By Nancy Allen

March 16, 2013

 

Tommy Finds Our House

and a Good Meal

One day in 2012 I noticed a darling little gray tabby kitten was coming up to  our back porch to eat out of the cat plates sitting around.  It was puzzling that he appeared to be starving and so thirsty every visit.  He always came by around dinner time in the evening.  I became convinced someone was locking the kitten up during the day without food or water and letting him out to fend for himself in the late afternoon.  I called the new kitten Tommy.  He was so sweet, cute, and very loving.

 

Then one day he didn’t come by for about 3 days.  I was very worried about him as he had become a regular at our house.  My heart sank.   I kept watching for him. Finally, he struggled over to the porch.  He could hardly walk and was turning in circles and he was leaning to his side.  He was clearly terrified and I was too.  I knew circling can be a sign of a serious neurological problem.  I was afraid he had been poisoned.  I tried to catch him but he was so scared he stumbled away from me under a bush. Normally he would walk right up to me.  Finally, I was able to catch him and rushed inside with him to call my vet.  My husband and I quickly got him to the vet.

 

Dr. Vickie Brandon of Felines and Friends was also afraid he may have been poisoned.  My husband Arnold told her he had put out some weed killer recently so described to her what kind it was.  We researched the ingredients. She gave him some medicine to counteract any possible poisons.  At the end of the day she took him home with her and watched him.    We were all unsure exactly what problem was.  One concern, Dr. Brandon was afraid he probably hadn't eaten in 3 days after he got sick.  If a cat doesn't eat in 3 days or more, it can go into liver failure.  We got some food into him immediately.

 

Vickie Brandon, DVM

2627 Arlington St.

Ada, OK  74820

580-436-6369 (MEOW)

 

He did not get any sicker.  Dr. Brandon searched for other possible causes.  She had ruled out poison.  She finally decided he probably had a polyp in his middle ear causing the frightening symptoms.  She visited several time with the specialists at OSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital in Stillwater. We tried him on some steriods to try to get rid of the polyp. A few weeks went by with no progress.

 

Finally,  we decided to take Tommy to the OSU Boren Veterinary Teaching Hospital, a 2 hour drive one way. That was on May 2, 2012.  They started doing tests on him and ended up doing a C.T. scan of his head.  It showed Dr. Brandon was right.  He had a polyp in his middle ear.  He had surgery that day to try to remove it. It was via his throat and into his Eustachian tube which was behind his ear drum. The surgery was a failure. The surgeon couldn't reach the polyp.  We went back again for some more discussions and another surgeon was convinced she could remove it.  We agreed.  Thankfully it was a success.  It was a very tricky, difficult procedure to do through the throat into the Eustachian tube and up into the middle ear. 

 

We returned in a few weeks and we were disappointed Tommy was still circling with a pronounced head tilt.  We had a long discussion about it.  They suggested a very difficult, invasive surgery up through his mouth.  I just wasn’t convinced.  They felt like he had a recurrence of the polyp since he was still showing the original symptoms.  I said, “Is it possible he is still just doing that as a learned behavior now or some other reason?”  They said no.  I still hesitated, not ready to commit to such a risky, very expensive surgery.  Cost wasn't the issue though in my mind. I didn’t want to put Tommy though that possibly devastating surgery.

 

After much discussion, I asked,” Is there any way to tell for sure if the polyp is back?”  She said, “Nothing short of another C.T. scan would tell us.”    I asked her,  “Would it be too much radiation for Tommy?”  She said,  “No.”  I said go ahead so Tommy got the C.T.  Much to their surprise and my joy he was totally free of the polyp.  Everyone was stunned.   The surgeon appeared very surprised that a cat would be free of a polyp but still have symptoms of one.  We all learned something from that experience.  It has been about 4 years and Tommy still circles a little at times and has a little head tilt some, but has done fantastic.  He is a big cat now but still “our baby” who is very much loved and pampered.  He stays inside for his safety.

 

Tommy is a really unique cat. He loves to carry around socks and cloth belts and try to "wash" them in his water bowl.  Nearly every day there is a surprise for us in his water bowl. Sometimes it is a plastic ball. He has a real fascination with water.  He loves to drink out of the kitchen faucet. He is very cooperative when he has to take medicine. He is a very loving, sweet boy. 

 

I believe with all my heart that God or Tommy’s Guardian Angel sent Tommy to us because he knew we would rescue him and give him the extensive care and love he needed.  We are all so blessed!

 

I often imagine God thinking, "Now who can I send the kitten to who will give him all the care and love he needs?  Oh, I know, the Allen family."  And there he was at our house--coming from only God knows where in the neighborhood into our loving arms.  Tommy has really blessed us and I'm sure we are a blessing to him.

 

 

Tommy Grown Up - Still Our Baby

 

Health Update on Tommy

 

In March of 2016 Tommy had a serious health emergency.  He had a total bowel blockage.  After hearing Tommy's symptoms Dr. Brandon x-rayed Tommy.  As we feared, his bowel was completely full and blocked.  She had to go in and remove all the stool blockage which was not easy.  She had me put him on a special diet and give him a strong laxative and a drug to stimulate his bowel to start working again.  We were all very worried about Tommy.  We just couldn't stand the thought of losing our precious boy.  We didn't know if his bowel would start working again as it had been blocked awhile.  Thanks to Dr. Brandon's surgery and diet instructions Tommy is completely back to normal.  He will probably have to take laxative every day the rest of his live.  Thankfully he doesn't mind taking it at all.  We are both so thankful Tommy has had a full recovery.  Dr. Brandon, you are our hero!  We don't know what we would do without you and all your great employees at Felines and Friends.

 

 

 

Tommy - Another Emergency

 

Tommy had another serious health emergency Saturday, March 25, 2017.  My husband and I came in the house to give Tommy his dinner and we were shocked to find him in an alarming condition.  He was panting and breathing way too fast.  He was drooling and his mouth was wide open. He was crying loudly.  I rushed and called Dr. Brandon and told her his frightening symptoms.  She said she would meet us at the vet clinic in 20 minutes.  She is normally closed on Saturday and Sunday.

 

She spent at least 30 minutes examining him and talking to me.  His symptoms were rather puzzling.  We thought he might have bitten an electrical cord but that was ruled out.  She said he might have an embolism in his lungs.  Also, she noted that his tonsils were red and some of the gums in his mouth.  She said that was abnormal since he had gotten dental work recently and they shouldn't have been red.  His temperature was higher than normal, 104 degrees.  She gave him an antibiotic shot and also a steroid shot.  She got him situated in a pen at the clinic.  She contemplated taking him home with her, but decided he was well enough to stay alone.  He was some better when I left.  She was going to check on him later in the evening.

 

Sunday, Dr. Brandon called me and said he was better but still breathing faster than he should be.  She will probably x-ray his lungs tomorrow.  I am praying for a full recovery.

 

Monday - Tommy is better and his x-ray didn't show anything severe like an embolism, thank goodness.  He appears to have some inflammation.  He will be on medication for several days.  He probably had a severe allergic reaction to an unknown substance.  He always stays in one area of the house by himself, so it is puzzling where the allergen may have come from--maybe on our shoes or clothes.  We just hope he doesn't get it again.  I have 2 different medicines I can give him if he is crashing again, depending on the severity of the problem.  I (Nancy Allen) am a Licensed Practical Nurse. Thanks again Dr. Brandon for rescuing one of our cats!  We think you are the best!!

 

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