First of all I would like to say thank you to everyone who sent good wishes for Bangsiri. A few of the vets who knew her said I’d done my best. Her regular vet, Dr. Choi, said he thought she was close to the end of her natural life and probably couldn’t have lived even another month. He also disputed the tail fracture diagnosis that I’d received two days before the end. It seems Bangsiri was losing her kidney function, and that’s what caused her to become anemic. Dr. Choi believes it was inactivity that caused the weight loss—the end result of severe back pain. He doesn’t think decompression (a procedure to treat her back pain) would have been in her best interests, or that amputating her tail would have done any good.
I wish we’d spent more time together, and that we hadn’t moved house so many times. I wish we’d settled down in the vicinity of her regular vet clinic so that trips back and forth wouldn’t have been such an ordeal. And I really, really wish I hadn’t been under an employment contract during those final few months and that I’d fought harder for strong painkillers. (The weaker ones may have damaged her kidneys unnecessarily without relieving her pain.) My poor little princess—it shouldn’t have happened the way it did.
After Bangsiri died, I knew I had to focus on her cat sisters. Jellybean’s coat was in bad shape, so I took her in for grooming as soon as I could. While she was under anesthetic, she had a full checkup and everything was normal except for an elevated SDMA level. This (as I recently learned) is an early warning sign for kidney disease, and I was advised to switch her to a prescription diet.
Phoenix and Gemma were next. Gemma needed follow-up after undergoing unsuccessful drug treatment for a bump on her chin—the bump kept filling up with fluid after being drained several times. Phoenix had really bad breath, so I wanted her to be checked too.
Gemma’s bump turned out to be a benign tumor, and it was successfully removed in late October. Phoenix had dental work in early November and is recovering well. Both Phoenix and Gemma got good results on their general health checkups—but they both have elevated SDMA levels just like Jellybean. When the results came back, I was advised to switch the whole family to kidney support food—however, Dr. Kwon explained that the SDMA was a new test and all the data wasn’t in yet. The test results don’t necessarily mean they’ll get sick soon, but it’s a possibility. When I asked how often Phoenix and Gemma needed to come in for checkups now that they’re getting older he said every six months would be best if they weren’t so scared—but, considering how much they hate it, he suggested bringing them in once a year.
So the kitties’ life expectancy and potential future health problems seem to be unpredictable, just as it was with Bangsiri, and again I have to make decisions about our future without really knowing what to expect. I hope I won’t make the same mistakes.