March 3rd, 2009


(no subject)

Well, Ben's off to the vet for his tooth extractions.

I'm fretting much more than I should. It's not so much the teeth--he'll be fine, he's a tough cat, he'll gum those pesky ninjas to death if he has to!--it's just vague neurotic worries that he'll be the approximately one in a thousand that dies on the table.

Probably I'm just gloomy from an unexpectedly rough morning--car doors were frozen, and I had to scrape ice for the first time since leaving Minnesota. The chief annoyance wasn't the scraping--I've done so much of that in my life that it no longer even registers!--it was that I hadn't seen it coming, even though I knew we had ice everywhere, and after ten years in the Great White North I really shoulda known better.

On the bright side, there's a really spectacular purple finch on the feeder--the first purple finch I think I've ever had at a feeder, generally it's all house finches, and you squint at the pictures in the bird book and sort of wonder if they're house or purple. Then you see one of the purple ones and there's no question. He looks like his feathers got washed in the same load as a red sweater.

There was also something that looked a great deal like a pine warbler earlier, but I'd like a better look at him.

At 3pm I can call the vet and check up on Ben's status. Think good thoughts!

(no subject)

Ben was just starting to wake up when I called, so I get to go get him in an hour. Yay!

I'll talk with the vet then and get marching orders.

I am somewhat relieved. I'll be more relieved when I'm sure this has helped!

Just spotted a male goldfish who's obviously starting to molt for mating season--most of him is still olive drab, but he's got a little bib of bright gold feathers. Lot of hardship visitors on the feeder today mostly the mixed sparrows, who only seem to come to the feeder when it's cold or wet out. I'm sure if I had a heated birdbath, I'd get a lot more, but I haven't quite gotten to that stage yet, and since Ben's mouth is costing me $600, they may have to wait a little longer...

ETA: Goldfinch! FINCH! Not fish. Blargh...

(no subject)

I have possibly the most tragic Ben ever.

He's still waking up from the anaesthetic, a process slowed by being heavily drugged with some narcotic painkiller or other. He can barely walk--his back end doesn't work terribly well at the moment--his pupils are huge, and there's blood on his chin. His face looks narrower somehow--I don't know if that's temporary, or if the loss of the cheek teeth change the way his face is structured. One of his legs is taped up where the IV went in, and every now and again he coughs from swallowing blood. I've got him in the studio where he can recuperate for a few hours without being bullied by other cats.

But as they say, you shoulda seen the other guy.

The vet came in, looked at me, and said "Lori owes me BIG TIME." (Lori is the referring vet who sent me to this guy, Dr. Muntz--he's awesome, works with the rescue group Kevin's part of, and is very highly recommended.)

"Oh no!" I said. "Was it bad?"

"This was the worse extraction I've ever done. His teeth...the roots were deeper than I've ever seen...they just kept going..."

"Oh lord..."

Typical. Entirely typical. However, the vet was great--he answered at long last the question of why tooth extraction was going to fix herpes.

Answer: It doesn't, because Ben almost certainly doesn't have herpes. What he's got is stomatitis, which presents very similiar to herpes. But true herpes usually hits the eyes too, and they frequently have nose issues (rhino something or other.) and lysine helps a lot, whereas Ben's eyes are fine, his breathing's fine, and lysine never did jack.

That cat has had more diagnoses than a patient on a very special episode of House,* but since both Lori and Dr. Muntz concur on this one, here's hoping!

What causes stomatitis in cats is apparently not entirely clear, but--for whatever reason--you pull out all their teeth and you get a 90%+ cure rate. (Dr. Muntz said that he hasn't seen it fail yet.) 

He's going to be miserable for a few days, but I'm armed with some fairly heavy duty painkillers for the big guy, and hopefully his life will be far better as a result.

*Two part with cliffhanger, during which House develops a severe methadone addiction, sells his best friend into slavery for a fix, and learns the true meaning of Christmas. Brief cameo appearances by Gore Vidal and Axl Rose.