This morning Aaron and I took Garrus to the vet’s office for his annual wellness exam and vaccines. We also wanted to get his nails trimmed (we have not had success yet doing that at home), check his weight, and investigate why he (1) abruptly switched himself from kitten kibbles to wet cat food and (2) lately he has become unusually finicky, seemingly nervous, and occasionally won’t eat the wet food we offer him. We suspected that he had lost weight and that his teeth were behind the recent behavioral and dietary changes, as he had dental issues before.
Getting him into the carrier was the first obstacle. He immediately suspected something was up so he hid behind furniture. Eventually we were able to coax him out and I picked him up, but he soon panicked and became a swirling mass of claws. He raked my shirt, tearing several holes in it, and scratched my chest, arm, and hand. Okay, my mistake, I should have grabbed and secured his front and hind legs so he would feel safer and couldn’t scratch. We ultimately used the towel burrito method, upon which he gave up and let us put him in the carrier. (He protested with one mournful cry-meow and a few sad squeaky chimpanzee meows after that.)
At the vet’s office, Garrus behaved quite well. Dr R and a tech put a towel over his head and placed him on his side in order to trim his nails. (Both remarked that his fur was “bunny soft”.) He didn’t protest or wiggle when his vaccines were administered or Dr. R examined him. He had indeed lost half a pound of weight since he had last been seen. She quickly determined the issue underlying his recent eating behavior: his gums and teeth were severely inflamed due to stomatitis. We first learned that he had this issue soon after we began fostering him in August 2017, and his dental pain then necessitated emergency dental surgery with five teeth resected. Dr R recommended resecting the rest of his teeth, with the exception of his canines. She also noted that his heart murmur may indicate heart disease, which would complicate anesthesia. We needed to determine with an echocardiogram if he had heart disease before we could do anything with his mouth.
Rather than bringing him back tomorrow for the ultrasound and again on Tuesday for surgery (Tuesday is set aside for surgeries), we opted to do it all in one shot. We scheduled an appointment for next Tuesday for an echocardiogram to check out what’s going on with his heart followed by dental surgery.
Dr R also explained the possible treatment plans for Garrus if he does indeed have heart disease. The usual treatment for stomatitis involves steroid therapy and antibiotics, but steroids could push his heart. None of us want Garrus to go into congestive heart failure or suffer complications because of heart disease or dental surgery. I am naturally worried about my Gentleman Cat but am hopeful that we can find successful methods of improving his quality of life and health.
After we brought him home from the vet’s office, Garrus settled down to a well-deserved nap.