To all the peeps wondering how the Miaos are doing, everyone is okay and Sprocket is doing great, though not 100% better and we don’t really have any more answers than we did before. It has been a rough couple months all around and I have really missed posting. Sorry for the brief update, but without further ado, here is a photo fresh from this afternoon.
Big purrs from Sprocket!
so now I have to pay $35 to talk to the vet for 30 minutes to answer questions they should have answered after Sprocket’s office visit on 15 Nov? wtf?
Sprocket was *much* better last week but this week has gradually gotten worse until last night and this morning he had major recurrences again. the worsening symptoms have coincided with the tapering of his medication to half a tablet (corticosteroids) every other day. the major improvement in his symptoms coincided with eliminating Indigo Moon (grain-free) crunchies form his diet and giving him only canned (grain-free) food. The major triggers for his episodes are still excitement, especially over food but also playtime.
This has been a really bad month for so many reasons I don’t even know where to start, but at least Sprocket was improving. And now he’s not.
I should have been more persistent with the vet at the beginning, but I wasn’t. I haven’t contacted them since before my last post where peeps encouraged me to ask to speak to the vet. I was overly optimistic. And now I regret not being more persistent. Also, I don’t charge patients money to talk on the phone with me to resolve issues that arose because I didn’t take the time to help them when they needed it. So now I have to pay them in order to avoid having my routine questions (like, what is the rationale behind this course of treatment?) lost in the shuffle between different assistants.
I asked Papa Miao to talk to the vet because I am just too frustrated, with myself and the clinic in equal measure. I realize that I am partially taking my frustration out on the vet because they are obviously an easy target, but they wouldn’t be such an easy target if they had answered my basic questions at the beginning and demonstrated rudimentary concern over the situation and a desire to get to the bottom of it. I don’t expect them to work miracles (though they have in the past), but I do expect them to be thorough. /rant
Sprocket’s improvement has held up overall over the weekend. He isn’t symptom-free but he is doing so much better. He is enjoying his days rather than acting reclusive and depressed and afraid to run around.
Sprocket in his fleecie bed
Sometime this past week before he started improving more consistently, I stopped giving him the grain-free Indigo Moon crunchies because it seemed like giving him the crunchies would often trigger an episode. It may not be anything in the food because sometimes an episode would start before the crunchies were even served. Perhaps the excitement of anticipating the crunchies that he loves was the trigger. It is also possible that the correlations were nothing more than coincidental. Other episodes seem to be triggered by increased activity – one happened when he was feeling better and chasing Lotus, another happened after I played feathers with him. For the time being, at least, I am eliminating the crunchies from his diet.
Today, the 7th of December, is Ping’s 20th birthday!
Ping on his 20th birthday
Sprocket has been doing better again, since around midnight. Ping’s birthday has brought us good luck! Ping himself has been enjoying his day with naps and good food and even some playtime with the turbo toy with the ball.
Sprocket had a much better day today, not totally symptom-free but so much better than the last day and a half. Thank you for all your good thoughts. I really appreciate the suggestions. Right now, I am keeping a journal with Papa Miao’s help so we can track patterns for his episodes. I actually started doing that pretty much at the beginning. If there are patterns, we will find them.
I haven’t contacted the vet again because he is doing so much better today. We have had so many ups and downs that it is hard to remain optimistic, but still, any improvement is a good thing. I would say that he is doing as well today as he was Saturday or Sunday, only he has been on 1/2 dose of the corticosteroids instead of a full dose. I’m still not convinced to what degree the medication has been helping him. I also still feel unsettled about the vet’s approach and the communication issues that I perceive. One of the ways to avoid this problem is by being firmer with them. I shouldn’t accept answers that I feel are cursory and that leave me with the same questions I started with. I could, for starters, insist on speaking to the vet. If they refuse, that would tell me something. I feel like they should be making the effort to figure this out, but we’ve had to poke and prod them the whole way. I don’t even know if they would have followed up on their own and told us to start tapering his meds if we had not called them first. Of course I don’t want to take my anxiety and frustration out on them, but it would only have required a teensy bit of extra effort on their part to make me feel like they were in this together with me.
Okay. I’m done complaining. I’m just glad that Sprocket is doing better.
- He started Triamcinoline (corticosteroid) again Weds. night. Things improved immediately, though gradually, over the next two days.
- Saturday and Sunday and most of Monday were *very* good, with only short mini-episodes of twitchiness and overall his activities were getting back to normal
- Monday night – Tuesday: Episodes of twitchiness started to occur more frequently and last longer, but overall we were still encouraged by his overall progress
- Wednesday – morning: A period of more normal activity, but mid-morning twitchy episode started and he has confined himself to my bed. He runs back to my bed as soon as he is placed on the floor, back twitching, licking his tail agitatedly. This evening, he did not come to his meal for the first time since Saturday morning.
I am very discouraged and confused. We go to the best vet in town and they have really helped us through a lot. I am very frustrated, though, for many reasons that I will not enumerate here but some of which are obvious. It is too discouraging to keep rehashing everything.
The most heartbreaking thing is seeing Sprocket run to the edge of my bed excitedly because he sees crunchies in the hallway, but then not jump off my bed, I think because somehow movement exacerbates his discomfort, the hyperesthesia, allergic reaction, or pain related to his amputation or whatever.
I am so lost. Sprocket needs our help but at this point we don’t know what to do.
Sprocket was getting better gradually and had a couple days where he was mostly better, but then this evening he has had a bad episode where he is super twitchy and agitated and alarmed and won’t eat. I’m worried! His course of antihistamine/steroids stopped on Saturday night. He has not gone for a full 24 hrs without at least one episode. His behavior has been mostly normal but he hasn’t been sprocketting anyone or running around much. Friday night he had a minor bout of twitchiness/agitation/alarm that didn’t last too long, Saturday night he had one that lasted a little longer, Sunday morning he had a short episode, and he was fine until around suppertime today, but this evening’s episode is the worst since he started the medication.
The episodes usually involve agitated and frenetic bathing. It’s very easy to tell them apart when you watch, but hard for me to describe in words. He has taken long naps the last two days but it is difficult to say if that is normal or not. Sprocket takes long naps but he also expends a lot of energy sprocketting, but he hasn’t been sprocketting around much at all.
I’m not quite sure what to do. I just want to know that he’ll get better soon! I’m not sure how much more of this my nerves can handle before I become a twitchy mess too. Poor Sprocket. He’s such a good little kitty and it’s hard to see him too spooked or agitated to do his normal sprocketty things.