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FIP - A Frightening Illness in Cats

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Message Suzana Megles

Sadly, this morning I found Little Boy, a cat, sprawled out on the lawn in front of my Blessed Virgin Mary statue. As I was on my way to church for the morning liturgy, I knew it would have to be postponed now til evening. Little Boy needed my attention, but at this point he looked just like my poor Friendly, a stray who had died earlier in the week. I had been feeding her on my porch for a few months and I was heartbroken to find her dead as I was walking Casey on "our" rosary walk. I immediately went into the house and called Allen because Little Boy was his cat and told him the sad news.

Moments later I went to check on Little Boy and he moaned and moved. So, I called Allen again and asked him to take us to the vet so that Little Boy could be freed from further suffering. Earlier we both had noticed that he had a bloated stomach and certainly this was a reason for concern. Supposedly, Allen would further check with a vet as my efforts on the internet were less than satisfactory. Later he told me that the vet he called thought that someone had possibly kicked him in the stomach. I marveled at this primitive judgment though I knew that the vet had not seen Little Boy. But if she indeed was a vet -certainly a bloated stomach would have registered the serious sickness in cats called FIP or Feline Infectious Peritonitis.

Though my checking on the internet had not been helpful, I had e-mailed Vicky, a long-distanced friend, who first clued me in onto this very serious illness. There is wet and dry FIP and clearly Little Boy had the wet. His stomach was bloated with water which eventually filled his lungs and stopped his breathing. This illness is described very well on the internet and I hope anyone with cats will take the time to read about the symptoms and where or when this may make its appearence. Sadly, it is usually fatal and any medical help may just give owners a little bit more time before the inevitable.

Vicky has been in animal rescue for 24 years and recently e-mailed me that she had to stop. She was completely spent. She was looking forward to her first vacation in 24 years. God bless her for her loving care and concern for all those years. It is always sad to me that people like her have to work so hard to care for the progeny of irresponsible people who don't neuter or spay their companion animals. Bob Barker on the Price Is Right ended each program with that request - neuter and spay your animals, and I am glad that Drew Carey, his successor, ends the program the same way. Re Vicky, I'm sure that she will resume at least some aspect of animal rescue because she is too caring to just walk away completely.

Vicky did tell me though through an e-mail that it seems like Little Boy may have FIP. She had once worked as a veternarian assistant so she was often quite savvy re diagnosing dog and cat problems. She really hit it on the button. It was a diagnosis no one wants to hear when they read about FIP - a disease for which there is no real medical help.

Sadly when Allen took us to one Animal Hospital, it wasn't opened til 9 and no doctors were available before then. But the receptionist gave us the number for the other Lakewood Animal Hospital and they were open and ready to see Little Boy. Thank you God. This hospital's personnel were extremely kind and helpful. By the time I laid Little Boy down on the table, I knew that he was already dead. And the beautiful lady vet got out her stethoscope to verify it.

I told her that we would be taking Little Boy home for burial and she even kindly provided a box for him because I had brought him only in a towel. When I went to the front desk to pay for the visit, I was told there was no charge. How often does this happen? God bless this animal hospital and its caring personnel. I have had issues all my life with vets and animal hospitals because of the number of my dogs and cats I tried to help and so many unsucessfully. Sometimes I applauded their work. Sometimes, I felt they let me down. However, I realize that no doctors or vets will always provide the best solutions. Sometimes it was my own poor decisions which led to unhappy conclusions. However, God bless those who tried to do their very best and may He help those who need to improve their skills. During my lifetime, I was anything but a paragon of perfection, and though it seems I am harsh re my appraisal of vets, I know we need them as we need all professionals.

I was suppose to dig a spot in my yard for Friendly today because this week's days were in the 90's and I would wait for a cooler Friday while putting Friendly in the upstairs frig I usually fill with bird bread. Well today I asked Allen to dig a grave big enough for both Friendly and Little Boy. They probably had met each other on my porch at one time or other for food. So now these eating "buddies" would rest together in peace. My only consolation is that they will suffer no more. And I thank God for their precious lives. We forget that life is precious to them as it is to us.

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I have been concerned about animal suffering ever since
I received my first puppy Peaches in 1975. She made me take a good look at the animal kingdom and I was shocked to see how badly we treat so many animals. At 77, I've been a vegan for the (more...)
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