We were introduced to Hypatia two weeks ago. Here’s an update from commentor Nethead Jay:
Last Wednesday the 16th Hypatia had an appointment at the Campus Veterinary Clinic for radiology (and clean-up) in preparation for referral to the neurologist. Here’s my friend’s account:
Hypatia’s condition is… complex. She definitely heads for the litter box if she’s already up and moving about but not if she’s lying down. This seems inconsistent with “leakage” in terms of an infection or weak bladder, so I asked for clarification on the “did surgery weaken her bladder and, if so, how can this be corrected?”. Well, no. The surgery goes through the bladder wall, nowhere near the bladder sphincter. Think of it like a c-section, which goes nowhere near the cervix. In Hypatia’s case, it’s more as if she’s lost her “bladder sense”, sort of a proprioception of the bladder instead of a limb. Dr. Yen feels very strongly that this is because the affected nerve locus is worsening, i.e., spinal arthritis or a pinched nerve, and her best hope is the neurologist.
The x-ray will help prove or disprove obvious orthopedic pathology. However, no matter if it’s degenerative nerve disease or arthritis, it’s directly affecting a nerve and that is not something he feels qualified to treat. After looking at the pictures, Dr. Yen thinks there’s some slight displacement right at the base of her tail, i.e., the end of the spinal column, which is an area that is heavily innervated, including those to the bladder and colon. Huh! He’s not certain, though, and will wait for the radiologist’s report.
This visit came to a total of $213.75: $199 for the x-ray and 14.75 for “vet tech appointment” (they cleaned her up and charged a much lower rate than usual). Of that, $100 credit came from a donation through the vet clinic by one of the generous folks at B-J :-) Several others have donated through Paypal, which covered her prescriptions and 1 commenter sent an entire case of pads which came at just the right time.
And so today the 24th it was time for Hypatia’s appointment with the neurologist at Sage Veterinary Facility. I’m out here in the Bay Area visiting my friend until next Wednesday so I accompanied her and Hypatia there. Hypatia was given a comprehensive neurological examination and my friend and the neurologist went over her entire medical history. The problems definitely seem to be coming from the lower spine, specifically the L5 nerve cluster, and are affecting both of her hind legs, the right being much more severely impacted than the left and her tail. The neurologist did not see any structural damage, but believes an MRI is necessary to pinpoint what exactly is causing the problems with the nerve cluster. This would have to take place at a facility in Redwood City, as that is the only place in the Bay Area which does veterinary MRI scannning. It would also be quite expensive. The doctor at Sage offered to help with transport from their place to Redwood City and back, but that still leaves going from Berkeley to Dublin and back. Todays consultation came to $220 plus around $200 for transport. We had been looking into using a pet taxi, but that turned out not to be possible as they don’t carry insurance for passengers other than the pets.
So now my friend (and I) are in a holding pattern. She’s very happy to finally be getting close to the root causes of Hypatia’s troubles and that it might be possible to do something about them. But the cost and logistical difficulties look daunting. We’ve setup a new email address with Paypal so donations can go directly through to her instead of via my account. The address is: [email protected] (referring to all 3 kitties of hers, unfortunately variations of Hypatia were taken).
If you want to get in touch with Hypatia’s person, email at AnneLaurie @ verizon.net (click on my name to the right) and I’ll link you up.
For instance, I’m wondering if there isn’t a BJ reader, or even an animalcentric friend-of-a-friend, who might have a car and the scheduling flexibility to get Hypatia and her person out to Redwood City and back?
I should be able to do the driving, I live in the Southern Bay area and have a reasonably flexible schedule.
Feel free to contact me at oscarmv aaaat mac . com
Love the name.
Gorgeous kitty kat.
@El Cruzado: That’s awesome, you rock! Scritches to Hypatia, and best wishes to her people.
It’s a beautiful name.
But…I think it’s also the name of a porn star from the 80s. Hypatia Lee, I believe.
Still a beautiful name, though. ;)
Joy in FL
You are wonderful.
I just sent a small contribution through the Paypal email.
What a a sweet beautiful kitty!
@El Cruzado: Just read your comment out loud to my friend and she went “woooohooo, you’re awesome”. You’ll be hearing from her. Thank you so much.
Ah, well. I’m in.
I just asked my readers for help with the bandwidth costs that have come up since I outgrew my basic hosting plan.
And they did! For the kitties!
So the least I can do is turn around and help a kitty.
@Nethead Jay: Not a problem. As I can’t adopt more cats (rental agreement, spousal prohibition) I at least try to help others.
@Joy in FL: Thank you from both of us.
@WereBear: Thank you. I’m in IT so I know about bandwidth costs. Been reading at your blog for a couple of years and it’s just excellent. Very glad your readers could help ou, but as you say, how can you efuse the kitties :)
I haven’t commented on this before, but I’m in the East Bay, I have a dog that’s been dealing with a spinal problem, and he’s being treated at the Sage clinic in Dublin and had an MRI at the Redwood City facility. I mention all this by way of explaining why I can’t help financially.
The folks at Animal Scan are really, really nice. They’ll treat you well. Sage is great as well, but you’ve already met them.
Any way, if things don’t work out with El Cruzado, or you need some transportation help some other time, feel free to call on me. I don’t work, so the only concern is arranging things around my own dog’s care.
Best of luck to Hypatia!
@KariQ: Thank you very much for commenting. It’s good to hear from someone with experience in these things, though we’re both sorry for your doggie. Don’t worry about finances, that’s totally understandable.
Yes, the people at Sage were absolutely great and it’s good to know it’s the same with Animal Scan.
If you could send a mail to either Anne Laurie or me at jayhey at gmail . com I’ll pass it on to my friend. Just in case.
@Nethead Jay: Hey, always glad to meet a reader! And a Cat Appreciator.
It has become a Mission. Until I went out on the World Wide Web, I had not realized how many people loved cats; but were also in need of help with their communication, training, and enjoyment.
Now I’m part of a world-wide cat-loving coalition. Onward!
Bonus Foster Kitty Grown UP.
Oh, you want to see the foster kitty (got him at 3 weeks old) as he is as 21 months old? Silly me.
So glad Hypatia has a path forward! I’ll be very interested to learn more about how the MRI goes since my giant fluffster displays similar symptoms.
@WereBear: What a cutie!
@slag: O. M. G.
Since our first encounter, Tristan (the orphaned hero according to our resident scholar and musician) has been an incredible joy.
He loves everyone. He is delightfully affectionate; we kiss his head every day. He is extraordinarily mellow; like I said, we kiss his head, and his belly, and scoop him up like a human infant, every day.
We love him extravagantly, and get it back, every day.
I must be doing something right, that the Universe sent us such a gift.
I am happy to drive, I spend 90% of my life schlepping from San Jose, SF to the Central Valley, driving, driving, driving. I have four cats — I will send you an e-mail to coordinate.
@rammalamadingdong: See this is why I love threads like this! Such good people :-)
That second picture made me laugh and laugh! What a Cute Kitteh!
@SiubhanDuinne: My friend insisted that that particular photo be includd with this update. She says it’s rare to catch Hypatia in that pose but all the more adorable for it.
I’ve already sent an email to Anne Laurie, so you can contact me if you need to.
Hypatia is a beautiful cat, and I hope they can find and correct the problem!
@rammalamadingdong: Thank you. My friend and I are very grateful for all the offers of help that have come through.
@KariQ: Okay and thanks again.
@Nethead Jay: Hypatia is beautiful. I sent a couple bills her way. Thank her person for me for giving her such good care.
A difficult thread for me to post on. I am sure that I will come off an a asshole but so be it. I think all pet owners should come up with a figure in their mind. John, perhaps you could comment on this. As sad as this talk is, how much money are we willing to spend on our pets? This question is always personal. A dog you have had since childhood or a kids first birthday? How about an animal you hardly know but is amazing? I would like to hear a number I think. If you had 2,000 would you pay it?
Secondly, think about the amount of HUMANS one could save with the amount of the vet bills.
I think the cat is adorable and if I had the money to spend of the never ending MRI, neurologists, etc… I maybe would but lets please also think about the thousands of perfectly healthy animals that will be put down while we hopelessly try to fix a broken one.
Part of the problem, though, is that it’s not always easy to get the right treatment. My cat Boris was poisoned by melamine that was in his cat food (part of the pet food gluten poisoning scandal from a few years ago). If we’d realized sooner that it was poisoning and not kidney disease, we might have chosen a more aggressive treatment and saved him. Instead, all we were able to do was extend his life by a few months with subcutaneous fluids.
But, then, I’m also someone who spent $2,000 to have a mammary tumor removed from a cat who died a few months later. In retrospect, I’m glad I did it even though it turned out that the cancer had already spread because I could not have stood the thought of leaving it inside her to grow unchecked. I had to at least take the chance that removing it would help.
ETA: As long as you’re not neglecting the humans that you personally are responsible for, I don’t think there’s a specific moral or ethical responsibility to spend your money on humans rather than on animals. Just sayin’.
(Edited a couple of times as I figured out what I was trying to say.)
I agree the right treatment is sometimes hard to find as a human. I am sorry that you had to go through that situation with your cat.
However two brief points/questions.
You said that as long as you are not neglecting people that you are personally responsible for, things are okay. I am not sure if you truly meant what you said but your idea would basically get rid of charity because I am really only responsible for a small number of people.
Second thought, a purely thought question. One would never take away from their pet but, how many little kittens and puppies could you have supported with that 2,000?
Have you considered getting pet insurance?
here is a link: