Thursday, August 1, 2013

It Seems That Problems Never End

If anything can go wrong, it will…

We had no idea of how lucky we were a couple of weeks ago, while thinking about annual vaccinations of all the shelter tenants against rabies and trying to raise enough funds to vaccinate all the cats (the state law
requires yearly anti-rabies vaccination for all pets). Eight new kittens received their first series of shots against contagious diseases and seemed happy, bouncy and healthy; construction workers were fixing some minor problems at the shelter and in spite of worrying
about the roof repairs that need to be done before the cold weather sets in, things were still under control, more or less. Frankly, with extensive shelter repairs underway for more than a year now and the biggest challenge, the roof replacement, still
ahead of us, we weren’t really thrilled about this additional expense which couldn’t have come at a worse time but the situation was still bearable. And then, to our surprise and dismay, shelter kitties began to get sick one after another and things have rapidly
reached a crisis point.

There’s obviously some sort of highly contagious virus making its rounds through the shelter and at least two dozen cats are sneezing and coughing at the moment. They all have runny noses with
eye discharge and some of them even have a nasty herpes outbreak on their noses. They're feeling utterly miserable. Coka was the first to get sick, with conjunctivitis, purulent rhinitis and nasal ulcers probably caused by herpes, chlamydia or calici
virus. She had deteriorated terribly over just a few days but responded well to the antibiotics and supportive therapy and managed to recover completely. Then it was Kasper’s turn to get sick; once again, he was afflicted with diarrhea which has been his
reoccurring problem for more than a year now and although he’s husky and generally in good shape, he has loose stools every now and then.

It seems that literally almost all of the chronically ill cats are going through a crisis,
each of them in their own way. Maybe the virus is to blame, maybe it’s this hellishly hot weather, but not a day can pass without one or more new kitties beginning to show signs of some terrible sickness or discomfort.

Falsika, a distrustful and extremely
cautious Russian Blue mix that arrived to the shelter two years ago and has been uncatchable ever since, suddenly appeared with one fang tooth sticking out of her mouth in a totally unnatural position. When I somehow succeeded to get her into a cage
and take her to the vet, it turned out that she was in fact very old and all of her teeth were in a pretty rough shape. Her bad fang tooth had to be pulled under general anesthesia and all the other teeth were scaled and then polished following the scaling so that the
plaque has been removed and the tooth surfaces smoothened. It all went well and she’s doing fine now.

As if dealing with the adult cats’ health problems wasn’t enough, little Maggie and Kate (which I took in from the
neighborhood back in June), two baby sisters who have already been through a lot, contracted the virus a week ago. When they first came here, Maggie's eyes were completely blinded by a horrendous infection that she managed to overcome and now
both girls are sick again. This time, Kate was in much worse shape than Maggie, she had eye discharge, a runny nose, a high fever and was sneezing and breathing heavily. Maggie was feeling slightly better but both of them hardly ate anything and
consequently, they were losing weight at a rapid rate. After a course of antibiotics they began to mend and it seemed that their recovery would go smoothly but then little Maggie came down with an awful fungal infection and has been diagnosed with ringworm, on
top of everything else!

Maggie’s biggest problem right now isn't the ringworm, as it’s usually resolved in a couple of months with or without treatment, but the viral infection she’s been fighting for weeks now. Her immune system is
being seriously weakened by the virus; moreover, it’s possible that both her and Kate have some congenital defect as well. They were in poor health when they first arrived here, but not until they got sick a second time had I been told the truth that they were the
only survivors out of the whole litter. Their Mom gave birth to five kittens; one was stillborn, two kittens died promptly after birth and only Maggie and Kate pulled through. I can only wonder what was wrong with all of them and what kind of shape their Mom
was in, as she might’ve given all of these maladies to the babies herself. It’s possible that both Maggie and Kate have some underlying problem which is not easy to detect and then the questions arise if anything can be done to correct it.
Be as it may, these little girls obviously have their ups and downs and there’s nothing else I can do but to try and deal with their problems one day at a time. They are in quarantine now, isolated from the other kittens as ringworm is highly contagious and the
last thing I want is to spread the infection through the shelter. The other six kittens that arrived after Maggie and Kate seem to be doing fine, at least for now.

Kate looks as if she's on the mend now and Maggie has finally begun to eat, after a
few horrible days when she seemed to be giving up and when I thought there wasn't much hope left. Both kittens are now just fragile shadows of their former vibrant selves but as long as they are eating, they have a chance to recover completely. But if
things take a turn for the worse, and that has already happened once, I wonder if they will have the strength to fight. Although they’re under continuous treatment, their little bodies are exhausted and scarily thin; it seems that it’s just their pure will, strong desire to live
and loving hearts that help them hold on.

In the meantime, the vet bills keep piling up and up and up. Thanks to your tremendous support, we’ve been able to cover some of the expenses so far, but with so many sick cats, our debt is
getting bigger by the day. Will you please take a look at our fundraising page where we’re posting new photos and updates regularly and see for yourselves what we’re dealing with? Anything you might be able to give is making a world of difference to Felix
cats! We are grateful beyond words for all the precious help we get!

No comments: