Monday, November 17, 2003

Please give (blood) generously

Friday night it was time to take Smoke back to the vets for another blood test for hyperthyroid, and a repeat prescription. Last time, the sample was taken from a vein in his throat while he was under for the dental work also being done. This time he was conscious, and is back up to 6kg, filling out from being almost all skin and bone.

So as the vet advances on his right forearm with the scissors to clip back the fur, he starts to retreat. An assistant is called in to hang onto said hind limbs. Smoke starts to howl, with all the resonance of a large chested (ex-)tom, and flail with the other forepaw. So I hang onto that, as the vet tries to get the needle into a vein.

At this point I become very glad that Smoke no longer has his two top canines, as he sinks his teeth into the back of my hand, and keeps them there while the vet has to make a second puncturing of the skin to actually find the vein. At this point, Smoke loses bladder control - and being a big cat, he did not do this by halves (even when just spraying to mark territory, he lets fly with spoonsful) "<Expression of surprise> - he's pissing for England here!" was the vet's reaction.

By now a little blood had accumulated in the sample tube - maybe a quarter of a cc at most - and probably about the same as I'd now leaked, so we called a halt, while I was directed over to the vet's scrubbing sink and heavy duty surgical antiseptic wash. At least that meant that the vet and her assistant were left to mop up.

I then had to go back and wait until the test results came out, since we only had a couple of days worth of pills left, so we could get a proper repeat prescription, and the other folk asked wonderingly what had been going on. Smoke had stopped bleeding long before, but my hand was still oozing slowly.

Upshot was that he was now down to low-normal thyroid levels, so we could back off to one pill a day. Fortunately they are the size and colour of large red lentils, so dosing Smoke isn't too much of a pain, especially now that he associates the ordeal with being fed the extra tasty senior-cat formula food, though if he starts to look scrawny again we'll go back up to two for a while - overdoing the dosage just leads to a fat and lazy hypothyroid cat, rather than anything serious.

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