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Our boy pulls through! Eli on the mend

June 19, 2008 - Amy Jo Hanna-Eckenrode
(Recuperation is tiring says Eli)

Update from the big vet appointment:  On Monday I took Mazey and Eli to my regular vet, Dr. Griffiths at Metzger Animal Hospital, in State College. My mom insisted on going with me to “help” with the cat. (She just loves Eli and wanted to hold him on the way over… shhh). It also gave her ample time to admonish me for needlessly driving so far to a vet with the price of gas so high, and the wear and tear on my car, blah blah blah…

The ride over was amusing though because Eli insisted on sitting in the back with Mazey – snuggled up right beside her or under her front legs. Mazey did not know what to do and just started her old woman wheezing trying to wish the new addition to disappear. It was cute.

Mazey came through okay. Her procedure only took a couple of hours. She was sedated and her nails trimmed waaaaay back, including the quicks. I know the poor girl had major discomfort the first night because she had me up all night. ALL night. I was glad to see her finally wag her tail again on Wednesday. It had to hurt but it had to be done. I urge every pet owner to keep up with trimming pet nails. Mazey was a rescue and her nails were ignored for a long time. By the time I got her, the quicks had grown too close to the nail tip. She has to feel better and more confident when walking.

Now the update on our lil’ Eli. The exam alone was heart-wrenching and stressful. Dr. Griffiths drew blood so we could double-check for the feline viruses. Unfortunately it again came back positive for both FELV and FIV as did the first. Dr. G was amazed to see such a strong presence of both viruses in one animal. The leukemia was not as dominate as the FIV so he feels Eli is more of a carrier which means he could be around for quite a while! YAY! (I think...)

While waiting for the test results, Dr. Griffiths cut Eli’s nails. GOD BLESS NAIL TRIMMERS! What a difference! Eli can scratch away now and do no damage to me or the carpet... or me... I whole-heartedly endorse the trimming of cat nails (vs declawing).

The doctor then took one look at Eli’s teeth and made the most awful face. Almost every tooth in Eli’s mouth was rotten. If it wasn’t for the severe periodontal disease he thinks Eli might be much closer to 1-2 years old (which better explains his thin, lanky structure and non-stop desire to play). He felt the FIV could be the cause and Eli’s little body just started rejecting his teeth.

Dr. Griffiths was adamant that the teeth had to come out ASAP and he strongly suggested an immediate neuter before Eli started to initiate my house. They made room for him in the schedule so Eli had to stay over night and have a few emergency procedures the next day. It would have been easier to leave my mom there overnight.

By 2pm on Tuesday I had not heard from the hospital so I called. A tech explained in what seemed to be a hesitant voice that they were still working on Eli and “cleaning him out” (which I never did ask for anyone to explain because the thought alone makes me nauseous.) She wasn’t so sure I would be able to go over and get him that evening. (Again, it would have been easier to leave my mom there for two days…)

I finally got the call a few hours later. Little 4 lb. Eli was now 7.2 lbs. thanks to my ability to fatten up anything in my path and he pulled through all of the procedures just fine. I was seriously floored. I could not imagine how his little system was going to handle all that was being done to him but I know Dr. Griffiths would have been the first to nix any procedure if he felt uncomfortable. Plus, his Celtics were sure to beat the Lakers that night so karma was all around…

Eli was neutered (imperative for all pets), he was de-wormed (that’s another blog) and the poor lil’ guy had 23 teeth pulled. He is now left with his 4 fangs and 3 teeth on the lower left. The vet said that unlike canine teeth, feline teeth are extremely difficult to extract. He has often spent 15 min. on one tooth. However in Eli’s case, his teeth were so bad that all the vet had to do is wiggle them and they came out. “Imagine the pain he had every time he ate,” Dr. Griffiths explained. But, as painful as it must be now while his gums heal we both deducted that Eli actually feels better now that the teeth are out. Sad. He’ll just be on soft food for the rest of his life.

They told me to try to confine Eli that the night since he would appear to be more alert than he actually was due to the anesthesia.

So… we arrive home. Uneventful. I carry him into the house wrapped in a soft towel. He immediately jumps from my arms. (I slightly freak for fear of the vet police having hidden observation cameras on Eli).  I proceed down to the cellar to check the litter situation. Eli immediately takes his seat on the step below the landing to observe my every move. Just as I look over to check on him, he swats at something and falls (8 steps) to the cement floor below, landing on his feet. I let out an Academy-worthy scream, he screeches and flies up the steps. So much for “keeping him quiet”.

He was a wild man. I wasn't to give him food and water until 9p-10p but he wouldn’t shut up. It was only 8p but I gave him a bit of food which he gulped down. Twenty minutes later I was allowed to give him more if he held it down. Within an hour he had consumed a normal feeding. Then the crazy beast came alive. He didn’t know what to play with or kill first. He was practically bouncing (literally) off the walls. I swear as bad as he was feeling, he actually felt better than he did before the procedures. He played non-stop the rest of the evening until I had to turn in and entrust him not to destroy the downstairs. 

Thanks to everyone’s kitty prayers, kind thoughts and well-wishes I believe we might just have this little mountain lion with us for a while.  … I’m exhausted.

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