Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Our six Maine Coons: Part Three (Finishing Treatment)

We've been so thankful for all the financial support we've received to help us pay for these kitties as they recover from their myriad of diseases. Thanks to individual donors (one anonymous donor gave $300) and our successful happy hour at TABU, a Philadelphia bar (where we raised over $200), we have only had to dip into rescue funds a little bit. If you attended our happy hour or made a donation, of of these kitties thank you very much!

In the past two weeks, we've been focusing on medicating them for Tritrichomonas foetus, the protozoan parasite causing their diarrhea. Although some of the cats came to us without diarrhea, we decided to treat them all at the same time in order to decrease the chances of reinfection.

Trichomonas is a really tough organism to kill. It's found in a lot of catteries around the world, and generally causes severe diarrhea that is often self-limiting (it lasts from a few months to a few years, then clears up). However, these infected cats still are infected and can pass the organism on to the other animals through their feces. These cats also can have bouts of diarrhea throughout the rest of their lives, especially if stressed. Until recently, there was no known drug that reliably killed this parasite. Luckily, a few years ago, ronidazole was found to work! It has been shown that a two week course of ronidazole kills these parasites. Unfortunately, a very small percentage of cats don't respond to the treatment, for whatever reason, and continue to have problems. This drug can also be pretty nasty to the cats and can cause neurologic effects that luckily go away once you remove the drug.

Because of all of this, all of our cats were treated with ronidazole at the same time (Guava started a few days later than the rest since she was so sick with her cold), and they finished their two week treatment this weekend! Because the ronidazole seemed to actually cause the cats to have more diarrhea, now that they are finished with treatment, we're giving them a few days to get back to normal.

For kitties like Kiwi, the 7 month old male kitten, that should be it! Kiwi came to us without ringworm lesions, an upper respiratory infection that has since cleared, and other than that was perfectly healthy. Assuming his diarrhea clears as expected, he'll be ready to go to home in the next week or two! We are still looking for a home for him, so please let us know if you're interested!

The next two ladies up will be Persimmon and Coconuts. Both of these ladies have nasty ear infections that just aren't clearing up on their own, so now that we aren't stuffing pills down their throats every day, we're dumping ear meds into their ears... These ladies are not happy about it! But it's (in a way) rewarding to see how much more difficult it is to medicate them than it was when they first came to us too weak to fight! These ladies should be up for adoption pretty soon, as we don't expect them to take to long on the ear meds!

Poor Guava and Fig are the slowest in the bunch, so will take a little more time. Guava still has a raging upper respiratory infection, so she isn't going anywhere until she feels better. And since she started her ronidazole a few days late, she still has some treatment time to go there as well.

Fig, on the other hand, is probably feeling better than he has in a long time, but that's only because he looked so bad when we got him! He has come such a long way and has developed quite the personality, but he still isn't quite right. Although he's put on a lot of weight, we'd still like to see him put on some muscle mass and look a little less unkept. For now, we'll just give him some more time to recover and see where that gets us. If he's still looking shabby in a few weeks, it will be time to run a few more tests to see if there is anything going on that we might have missed.

And finally, Miss Papaya... Papaya thankfully has completed her course of antibiotics in her crate (by eating them in pill pockets). She's looking and feeling much better, but still showing all signs of just being a feral cat that has no interest in people whatsoever. We're going to give her a little more time to see if she comes around, and if not, we're hopefully going to put her in an indoor feral cat colony so she can live out the rest of her life healthy and happy...

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Our six Maine Coons: Part Two (Treatment)

We've now had these special kitties in our care for 6 days, and it's amazing how much they have improved since getting them in! They still look pretty ratty, but all six of them have such distinct and amazing personalities!

Daily, these kitties require a lot of work, and we thought we'd share some of that with you :)

When these kitties came to us some of them were dirtier than others. Most of them spent the seven hour car ride grooming themselves, so pleased to finally be somewhere clean! Poor Fig, however, was filthy. Fig has the worst diarrhea of the bunch, so he was caked with feces and too sick to clean himself. First up for him was a bath!

Unlike just about every other cat we've ever had the joy to bathe, Fig just sat and purred while we cleaned him. He also was perfectly happy to snuggle with us post-bath!

Since all of these kitties came to us with raging upper respiratory infections, we put them on antibiotics. They are getting oral liquid medication twice a day; their responses range from dislike to hate!

The medication for the Ronidazole, the drug used to kill the Tritrichomonas foetus (which is causing them to have diarrhea), had to be special ordered in capsules. We just got it in yesterday, and have added these pill to the mix... One more challenge to overcome.

Because we were hitting them so hard with oral meds, we decided to treat their ringworm with a dip instead of another daily medication. Lime sulfer dip smells like rotten eggs, stains jewelry and some clothing, and turns white cats yellow. It's nasty stuff, but it works to kill the fungus and stop the spread of the disease AND only needs to be done 1-2 times per week. We were lucky enough to dip the girls while they were sedated (before their spay) but now get to try it on awake cats! Again, Fig is the model citizen... The rest are not so well behaved!

The rest of the care for these kitties comes down to lots of feeding, watering, and cleaning. Because they all have diarrhea, it gets pretty smelly and messy pretty quickly!

Persimmon's biopsy came back last night, and lucky for her the mass on her ovary was NOT cancer! We all did a celebratory dance knowing that she's been cleared medically and gets to recover and then go to a home like she deserves!

Our biggest challenge is Papaya. She's still petrified of us and has gotten so scared that we now can't handle her at all. Stopping the antibiotics was a necessary decision, but in order for her to ever be able to be moved, we needed to find a way to get the trichomonas medication. We've moved her into a crate where she can be monitored more closely, and put the medication in a Pill Pocket (treats made to hide pills in) and sure enough, she ate it! Now at least she can be medicated without being handled, and then hopefully moved once she is healthy to someone that can do the work to help her trust people again.

Everyone else is doing great; Kiwi is discovering the kittenhood he never got to have and spends his day playing up a storm. Guava still hates being medicated, but forgives us more quickly now, as long as we spend plenty of time with her during the day NOT trying to force things down her throat!

Again, please try to join us for our fundraising happy hour for these amazing kitties at Tabu in Center City from 6-8 next Thursday, May 12th. We hope to see you there!