- Opal Stuff
- November 18th, 17:25
I should have written this weeks ago, but I've had a ton to do.
Opal has been on abx for her toe infection since around March. She has been on Clavamox all that time. The infection was sloooowly getting better, but was not yet gone. Then a few weeks ago it seemed to be making a resurgence. I took her in for a checkup. I also thought her allergies were getting worse because she seemed very itchy and tired all the time.
While she was at the vet, her tail started twitching. I mentioned to the vet that we joke that she has "restless tail syndrome", because her tail moves a lot and it often seems to bother her- it wakes her up sometimes. The vet, in turn, mentioned something called "feline hyperesthesia syndrome", which is a type of motor nerve epilepsy. He said "Sometimes cats get all twitchy and their backs start twitching and they run around all crazy." Well, that sounded like Opal! So I looked it up when we got home and it is TOTALLY what she has.
The symptoms that I was thinking of as her being more itchy are actually this feline hyperesthesia. I am actually shocked that my vet in Houston never even mentioned this stuff, because Opal is textbook! FHS can be aggravated by food allergies, which explains why taking her off of foods she is allergic to helped so much. Also, FHS is very rare, but Siamese cats are among the few breeds that are prone to it.
I read that her allergy medicine can actually cause anxiety in cats sometimes, and wondered if this was causing her FHS to be worse. So, we took her off of the allergy medicine for an experiment. She was like a new cat! She was doing great- less FHS, but also more energy, more happiness. She had seemed depressed for a bit and it appears that the allergy medicine was to blame. Off of it, she was suddenly kitteny again: she wants to play constantly, she's super-happy and lovey, etc. Suddenly she's chasing Serena around and beating her ass like old times.
Here I had been thinking "Opal is getting old, she's slowing down," when in fact she was basically depressed and sedated by the medication. Now here she is at 10-12 years old, raising hell! She is super-active and athletic again. She's like a happy kitten! Serena is also thrilled because Opal is playing with her really hard like she likes. They've both lost weight from all this activity, so we have to start feeding them more. So much chasing going on!
Then on Friday before last (11/8), she had a wheezing and coughing fit. So, we knew she had to be back on the pills. We decided to try halving her dose (giving her 1/4 of a pill instead of 1/2 of a pill) and that seems to be the sweet spot. Now she has very little FHS, and is still happy and active (OMG, she is such a hellcat now. I love it.) but also, no wheezing.
At the same time, the vets wanted to change her antibiotic. They did a culture of the bacteria and found that they are a collection of various staph bacteria which ARE sensitive to the clavamox, but they still thought a switch would be good. They suggested a medication called Convenia. It is an injectable abx that stays active for two weeks (so you get a shot every two weeks) but stays in the body for two MONTHS. I felt uncomfortable with this antibiotic for a few reasons: one, if there is an adverse reaction, you are dealing with it for TWO MONTHS. Two, cats have a tendency to develop skin cancer at injection sites. This is why we seldom vaccinate our cats.
I decided to refuse the Convenia. The vet did not seem pleased, but they did go along with it and now Opal is on "cefpodoxime proxetil" and seems to be doing fine. She is happy, cheerful, and super-playful. We trimmed her nails the other day without any problems, so it's possible that her anxiety around that may have been related to the allergy meds, too. (Since the early days of her abx treatment, when I had to clean her nails with nolvasan or peroxide, she became very aggressive when I trimmed them too, doing things like growling, biting me, and swiping at my face. It had reached a point where B had to physically restrain her for me to trim her nails without violence.)