As you can probably guess, the weekend did not go well for us. In a silver-lining light, Jas did not get (much) worse. She also did not get any better. She didn’t eat more than a bite or two of food each day and she spent most of the weekend laying in cabinets, under the bed, and on the couch. We already knew we were going to take her back to the vet this morning. So we did, bright and early.
They took all of her vitals and we were pleased to note that she was not running a fever. I heard the vet conferring with another vet before coming in the room with us. She was upfront and honest: Jas was not exhibiting signs of any typical diseases (or even atypical ones). She is a mystery, an interesting case. The vet presented us with a couple of options: we could run more diagnostic tests, an x-ray, or we could give her an antibiotic and see if that helped. We chose to do an x-ray.
They x-rayed her abdomen and decided to do her chest as well, just to see. We’re so glad they did because it was the chest x-ray that finally gave us a clue as to what’s kept Jas feeling so unwell. To everyone’s surprise, the x-ray showed something solid where her right lung should be. It also showed plenty of fluid around the lung. They aspirated a sample of the fluid, but found only blood in the fluid (no malignant cells or infection). Our vet admitted that she was completely shocked by this as Jas presented no signs of respiratory distress. In other words, Jas is once again too smart for her own good. She’s been limiting her activity to keep her heart rate and respiration low. She’s been helping herself by keeping calm and collected. She also made it near impossible to detect the underlying cause.
So right now, our options are an infection, a growth in her lung, or trauma (she didn’t have any broken bones, but she could have seriously bruised her lung from a fall). We’re tackling infection first, especially since she responded so well to the antibiotic the first time. (She was also running a fever then, indicative of an infection, but isn’t now, so it could be that whatever it is was infected and the antibiotics cleared that up and made her at least somewhat more comfortable.) The next step would be an ultrasound to try and answer the question of tumor or trauma. For now though, she’s stable enough that our action isn’t critical. She got the antibiotic shot; we’re going to wait and see if that helps. The vet sent the aspirated fluid to their lab to have further testing done; we’ll wait for those results. We’ll see later tomorrow, or perhaps Wednesday, what our next step is.
With this, we come to the inevitable question of the intrinsic value of a pet. When the vet starts recommending test after test or treatment after treatment, at what point do you draw the line?
Everyone has a different answer, of course. It might even be a different answer for different pets and there’s no shame in that. Luffy and I were forced into this conversation this morning for obvious reasons. A specialist, an ultrasound, are going to be costly and that’s not even a treatment. Jas means the world to me, for so many reasons. She is my baby, my little girl. She is queen among my family’s cats. Even to my mother, Jas is special. She did so much for me when I was going through hard times and, like I said then, I truly do credit her with giving me the confidence and courage to get myself out of a bad relationship. So to me, she is priceless. Within reason (I mean, we do need to eat at the end of the day), money is no object. I am so very, very thankful that I am in a position to say that. To spend that. To help her. To save her. And I am so blessed to have Luffy because he knows what she means to me, and Jas has come to mean a lot to him too. Thus, we will do whatever is necessary.