Friday, June 15, 2012

Foxy Socksy needs some help!

Gray and white kitten

Foxy Socksy started vomiting when she started eating solid food. Until that time, she appeared to be a normal, healthy kitten. She and her brother were separated from their mother 10 days after birth, and were being bottle raised by a caring family. After visiting two other veterinary hospitals and being treated with oral medications for vomiting, she was showing no improvement and was significantly falling behind her brother in weight.

Radiograph of esophageal stricture
Barium highlights the stricture
When she came to Exclusively Cats Veterinary Hospital, we took x-rays and discovered that she either has a stricture (narrowing) of the tube that connects the mouth to the stomach – the esophagus – or she has a developmental problem called a vascular ring anomaly (where an abnormal blood vessel grows around the esophagus and pinches it). We gave her some barium, which helps highlight anatomy, and it shows that the part of the esophagus between the 5th and 6th rib is definitely narrowed.
Gray and white kitten being hugged by a technician
Snuggles and pets after anesthesia

Since she is so small, we want her to gain weight before we perform surgery on her. Also, we want to better know what to expect in surgery, so first, we want to take a special kind of x-ray called an angiogram that highlights the blood vessels for us.

In the meantime, to help her grow, we have been stretching the esophagus by dilating it while she is under anesthesia with larger and larger tubes. This allows her to take in some solid food, even though she still needs to stand up on her hind legs to eat.

Each night, she goes home with one of our staff members so that she can be monitored and cleaned up, if needed. She becomes very distressed when she vomits, so she gets lots of snuggles and reassurance when that happens.
Gray and white kitten standing on hind legs to eat
Eating like this allows food to trickle down her throat

So far, she has had two dilations performed – one on 6/6 and one on 6/14, and she has gained a quarter of a pound. After the first dilation, she was quite improved for about 2-3 days, then the stricture narrowed again. We are being cautiously optimistic about her progress, but she has a long road ahead of her.

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