Last week, we took our old man, Fox, to the vet. He'd been kind of "off" for awhile, but we were attributing much of it to old age & the cold weather. We were mostly wrong...
The vet wanted to take some blood & do a work up on him, since we were discussing doing a dental cleaning in the not-too-distant (when we got our tax return) future. Lab results discovered a very elevated white blood cell count, so high it warranted a pathologist looking at it to see if there was cancer present. Thankfully, no cancer. He instead has pancreatitis. In dogs, this is brought on by too much rich food, raiding the trash, and in the case of our dog's memorable bout, eating a whole bunch of cat food. You give 'em meds, it goes away until the next time they do something stupid. In cats, it's a bit different - it's chronic and must be managed with diet. So, he's on meds "until gone" and now is eating a special food. He's been improving every day since his visit on Wednesday. Appetite has picked up, he's back to some of his old habits. I started to really wonder yesterday, how long has he been sick?
If you're reading this and you have a pet, you know that animals are often experts at hiding how they feel. But it's times like this I really wish that he could speak English. Obviously it would be nice if this happened: "Excuse me, she-who-feeds-me, I've been feeling a bit off for several days. Perhaps a doctor visit would be in order?" But, realistically, it would probably just be complaining about how they feel like shit since almost every pet I've had hates going to the doctor as much as I do.
It's one of those situations where, when I look back over the last few months, I see that he had been off and was probably sick then, but we didn't realize it. I trusted my gut, as a friend was advising me to do, and made that appointment. So happy I did, even though I feel like kind of an asshole for not doing it sooner. It will take some adjusting, as he can no longer have the usual treats we feed the other cats or their usual food, or in fact, some of the human nibbles we like to slip him from time to time, we have our Fox and he's getting well. That's what's most important.
Even if, twice a day, he probably wants to murder us for shooting medicine down his throat.