Caring for Sick Pets: Frustrating and Stressful for Pet and Pet Parent
Our pets can't tell us what they are felling, making caring for a sick companion animal stressful for pet and pet parent.Published August 1, 2012
By Jo Singer
It’s extremely rare when I cannot come up with an interesting, thought-provoking, or highly controversial topic about which to write that’s sure to get an energetic discussion going. Fortunately writer’s block is not a major problem. Quite the contrary! In fact, there is such an abundance of fascinating issues from which to choose, making a decision about which one will be the most interesting and appealing to our readers can be extremely difficult for me at times.
But no matter how hard I try to write something dynamic today, I find myself at a total loss for words. All I can think about at the moment are our two wonderful Oriental Shorthair kitties, Sir Hubble Pinkerton and Dr. Hush Puppy, whose mysterious illness is making them feel more than just a little bit “under the weather”.
Early last Friday afternoon, both of the cats started showing signs of feeling really punkie. It was something on which I couldn’t quite put my finger (since they both had great appetites), but they were reluctant to play with their brand new feather flyer, one of their all-time favorite toys. Their ears and paw pads seemed a bit warm, so immediately I grabbed the thermometer. Puppy’s temperature was slightly elevated, but Hubble had no fever.
But soon after they started coughing, hacking, and making weird, alarming sounds. Since they were eating, drinking and using the litter box, I waited until Saturday morning and took their temps again. Puppy was running 104 and Hubble’s temp was 103.5. I called the vet!
I have to digress for a moment to share how blessed we are with two veterinarians who truly love animals. Rather than stress the boys further with a trip to the clinic, the veterinarian on call was knocking on our door within an hour. After a thorough exam, his diagnosis was a probable viral infection, for which there is no sure-fire treatment. And since they were both eating and drinking, he wasn’t terribly concerned. He left with instructions to take their temps every couple of hours and to keep him informed.
The next morning Puppy’s temp was 104.5, and Hubble’s 104.3. I called the vet and he was at the door within an hour, this time armed with sub-q fluids, Vitamin B12 and injections to give them some relief. By the evening their temps were normal, and they were playing. But the next morning up went the temps, and off we went to the clinic.
While both cats are now on antibiotics and antihistamines to help alleviate congestion, they are not very interested in food. And even though our veterinarians do their best to ease my mind, I can’t help but worry about our kitties.
But I don’t think my reaction is abnormal. I suspect most pet pawrents will agree that caring for a sick pet who is clearly unhappy and unable to verbalize what they are feeling is one of the most frustrating things in living with companion animals. Since it’s impossible to instantly make them feel better, watching them suffer is incredibly stressful for both the pet and their guardians.
How do you handle your feelings when caring for a sick pet? Tell us in a comment.