I haven't felt well all week... in fact, I picked up some crud while I was in Philadelphia three weeks ago, and just haven't been able to kick it. This is mostly because my life has been non-stop stress ever since I got back, complete with unanticipated air travel and encounters with people with foreign (not Pennsylvania) germs. It's moved down into my chest, and I'm now constantly coughing and hacking all over the place. Not too much fun for me. Not too much fun for anyone who has to listen to me at night. Or deal with my irritability about the whole mess.
There were some other health issues this week as well, and sadly, this was all on the animals.
Sunday night, Mitchell started hopping into the box every ten minutes and stained to pee, but would usually jump out before he produced even a drop. This lasted most of the night, with us getting more and more worried about him. You don't have to tell us how dangerous it is to let a male cat have a urinary blockage, if that's what he has... and it certainly looked like that since there was no urine being produced. Finally, we couldn't take it anymore, and instead of waiting for the shelter and veterinary clinic to open on Monday, Jeff took him to the emergency animal hospital. I can deal with the consequences of taking a cat to the emergency vet when we should have waited; that's probably just a monetary hit, but I can NOT deal with the consequences of having waited when we should not have.
As it turns out, (hind sight being 20/20, etc) he was NOT blocked. But they gave him a shot of antibiotics and sent us home with a small bag of painkillers to give him every 8 or so hours to try to lessen the pain and make him more relaxed about peeing. It seems to have helped him... he is no longer obsessed about using the box, and when he does, it's productive. But this took a few days to resolve, and I was constantly worried about him. He never lost his good attitude though; he was always happy to see us, and talkative and playful. He never lost his appetite either, and would loudly demand gooshy food every night.
At the same time, Argos developed horrible diarrhea, to the point that he had a huge accident inside of his crate Sunday morning. This is NOT like him at all, and he was mortified about it, and very upset when we came home and found him. The diarrhea didn't clear up that day, either... we had to take him outside a few extra times. When Maera started having diarrhea the next morning, along with vomiting of bile, we decided that we needed to call the vet about the dogs. Sigh. But by then Argos was starting to show some teensy signs of improvement, so the vet asked that we just bring Maera in by herself, along with stool samples from each. (Add this to the list of unpleasant things that we're willing to do for our pets out of love.)
So, the dogs got a special prescription high-fiber food, along with some anti-diarrheal meds. The meds worked almost right away, and they seem to be in good health again. After a talk with a kind soul at Steel City Greyhounds, who perhaps sensed I was at my wits end, I felt a little better. She thought that the dogs had picked up on the stress in our household: in one month, we introduced a new dog, then I went away for several days, came home for one day, then both Jeff and I were gone for an extended weekend for a funeral and they had to go to a kennel. They finally get home to find that their mom is grieving and still sick, and it's ungodly hot, and... well, you can imagine. So, stress is the likely cause, combined with the heat. NOT that I'm a horrible dog owner and they somehow magically got into something bad for them despite nearly 24 hour supervision.
I thought that maybe we were starting to ease into a kinder, gentler phase for the latter half of the week when Charlotte started coughing last night. Coughing is a terrible thing in a cat that has congestive heart failure; it can very well be an indication that the medication is not working as efficiently and there is fluid getting into the lungs. She only had one bout of it, though. We kept her in the bedroom with us all night long so that we could hear her, because if she DID start to cough some more we would have take her into the emergency vet right away. Maybe it was a fluke? Because I was an extremely light sleeper last night and never heard her cough again. She was sleeping in the window right next to the bed, so I'm sure that I would have heard.
Since she seems to be in reasonable health and temper, with pink gums, no more coughing, and a healthy appetite, we're just observing her for now. But I did call the critical care specialists at the animal hospital to make an appointment for a check-up on Tuesday. They'll check her lungs to see if they are indeed still clear, check her blood to make sure that her kidney function is still working, etc. Basically do a work-up to see if the medication is working like it should. If not... then the meds may need to be adjusted (at least, I HOPE it would be a simple solution like that.) This happened once the first year that she was on the medication, and a simple dosage increase made everything better.
Anyway, keep fingers, paws, toeses crossed for us with Charlotte. We're going to pamper her as much as we can leading up until her vet appointment, and of course if she starts coughing for real or having difficulty breathing, we will take her in right away.