Today, Freiday Oct 26, 2012 is Hari Raya Puasa, breaking the fast for the Malays. I was at the office at 8.45 am.
It was too early to phone but I would not have time later. I dialed the handphone of the well-groomed and well-dressed Malay lady with the 2-year-old Hougang cat that came yesterday evening. Her cat was spayed by Dr Daniel 5 days ago. But Nike was meowing and panting yesterday afternoon at around 4 pm. I could hear the sounds of the cat over her phone call. "She has not pooped since the spay," the lady said. "What shall I do? I am worried about this non-stop panting and panting."
"I advise coming to me for examination and to give an enema," I said. "If you wait and see, and if the cat's panting and meowing worsen after midnight, you will have to pay a lot of money for emergency treatment!"
At 7 pm, the cat came. She was normal and her panting had stopped. One cool cat not bothered with the dogs barking in the waiting room. "My husband is in the car outside," the lady said. "I am not afraid of dogs. Shall I go home since the cat is now normal?"
This was a tough question. If I said yes and the cat's symptoms returned past midnight, the lady would have to pay 3-4X normal vet fees. She would be more stressed as she loves this cat very much. Non-stop meowing is as stressful as non-stop panting for a cat owner. The neighbours may be disturbed too.
"It is better than I sedate the cat and put in an enema tube in her anus," I said. "If the cat is not fierce, I would not need to sedate. However, this cat scratches and if I give the enema without sedation, there will be no second chance."
So, the lady with her reddish brown silky Malay headwear and clothing held the cat, placed on my operating table, tightly on the chest area. My assistant Min held the right hind leg while I squeezed into the narrow corner looking for the back muscle of the left hind leg and not intruding into the personal space of the lady. I injected. The cat jumped a bit but her owner held tight. "Put her back into the carrier," I said. In the owner's presence, the domestic cat seldom becomes frightened and attack the vet. I asked the lady to wait in the waiting area.
In 10 minutes, the cat was sedated. My assistant Min pressed the rectal area. A 1-cm brown piece of stool came out. There was no more. "Hold the cat's backside upright," I said to Min. "Pump in the enema fluid." I put the cat back into the carrier.
"All the stools have come out?" the lady asked while her husband patiently waited outside in his parked car.
"No," I said. "All systems including the intestines shut down during sedation. The stools will come out when the cat is awake."
"When?" she asked.
"Most likely next day." Sedation: Xylazine 0.15 Ket 0.6 ml IM, 2 year old
FRIDAY OCT 26, 2012 I phoned the owner. Hari Raya Puasa. Her husband asked her to answer my phone call.
"How's Nike?", I asked. "What time did she wake up from sedation?"
"He woke up at 2 am. She vomited 5X. Food and water."
"What time did she wake up in the morning?"
"I woke up at 6am and I saw her walking around the apartment," the lady thought I was asking about her waking up. "I gave her food and you know what?"
"What happened?" I asked.
"She pooped a lot!"|
"What do you mean a lot?" I asked.
"A very long piece. From the end of my middle finger to my wrist! Jhard and solid. And two small pieces of the size of my thumb!"
"Was there any hair inside the long stool?" I asked.
"I did not check," she said. "But there was a big hairball when she vomited at 2 am."
"Does your cat groom a lot?' I asked.
"What do you mean?"
"I mean every few seconds, she would clean her fur."
"No, but she would groom for a long period of time when she is not playing with me."
This was a most happy cat owner on Hari Raya Puasa. She had agonised for 2 years as to whether to spay her cat or not and when she decided, the cat would not take the medication. She had asked her husband to collect some antibiotics and pain-killers as the cat threw out 50% of the medication. So the husband came on the 3rd day after spay. And on the 4th day, this cat meowed and panted in the afternoon, further worrying her.
It was a happy ending. If I had asked her to "wait and see", the constipation would be harder to treat as the stools would be very hard. The cat would feel the pain of passing motion and that could be why she panted. I had asked her to feel the hard long stools of the colon when the cat was sedated yesterday. She could feel it, but nothing as impressive as the passage of the hard stools this morning!
As for the spay wound, it was very clean as the lady showed to me. Not a bit of inflammation as she had taken great care to give her cat medication and pain-killers as instructed. Most owners would just give up.