Cabbages update: there is still hope!

Oh, my goodness. The stuff going on with Cabbages leaves me feeling like I’ve got mental and emotional whiplash!

When we got the call this morning, we were fully prepared to be told that Cabbages had either passed during the night, or was euthanized.

Neither happened!

She is not out of the woods yet, by any means, but she is apparently a real fighter!

One of the things they were trying with her was a new and rare antibiotic that can cross the blood/brain barrier. There is only one, it’s administered through IV, and it seems to be helping. Cabbages’ vision is starting to come back, and she is eating from a spoon. She is also wanting to eat which, to me, is the major sign of progress. This vet is not one to make animals suffer for extended periods just to do different things, so he would not have decided to keep trying to help her if he didn’t think she had a chance to make it. At this point, she will be staying at the hospital for two more days, with the staff spoon feeding her.

Also, they have figured out what’s wrong with her.

It’s toxoplasmosis. Which basically all cats have, but rarely get sick from. The way the vet apparently put it, it’s like a unicorn in a sea of zebras. She was likely already weak, and somehow, it made its way from her gut to her bloodstream, her spine and finally her brain, causing the neurological problems they were seeing. It was compared to meningitis in humans.

If our angel cat lady hadn’t taken Cabbages to the vet the very day she got her, where Cabbages got that initial dose of antibiotics, she probably would have died by the weekend. If the cat lady hadn’t taken Cabbages back to the vet so quickly on Monday morning, where they started her on this rare antibiotic, she would have probably died that day. Had Cabbages not been in the city for care, she would not have gotten that rare antibiotic, because the local vet – or any rural vets, really – simply don’t have it.

As it is, it is so rare for cats to get sick from this, the rest of our cats are just fine. It’s actually more of a danger to us. We were advised to completely empty the litter boxes, wash and bleach them, once a week, along with the scoops. And, of course, wash our hands after changing the litter. We regularly clean the litter boxes, but we don’t bleach them. With so many litter boxes, that’s going to have to take some organization, and probably doing it on a rotation. It’s not like we can have all the litter boxed out of commission for washing and bleaching at the same time.

I’m going to have to buy more bleach.

It’s too bad we have to keep the two basements blocked off. The old basement is where taps are, and it would be much easier to clean the litter boxes, there. We made the wire mesh “door” between the basements in such a way that it could be slid to one side to get through, but the cats were so determined to get through, we’ve had to rig things on both sides of door to stop them from pushing through. The old basement is where we are storing the more breakable stuff, but it’s also where the sump pump reservoir is. Yes, there is a cover (of sorts) over it, but we still don’t want to risk a cat getting into there, not to mention the other things they could get into.

We’ll figure it out.

Anyhow.

So that’s the news we got, this morning! Cabbages is still fighting!

What a brave little champ.

The Re-Farmer

25 thoughts on “Cabbages update: there is still hope!

    • Having a diagnosis is a HUGE bonus. It’s awfully hard to treat something when you don’t know what it is, and there’s a chance the treatment might make it worse. That’s why we were so loathe to have Keith treated for heartworms which, thankfully, he turned out not to have.

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  1. That is good news!

    If you’re interested, I can put together a “recipe” for making disinfecting solution from calcium hypochlorite (pool-spa chlorine “shock” treatment). It’s far cheaper than using laundry bleach.

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      • Pool and spa chlorine shock treatment seems to come in two strengths and a couple of varities. You’ll need to look at the ingredients panel to make sure it’s calcium hypochlorite and to find the strength. You will want the granulated stuff instead of the “pucks”.

        Fill a 20L/5gallon bucket with water. For the 65-70% strength stuff, add 2 tablespoons to the water. For the 35% strength tuff, add 4 tablespoons to the water.

        Stir, wait 30 minutes and then “go a’ cleaning”. This makes a 0.1% solution of “chlorine-water” which is what hospitals can use to disinfect surfaces.

        The solution will dry your hands out so use dishwashing gloves if you’re dunking your hands in it. If you ask me how I know this, I’ll lie and say, “A friend told me!”. 🙂

        Once you’ve made the solution up, it only lasts about 24 hours, so don’t store the solution. Also, I don’t know if this would hurt the useful bacteria in a septic tank, so it might be a good idea to ask someone who knows about such things or dump it into the outhouse.

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      • I just read more adv info about toxoplasmosis. The spores (or 5he things that become spores) can live for a YEAR! But humans are more likely to catch it from unwashed fruit than cat litter. And the article says it must be consumed… via raw meat (rodents for outdoor cats) or deposited onto food after handling infected dirt or litter. Annnd… finally… that cats usually only shed it for a very short period of time. Since Cabbages got sick, rather than overcoming it, she was probably shedding it longer.

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      • The vet said something about weaker cats being more at risk. We had a “cold” run through all of the cats. That may have weakened her enough for things to go wrong. It would match the timing of him thinking she would have started being sick before Christmas. It just didn’t get bad enough to be visible until more recently.

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      • Have you heard the theory that toxoplasmosis causes hoarder syndrome in humans? No proof. And I think it’s more likely that hoarders have too many cats and/or cat poop around which causes them to get infected. But it’s an interesting concept.

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