Saturday, September 25, 2010

In Which Nikki Visits The Vet And Her Young Roommates Are Unnerved

Nikki had her vet appointment today. It lasted from approximately 11:30 AM to 1:24 PM, which actually isn't that bad considering all that was done and discussed during that interval. Nikki was quite a trooper herself, I have to say...I can only imagine all the pain and confusion and irritation she's had to put up with over the past few days. Hopefully now that she's had her wound well cleaned out, been given a shot of powerful antibiotics, and prescribed a few days' worth of pain medication she will recover quickly.

The picture below shows Nikki this afternoon, at home following her appointment. She is, for the moment, wearing an "Elizabethan collar" (yes, the notorious Head Cone -- thankfully she's taking it a lot better than Cora did after she was spayed!) and her injury site has been shaved of fur in order to permit better drainage.

The reddish fluid running down her side LOOKS alarming but is actually a really good sign -- the vet was able to clean out all the really awful infected pus, so now what's running out is mostly lymph fluid. I was wondering if they were going to bandage her up but apparently it's better with this kind of injury to leave it exposed to the air.

The liquid also needs to keep draining continuously as the infection heals, in order to keep anything nasty from getting trapped under the skin again. I am to apply a warm compress three times daily and clean the area periodically, mopping up any exuded fluid and making sure the wound isn't scabbing over or closing up just yet. The vet's office was also kind enough to send Nikki home with a container of pre-measured doses of pain medication, which thankfully comes in the form of clear liquid in these little syringe-like things I can just squirt into her mouth (getting Nikki to take a pill is...challenging, to say the least; the liquid is MUCH easier).

As far as the forensics of the injury go, per the vet's observations, there is presently only one puncture wound causing trouble. When I first realized Nikki had been bitten I could see two puncture wounds, but apparently one of them was a lot more superficial than the other, leading me to figure she was probably bitten with asymmetrical force. Not sure exactly how this could have happened, but I suppose if she was trying to get away from something, it could have latched onto her side with its mouth in a kind of sideways manner.

The vet also noted that the deep, infected puncture had actually gone all the way through into the muscle, which was scary to hear...that must have been very painful when it happened. On the plus side, though, it didn't puncture through into the abdominal cavity (though the fact that it COULD have freaks me out terribly to even think about).

Of course the matter of Nikki's broken tooth (that being the original reason for the appointment, after all) was also discussed. Thankfully it doesn't look like she is facing an actual dental emergency...the break wasn't down to the pulp, and the vet didn't see much in the way of dental problems at all aside from "mild gingivitis" (which is very common in middle-aged and older cats). However, she (the vet) is still inclined to extract the broken tooth when Nikki goes in for her cleaning (which will have to happen after she's completely healed from her side injury).

I would rather Nikki be able to keep the tooth if possible just to minimize trauma to her mouth, so they'll do an X-ray when she gets the cleaning and determine at that point if her canine is salvageable. I can understand the rationale for removing it "just to be on the safe side" but I at least want the vets to make sure that's really absolutely necessary, rather than randomly pulling it out as a matter of tradition or procedure.

Oh yeah. And another thing. The vet we saw today was new...the kitties' previous vet apparently moved to the Midwest (!!!) at some point during the past few months! I was rather dismayed to hear this as I really liked our old vet...she was ALWAYS willing to get completely technical with me about what she was doing and why, and so patient with the youngsters when they were tiny fierce fearful feral babies.

The new vet seems...okay so far, but younger, and she made a comment about food that has me a little worried. She approves of Nikki's diet (currently a mix of wet and dry commercial cat foods, mainly Fancy Feast and Blue Buffalo Wilderness) but something tells me I'll be getting a bit of tsk-tsking from her when she finds out my other three kitties are mostly raw-fed. Oh well, I was bound to run into that conversation with some vet at some point anyway...perhaps it will be good to get it out of the way.

Coraline, Brodie, and Shadow also had an interesting Caturday today due to Nikki's vet trip and all that entailed. First of all...apparently they all have very long memories, because none of them have been to the vet in over six months, and yet when I brought the carrier into the living room all three youngsters tucked their tails down between their legs and disappeared into the bedroom! Shadow's reaction was the most profound...he's actually spent most of the DAY under the bed, poor guy. Brodie and Cora eventually went over to examine the carrier, but only when I tossed treats sufficiently close to it, and even then they seemed very twitchy.

Then when Matt and I and Nikki got home from the vet's, apparently we all smelled like the vet's office, because the youngsters were even twitchier than before. They were also very rattled by the sound of Nikki (who is, for the moment, confined to the spare bedroom so that she won't potentially get into scraps with the others and risk worsening her injury) banging into walls and furniture with her head-cone. Everyone was so unnerved that they didn't even really want dinner at the usual time...Cora the Bold ate most of hers, but Shadow still hasn't gone for anything other than a few treats, and Brodie only just ate shortly before I sat down to write this post (which was almost four hours after dinnertime proper).

(Picture above shows Brodie, having finally decided dinner sounded good this evening)

(Cora makes an apprehensive face this evening, as if she still doesn't quite trust what's going on around here. Picture was blurry but it captured her expression well.)

(Shadow was still hiding under the bed as of this evening. :/), yeah, not quite what the cats would likely consider the most ideal of Caturdays today, but I am relieved Nikki has now at least seen the vet and been started on the path to getting better.


  1. Those cone thinges are fucken hilarious!

  2. Good to hear that Nikki is much better! With all that TLC she gets she'll be alright again very quickly.

  3. As for giving cats pills, something which has improved both my life and my cat's immeasurably is discovering "pill pockets", little soft treats with a hole into which you stuff the pill and then seal up. The cat never tastes the medicine, just the treat.

    Best wishes for Nikki's speedy recovery!

  4. CPP: I imagine the cats find the cone things more infuriating than hilarious. I'm just relieved Nikki is actually keeping hers on and not going completely ballistic trying to get it off the way Cora did when she had one. :/

  5. Connie: I certainly hope she recovers quickly...she seems to be doing MUCH better today, at least. Right now her biggest point of angst seems to be the fact that she's stuck in the spare bedroom...she seems REALLY bored, and has been scratching relentlessly at the door. :( I go in there periodically to clean her wound and just hang out with her a bit so she doesn't get too lonely, but she is definitely not satisfied with that and I can't exactly blame her.

  6. Cosma Shalizi: Yeah, I've seen Pill Pockets before...I think my younger cats would probably go for those given their fondness for anything resembling "treats", but Nikki is the pickiest cat I've ever met. If I had to give her a pill my best bet would probably be one of those piston-injector things.

  7. I'm sure the kitteh is infuriated, but furious kittehs are fucken hilarious!

  8. It's not that hilarious when said kitteh is leaking out one side and clearly bored, irritated, and in pain. My sense of humor doesn't switch on for that kind of scenario, I guess. Which I am sure Nikki is glad of, considering she gets angry when people laugh (at her or anything else).

  9. Oh, ouch. :( One of my niece's cats had a wound that had to stay open rather than bandaged, and it was kind of heartbreaking (but good to see it heal over a period of days).

    Glad Nikki's healing and doing better, hope that continues.

  10. And yes, it's really hard to find humor in an infuriated wounded kitteh.

  11. Lisa: I need to write an actual update post, but Nikki is indeed doing much, much better. The antibiotics appear to be working well as the wound is no longer really puffy or hot to the touch. Right now her biggest gripe is more about still being stuck in the spare bedroom...I hate keeping her in there as she's so obviously *not having fun*, but I didn't want to risk anything from the rest of the house (or the other cats) getting into such an exposed wound.

    The other cats, meanwhile, are less wiggy and back to eating normally. Possibly the Vet Smell has dissipated by now, though something tells me it's going to the cats once Nikki is healed enough to be let out of her room. I opened the door a crack last night and this morning (when Shadow was at the door to the spare room) and Shadow actually HISSED at Nikki! Which he never does. I mean I didn't even know what his hiss sounded like until I heard it last night.

    I'm guessing that's either a reaction to how SHE smells (Vet Smell may be mostly gone from the house but not from Nikki, as she hasn't been able to groom herself due to the cone) or because she looks scary with the cone on her head. Because when Shadow was hissing his eyes were dilated, not constricted, which indicated fear rather than offensive aggression.

    Ah, cats. Never a dull moment!

  12. I hope they mingle normally once she's able to groom herself again.

    Glad Nikki's doing much much better, too. This kind of thing? Never fun.


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