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by Sasha's Mom
Fri May 21, 2010 7:55 am
Forum: Paralysis: Neurological and IVDD
Topic: Sasha's Mom - new member
Replies: 16
Views: 7417

Sasha's Mom - new member

Hello everyone.

My name is Leah and Sasha is my male Persian mix that I have had the honour of caring for since mid-December 2009.

Sasha was thrown out on the street by his previous owners, when the wife of the couple became pregnant. It would be good to mention I am currently residing in Bulgaria, where old wive's tales are sometimes taken as gospel truth. Someone told the couple about the "possible" dangers of a cat's feces harming a fetus, and instead of taking the necessary precautions to avoid harm, the couple simply threw this gorgeous animal out on the street sometime in November 2009.

Fast forward to December 12, 2009:

Sasha's previous owners "refound" their cat on the street in such a horrendous condition that they felt a pang of remorse and took the poor animal to the local vet. When the vet said the cat needed x-rays and were told it would cost 15 leva (less than $10), they said they could not afford it. Another fellow who runs a local kennel offered to pay for the x-ray and the couple agreed. When the vet and kennel owner went into the back room to perform the x-ray, the couple left, abandoning the cat at the vet's. The kennel owner decided to take him in and clean him up. He is a pure white cat that was covered from head to tail tip in feces and fleas. His eyes were glued shut from infection and bloodied here and there from bites. When the kennel owner told me about the cat, I became interested and met him at the vet's with the cat a couple days later. It was love at first sight.

Sasha was in such horrible shape, I don't know where to begin, so let's skip to the big stuff. We don't know why or how his hind legs became paralyzed, but from the hips down, there is paralysis. When I first brought Sasha home, the hind legs were nothing more than fur and bone and he was, of course, incontinent. His initial blood work indicated renal failure, but through excellent nutrition and care, that is no longer a danger. He was infested with fleas, suffered numerous bites and had one broken-off-at-the-root canine tooth, which I finally had extracted this past week. (He was took weak to go under anesthesia and then it was too cold. Vets send animals home immediately after surgery - no facilities for overnight care.)

Sometime in January, rather than being incontinent, he stopped urinating on his own completely. We had a very close call when the cage filled with bloody urine one very cold and snowy afternoon. The vet immediately catheterized Sasha and relieved him of 550 ml (that's 18 oz.) of urine. Another few hours and Sasha would not be with me today. Since that time, after being catheterized, getting infections from the tube, endless disagreements with the vet (got rid of him - he was an arrogant "know-it-all" whose prime income comes from farm animal insemination), I have had to express the bladder manually twice a day. Sasha handles extremely well and daily injections of Nivalin, vitamin pills, etc..., are administered with relative ease. He responds to voice commands for the daily routine and even turns over for his diaper when he knows the "milking" is over. He can move his bowels on his own, but he is usually gracious enough to wait until I am expressing the bladder and sometimes I help him along.

The veterinarians here do not have the same facilities as stateside and I am basically on my own in trying to do what is best for Sasha. I am almost 100% certain there is some degree of neurological damage, but there are no MRIs or CTs for domestic animals here.

In the past five months, he has gained 7 pounds, his legs have filled out again and legs and tail react to some stimuli. He can move his hind legs to a degree, but still drags like a paralyzed animal. I do PT and massage the legs twice a day for about 20 minutes a session and have tried "re-training" him to walk, but to no avail.

That brings me to my first question (finally):
Other than a wheeled cart (I know for fact cats do not acclimate to carts like dogs) are there any specific exercises I can do with him to get him up on his hind legs again?

Going to cut here as this post is already too long and have not mentioned half the problems, but this will give you a general idea of the situation. Main thing is to see what can be done to get Sasha up and moving around again.

:thankyou:
Leah
Sasha's Mom
by Sasha's Mom
Fri May 21, 2010 10:44 am
Forum: Paralysis: Neurological and IVDD
Topic: please help 10 days dog paralysis...........
Replies: 7
Views: 2773

Re: please help 10 days dog paralysis...........

Hi Kelly,

Just read your post and although I am looking for the same answers as you for my cat, I am in Bulgaria and can completely empathize with you when it comes to useless vets. It is likely impossible to find a vet here who can do full work-ups to reach a correct diagnosis.

If you can, ask one of the local pharmacies (and a vet) about Nivalin http://www.nivalin.com/ - not sure if you will need a prescription for it or not. I don't need one here. I am giving a dosage of 2.5 mg a day to my cat and it is supposed to help rebuild nerve endings. All the vets who are aware of it recommend it for paralysis. My cat has been like this for five months, but was taken in like this so I don't know the history of how or when the paralysis began.

Also, use diapers - buy baby diapers, cut a hole for the tail and tape around the hole so the filling doesn't fall out or leak.

Best of luck to you and will watch for updates.

An American in Bulgaria, :)

Leah
by Sasha's Mom
Sat May 22, 2010 5:18 pm
Forum: Paralysis: Neurological and IVDD
Topic: Sasha's Mom - new member
Replies: 16
Views: 7417

Re: Sasha's Mom - new member

Hello Critters and thank you! :wub:

I tend to agree with you about the spinal cord injury. He's not a savvy street cat and when I take him out on the balcony to have a look around, he is terrified by the sound of racing cars. My other cat, Robbie, a feral I took in at 2 or 3 weeks is a complete rascal and incorrigible child at 11 months, and looks at cars like a dog - as something to chase. "Fear" is not a word in his vocabulary! He's a sweetie who loves to be held and cuddled, but is a "play-biter" and the saddest part of the whole situation is I have to keep the two separated. If Sasha had use of his hind legs, he could defend himself, but Robbie jumps on him and sinks the teeth in and that I won't tolerate. Sasha is twice Robbie's size and can scoot around as fast as Robbie can run, but basically defenseless in rough play.

The original vet insisted the paralysis was from malnutrition and laying on the cold ground, and refused to take further x-rays. I put up with him for 3 months and finally told him off after speaking with my vet in New York for over two hours describing the symptoms. Normally, if the paralysis is a temporary injury, from what I've read and been told, a cat should recuperate in less than a month. He also has a sensitive spot in the hip area that he will not tolerate being touched and favors one side over the other. He's a mush of a cat and I'd do anything to see him walk.

I am very lucky that he drinks sufficient amounts of water and his urine output is clear, usually a steady stream and he is very compliant during the two to three times a day ordeal. I did have to do sub-q's a the first couple of months, but thank God, he now stays well hydrated. He's also an extremely picky eater and only eats dry Royal Canin, whether it's renal care urinary or hairball, as long as it's Royal Canin, he'll eat it and homemade chicken soup... :roll:

Thank you for the info on Phenoxybenzamine (PBZ). I will certainly ask my vet if it's available here and if not will find it. There are days he is very difficult to express and that could be a big help. The bladder incident occurred when he transitioned from being incontinent to not being able to urinate at all. I was taking him to the vet every day for almost 3 weeks and during the very cold weather and heavy snows we had, the vet came here. It was a relief for me (and Sasha) when I finally learned how to express him myself.

I've been reading the links here and there is so much new information, it will take a while to digest it all.

Thank you again. I appreciate the response.

Leah
by Sasha's Mom
Sat May 22, 2010 11:52 pm
Forum: Paralysis: Neurological and IVDD
Topic: Sasha's Mom - new member
Replies: 16
Views: 7417

Re: Sasha's Mom - new member

Christine wrote: :welcomeheart: Bless you for taking this beautiful little girl in. The before clean up pictures just break my heart! Please definitely stick around. We have some true cat experts here with hearts of gold. You met one of them in Critters. Sasha, Bendy's mom is another and that's just two of them. We are glad you are here!
Thank you for the warm welcome, Christine. As I wrote above, it was love at first sight when I met Sasha (formerly called "Didi").

Very glad I found this forum - the information here is very good. Watched a few of the linked videos in addition to reading articles and extremely relieved to find I have been doing almost precisely what needs to be done, just from instinct. Glad to be here. :)

Ah, there is another Sasha on board (Bendy's mom)? My Sasha (Bulgarian nickname for Alexander) is an beautiful intact male! :mrgreen:
by Sasha's Mom
Sun May 23, 2010 12:48 am
Forum: Paralysis: Neurological and IVDD
Topic: Sasha's Mom - new member
Replies: 16
Views: 7417

Re: Sasha's Mom - new member

Either it is too early in the morning for me or I am losing my mind! I was in the middle of replying to a post by Carol and when I went to submit my response, I received a "message does not exist" notice! :|

Anyway, yes, Carol (wherever your post went!), I will certainly take your advice and have further x-rays of the hip area done.

When I first took Sasha in, the hind legs were atrophied, ice cold, pads completely dried out and the muscle was paper thin. He was nothing but fur and bones. His legs filled out beautifully and he does have movement in all joints. Usually these are spastic movements (i.e.: kicking when expressing), but that means the nerves are still connected. He has even started moving his tail at the base, to a degree. He shows good resistance when I manipulate his legs and the toes respond to being tickled (jerks leg back) and massaged (spreads his toes). I gently pull both legs at the same time when he is in the kennel, and he responds with a good cat stretch. The biggest concern is he is afraid to rest his legs on his ankles (as when walking) and has the "cross-over" reaction (legs cross each other) when I raise and support him on his haunches. He has sat on his hind quarters for about ten seconds (with help), but then collapses. When expressing him, I have a 3 cornered box that I put him in for stability and when I say, "Upsie-dasiy!", he gets into position for expressing. He's incredibly easy to work with and responds to commands almost immediately. Will have to take photos and post to show the procedure I came up with - much easier than what I've seen in some other photos here. Easier for the caretaker as well.

I am still wondering what happened to your post, and responding to what I can recall. It was quite informative and thank you very much.

Leah
by Sasha's Mom
Sun May 23, 2010 1:11 am
Forum: Paralysis: Neurological and IVDD
Topic: Update on Layla
Replies: 11
Views: 3100

Re: Update on Layla

Just finished reading your other post about how to handle people and very happy to hear they will soon all be eating their words of negativity.

Hang in there and tell the naysayers to self-fornicate. Sorry about that, but they do not deserve a more graceful response. Don't ever let anyone get you down and your love and patience will conquer all!

Keep up the good work and I will follow your updates. :trophy:

Leah
Sasha's mom!
by Sasha's Mom
Sun May 23, 2010 2:27 am
Forum: Paralysis: Neurological and IVDD
Topic: Sasha's Mom - new member
Replies: 16
Views: 7417

Re: Sasha's Mom - new member

Carol,

Thanks so much for reposting. Even if it does not apply completely, you verified some of my feelings (and actions) and the post is certainly beneficial, as you will read in my response when you have time. Gleaning information becomes a specialty in cases like this, as you well know, and nothing is ever irrelevant or too much to consider. :)

Sleep tight!
Leah
by Sasha's Mom
Sun May 23, 2010 2:46 am
Forum: Paralysis: Neurological and IVDD
Topic: Another procedure for expressing a cat.
Replies: 5
Views: 1978

Another procedure for expressing a cat.

I was looking at some of the photos posted elsewhere here on ways to express cats and dogs and would like to add my set-up, as it seems a little less complicated and easier on both the animal and caregiver.

Of course, this will not work for a large dog, but for a cat, it retains him in a small area, keeps him in a normal elimination position and easy on the care-giver's back. Also, as most of you know who do this several times a day, you have to take breaks to do full elimination and Sasha rests in the box during the 5 to 10 minute breaks. I have a waterproof baby crib pad on the bottom and a sponge in the right hand corner to absorb any drips during break time.

I think the photos are pretty self-explanatory. I use World's Best cat litter (have to import it from the UK) as it is all natural (made from corn), safer than clay based litters and flushes without clumping and clogging the toilet.

I use little Styrofoam trays from the supermarket as the "litter box" with a napkin in the bottom to prevent the litter from sticking and easier to come clean for disposal.

Hope this is of use to some of you. :)

Happy milking!
Leah
by Sasha's Mom
Sun May 23, 2010 3:26 am
Forum: Other Problems
Topic: Cats that bite - hard - in play...
Replies: 32
Views: 11033

Cats that bite - hard - in play...

I have an eleven month old neutered male feral, Robbie, that I brought in when he was about 2 or 3 weeks old. He is extremely affectionate, loves to be held, cuddled, will stay perched and purring on my shoulder when I walk around, but he is and was a biter from day one. Initially, I thought he was teething, then I thought it was a reaction to adding another male to the house (disabled and intact), so I had Robbie neutered. It effectively ended the urine odor and spraying, but not the biting.

He will attack anything that moves (most notably my poor ankles, those of guests and my disabled cat), and nine times out of ten, will bite when you attempt to pet him.

I have tried everything to get him to stop and have run out of variations on the theme. He is 100% healthy and otherwise a very good natured cat, except I think his feral instincts outweigh everything else.

At one point, I took a Jalapeño pepper and rubbed it against his teeth - just a little - and that worked for about a week. Afterward, it actually seemed he started enjoying the taste and I decided it may not be the wisest solution to the problem.

Any ideas would be greatly appreciated. My biggest concern is trying to get the disabled cat (Sasha) and Robbie in the same room without having Sasha brought down by this little pip-squeak who is half Sasha's size. I don't like isolating either cat, but they have to take turns in the kennel and in various rooms of the apartment at this point to keep them separated.

Thank you!
Leah
by Sasha's Mom
Sun May 23, 2010 6:51 am
Forum: Other Problems
Topic: Cats that bite - hard - in play...
Replies: 32
Views: 11033

Re: Cats that bite - hard - in play...

You guessed correctly, Gabriel! I've even gotten down on all fours, growled and hissed at him in such a way, my other cat scampers under the sofa, but Robbie just sits there looking at me with eyes saying, "You're nuts! You deserve what you get!"

I've growled like a dog, snorted like a pig, hissed like cat, clapped hands, stomped feet, rattled tin cans, sprayed water from a bottle, castrated him (I still use that as a threat and then remember I already tried that)... I yell, I plead, I beg; and he's gone flying a couple of times, as a knee-jerk reaction from me when he bites my ankles, and he comes right back at me. Doesn't listen for anything - never had such an incorrigible cat in my life! Right now, he's sitting in my lap, purring away like the sweetest kid on the block.

As mentioned previously, the only thing that ever worked was a hot pepper gently rubbed across his teeth - until he seemed to acquire a taste for them.

A bit of then and now photos. :)
by Sasha's Mom
Sun May 23, 2010 7:14 am
Forum: Paralysis: Neurological and IVDD
Topic: Sasha's Mom - new member
Replies: 16
Views: 7417

Re: Sasha's Mom - new member

Sasha said, "Not a problem!" :wub:

He reminds me of a female Turkish Van I once rescued, and it took me quite some time to call him "he" instead of "she". His original name, "Didi", is the name of my best female friend and Sasha, with the "a" on the end, also denotes female gender, but he's all boy, believe me.

Sleep? Isn't that something cats do amazingly well? Yup, I'm a proponent of late to bed, early to rise! Sleep is such a wasteful activity! :D
by Sasha's Mom
Sun May 23, 2010 12:52 pm
Forum: Paralysis: Neurological and IVDD
Topic: Another procedure for expressing a cat.
Replies: 5
Views: 1978

Re: Another procedure for expressing a cat.

Thanks, Critters! Sasha is blushing and sending his thanks as well!! :wub:
He knows I am helping and is so well-behaved and compliant, it brings tears to my eyes at times. He is a bit camera shy though. :)

Pic 8 is "assuming the position" and how I hold him, while 9 is how I express him. I do 8 & 9 at the same time. Had to hold the camera with one hand, so couldn't get it all into one shot! :mrgreen:
by Sasha's Mom
Sun May 23, 2010 1:24 pm
Forum: Other Problems
Topic: Cats that bite - hard - in play...
Replies: 32
Views: 11033

Re: Cats that bite - hard - in play...

Thank you Gabriel. Yes, he is gorgeous and loves to have his picture taken! He has great sharp markings too, but such a little :twisted: !!

I know that picture you posted well - that's how Robbie attacks Sasha. He goes for the back and the neck from underneath, which really scares me a bit. He'll jump up on my arm and hang on so tightly with his legs and paws (doesn't claw, thank heavens), while biting, I have to pry him off.

I forgot, holding him down by the scruff of the neck for a few seconds with a very firm, "NO," also worked for a while. Have to go back and try that again. Thank you for the refresher. I've tried so many things that were useless, I'm starting to forget the things that worked for a day or so. I tried a dab of salt the other day and he reacted the same way as with lemon - he ran away for two seconds and then came back, sitting at my feet licking his chops...

I have alpha rolled Robbie and we just wind up getting into a good healthy cat fight! :mrgreen: There are times I feel sorry for him - he really loves to rough-house-play, I don't like encouraging it, but sometimes I just give in to satisfy his instincts. What baffles me is how Robbie loves to be picked up, cuddled and held. I could walk around with him hanging off my shoulder all day and he'll literally hang there like a rag doll and purr away. The instant I sit down, he's in my lap and I take turns with Sasha and Robbie sleeping with me at night.

I'm just thinking, maybe what I need is a dog that will take to Sasha and protect him from Robbie. I have also thought of introducing a female kitten into the mix as a playmate for Sasha and potential protectress. I had 3 females in NY (two are still together with a friend in NY, the third, passed at 15 years. The one who passed was an angel, never scratched, bit or upset my over 200 bonsai once in 15 years. She obeyed ever single command like a little soldier, but would not take to a Turkish Van I rescued. The Turkish Van was in such bad shape, it took over 3 years and $5k to get her healthy enough to have her spayed. I brought a kitten home for her and they became inseparable. They stuck together like Siamese twins. The older cat was my buddy, so we were all happy. :idea: Maybe a third cat would break the cycle. Have to sleep on that for a couple of days.

Thank you!!
by Sasha's Mom
Sun May 23, 2010 1:33 pm
Forum: Other Problems
Topic: Cats that bite - hard - in play...
Replies: 32
Views: 11033

Re: Cats that bite - hard - in play...

critters wrote:Hmm. It takes a lot of time and consistent reprimands. When he goes after Sasha, I'd try a water pistol. When mine bite me hard, I simply say "NO!" and ignore them for awhile; babies are usually so attention-driven that they figure it out in a hurry!
Mmm... I use a spray bottle from across the room when he jumps on Sasha's kennel when he's trying to rest, and THAT works. I still don't think he can figure out where the water is coming from and he does stay away for a while. I have to see if they sell water guns here - haven't seen the kids playing with them, but keeping one in my pocket and giving him a good squirt may just do the trick.

:thankyou:
by Sasha's Mom
Sun May 23, 2010 1:54 pm
Forum: Paralysis: Neurological and IVDD
Topic: Sasha's Mom - new member
Replies: 16
Views: 7417

Re: Sasha's Mom - new member

Critters, I get so angry with Robbie at times, he does get bounced around, but as I posted in the "Other" forum, he loves rough-housing. He thinks I'm playing with him. He's a tough guy. Maybe I should get him a black leather jacket and sunglasses! I found Robbie in our driveway - another little sewer-rat fartling!

The worst part of this whole thing is being in Bulgaria - the vets here just do not have the facilities like in the states. I asked for a contrast x-ray and the vets never heard of it. They laughed when I asked for an MRI or CT. Medications are sold over-the-counter, but they don't carry the same meds here as in the states. I just realized I've been giving Sasha a daily pill since I've had him that I thought were vitamins and it turned out they were to keep the liver healthy. Not a bad thing, but the original vet told me they were vitamins. They don't always tell the truth and yes, dumping the first vet was the healthiest decision I made for Sasha. You have no idea how that SOB lied to me. I almost lost him several times because of him. Grrrrrr!! They don't cater to house pets - farm animals and horses are the big vet thing here.

Everything is guess work. I just keeping doing the PT and research, research, research. This is the first forum I've found that has good information. Posted on one before and got such asinine responses, I gave up. Will have to look up the meds you mention online and see what the European equivalents are. Thank you again and again!!

:trophy: Leah