Friday, October 7, 2016

Meet Mr. October: Ahote


Ahote has a very special story - we didn't just pick an orange cat because it is October and the leaves are changing colors. Ahote was brought to us in September as a stray cat that one of our clients had noticed hanging around for a number of weeks. She brought him in for a checkup and he had a microchip! We scanned the microchip and it was registered to a Michigan phone number but a Chicago address. We tried several times to contact the owner at the phone number, but we were unable to contact the owner, so suspect that the contact information is not current. It is VERY important to keep your microchip information current in case of situations like this one! We did learn that the cat's name was Ahote, which means "restless one" in the Hopi language.

Cloudy fluid from Ahote's abdomen
In the meantime, he did not seem to be feeling well. At first, it seemed like he might be coming down with an upper respiratory infection, but he didn't want to eat and seemed very uncomfortable, so we decided to take an x-ray. We were very surprised to see his x-ray when it was developed - there was a BB in him, and a large amount of fluid and debris (effusion) in his abdomen. We tapped his abdomen and found that he had evidence of inflammation in the abdomen (peritonitis) , but no obvious bacterial infection. However, the presence of the BB in him and the sheer number of white blood cells made us concerned that he may have had a perforation in his digestive tract. Other concerns were a condition called steatitis, which is an inflammation of the abdominal fat, and pancreatitis, which is an inflammation of the pancreas. 
Abdominal fluid with WBC, RBC, plasma and fat -  layers from bottom to top

Ahote was upgraded to a critical case at 8pm that night (a Thursday) and we ran bloodwork and prepped him for surgery. His blood clotting times were prolonged, so we knew that he might require a

blood transfusion during surgery, and we were right to be prepared! Dr. Demos and Dr. Bailey quickly performed an exploration of the abdomen, found no leaks in the intestinal tract, but did find some firm lumps of necrotic (decomposing) fat. This confirmed that Ahote had a case of steatitis. We were able to flush the remaining debris from his abdominal cavity and complete the surgery, which was good, because the samples that we had collected from his abdomen earlier grew bacteria, as did the lumpy fatty material we collected from his abdomen. We started him on multiple antibiotics because both the white blood cell count in his blood stream and the cell count from his abdominal fluid were high. A normal white blood cell count in a cat his age should not be higher than 15,000 cells per deciliter of blood. His WBC count was 43,400 cells per deciliter! The white cell count from his abdominal fluid was 156,400 cells per deciliter. Ahote was losing a lot of blood and protein during this procedure, and his blood pressure was so low that it would not register on the blood pressure machine.
Ahote getting prepped for surgery

Once we knew he was going to need a transfusion, Mr. A was prepped for a donation. We needed fresh whole blood ASAP! In addition, while one of our technicians was in surgery with him and the surgeons, another technician was gathering blood from Mr. A, and a third was preparing to get blood on a second cat, as several of our staff members were contacted to bring donors from home on their days off! When the other cats arrived, we continued to use our teamwork to efficiently prepare donors and collect blood and transport it to surgery for administration.

He received two blood transfusion during surgery and several more post-surgery - a total of four whole-blood transfusions and 2 fresh frozen plasma transfusions, because his protein levels were still low after surgery. By 10pm, he was out of surgery, but the doctors were in disagreement as to whether he was going to pull through. He was on blood pressure support medications for 4 days post-surgery, and IV fluids for 6 days after surgery, but he started eating again, and we had hope that he would persevere.

Ahote rubs your legs for his ENTIRE length - even his toes!
As of the last week of September, his white count is almost normal, and he is active and affectionate, though his name, "restless one" definitely fits - he winds around our legs and head-butts and climbs all over us, but is definitely not a lap-sitting cat. He has a peculiar habit of rubbing against a person's leg and then sticking one leg out straight behind him, pointing his toes, and stretching.
It is an adorable thing to see!

He is still taking multiple antibiotics for his peritonitis, as well as Vitamin E and liver supplements for their free-radical scavenging and anti-oxidant properties, to treat the steatitits. We hope that when he is fully recovered, we will be able to find him a good home. We may never know why he developed steatitis, but generally the most common cause is a poor diet, deficient in Vitamin E.

Ahote's care was in-part funded by Foxy's Fund - made possible by generous donations from people like you! Without your help, care for cases like Ahote would not always be feasible for us to manage. Thus far, Ahote has received over $5000 worth of care and treatment. If his story moves you, we hope you would consider donating to his cause through Foxy's Fund and theVeterinary Care Foundation.
Ahote hopes that he can look forward to a bright and happy future!