Zurik’s check-up (3rd aspiration of fluids)

I was optimistic and hopeful there would be less fluids in the lungs, or even less. Zurik’s breathing doesn’t seem so laboured anymore now. He looks so alert and he seems more energetic and interested in life compared to the past few months when living outside. Zurik’s appetite has improved so much and he eats many times a day.

Surely, surely…we can expect some good news or at least, no deterioration.

I was optimistic as I drove Zurik to the vet’s this afternoon. He mewed just a little bit as we started the journey. Then, he was so good throughout the entire trip there. Whenever I put him into the carrier and into the car, of course he gets worried, and I would always assured him that I will bring him home. I will promise him this. “I will bring you home, Zurik, I promise you, I will bring you home.”

Waiting for our turn.

An ultrasound was done and it showed that there is a little more fluids in the left lung cavity today, compared with last week, but still not enough to be aspirated. The fluids have gone “downwards” towards the heart. But on the right lung cavity, there is a significant amount so it was aspirated. I counted as the vet pulled out syringe after syringe of the liquid. Up until this point, I was still optimistic that it would be a small amount.

The first time it was 125ml but we don’t know how long it took to accumulate to this volume. The second time, it was 40ml after 4 days. So it ought to be 10ml per day? Let it not be more than 70ml, I hoped. It’s only been 7 days.

Finally, a total of 90ml of very yellow fluids was pulled out from the right lung cavity. My heart sank when I saw how yellow the fluids are this week, so much more yellow than last week. FIP deteriorates so fast.

The vet kept saying that Zurik is such a good cat, being so cooperative throughout the entire procedure. Yes indeed, he is. Zurik IS a very good cat.

The fluids were tested with the refractometer and it measured a 6.5 in the protein level, which is considered high and is the same as last week’s.  I asked why it is so much more yellow and was told perhaps it is bilirubin leaking as well. FIP may cause jaundice too, but Zurik does not seem to be jaundiced today.

The vet said there was more muscle mass loss too, despite the weight gain. We must remember that the pleural effusion also contributes to the weight gain.

The above symptoms are very characteristic of FIP. The pleural effusion will increase, there would be more protein leakage and loss of muscle mass. And it can happen very fast.

It’s so, so sad.

So, even though Zurik “seemed” so much more alert and cheerful, his disease has actually worsened.

The vet says we will increase his steroid dosage to twice a day, but this is still an anti-inflammatory dose, not immune-suppressant. So it would be 2.5mg but twice a day.

The vet also said that Zurik should go on a high protein diet to replenish the protein loss.  Actually, Zurik’s diet is already practically all meat.  He eats raw chicken fillet and grain-free kibble (his favourite).  I could add eggs too.

The vet said that Zurik is slightly dehydrated today, especially after we had pulled out the fluids, so a subcut of 150ml would be good (not 200ml). I can do this at home.

I did ask why Zurik seemed to be breathing much easier despite the fluids in his lung cavity. The vet said this is because his body is adjusting to it. Sigh…I thought that was a good sign, that he was actually breathing much easier. Apparently, it isn’t. The disease will only get worse. It is frustrating. You feel so helpless.

We got our medicines and drove home. Zurik was so good in the car.

But he was naughty during subcut. It took me three needles to get the 150ml into him. He has figured out how he can make a dash and get out of needle, so he did this. I was alone handling him, so with just two pairs of hands, Zurik had me fooled.

Well, naughty is good. Active is good. Being alert and being able to outsmart me is good.

My hope that RetroMAD1 might have reversed something did not materialise today.

My hopes were dashed but we will carry on with the support protocol.

Moments are all we have.


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