is too young to have it surgically removed: because it takes up such a large space, there is not enough skin to cover it up. In addition too all of this, the gastroenterologist recommended changing his formula and medications.
It’s a lot for one little guy, right? But, amazingly enough, despite all of this pricking, prodding and unpleasantness, he’s thriving! He’s up to thirteen pounds and whatever digestive issues he’s having, it doesn’t seem to slow him down when it comes to chow. He’s proved his resilience and strength once again. When Grandma Joann was in town a couple weeks back, we were in the check out line at a bead store and the woman behind us said that Frankie clearly had a “strong constitution.” She said that she could tell from the way that his earlobes were detached from his head. It sounded silly, but we had to agree with her.