Aby-a-Day – 19 Augusti: Dashiell’s first Swedish vet visit (Medical Monday)

Last Wednesday, we had to take Dashiell to see our veterinarian in Skultorp, not because there was anything wrong with him, but because we needed a health certificate to send to the insurance company to start his health insurance. We also needed to get him his EU passport.

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As he was on the ferry and the train, Dash was much happier in his carrier with the top open.

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Emma sat beside him and managed him on the bus ride.

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Dash rode the bus like a seasoned professional.

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It’s a long trip from our apartment to the vet, and we have to change buses in central Skövde. It’s not usually a long wait, and the weather was nice. Dash seemed happy enough.

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Look at this bus riding champion!

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When we arrived, we were put into the same examination room all the other cats were in when we went in for our annual checkup back in June.

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Like any good Abyssinian, the minute we let him loose in the room, he proceeded to explore it thoroughly.

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The first thing we did was put him on the scale and weigh him.

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2.85 kg (6.25 lbs). Exactly the same as Lorelai!

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Emma helped the vet with Dash’s exam.

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She’s definitely a natural when it comes to taking care of cats.

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This actually happened by accident, but we thought it was funny: I gave Emma one of the vet’s free magnets and it jumped from her hand onto his round tag!

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Waiting for the passport to be completed, Dash got sleepy and laid down on his show book. Well, he’d only been in Sweden two days after his long trip from the States, so I guess he deserves to be a little tired.

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After the visit was over, we got back on the bus and headed home.

Aby-a-Day – 17 Juni: The nose knows (Medical Movie Monday)

This happened two summers ago. Jacoby was acting like he had something stuck in his nose or throat. I checked his mouth to make sure a string or something hadn’t gotten caught under his tongue, but there was nothing there. The way he was acting reminded me of when I’ve gotten a grain of rice stuck in the back of my throat in my nose; Jake was coughing and snorting in the same way.

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This is what he was doing (click the photo to watch the video in Flickr). We were growing cat grass on the balcony that summer, so I suspected that Jake might have inhaled a blade of grass and gotten it stuck in his pharynx or nasal passages.

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So we went to the vet, and they flushed out his nose and checked him out. They noticed some irritation, but didn’t find any grass or plant matter. They prescribed antibiotics, just in case.

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After we got home, however, I found what looked like some dried, clear cat barf on the floor in the room Jake ate in. But it wasn’t like a regular hairball or food barf…it was a tiny leaf! I had been right – Jake did have something stuck in his nose! He just managed to get it out by himself before the vet appointment.

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So, I did a little research and discovered that it was a small leaf of Yarrow! I only know Yarrow from the Warriors books (the medicine cats use it, and there’s a cat named Yarrowleaf in the more recent books, but I had no idea it was growing in our lawn! Because they mow once a week, it never gets a chance to grow tall or flower.

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This Yarrow plant is entwined with a bicycle rack, so it misses getting mowed. This is what it looks like when it’s allowed to grow. Jake must have accidentally inhaled the little leaf when we went outside – he loved chewing on the grass, and the yarrow is mixed into the lawn. It was an interesting mystery, and I’m glad I was able to solve it.

Aby-a-Day – 3 Juni: “Vaccines are the tugboats of preventive health” (Medical Monday)

As I posted on Thursday, we all took a trip to the vet last week to get check-ups and vaccinations. As soon as I parked the stroller in the exam room and unzipped it, all four of the cats jumped right out to investigate.

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Lorelai and Izaak, not having had as many vet visits as Alfred and Angel have had, explored the room fearlessly.

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As I’ve posted before, Angel becomes very brave in veterinary exam rooms.

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Zak was the first to jump up on something.

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Then he took it to the next level.

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Rory is turning into quite the little princess of posing…

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…except when her curiosity gets the better of her.

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Whilst the cats explored the exam room, I got all their passports organised with the relevant vaccination pages opened. Everycat needed their FVRCP vaccines, and Zak also needed his rabies vaccine.

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Freddy, of course, had to sit on the passports…

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For some reason (and I honestly have no earthly idea why), the sink was of particular interest. And not only to Rory and Zak…

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…but Freddy, too. They see sinks every day…I have no clue what was so fascinating about this one.

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When Dr. Birgitta came in, the younger cats all rushed to greet her.

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Angel, having had more experience in this situation, hid in the corner behind the cabinet.

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Nurse Camilla and I weighed everyone.

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Freddy could stand to lose a bit…but otherwise, we’re all good. In fact, the doctor commented on how solid and muscular Rory and especially Zak are. I told her how they eat (raw and Bozita, and a daily chicken neck) and how they regularly go outside to run. She was quite impressed with their condition.

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After they all got their jabs (no photos of that, since I was helping to hold them), Camilla carefully updated all of their passports. Freddy helped.

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One last note about our Freddy…

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…when he wasn’t exploring the room, helping the nurse, or getting injected, he was trying to break into this cabinet. He worked at it from both the top and the bottom of the tambour door, but he couldn’t manage it.
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He even checked the trash can! He is relentless in his quest for food. It’s no wonder he could stand to lose a few.

Aby-a-Day – 15 April: ” He was my North, my South, my East and West, my working week and my Sunday rest…” (Medical Monday)

Warning: photos of Jacoby’s body to follow…

I was already planning to go to Jönköping last Friday before Jake so suddenly died whilst the vet was on the phone with me. I still went to visit him last Friday…Just not quite the way I intended…or wanted.

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They took me back into the same room I was in when Alfred and I said goodbye to Logan. Philippa, the same vet tech who was there with Logan, brought in his little white box.

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He didn’t look dead…just asleep.

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As if any second he would start that purr of his and snore his cute little happy snores.

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But he was so cold. I petted him all over, telling him that he missed getting his dirty dirty ears cleaned because this weekend was meant to be claw-clipping weekend. I flexed his little toes…he loved it when I massaged his paws. It was so surreal…he looked so alive. He felt like himself. He felt like my Jakey. Except he wasn’t warm and he didn’t push back when I petted him.

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I was surprised his shaved stomach looked so good. I couldn’t see any stitches at all.

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message ‘He is Dead’.
Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last forever: I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now; put out every one,
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun,
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood;
For nothing now can ever come to any good.

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When we left him at the hospital that Saturday night…I didn’t know it would be the last time I would see him alive. It was supposed to be “see you in a few days,” not “Goodbye forever.” Had I known, I would have held him, cuddled him, hugged him, memorised every inch of him. But I thought he’d be coming home, so we just had a few head bonks.

I miss him…it hurts so much…oh, Jakey.

Aby-a-Day – 8 April: “Cancer is a fight to the death. Either you kill it, or it will kill you. Get ready to brawl.” (Medical Monday)

Cutting to the chase, the vets think Jacoby has Lymphoma.

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On Friday, Jake and I repeated the trip we took back in August when we went to Djursjukhuset in Jönköping to try to find out what was the matter with him.

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They have the best cubbies for cat carriers in the cat waiting room.

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When they called us back, they put us in a really nice, sunny room. Anicura puts birdfeeders outside the windows of the cat exam rooms. Birds came to the window whilst we were there…but not when I could take a photo of any of them.

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The first thing they did was weigh him. As you can see, 4.35kg (9.6lbs). On 3 March, he was up to 4.9kg (10.8lbs). When I weighed him on the 31st, just under a month later, this is what he weighed. I called the vet the next day.

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After the nurse took some blood samples, he went back to the sunny windowsill.

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The vet felt something when she palpated his abdomen, so she ordered an another ultrasound, which they managed to squeeze in that same afternoon. They sent me off for a couple of hours, and when I came back…the news was not great.

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They suspected Lymphoma, and scheduled another exploratory surgery for this morning. I was meant to bring him back on Sunday afternoon.

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It was a pretty long day, and Jake was exhausted. He didn’t even get out of his carrier on the train ride back.

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On Saturday, Jake was worse than ever. He spiraled in the 24 hours after our visit the day before.

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He wasn’t eating or drinking, just lying on the kitchen floor. I tried putting him in comfortable places, but he kept going back to the floor. I knew he needed to go back to Jönköping, but I wasn’t sure that the train would get me there fast enough. Björn got home from work at 5, and I asked him if we could borrow one of our neighbours’ cars. He did, and we drove to Jönköping.

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We saw a majestik møøse on the way to the vet!

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When we got there, we were put into the same exam room we’d been in on Friday.

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You can see how much worse he looked than the last time we were in that room.

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Despite having no appetite, Jake was still interested in the treat jar.

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When the nurse came in, she gave him a few…and he ate them!

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Then there was some paperwork to fill out…

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…farewells to be said…

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…and then he needed to go into the hospital transport cage.

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At first, he didn’t want to lie down so she could close the carrier.

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Finally, he cooperated, and they rolled him away.

One of my favourite things about Anicura is that they send good morning texts with a photo of your cat. This was this morning’s text, after being on fluids for a day, before his surgery.

They called me after his surgery was finished and he’d woken up. He was doing well, and the samples from the biopsy were sent to the lab but from what they observed when they had him open was that they were fairly certain that Jake does have Lymphoma, and they are going to start the chemotherapy as soon as they can without waiting for the results.

Cats respond differently to the treatment, and can live for three or four months to three or four years. We just don’t know how he will respond. According to this article I found, “Feline lymphoma cases currently appear to fall into three groups from a prognostic point of view. There are some that fail to show a good response to any chemotherapy offered. For these patients, their lymphoma is unfortunately fairly rapidly progressive. Patients in the middle group tend to show a degree of response to the treatment but never achieve complete normality and for these patients there is an average life expectancy of approximately 4 months. The third group achieve complete remission from their lymphoma and their life expectancy is measured in years.” We just need to wait and see which group Jake falls into.

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I wish I knew what else to say. I mean, his 10th birthday is next Sunday. I can’t imagine not having him with me.

Aby-a-Day – 1 April: Looks like we’re going back to Jönköping (Medical Monday Mystery)

Siiiiggghhh… And we had been doing so well, too. Jacoby has been on his treatment plan for several weeks, and he had been gaining weight nicely. But in the past week or so, he’s been…not himself. Less eager and excited about food, sleeping in unusual places (like the radiator bed, which I don’t think I have ever seen him in before), and just…not being himself. Most concerning, the last time I weighed Jake on 16 March, he was up to 4.8 kilos…and yesterday, he weighed 4.3 kilos.

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So…I called Min Veterinär this morning to leave a message, and then, completely by coincidence, Anicura called me an hour or so later. I made an appointment with them, just in case…and, when Min Vet called me back, we discussed it and decided it would be better to take Jake back to Anicura since they have all his recent treatment records. So it looks like Jake and I will be riding the rails to Jönköping this Friday.

Aby-a-Day – 11 Mars: The rest of Lorelai’s vet visit (Medical Monday)

Last week I posted about Lorelai’s first visit to Min Vetrinär.

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But that wasn’t the whole story.

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We took all the Abys to the vet that day. This was before Izaak joined our family, of course.

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Alfred got busy exploring the doctor’s supplies.

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Freddy! That’s marked “biohazard” for a reason! Get your face out of there!

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Oh? It’s my turn?

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Wait…a shot? Nobody told me about a shot…

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After the shot, Freddy was a little jarred.

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But he had his new little sister to cheer him up.

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Next up was Angel.

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Being the oldest cat, this was definitely not her first rodeo.

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But that doesn’t mean she enjoys it.

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She took her vaccination like a champ, though.

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The last cat to be checked out was Jacoby.

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He is always so good at getting his shots. Like everything else he does…he’s just bulletproof.

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I wanted the vet to take a look at Jake’s teeth.

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He’s an Aby, a breed known for bad teeth…but he was nine years old and had never even had a cleaning. When Angel was his age, most of her teeth were gone already.

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But Jake has awesome teeth. Partly because he lets me scrape and brush them…but partly because he just got lucky in the genetic roulette.

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All in all, a pretty good day at the veterinarian.