Sunday, September 16, 2012
Hakuna sports the Cone of Shame - a plastic Elizabethan collar that keeps her from chewing up her IV lines whilst lodging at the Veterinary Hotel. As you can see from her sour expression, she is not happy about it.
Hakuna, alas, is ailing.
She is an elderly kitty, to be sure, having turned seventeen in April - but until recently, she still managed to have her Sprightly Moments despite spending more and more time snoozing about the house. A few weeks ago at her last annual physical, though, there were some ominous portents.
Her weight and appearance were all normal, her only outward problem being a bad tooth that was going to have to be removed. But her bloodwork showed elevated BUN (blood urea nitrogen) and creatinine levels, the first signs that her kidneys were beginning to fail.
Heart of Lion, Legs of Poodle: Home from the vet, Hakuna strikes a familiar leonine pose, apparently unconcerned about her vaguely poodle-like appearance.
The dental work would have to wait until her kidney function improved: first things first. But she rebelled against the soft Good for Kitty Kidneys food the vet prescribed, showing her displeasure by barfing it up all over the house... and a recheck of her kidney functions showed an alarming decline just eleven days later.
A three-day stay in the Kitty Hospital followed, complete with intravenous fluids, a special low-protein diet that (happily) she tolerated well, and the dreaded Cone of Shame, by the end of which her numbers had improved somewhat... but not nearly enough to allow her to undergo sedation or anesthesia. Nevertheless, she could come home.
Life is different for her now. Once every day or two, we jab her with a hypodermic needle and jack her up with 200 cc’s of lactated Ringer’s solution. We’ve switched her to a low-protein, low-phosphorus diet that supposedly is easier on the kidneys. And we wait.
In the best of all possible worlds, Hakuna’s kidney function improves after having had some of the load taken off. She has her bad tooth extracted and goes on about her life.
We really don’t want to think about the alternative. The subcutaneous fluids are a pain in the ass for us and no fun for her, but she seems to put up with them, howbeit unwillingly. The true test will be whether she resumes her normal indolent activities, or whether she hides under Elder Daughter’s bed and generally makes herself scarce.
I’ll be happy if only she’ll play with the Elusive Red Laser-Dot.