By Nancy Allen
Kit was a very sweet tiny kitten that came to my house and was quickly adopted by my husband and me. Things all went well for awhile until one time I noticed she had injured her tongue. I took her to my vet at the time. This was before I discovered my present vet, Dr. Vickie Brandon, at Felines and Friends. The vet thought she had bitten an electrical cord that had caused the injury. However, I was a bit skeptical as it didn't look like a burn to me.
Several weeks later I determined the real cause of her tongue injury when I observed her having a grand mal seizure. I am a nurse so knew immediately what was happening. I knew then she had bitten her tongue not an electrical cord. I gave her some medicine regularly, but she still had about one seizure a month for the rest of her life. One time she had a seizure in the bathroom sink. Thankfully, I noticed as she appeared to have stopped breathing. I blew some puffs of air into her nose. She began breathing again. She was a house cat the rest of her life for safety reasons.
Things went along well for a number of years. Kit was a quiet, gentle cat who was a nice addition to our home. She got along well with the other cats.
Unfortunately, as she got to be an older cat some serious health problems set in. I took her to Dr. Brandon who checked her for a thyroid problem. I don't remember her symptoms at the time. Kit began to take some medication to suppress her excessive thyroid production. After awhile I noticed she was really fixated on lying down on the heating vents to stay warm. This was a new development. I mentioned that to my vet and she asked me to bring her over to the office. It turned out she was going into liver failure as a side effect of her thyroid medicine. She was also starting to get some yellowing in the whites of her eyes which normally wouldn't be noticed in a cat unless you pulled her eyelid up or down. This was an emergency. We stopped the thyroid medicine and then began a fight to save her life. The liver is responsible for helping generate heat in the body. So when the liver quits working properly, a cat or a person feels cold. That was why she stayed on the heating vents all the time. Also, the liver is a necessary organ for life, so I knew it had to heal for her to stay alive. That was a very worrisome thought.
I spent a lot of time in prayer for her recovery as we waited for the thyroid suppression medicine to get out of her system. We didn't know if it would or if she would die. It was a very nerve racking, stressful time for my husband and me. I was positively scared to death she would die. I was very attached to her. I really think that because my fear for Kit was so strong, that Satan was probably attacking me about it. It was relentless, day after day.
Finally, remarkably, after several weeks her liver returned to normal. So now, we could either wait for her to die eventually from her hyperthyroidism or I could take her to the Oklahoma State University Boren Veterinary Teaching Hospital in Stillwater, OK, a 2 hour drive one way, so she could receive an expensive treatment of radioactive iodine to heal her of the hyperthyroidism. So that required a number of trips to Stillwater. The first time I stayed several days in a motel with her as she had to go for daily tests. She was finally approved for the treatment. It was at least a week later so we went back home.
My husband Arnold and I finally took her up for her treatment which would last for about a week. We dropped her off and she got her injection of the radioactive iodine. She had to stay in a pen there for several days in isolation. I warned them she might have a seizure so they promised me they would put some pillows in her pen. Finally, we were able to pick her up and take her home. We had to use special precautions handling her litter for about a week, I believe.
Kit in the Garden Window August 1999
All went well for awhile until I noticed one day that she was bumping into chairs in the kitchen. I rushed her back to Dr. Brandon and she determined what I feared. Kit had lost all or most of her vision. That was a really crushing blow after all she and we had been through. We immediately set up an appointment for her in Oklahoma City at a veterinary ophthalmologist, Virginia A. Schultz, D.V.M., M.S. She is extremely well trained in that field. That clinic is the Eye Care Clinic for Animals. Dr. Schultz discovered Kit had lost all or most of her vision probably due to high blood pressure that affected her retinas when she had the hyperthyroidism. Nothing medically could be done. I was very impressed with the doctor who appeared extremely intelligent and caring. She said Kit was lucky that she was able to have the hyperthyroid treatment. We took her home expecting her to be totally blind the rest of her life. An odd thing happened though, she soon seemed to be functioning normally. All we could conclude was that she had regained some of her vision, at least enough to function safely and well in her home where she knew where everything was. It was a joyous, unexpected and rather puzzling development. An answer to prayer? I believe so.
Thanks so much to the Animal Guardian Angels in this story: Dr. Vickie Brandon at Felines and Friends in Ada, OK (link to Face Book), Eye Care Clinic for Animals in Oklahoma City, and all those who helped Kit at OSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital. Thanks also to my Heavenly Father who, I believe, helped save Kit's life from the liver failure and helped her get much better from the hyperthyroidism and loss of vision. We were all blessed!
Other Stories with Dr. Vickie Brandon