Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Time Warp

I saw a geriatric cat for ADR - that's "ain't doin' right."  Nonspecific decline.  On physical exam, I found she had a heart murmur, advanced periodontal disease with multiple abcessed teeth, weight loss with muscle atrophy, and poor coat quality.  She was weak and circling to the right.  I recommended a full work-up, but the owner declined due to financial limitations.  The owner decided to take her home without any treatment and just monitor.  I figured she would continue to decline, from heart disease, dental disease, and probable kidney disease and/or hyperthyroidism and/or cancer, too.

On Saturday I euthanized her.  She'd lost more weight and stopped eating.  She was covered in mats and was disoriented.  I totally agreed with the decision, but I was surprised.  It was five years since I had previously examined her, and she was now 20.

Five years ago, I would have bet large sums of money that she wouldn't have lasted another year.  I really thought she'd be back for euthanasia within a few months.  I can't believe she was able to hang on for so long.  I wonder what those five years had been like for her.  The man who brought her in was quite emotional and sad about saying goodbye to her.  He probably wished she would die on her own, but she didn't.  At the end, she looked and smelled like a kidney failure cat.   I'm really glad he brought her in for euthanasia when she stopped eating.  Untreated end-stage kidney failure is a terrible way to die.


Emily said...

Wow, five years! I had to reread that. From your initial exam, it certainly sounded like she was knocking on death's door. Poor girl. I hope it wasn't five years of suffering and pain.

It is so hard to let go, even when all the signs are telling you it's time.

get2eric said...

Glad too.

mainlyclearskies said...

I, too, hope it wasn't 5 years of suffering. Poor cat and poor man.

EdamameMommy said...

as a person in the precarious position of vetmommy's sister AND owner of a geriatric, ADR feline with bad teeth and mats no matter how much I brush her, this post hits hard. I do monitor her urination and promise not to let her suffer. yikes.