THE REAPER HAS COME FOR JOSH AGAIN...
Josh has had three death sentences since he arrived at The Duncan Home For Wayward Cats in March 2021.
How much can one little guy be expected to overcome!?
Then he began to be less interested in playing and his appetite decreased. He began sleeping much more than usual and then occasionally vomiting a little which he had never done before.
On 01/07 I noticed swelling in his jaw area which can be seen in this photo and I took him to the vet thinking he might have a dental issue that was causing his appetite loss and occasional vomiting. Also, his resting breathing rate was around 40 bpm and should be 15-30 bpm so it was time for a vet visit.
As always, Josh willingly climbed into his carrier and we were on our way. He is such a remarkable boy.
After his teeth were checked out by the vet and no dental issues were discovered, a sonogram revealed issues that needed x-rays for further inspection and I had to leave him at the vet for the x-rays.
The vet called me later that day and recommended not waking him from the x-ray sedation after they had extracted 120 ccs of sanguineous fluid from his chest. (It was not FIP fluid)
Josh's 01/09/2023 x-ray is on the left and a normal x-ray is on the right.
The vet's interpretation of the x-ray which provided better insight into his condition than the sonogram, is that he had significant fluid accumulation in his chest possibly originating from the large calcified mass occupying much of his chest cavity. Initially, the mass was assumed malignant, but two biopsies later it was not deemed cancerous (as of this writing). However, the mass is compressing his trachea and chest organs.
I had taken Josh to the vet thinking he might have a dental issue and need a tooth pulled only to discover he had life-threatening issues… again.
I had left him alone at the vet who was now calling me and recommending that he be euthanized.
At some point in our life, we will leave a friend or loved one for the last time without knowing it.
If I agreed, then when I left Josh at the vet would be the last time I ever saw him alive. I would never see that remarkable boy alive again. I was NOT prepared for that.
I could not bear the thought of never seeing him again without having said goodbye.
He is asleep on the vet's table right now and I am afraid that I may not be able to help him fight any longer.
Against the vet's recommendation, I am going to go pick him up and bring him home right now and then decide what to do, even if it means this is his last night.
Josh is home with us now and the vet had drawn about 100 cc of fluid from his chest.
His resting/sleeping breathing rate is currently about 30 bpm which you can see in the video below.
Before fluid extraction, it was 40-43 bpm.
He has had one dose of pred at the time of this video and this post.
Does he look to you like he is ready to pass?
Other than mass size and compression of his trachea and chest organs, it does not seem to be affecting other blood or organ functions unless am I missing something.
His bloodwork and chemistry on 01/09 seem normal.
However, this mass may not be treatable or operable and continued fluid accumulation is almost certain, so it seems that suffocation may be the biggest threat to his life at this time.
A second vet opinion may be needed to determine that.
I am faced with deciding whether or not to help Josh continue to fight a third battle for his life by pursuing further treatment (possible chemo or surgery).
If I do not, then how can I justify euthanasia when he has no other detectable issues except lethargy and decreased appetite with the mass and fluid restricting his breathing?
The mass does not appear to have yet compromised other bodily functions according to his bloodwork.
I am really, really struggling with the euthanasia recommendation.
The last time I was responsible for authorizing a euthanization, (Dragon) I did not sleep well for a month and I still get sad just thinking about it.
For Josh to lose his life by my hand is a horrible, horrible thought and it haunts me while he is still alive, so I cannot imagine what it will do to me afterward.