Saturday, December 5, 2009

Poor Teddy!

I'm beginning to understand why women with young children blog mostly about...their children. Teddy the Tubby Tabby is likewise fodder for more than one report, especially as he is still very much a baby and subject to kitten maladies. Some weeks ago, when I was observing his symptoms of teething I noticed his gums were bright red, but as he was losing and gaining teeth just about daily, I attributed the inflammation to the normal process. 

Not long ago he went to the vet for his booster shots, and the doc took the opportunity to check him from top to toe. Dr. Williams too noted the bright redness of his little gums, but agreed it might be associated with the business of teething. But, he also mentioned that it is sometimes caused by infection by the Bartonella bacterium. So we left it at that, since he's due back in a couple of weeks for his "little operation."  

All I've known about Bartonella up to this point is that people with HIV can experience terrible infections of organs such as the brain from it, but that generally it's not a vicious agent among non-immune compromised humans.
Then last Wednesday morning, I noticed the skin over Teddy's nasal septum was bright red. I suspected he'd bashed himself somehow in all his rough and tumble play. It was still red, maybe more so, when I got home from work that night, and the next morning. Even though Teddy didn't appear to be the least bit bothered by his nose, he was also occasionally blasting off a sneeze. So I called the vet, and spoke to Dr. Williams's partner.  Dr. Wake said that it's very likely Bartonella, and to start Teddy on 250 mg. of the amino acid, L-lysine, mixed in his food morning and evening for 10 days. 

Well, I'm game to try anything that works, especially when it comes to avoiding a trip to the vet and stuffing antibiotic pills down a cat's gullet. KLK stopped by Walgreens on the way home and picked up a pricey bottle of 500 mg L-lysine tablets, and the coolest Deluxe Cut N' Crush pill doohickey ever seen. 

I'm here to tell you, L-lysine is either flavorless/undetectable when mixed with canned kitten food, or it's actually appealing; Teddy was most interested when I set up the shot of the amazing pill-splitter/crusher. 

In spite of the soaring triumph of getting Teddy to willingly take his medicine I'm not sure now that after four doses things are any better.  OKAY, so Dr. Wake said 10 days. It's been less than 48 hours since his first dose. (I am not entirely calm about this, and won't be until the redness starts to clearly subside.)

 But this pill tool thing, it's a wonder of modern engineering (photo courtesy of Walgreens's Web site). Not only does it have a splitter that works perfectly, the crusher also unfailingly turns pills to powder. In the bottom there's a little four-way compartment to store the day's pills in, and the top pulls off to reveal--TA-DA--a teensy vessel for drinking water with which to swallow whatever the result of your re-engineering using the other features is. Why, it's the very SWISS ARMY KNIFE of pill-taking!


  1. Thats a 'cool' gadget!

    Our black cat, Melvin, (we inherited him when our son's marriage split) has suffered inflamed gums for some years now.

    When the vet first saw it he immediately requested that we test Melvin for Feline HIV. Melvin had lived in Australia for several years, and also in Auckland which has some cats who carry the virus.

    However he tested negative and is now having a steroid injection every three months or so to help control it. It is gingivitus.

  2. Thanks, merinz, I think I'm going to have to take Teddy back in a few days if he doesn't start responding to the amino acid treatment. I think that gingivitis would not cause his upper lip/nose area to become inflamed, but who knows?
    Fortunately, Teddy was tested and negative for feline leukemia virus before I even brought him home - he went straight from the street to the vet's office - in the US and I would think also in NZ now-a-days it's done routinely first thing with foundlings.