It’s been over a month since Botchok’s emergency. She’s been eating a lot, and gaining weight. She had her own cage in my office, with her own food and water, and her own litter box. She even had her special diet, and vitamins and supplements. She’s been pretty healthy.
But today I noticed that she seemed to be having difficulty breathing. She didn’t eat her food–which worried me, because she usually wolfs it down. Today she barely touched it. She was breathing through her mouth, and her little body was heaving with the effort of breathing. Her breaths were loud and shallow.
I closed the door to my office, and let her out of her cage to stretch her legs. I carried her out of her cage and put her on the floor, and she walked around. For a while she sat on the floor behind my chair. When I couldn’t hear her loud breathing, I looked for her. She had walked to the towel on the floor, under her cage, and was lying there, trying to sleep. She kept turning and tossing and shifting her weight, perhaps trying to find a comfortable position. I tried to work, but everytime she fell silent I feared she had stopped breathing completely.
I told Oneal, who told me to bring her to the vet. I packed her into a carrier, put her food, vitamins and supplements in a bag, and drove to the vet.
We got the same vet as before, Dr. Archie Yap. He examined her, took some blood, got an x-ray. He also tested her for FIV. She was positive.
The x-ray showed that her stomach was bloated, filled with air. This was crowding her organs, and was not helping with her breathing either. Dr. Archie said they would prick a tiny hole in her stomach to relieve the pressure, and give her antibiotics to help with the healing. But the air in her stomach was not the cause of her difficulty in breathing. In fact, when I got home, he sent me a text message saying they had pricked a hole already, but she was still having difficulty with her breathing.
The only conclusion the vet could give me was that Botchok had a respiratory infection. The blood test would show if her body was fighting it off, and of course the antibiotics would help. They hooked her up to an IV and put her in confinement.
Unfortunately, with the FIV, and her advanced age, she will be susceptible to such infections for the remainder of her life. Each time anything like this happens, she’ll need immediate medical attention so that it doesn’t get worse.
I told Dr. Archie that I was fully aware of her age and her deteriorating health. I reiterated what I said the last time Botchok got sick: if treatment is too tiring or stressful for her, just make her comfortable and pain-free.
As Dr. Archie explained how the FIV would affect Botchok, tears started welling up in my eyes, even as I tried to keep from breaking down. It was so bad that even he had to stop talking because he was starting to crack too. We laughed it off, and I blew my nose and wiped away my tears, and I thanked him profusely for his patience with me. To my credit, I held on to my composure better this time around. The last time we went there, I started crying before I could even explain the problem to Dr. Archie!
Tomorrow we’ll visit Botchok. Given my distress, and my recent anxiety attacks, I don’t know if I’ll have the energy or willpower to go to any Halloween parties. All I can think about is my poor little brat, and how I would be absolutely lost without her.