Peevish Pen

Ruminations on reading, writing, rural living, retirement, aging—and sometimes cats. And maybe a border collie or other critters.

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Location: Rural Virginia, United States

I'm an elderly retired teacher who writes. Among my books are Ferradiddledumday (Appalachian version of the Rumpelstiltskin story), Stuck (middle grade paranormal novel), Patches on the Same Quilt (novel set in Franklin County, VA), Them That Go (an Appalachian novel), and several Kindle ebooks.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Rabies Scare

When I heard down at the beauty shop a couple of weeks ago that a rabid skunk was found in Union Hall, I got a little worried about my critters. The skunk was less than four miles from me as the crow flies, and some of my critters were due for their rabies boosters.

I called the horse vet and scheduled Melody for her booster. While he was here, I had him vaccinate four house cats and the beagle. I figured that I'd have to trap the barn cats and take them into town for their shots. They only appear twice a day at feeding time, and I didn't want them caged for half a day in 100F heat.

A few days later, Spotz the barn cat went missing. She didn't show up for Friday's breakfast or supper. Or Saturday's. Or Sunday breakfast. I figured a coyote might have gotten her—or maybe the fox that passes through at 4 AM most days.

Sunday afternoon, with temps hovering at 100 F, I saw a white blob under the chaise lounge under the big tree in the side yard.  Spotz sprawled there panting, dirty, thin, eyes glazed, as if she were in shock. The thought rabies popped into my mind. Spotz struggled to her feet and staggered. Not a good sign. I decided I'd better not touch her with my bare hands. I went in the house to get a towel.

When I came back, she was gone. I looked and looked before I found her way under the thick line of 30-year-old boxwoods where I couldn't get to her. She'd meow to me but wouldn't come out. I pushed food and water into the boxwood jungle.

On Monday, it didn't look like she'd eaten. I found her in another place in the boxwoods. Her head was shaky, but her eyes looked a bit brighter. She still wouldn't come out. My Facebook friends gave me a lot of suggestions, but then Spotz vanished again. After two more days, I feared the worst.

On Wednesday, she appeared for the supper feeding. She wasn't quite as thin as she was Sunday and she was a lot cleaner, but she was reeling around as if she were drunk. Every so often, she'd fall over. While I went up the hill to close Melody's gate, Spotz vanished again. Three hours later, just before dark, she reappeared. I grabbed her and took her to the guest bathroom.  I made her a nest where she could hide. Since she seemed a little better than the last time I'd seen her, I figured that she didn't have rabies.


Notice in the above picture that she's leaning a bit. She wouldn't eat, but she'd drink a bit of water and the oil from a can of tuna.


On Thursday morning, I called Pet Clinic for an appointment, but they had no openings before late Friday afternoon. I called a vet at Westlake and got an appointment for Thursday evening. I had no trouble getting Spotz in the carrier. Because of her balance problems, I thought she might have an inner ear infection. I was pretty sure she didn't have rabies.


Soon we were on our way. She was diagnosed with ideopathic vestibular syndrome, a disorder that can affect both cats and dogs, and usually happens in July and August. Animals usually recover on their own. Spotz's vital signs were fine, but she was given an antibiotic in case she has an underlying infection.  And she got her rabies shot.

Home from the vet, she slurped down some water. She was still stumbling around, though.


She's still living in the downstairs bathroom and has improved a bit each day. Her appetite returned yesterday, and she's eating heartily.

She isn't as dizzy today, but she still lists a bit and stumbles occasionally. She'll stay in for another week.  Full recovery, I've learned, takes a couple of weeks.


It's odd that I had never encountered this condition before. Vestibular syndrome, I've learned, affects dogs as well as cats.

So, if you see a dog or cat stumbling around, it might have IVS—not rabies.
~

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2 Comments:

Blogger CountryDew said...

You just never know, do you! I have a balance problem; it throws everything off when it hits. Poor kitty! I hope she gets better.

8:40 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

What a sweet kitty. So glad you managed to find out what was working on her! Happy day!

2:56 PM  

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