Occasionally we actually win a battle that we never thought we could and realize that it's important not to give up too soon...
Case in point: Five year old, spayed female, domestic shorthair cat presented to the emergency service almost one week ago. She had lost a lot of weight and wasn't eating well. This was a classic case of certain specialists becoming too cocky;) After the initial work-up, the conviction was that the cat had lymphoma (a common type of cancer in cats) and she was given a single dose of a mild chemotherapy drug. Dum, dum, dum, dum...yep, you guessed it; when we got the rest of the diagnostics back, not only did she not have lymphoma but she had a raging infection of some unknown bacteria and clinically was really circling the drain. (I'm sure the steroid dose really helped that...)
I have developed a variety of speeches that make communication with owners who are dealing with the potential loss of a pet easier for myself because it's one of the hardest parts of my job. There are three distinct levels of my speeches, one being the least pessimistic, three the worst. I had actually reached level two with this owner and was preparing her for the worst since the little one seemed to be getting worse and worse; almost wasting away before my eyes.
On a hunch, we added yet another antibiotic to her treatment. It was actually a bad hunch of a nasty disease that is difficult to treat, namely feline tuberculosis. To the amazement of everyone, by little tiny baby steps, she began to improve. And finally, when we had almost given up after no growth reports on our culture, we have growth of a treatable bacteria!!!!!
Definitely, we are not out of the woods since she could certainly get worse suddenly or have another infection not yet identified but I am actually encouraged and hopeful for the first time that she may actually live and go home... Good reason to not give up too soon because we almost did and she is proving us wrong. Keep it up, little one, I want you to go home!
6 days ago