Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The Cat Neurologist

Cat resting on adult diaper

In brief, he thinks it's progressive nerve damage caused by deterioration of the spine, which would be consistent with Oliver's back and hip problems over the years, each episode a little more severe and the frequency between episodes always shortening. Loss of bladder control is no surprise in a 16-year-old cat with such a history.

There is a less than 50 percent chance that surgery would help, and surgery would be expensive *starting* with a $2,000 MRI. The cat neurologist said cat chiropractic would not help. He said the passage of time would be extremely unlikely to bring improvement. I had to bring up that idea. He didn't suggest it.

The only "hope" he gave was that if Oliver had not had the history of spine trouble, he would have thought the cat had lymphoma, which was still possible. He thus suggested one chemotherapy session from our regular vet. If the problem is lymphoma, that session will produce immediate improvement. If there is no improvement, Oliver has nerve damage and will continue to constantly dribble urine, though that habit can be somewhat ameliorated if we learn how to squeeze the urine out of the cat's bladder several times a day.

I tried under the vet's supervision, but it's a hard trick to master. So this is where we are right now. We will try the chemo, but what we are probably faced with is an incontinent indoor cat with high blood pressure, a heart murmur and feline HIV. We'll probably give the kitty two or three weeks to see if there's any regeneration of function. The first harbinger of this recent episode was his spraining his tail so that it hung down like a plumb bob, and his tail is getting a little better.

If the improvement of the tail is not at some point accompanied by his regaining control over his bladder, we will euthanize him.

This will be difficult. He's only a cat, but he's everything a cat should be.


Anonymous said...

Have you considered his quality of life?

....J.Michael Robertson said...

Well, that's the question. Stick him outside and let him in in the evenings for a little while?? What are the nuances of cat contentment?

Anonymous said...

Try handicappedpets.com support boards. Many incontenent cats lead very happy and full lifes!!