We’ve hit a couple of bumps in the road here at Casa del Heidi. (Not to be mistaken with The Dungeon; Mistress Heidi is in charge of The Dungeon, I’m in charge at del Casa. :smile32 )
Last week, I noticed some odd litter pan behavior from Simon, my sweet ginger kid. The closer an eye I kept on him, the more I knew something was up—likely a urinary tract infection. So of course the very next morning I called the veterinarian & made arrangements to take him in.
My vet’s office is great, so they were more than happy to see him, but the clinic was only open half a day, so in order to give them a chance to examine him, get a urine sample, & possibly do a wee bit of surgery if he was suffering a blockage, I had to leave him there. Overnight. Alone.
As hard as that was to handle, there was good news the next morning: They got a urine sample & were able to test it. He definitely has a UTI & will need to be on antibiotics for two weeks. But there was no blockage, so no surgery, & I was able to pick him up right away. :smile47
But here comes the bad news… :smile2
Since Simon had been neutered at a spay/neuter clinic when I first rescued him, my vet’s office didn’t have a record of him being tested for FIV/FeLV, so they drew blood & ran their own. And the test came back positive for FeLV (a.k.a. Feline Leukemia). :smile16
I am…shocked. Stunned. Flabbergasted & confused. :smile1
See, Simon was tested for FIV & FeLV before he was neutered. Years ago, my veterinarian warned me never to a new animal anywhere near The Kittehs without first having him/her tested for everything dangerous. And I have been extremely diligent about that. Every baby I adopt is first isolated/quarantined, then tested out the wazoo & spayed/neutered before being slowly introduced to the rest of the brood. I would never intentionally risk The Kittehs‘ health or safety. Never. :smile18
So I honestly don’t know how this happened. :smile15 And, frankly, my head is spinning. How long has he been infected? What if he infected the others? How is this going to impact his future health…the others’ future health? How did this happen? How? How? How? I am not a happy camper, & I’m not quite sure what to do now.
Simon is home & getting his Clavamox drops twice a day for the UTI. He’s happy & otherwise healthy; the doctor even did a full exam & said he’s in good shape. :smile21 Normally, it’s recommended that FIV/FeLV-positive cats be kept separate from non-infected cats. But here at Casa del Heidi, I’m pretty sure that ship has sailed. Even the doctor gave a what are you gonna do? shrug when I asked him about it, because Simon has been here for 4 years—eating, drinking, sleeping, playing, & fighting with all the other Kittehs. Any saliva that was going to be exchanged has pretty much already been exchanged. If the disease was going to spread, it’s probably already happened. (Should I mention again how shocked & upset I am? :smile38 )
I’ve been doing a bit of research into FeLV ever since I got the news, though, & discovered that the “snap” tests conducted at veterinary clinics can produce false-positive results. Am I living in the Great State of Denial by believing—nay, hoping—that’s the case with my sweet Simon? Maybe. But some rather reputable reports recommend that all in-house snap tests be sent off to a lap for an even more reliable test, so I’m thinking that’s what I’ll ask my doctor to do. (If I understand correctly, the difference between the “snap” test & the lab test is that the “snap” test reacts to FIV/FeLV antibodies (or is it antigens?)…but those can be in the cat’s system even if the disease is dormant. In other words, a cat can be exposed to the disease, but fight it off & not truly have the active virus in its system, yet still have the antibodies show up on the test. Does that make sense?! The send-away lab test, I guess, goes a little deeper & can tell whether the virus is active :smile17 or inactive. Again—I think. :smile8 )
For now, unless my vet calls me & tells me I’m being a bleeding idiot, I’m going to wait until Simon’s finished with his antibiotics & the UTI is all cleared up. Then I’ll take him back in & ask them to do another blood draw to send the sample out to the lab that does the “bigger, better” FIV/FeLV test. I’m terrified that, too, will come back positive, of course, but if it does…well, I guess I’ll just have to deal. I’ve already been told I should have the rest of The Kittehs tested, & if any or all of them come back negative, have them vaccinated. (FYI, FIV/FeLV vaccinations aren’t normally given or recommended for indoor cats, I guess because it’s sort of a rough vaccine & has been linked to cases of cancer down the road. But when there’s a FeLV-positive cat in the house with non-positive cats, it’s a better-safe-than-sorry situation.)
Honestly, I’m not handling this all that well. I’m trying to be calm & logical, but inside I’m a bit of a mess. :smile8 Part of me is screaming, “No, no, no! Not my baby, not my household. I’ve always been so careful—how could this happen? It can’t be true.” And then the other part of me will pipe up & say, “Well, if it’s happened, it’s happened. Guess we’ll just have to be a FeLV-positive household. The Kittehs can still have a full & enjoyable life. I take really good care of them, & I’ll just have to be a bit more eagle-eyed about their health.” :smile48
But if you’re of a mind to say a few prayers & send some white, healing thoughts Simon’s way, I’d surely appreciate it. :smile12 I plan to spend the next couple of weeks (while he’s getting his UTI antibiotics) doing a lot of that myself. I believe in miracles. I believe a false-positive can turn out to be a true-negative. And I believe it ain’t over till it’s over. I will hold on to positive thoughts & pray for a total turn-around until there’s nothing left to hope for. :smile45
Take that, stupid germs! :smile55
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