Gerald has a rod bacterial cough

There is no public holiday for animal caregivers.

Gerald started coughing three days ago. Initially it sounded like he was trying to dislodge something from this throat. I thought he had eaten something and it had got stuck in his throat. But he was eating his food well so I left it at that. When he coughed, there was a little bit of white foamy bile that came out.

My first fear was poison. But it wasn’t so. He wasn’t foaming at the mouth at all and he appeared absolutely fine.

At that time I was really very occupied with Hiro, so I thought that given his street immunity and Gerald had already been vaccinated too, he should be able to overcome it. Let’s give it a day or two.

The next day, there was that cough again. This time, with very much less foamy bile. The thing is Gerald isn’t always in our porch, so the cough seemed few and far between. This was yesterday and by afternoon, I had wanted to catch him to take him to the vet’s but he did not come. He only came late in the evening and it was too late to take him to the vet’s.

Today I heard him coughing more. No more taking chances, I caught him and brought him inside the house at 7am. Gerald has become alpha and will spray urine, so I had no other place to put him except in Bunny’s Place, inside Indy’s cage.

Of course he was angry and toppled the litter box. Cow Mau and Cleo also protested by staging a hunger strike.

I had already fed Gerald in the porch before catching him, and he ate well (which was a relief).

I took many videos and managed to video him coughing so that I could show the vet. I’ve never encountered a cat coughing with this sound before. It sounds like he is trying to expel something from his throat.

Vetri DMG before going to the vet’s.

The vet examined Gerald through an ear-prick blood test and found the presence of a lot of rod bacteria. This is a dangerous bacteria and if Gerald does not go on medication, he will go down very fast.

This infectious disease is caused by a gram positive, pleomorphic (can change shape somewhat between a rod and coccus), rod-shaped bacteria of the genus Actinomyces.

I have to say this again and again, because I’ve spoken to many rescuers who say they buy antibiotics and administer is to their animals. Please…you cannot do this unless you are a vet. There are different types of bacteria and different types of antibiotics that serve different functions. There are also rescuers who only know the name of the medicine but do not know they are actually antibiotics and not a “vitamin pill”. Please educate yourself or ask, if you are unsure.

There is a reason there are vets. There is a reason they spend 4-6 years studying to become a vet. We are caregivers. We are not vets. Prescribing medication is not our expertise. Caring is.

So, Gerald was prescribed two antibiotics, Doxy and Baytril. Baytril covers both gram positive and negative bacteria. He was also given a mucolytic and anti-histamine to clear up the phlegm. Gerald has phlegm and that sound we hear in his cough is him trying to expel the phlegm.

Gerald’s temperature was 39.1 degrees so that’s not feverish. For cats, a fever is from 39.2 degrees onwards.

The vet says that the rod bacteria that Gerald has can cause him to go down very fast if he isn’t treated. But with medication, he should show improvement in a matter of days.

I was deciding whether to cage him (and have him yowl all day, disturbing the neighbours who already don’t like cats) or let him be free (not suffer the stress of being caged), knowing he would surely come back for food and I will be able to feed him the medicines.

I discussed this at length with our very patient vet, and she said it is very important that he gets his daily dose of medication. In fact, the initial prescription was Curam (amoxycilin) instead of Baytril, but Curam needs to be administered twice daily. Once daily would have to be Baytril. Doxy is already once a day.

The vet opines that the importance of ensuring he gets his medicines far outweighs the disadvantage of being stressed in the cage, so I decided we will try our best to cage him and play it by ear from there.

I remember after his neutering in December last year, I boarded him for a day at the vet’s and took him and Creamy home the next day. Creamy could be confined in the bedroom but not Gerald. We put Gerald in a flimsy cage (that time, we didn’t have these super sturdy stainless steel cages from Golden Triology) and he created total havoc in the porch and yowled all night until we simply had to let him go or the flimsy cage would have collapsed with him inside.

So the plan was to cage Gerald in Indy’s cage, but where would we put him?  He cannot be in Bunny’s Place, the cough will spread. He cannot be Ginger’s Catio, the Monsters will hound him till no end and the cough will spread.

So the only place is to wheel the cage into the porch and HOPE he won’t yowl.

And hope the cough won’t spread to Misty too.

Creamy has his own home, so he will be fine. He only comes for breakfast and dinner and sometimes he doesn’t even come.

So far, he has not yowled or made a fuss.

I gave him his medicines right after returning from the vet’s. He isn’t easy to pill but definitely easier than Samantha and her golden calico mouth.

Gerald was really coughing quite a lot all morning and in the car to the vet’s. But it’s less now, from the cage.

Don’t yowl please, Gerald. This caging is for your own good so that you can get well.

BUT…Gerald is on a hunger strike right now and has refused to eat lunch.

I think he will relent by dinner time. He cannot resist food.

Right, Gerald?

So I think there is cat flu going around. And what Gerald has is a dangerous rod bacterial cat flu which causes a cough. The vet says the bacteria is in the environment.

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