I reluctantly filled out the “appointment request” form on ACC’s website very late last night/this morning for Azrael to meet the surgeon, which says they’ll call me sometime today (within 1 business day) to confirm it. While prowling their now very-generic-looking site, I ran across this image from their supposed garden, which I’ve heard of before but never seen.
Now, consider that this is supposed to be a soothing, peaceful kind of garden where you go meditate or quite possibly say goodbye to your pet for the last time. Do you really expect, in this tranquil place, to see a sculpture of twigs that looks — in my opinion — like an animal arching its back in sudden horrible pain? What makes it even weirder is that it’s the only image of the entire garden or premises now; they used to have much more thorough visual walkthroughs, now the website looks generic to the point of giving off a “don’t bother with us, we’re like those cheapo places in the mall” vibe.
Anyway, in between hunting websites for veterinary stuff, I was alarmed to see handsome white-and-gray-tabby Houdini rather abruptly looked pregnant at around 5 this morning. My immediate thought was his belly’s so big and round, it feels like he’s full of fluid….no, that can’t be right. I told myself it was likely constipation or empaction, gave him a full dose of slippery elm, made a ‘nest’ out of my sweatshirt for him to cuddle up in and crashed into bed for a couple of hours. Woke up around 8am when 16-year-old Fuzzy (Little Black) started ‘calling’ for me, checked Houdini and thought, you know, just in case that’s not constipation, I’d better get him seen by a vet before they all close for the 24th/25th. The vet hospital squeezed him in at noon, so I dozed at my computer, showered, and took him up.
My original guess was right: he has ascites (thick fluid accumulation in the abdomen), which are never, ever a good sign, and an ultrasound showed multiple large masses, almost certainly malignant. Dr. S said that what happened is likely that he’s been ‘incubating’ tumors for a long time, but it wasn’t until now that they hit a point where something caused them (or his liver, which is their likely origin) to start producing fluid. I suggested ‘tapping’ some of the fluid out (which vets have done for past cats I had in similar situations) and giving him fluids since he’s dehydrated, but nope. So we’re at home with prednisolone to hopefully treat symptoms (like ascites) for an unknown length of time, and painkiller buprenorphine.
I’ve emailed another vet to see if they would follow the same protocol, since cursory research suggests that there should be better palliative options. Otherwise, for the second Christmas in a decade, I’ve got one cat that’s definitely terminal, another cat that will be terminal unless we pull off a ‘Hail Mary’ pass. Maybe thing will look less mind-numbingly dire after I’ve gotten a half-decent night of sleep…