Friday, June 8, 2012

Samson's Story: Rags to Riches


White persian stray cat
Samson, day 1, September 2012
White persian cat with hair loss and wounds
Samson's wounds and hair loss (see his rat tail?)
Do you think you would ever say that becoming a stray was the best thing that ever happened to a cat? We didn’t think so, either, but in Samson’s case, it may be true!

Samson was a stray Persian-mix cat, approximately 2-3 years old, that was found by one of our clients in September 2011. He was un-neutered, loaded with fleas, missing half of his haircoat, and covered in wounds. He had 4 torn toenails and was terribly thin – only 5.25 pounds. He also had significant dental disease. After a negative Feline Leukemia Virus test and a negative Feline Immunodeficiency Virus test, the people that found him decided to keep him. We treated his wounds, his fleas and his intestinal parasites and neutered him. Due to his fragile condition, we did not vaccinate him at that time.

Ringworm glowing green under black light
Spots of ringworm glowing under black light
White Persian cat with trimmed coat
Samson in January 2012, still fighting ringworm...
Once his wounds had healed, he broke out with ringworm – a skin fungus that he likely picked up while he was outdoors, but may also have had prior to becoming a stray. Samson turned out to have one of the worst and most persistent cases of ringworm that we have ever seen – he was covered with lesions and had to be medicated with oral medications and medicated baths for almost 7 months! We use a black light to look for fluorescence on the hairs when they are infected with ringworm. Poor Samson looked like a glowing leopard!

Feline mouth with gingivitis and dental calculus
Samson's uncomfortable mouth, filled with gingivitis and calculus
Now that he has finally fought off the ringworm, he has more than doubled his weight (10.6 pounds!) is healthy enough that we have been able to vaccinate him, and he is staying with us Tuesday for a dental cleaning and oral surgery to fix his mouth. Unfortunately, after looking at his dental x-rays and probing his teeth with a special probe, it is clear that all of his teeth are diseased except his canines. Perhaps it is genetic, as it is in many cats, or perhaps his time as a severely malnourished stray had some effect on his oral health, but either way, after talking with his owner about options, we will be extracting all the diseased teeth, today. Fortunately, cats are still able to enjoy their food with only a few teeth left, and Samson will be much healthier without all the bacteria festering in his mouth.
A white Persian cat with full coat
Samson, May 2012, ringworm free!

Samson has been so lucky to find such a patient and loving home where he is well-fed and well-cared-for and his new owners are willing to deal with his multiple health issues.