Chicken, as many of you know is getting on the years (fifteen or so). And before Christmas we feared his days were numbered. For a month or so, he had serious diarrhea, and was wasting away (down to 8.5 pounds). So I took him to the vet, and she wanted to run a long serious of tests.
The possible candidates for his illness were, Pancreatosis, Inflamatory Bowel Syndrome, and Stomach Cancer (or other intestinal cancers). It was interesting trying to pry odds of survival, treatment, quality of life, expected lifespan answers from her, she was ill equipped or resistant (from experience) to make such guesses.
I pushed and she suggested that if the Blood Tests didn't show anything, then the MRI might tell her if there was an obstruction, and then the surgery would tell her if they needed to do another surgery or go to radiation and chemo.
So we did the blood test. Nothing obvious came from that.
I asked about the treatments following the more stressful diagnostic tests...Chicken would need general anesthetic for both. She said IBS and Pancreatosis could be treated with medicine (Steroids and an enzyme), the others would need surgery and chemo.
When I asked about just trying Steroids without the surgery she was unhappy about it. That was not the protocol! You needed to know the disease before attempting treatment. I asked about harmful side effects of doing Steroids if he did not have IBS, they were pretty minor.
I just could't see spending the thousands of dollars it would have cost to diagnose Chicken, and exposing him to so much trauma and pain (in his weakened state)for just satisfying our curiosity. I knew we couldn't afford the cancer treatments, and even if we could, I am not sure I would give them to Chicken, who might not benefit much from it at his age. So, grudgingly, the Vet wrote a prescription. This, was a week before we headed out to California.
Well, as it happened, even in that short a time, we saw marked improvement. First, no diarrhea. Second, less complaining during the day. And fewer hairballs.
When we picked him up from the trip, he had gained weight and was a happy strong cat.
He seems to be getting back into the habits of home, and whining a bit more these last few days, but everything about him seems much better and happier.
He is actually letting the kids touch and pet him, and he is enjoying the late night fires, and warm laps as inter finally hits us here. We are going back to the vet soon to check on his progress. Yeah Steroids!