The State of the Wrah-Wrah.

Good morning! The purpose of today’s post is to update you on the state of the Wrah-Wrah.

For those of you who are new here, Ronnie James, aka the Wrah-Wrah, is the elder of our two little boy cats. We adopted them in France and moved them with us to the States, and now, after being here for about a year and a half, they’re both meowing in English… well, this is true for Nounours. Ronnie James does not actually meow. He talks. In English. He often says, wrahwrahwrahwrahwrah, wrah-wrah!

One More Thing you should know about the Wrah-Wrah is that his namesake is Ronnie James Dio:

 

Ronnie James with my headphones on the left. Ronnie James Dio with his mic on the right. NOT UNLIKE.

Ronnie James with my headphones on the left. Ronnie James Dio with his mic on the right. NOT UNLIKE.

 

One More Thing #2: in addition to talking to us, the Wrah-Wrah loves cuddles, kisses, being held and being with us – as in, physically right next to us – more than any kitty I’ve ever known.

Now for the update!

A few months ago I’d talked about how Ronnie James was diagnosed with asthma. His condition has been worsening despite his inhaler treatments, so the day after we returned from California over Thanksgiving break, we took him back to the doctor. A second chest X-ray revealed shadowy areas on his lungs that completely obscured his heart, whereas in his X-ray of three months ago, his heart was visible. This latest X-ray looked worse than bad. It looked horrible, and I spent the weekend talking myself back down from the edge of despair. But I kept hearing the doctor’s voice. It looks like it could be something attached to his heart, she’d said. Or growths….

It goes without saying that you never want to hear the word “growths” come out of the doctor’s mouth when looking at your baby’s chest X-ray.

So we were relieved to hear the official X-ray analysis and Ronnie James’ diagnosis two days later. He has “collapsed lung and consolidated lung,” a complication of his asthma, apparently. His right lobe is collapsed, along with part of his left lobe. The consolidation aspect means that there’s something in his lungs other than air – indicating, likely, fluid. While none of this is happy news, it’s certainly better than “something attached to his heart” or “growths.”

I don’t have the pictures of his insides to show you this time, so here are some recent photos of him on the outside:

 

Le petit Wrah-Wrah!

Le petit Wrah-Wrah!

 

Wrah-Wrah in his favorite dragon stance on his Mommy's foot.

Wrah-Wrah in his favorite dragon stance on his Mommy’s foot.

 

Oh, yeah… Ronnie James is a dragon.

 

Ronnie James on the left. Night Fury from "How to Train Your Dragon" on the right. NOT UNLIKE.

Ronnie James on the left. Night Fury from “How to Train Your Dragon” on the right. NOT UNLIKE.

 

Ronnie James on the left, Night Fury from How to Train Your Dragon on the right. NOT UNLIKE.

Ronnie James on the left, Night Fury from How to Train Your Dragon on the right. NOT UNLIKE.

 

We were told that Ronnie James’ lungs will never be normal again. I read online that kittens and very young cats can have their collapsed lungs re-inflated in special chambers, but the Wrah-Wrah is ten, so that is not an option for us. What we’re doing is we’re minimizing the trauma with diligent, increased application of his inhaler treatments, and at the moment, we’re also going after any infection that might be present and causing the consolidation of his lungs. The day of his diagnosis, he received an antibiotic injection, and we launched a 14-day course of other antibiotics. I placed a double order of Fluticasone inhalers for his daily dosages (now twice daily), and he has his Albuterol inhaler for rescue situations.

We are lucky. We have a wonderful doctor at the University Animal Hospital, which is the best clinic in town. We have a wonderful overseas pharmacy that offers free shipping. Ronnie James has a wonderful Auntie to take care of him when we’re out of town (which we minimize as much as possible). And Callaghan working as a freelancer means that he’s able to be home with the Wrah-Wrah all day, which is a blessing because the Wrah-Wrah is the happiest when he’s with us, and if he needs his rescue inhaler, his Daddy is here with him.

One more thing… Ronnie James’ blood-work came back showing that his thyroid counts are even higher than before. He hadn’t tolerated his liquid thyroid medication well, so we had our local Diamondback Drugs –another amazing pharmacy! – compound his medication into a gel that we rub onto the inside of his ear once a day. This method of drug administration for kitties is revolutionary, friends, which you can imagine if you’re at all aware of the difficulties of giving kitties their oral meds.

That’s it for the update… thanks for reading and for your support. Ronnie James says “wrahwrahwrahwrah!!”

Happy Friday, All!

Inside the Ronnie James

Just when you thought it was safe to approach your computer (I know, you thought I was going to say “to go back in the water,” since this is shark week)… here’s another cat picture. But there’s a twist to this one:

 

thatasianlookingchick.com-RonnieJames_x-ray

 

That would be the Ronnie James, aka “the Wrah-Wrah.”

Here’s how you’d normally see him:

 

Hi. You can call me the Wrah-Wrah.

Hi. You can call me the Wrah-Wrah.

 

Since the weekend, I’ve been kind of disheartened and distracted thinking about the Wrah-Wrah. We took him to the vet on Saturday, and he was diagnosed with asthma.

This is a controllable situation, but… but. I just feel like a bad kitty mommy.

He’s been uncomfortable for months. With his chronic cough and breathing quirks, we should have taken him in sooner. All this time, we could see and hear him breathing too quickly, too erratically. We could hear him wheezing now and then. We witnessed many of his coughing bouts, always in that same, telltale position, never hacking anything up, but acting as if he was trying to. Then I think back on that scary episode that woke us up one night not too long ago, and I think, why didn’t we take him to the vet immediately after that? Obviously, something wasn’t right.

We did schedule him to see the vet at some point, but at the last minute, something came up, and then he seemed to be okay again, so we cancelled it. It’s allergies, we thought. It’s a hairball, and he’s trying to eject it, we thought. It’s a mild upper respiratory thing. It’ll pass.

That was last month. Finally, after sitting with him through several more weird coughing episodes, we made another appointment. By the time it occurred to us that he really needed to be examined, the earliest appointment available (with the doctor that I wanted, though all the doctors at our clinic are excellent) was for 4:30pm last Saturday. We were heading out to Rage in the Cage, and we were almost late because we were at the vet with the Wrah-Wrah, waiting for his chest x-rays to come back. (Don’t worry… we did stop at home after the vet. We didn’t bring Ronnie James with us to Rage in the Cage, haha.)

When the vet went over the x-rays with us in the examining room, she showed us a frontal view of his chest and pointed at the ghostly white stringy-looking things in his lung area. This bolstered her suspicion of asthma, and the next day, the analyzing radiologist confirmed it. When the vet gave us the images on the disc, we weren’t able to get back to that first view, but you can still kind of see it here:

 

I CAN HAZ ASTHMA.

I CAN HAZ ASTHMA.

 

Apparently, only about 1% of kitties have asthma.

We discussed the available treatment plan options and decided to start with oral medication. It was a process of elimination decision: Ronnie James needs steroid treatment (Prednisone), and the injection option carries the risk of leading to diabetes later in life. There’s also a kitty inhaler we can use in the event of an asthma attack.

We get his Prednisone from Diamondback Drugs, a wonderful veterinary “compounding pharmacy” that prepares medications in a variety of ways. We asked them to make a flavorless liquid Prednisone formula (the liquid preparations are either tasteless or flavored) so the Wrah-Wrah won’t have to go through the daily ordeal of taking a pill.

Also toward the end of reducing his stress as much as possible, we bought a Feliway diffuser, which is like room deodorizer, except humans can’t smell it. Feliway is basically a synthetic version of the feline facial pheromone, and it works like aromatherapy for cats. We plugged it into an outlet in the bedroom, where he spends a lot of time. It actually works really well! The Wrah-Wrah’s nervous over-grooming habit has decreased dramatically since we plugged in the Feliway.

We’re also going to get a humidifier for the bedroom, since dry air can make asthma worse.

Yes… Ronnie James has a condition that’s exacerbated by dry air, and I brought him to the desert. =(

We have an asthmatic Wrah-Wrah, a special-needs Wrah-Wrah, and now we need to learn how to give CPR to kitties (which all kitty parents should probably know, anyway, come to think of it).

So that’s the latest in Ronnie James news, folks. Ronnie James, rockin’ on like his namesake, Ronnie James Dio. He continues to love snuggling up to any headphones he finds lying around.

 

Ronnie James with headphones, July 2013

Ronnie James with headphones, July 2013

 

 

Ronnie James with headphones, August 2014

Ronnie James with headphones, August 2014

 

Happy Friday!