This will be hard to write but I feel I must share something that could potentially save another kitty and the heartache of it's family...
This past week has been difficult after losing our dear Duchess. I have shed a lot of tears and I'm still feeling quite sad. The house seems so empty without her. I've done a lot of re-playing in my head of the last months and especially the last week of her life and have come to a conclusion. I'll back up a bit to fill you in before I share that conclusion.
Duchess was only 11 years old. That's still young for a kitty. They often live much longer. She was very healthy. The only problem she was having was an occasional minute or so that she had a little asthma type of attack. It sounded like a quiet cough and a little wheezing. It always cleared up very quickly...a minute or so. And, it rarely happened....maybe once every several months. However, it became more frequent this past month. I thought it might have been an allergic reaction to the scent in her kitty litter. We changed to unscented litter and took her to the vet for a check up. She seemed to be the picture of health aside from the asthma. The vet thought her weight was perfect. Her teeth, eyes, ears, and fur looked great. Her heart was beating perfectly. He felt it would be best to give her a corticosteroid injection. He said it could eliminate or help with her asthma attacks and last up to three months. And, if she still had asthma attacks, we could get an inhaler for her. I questioned the safety of the injection several times and after talking it over with my husband and daughter we decided to let them give it to her.
Over the course of the next week she became less and less herself with each passing day. One week after the injection, she lost her appetite and the next morning she was having difficulty breathing....but in a very different way. It was short and fast. We rushed her to the vet. He gave her asthma meds and we waited. Nothing seemed to help. He strongly suggested that we take her to a specialist/the local emergency vet. We all thought that the asthma meds just needed more time and that letting her rest in an oxygen chamber would help. It didn't. They decided later in the day that she was experiencing heart failure and treated her for that using Lasix. It did nothing. When we saw her that evening she was gasping for breath. It was SO HARD to see. There was really nothing more that could be done and she was declining fast. We just couldn't let our poor baby suffer any longer. We had to let her go...no matter how hard it was. And, it was and is HARD!
Since then, I've done some research on her condition and what was used to treat her and found out that the corticosteroid injection is extremely risky and has a high danger of causing heart failure. Finding that out was devastating! I wish SO MUCH that I could go back to that original vet visit not allow her to have that injection. I wish we could go back and just get her an inhaler. I feel so strongly that it was that injection that killed her and that is SO HARD to take. I should have done what I do with an human member of our family...research before allowing any treatments. What a tragic lesson!
I had to share this just in case anyone who reads this ever has a kitty who develops asthma. Be very careful about the corticosteroids or even avoid them. And, to be careful in general with treatments of any kind. We trust our vets and I know they are doing the best they can and using meds that they believe will help. But, it can't hurt to do a little research and wait a bit to think on the options. Of course, I don't know for sure, but I STRONGLY believe that our dear Duchess would still be here if we had done that. That is such a horrible feeling that I wouldn't want anyone else to ever go through.
I think the loss of Duchess has been harder than the loss of any of my previous pets. She was so awesome! She loved to be with us and snuggle up next to us or lay on our laps. She snuggled under the covers when it was cold...and sometimes when it wasn't. She loved to travel and go camping with us. She always knew when we were loading the RV and would hang out in the living room with her eye on the door to be sure we didn't forget her. She was my knitting buddy. She even watched TV sometimes. I could go on and on. She was a wonderful companion and I miss terribly. I know it will get easier with time. I think I actually made it through yesterday without crying. But, I think it'll be a while before we're ready for to open our broken hearts to a new kitty.
I promise to get back to happier posts. But, thanks for stopping by and for all the caring comments that so many of you have left. It means a LOT.