Latest update on Helga

Being on sub-cutaneous saline injections for her CRF, one thing we need to monitor Helga on is fluid-overload. Fluid-overload is the retention of fluid in the body due to too large a dose of sub-cutaneous injections; in Helga it is manifested by water retention in her foreleg.

Helga initially started on 150ml S-C injections 2-3 times weekly and did very well on it. She is now on 50ml once daily. I have tried her on 75ml and 100ml and she fluid-overloads. The administration of S-C saline is 25-30ml per kg of body weight, as advised by our vet; Helga is now 1.8kg so 50ml is right for her size.

Unfortunately 50ml daily doesn’t seem to increase her appetite like the larger doses did in past. She hasn’t eaten today nor yesterday. We know that it is only alarming if she doesn’t eat for 4 or more days. So we will need to keep her on 50ml S-C a day, and monitor her appetite. I fear she may need to be syringe-fed like Manja before she left.

The thing is that while she may eat more on larger doses of S-C, fluid overload is dangerous, so we will just have to bear with the fact that S-C is no longer increasing her appetite like before and syringe-feed her if it gets bad, else hospitalise her once again.

Do note that if S-Cs cause fluid overload even though it is the right dose for the animal’s body weight, it could mean a concurrent cardiac condition, another thing we worried about when we noticed Helga’s fluid overloads. Thankfully, it is more likely because she is losing muscle mass due to her CRF and therefore weight.  

In other updates: Helga’s loss of body mass means she can no longer walk or climb as well, but she still does, through sheer will power. Because of her weak hind legs I have reinstated a blanket covered with peepads for her in her pen even though she will pee on it and sit in her pee. Daily. So we make up for that by grooming her with grooming powder daily and more showers (with lots of oatmeal conditioner, a must for senior cats because of their drier skin). Just so she can rest more comfortably (the floor of her pen is lined with tiles, not as comfy as blanket).

The growth on her tail is still prone to scabbing and needs cleaning every day. Thankfully she doesn’t groom herself any longer and it doesn’t get inflamed – fur merely gets stuck to it and cleaning her growth is just one more thing we need to do for her daily. No picture of it, because it is quite disgusting to regular folks.

Did you know that Persian cats are prone to a shorter life span? Because Persians carry a lot of genetic disorders such as CRF among others in their lineage, they live shorter lives and are more prone to falling gravely ill towards their senior years. In any case, all our cats will grow old one day, and learning to care for senior cats is one valuable lesson that Helga (and in fact, Manja too during her short stay) has been teaching us to prepare us for when our own cats enter their twilight years.

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