My Experience: Cat Cystotomy & Complications – PART 2 INITIAL SURGERY

If you have not read Part 1 yet, you can read it here: My Experience: Cat Cystotomy & Complications – PART 1 DIAGNOSIS

Before I start, I’d like to acknowledge that the subject of veterinary medicine is far from what my blog is generally about. I am not educated in veterinary medicine and what is stated is my experience, as well as my interpretations. I will not be using the names of the veterinary offices. Instead, I will use “Vet 1” as my primary vet and “Vet 2” as my secondary vet. Any veterinary professionals mentioned have had their names changed for the purpose of this/these post(s).

While I was doing research, it was extremely difficult to find people who have written about their experiences regarding surgery in a cat and have really been detailed about it.I want to help. This is a very emotional experience and I want people in the same situation to have confidence in their vets and surgeons. I also want them to feel less alone in their journey.

This was supposed to be a routine, straight-forward surgery, until a rare complication was discovered.

Lotus and her shaved belly from the ultrasound, but before surgery

At 7:30am it was time for me to drop Lotus off at the vet, I was assured that I would be receiving a call after her surgery to let me know how things went. I was told that her surgery would be performed between her drop-off and 10:30am. Lunch came and went with no update. Okay, maybe they’re busy and have fallen behind; I’m not going to worry yet.

3 o’clock rolled around… 4 o’clock… 5 o’clock…

I have yet to hear an update and I’m beginning to worry at this point, so I give them a call. I was told by the receptionist that Lotus’s surgery went well, she has woken up, and she’s recovering now. 40 minutes later, Dr. L gives me a call to discuss the details of the surgery. The initial incision into her bladder was not long enough to retrieve the stones, so her incision was extended. To give you an idea: in the picture above, her incision was approximately half as long as the shaved portion of her belly. The 2 bladder stones were found near the neck of the bladder, near the proximal urethra (see diagram). They were successfully removed and she was sutured up without any immediate complications.

Vet 1 wanted to keep her overnight to monitor her. I was informed that they would contact me the following day to discuss a pick-up time. The following morning, I did not hear anything from the vet. 1 o’clock PM rolled around and, needless to say, my frustration was peaked and I was beginning to have some anger towards the vet office. I’m a fairly patient and passive person, but I was not contacted either time and, again, I made a frustrating call to the vet, this time it was to check on Lotus’s pick-up time. Finally, I was told I could take Lotus home in about an hour or so.

During her pick-up, she was her loud self and very alert considering what she had been through. I was sent home with the following medication regimen:

• Burprenorphine (pain) 0.25mL every 8 hours for 3 days or until the medication ran out
• Amoxicillin (antibiotic) 0.7mL every 12 hours for 10 days
• Onsior (anti-inflammatory) 6mg tablet once per day for 3 days

RECOVERY DAY 1 FRIDAY 08/16

She took to her litter box right away, although she refused to use the shredded newspaper that Dr. L had recommended. Being her stubborn self, Lotus insisted on using her usual clumping litter. She was not in the E-collar because she showed no interest in her stitches or her belly. She was drinking water, but not eating, which I was told was normal for the first day or two. Before surgery, she slept on my bed. To make her feel more comfortable, I set up a bed on the floor for the night even though I didn’t intend to sleep much. Since it was the first night home, I wasn’t sure how she would do overnight, so I decided to put the E-collar back on her. Within 5 minutes, she took it off and stashed it underneath my bed where it would be the most difficult to retrieve. What a butt head!! She still showed no interest in her incision site by 1:00AM so I felt comfortable going to sleep. As I was rolling around on the ground trying to find a comfortable position, I hear Lotus jump on my bed, which is about a 2-3 foot jump for her. Wow. I was in shock that she could be jumping around the day after surgery. So, I fell asleep next to her. That was the last time she jumped on my bed; The rest of her time was spent in my closet because I had blocked off her ability to go underneath the bed.

RECOVERY DAY 2 SATURDAY 08/17

Night 1 was a success and she’s on the road to recovery. I couldn’t wait to see her energy levels come back! Day 2 went pretty much how I expected. She continued to use her litter box quite frequently, although she was only urinating small amounts each time. My closet became her best friend, as I assume jumping on my bed began to be painful for her. She seemed to be doing well so far. She wouldn’t leave the closet much except for trips to the litter box or her water bowl. However, I was still noticing her lack of interest in food, which has never been an issue before, especially with canned wet food. She still showed no interest in her incision site so I continued to leave the E-collar off.

RECOVERY DAY 3 SUNDAY 08/18

I became concerned during day 3 of her recovery. Despite many different brands, flavors, and consistencies of canned wet food, being hand fed, and even adding bone broth to her food she still showed no interest. I managed to get her to eat some of the Delectables Squeeze Up treats, but not much. She stopped drinking water and I began to give her syringe-fulls of water via her mouth. On day 3, she was showing more signs of lethargy, malaise, depression, abdominal distension, and dehydration. Due to it being Sunday, many vet offices were closed. After searching online, I found out that my vet, Vet 1, had a “sister office” that had extended hours for emergencies. This was Vet 2. I called that afternoon to speak with someone on if this sounded like an emergency situation for Lotus. They were able to give me an appointment at 9:45PM, which was perfectly fine because I just wanted her to get some type of help.

We arrived at Vet 2 that night. Normally loud and obnoxious with her meows, she was unusually quiet. That’s not a good sign. While there, the vet (Dr. P) informed me that it was okay to continue feeding Lotus the Delectable Squeeze Up treats (or anything she would eat, really) 2 or 3 times per day to avoid Feline Hepatic Lipidosis, or fatty liver disease. Lotus was given subcutaneous fluids and 0.6cc of Convenia, because it was very difficult to give her the liquid Amoxicillin. We were sent home with no testing being done on Lotus despite showing so many symptoms. Again, I was assured that this was normal.

RECOVERY DAYS 4&5 MONDAY 08/19 & TUESDAY 08/20

Not much has changed. Definitely no improvement since the visit to Vet 2 on Sunday night. She still has no interest in eating anything except for the Squeeze Up treats. Even with those, she doesn’t want to eat much of them. Despite not eating since Wednesday, her belly seems to be getting larger. She’s stopped grooming herself completely, so her paws built up a bit of litter in them fairly quickly and she always had stuff in her eyes and on her face. Whenever she drinks water, she seems too weak to stand or sit and drink. She’ll lay with her chest against the water bowl, sometimes getting it soaking wet. She seems to be very weak, tired, and uncomfortable.

RECOVERY DAYS 6&7 WEDNESDAY 08/21 & THURSDAY 08/22

Things are pretty much the same as the previous days: no interest in food, weak, lethargic, depressed. Her spine is becoming more and more prominent from the lack of food and the weight she’s losing, although her belly is still protruding unnaturally. She’s getting dehydrated so I have to syringe feed her water, which I hate doing but it is for her own good. She still doesn’t move much except to use her litter box. She sounds like she’s getting a cold: her nose is whistling and her deep sighs lead me to believe she’s having trouble breathing. She’s not improving like I had hoped.

RECOVERY DAY 8 FRIDAY 08/23

I woke up this morning and she sounded even worse! She was having such a hard time breathing and I was beginning to panic. As soon as Vet 1 opened, I made a call. Luckily, Dr. K, who specializes in cats, answered the phone and agreed that Lotus needed to be seen right away. Unfortunately, they couldn’t get us in until 2:00PM. I went to work for a couple of hours and returned home around 1:00PM to pack Lotus up and drive over to the vet’s office. We arrived at Vet 1 and, fortunately, the vet who specializes in cats was the one to see us. Dr. K was extremely concerned about Lotus and ordered a blood chemistry panel and an x-ray. We also had a conversation about how timid and shy Lotus is. I explained that she always lived with other animals until this past year. Dr. K recommended adopting another cat so Lotus could have a companion and come out of her shell. She also recommended Prozac, which I was willing to at least try. First, though, we needed to do the x-ray and blood test.

They took Lotus back to complete the test and radiographs. While I waited in the waiting room, I noticed Dr. K get on the phone and talk for quite some time with whoever was on the other end of the line; however, her back was to me so I could not see her body language and facial expressions to gauge what was happening. I just had a bad feeling, but I was trying to stay positive and tell myself, “It isn’t for Lotus, she’s probably on the phone with another client.” I have to admit, I continued waiting for quite some time, longer than I had anticipated. Finally, the main surgical vet at Vet 1, Dr. B, called me into a room, but Lotus wasn’t there waiting for me. Something is going on…

To be continued in PART 3…….

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