Wednesday, June 9, 2010
Tocho needs your hope and help
Tocho has become one of CLAWS 2010 rehabilitation favorites for many people. At least many of her pictures have.
She came to CLAWS as a two week old bobcat kitten, from another rehabber who had lost her 3 siblings and could not figure out why. For several weeks, Tocho flourished and thrived here at CLAWS. She has been such a pleasure to rehabilitate, especially because having bobcats in rehabilitation is so rare.
Right about the time Tocho turned five weeks old, just as serious toddling began, things started to become worrisome. She spent one entire day acting very strangely, uncoordinated, lethargic and just “off”. With only one caretaker, Kindra is intimately aware of all of Tocho’s behaviors, so she immediately noticed something was just not right and became very concerned.
Understanding that everybody needs a little help sometimes, Kindra started making calls to several friends and associates and finally spoke with a prominent breeder of bobcats, who has been breeding them for decades. She was assured that this was normal at Tocho’s age. What she explained was very similar to a human child’s growth spurt at six weeks of age. She did say to go ahead and give her some antibiotics for three days, just in case.
Much relieved, Kindra gave her a dose of antibiotics and waited. Very suddenly, at 2am, Tocho started acting quite normally and becoming the playful kitty that she should be.
Well, 4 days after Kindra stopped the antibiotics, Tocho took a serious turn for the worse which had Kindra in a full on panic. This episode was much, much worse than before. She was having severe tremors, almost to the point of seizures, could not focus on anything, and when she tried to take her bottle, her front legs would stiffen, flail frantically and she could not suck properly, simply swallow as the formula was put into her mouth. Panicked, Kindra emailed the vet, who answered at 5am saying to bring her in. At this point this had been going on for just over a week. Well, that was a Friday and the vet’s schedule was too busy, so an appointment was made for the upcoming Monday.
The weekend went by with just a few “episodes” with Tocho. Kindra put her back on antibiotics, as the vet agreed she should and things went by alright, not as scary as the Thursday night before but still a bit unfocused and having tremors.
Monday came, Tocho could not have a bottle after midnight, so, by her 11:30 am appointment, she was VERY hungry and a bit cranky, for her that is, for most, not so much. She was really such a little trooper during the whole visit! The vet tried not to have to sedate her for her blood test, but that stressed her out too badly. And, not having had a bottle (meaning no fluids) for so long, her blood wasn’t cooperating very well and she had to be sedated. She only weighed 1 7/8 pounds, so only 5ccs of blood could be safely taken. This was enough for quite a few tests, though it was thought, at that time, that we may wait a week to allow her to build her blood supply back and run more tests a week later.
Unfortunately, the tests cost much more than Kindra expected, over $400, even with a nice discount from the vet. Luckily, between her blood tests and the physical exam, the vet was able to rule out anything contagious or actually life threatening. At this point, it was determined that more tests were most likely not necessary at this time, and a diagnosis was made, based on her having “intention tremors”, apparently common in cats with the diagnosis she received. Her diagnosis was given as the equivalent of kitty cerebral palsy (called cerebellar hypoplasia or “spastic cat syndrome”). To read about this condition and it’s cause, you can go to these two sites http://www.marvistavet.com/html/body_cerebellar_hypoplasia.html and http://www.messybeast.com/disabled.htm#CH
Which is better than what was previously suspected, diabetes. So no daily shots. Though, still not what any of us wanted to hear.
What does this mean for Miss Tocho? Well, a lifetime of tremors and special attention to safety, so that if she has bad episodes, she does not hurt herself. She can live a long and happy life, but there are still the current expenses to pay for and possible future expenses.
There is still a small chance this could be a thiamine issue, something which prevents her from absorbing properly, but it is not looking that way.
We are asking that you please keep Tocho in your thoughts. Any and all donations toward her medical expenses would also be greatly appreciated.