Friday, January 27, 2012

The Tale of Poor Thor.

The Mighty Thor, who had a bad day today.  I'm posting this here rather than on Facebook because there just aren't enough characters to properly explain it all.
Thor has the gingivitis.  Ever since I brought him home a little over 2 years ago, his gums have been red and his teeth are tartar stained.  Try as I might with over-the-counter remedies and other such things, his gums stayed red to the point that, at his last checkup, the vet suggested I bring him in for a teeth cleaning and possible (probable) tooth extractions.

This morning I dropped him off.  The tough part about that was that he wasn't allowed to eat anything after 8:00pm Thursday night.  That made Thor an unhappy guy this morning when he couldn't get his regular breakfast.  He whined and moaned at me and wasn't at all excited about being put in his transporter box and carted 10 miles to the veterinarian.  At around 5:00pm I got a phone call from the vet saying that he was "doing tremendously" after his ordeal.  But not without a few complications.

First, and as I had feared, he had a bad reaction to the anesthesia.  He struggled to breathe and it got to the point that they had to insert a breathing tube to encourage him to breathe.  His pulse rate and blood pressure dropped to the point that (even though she didn't say it) I'd guess that he was close to death.  Somehow, I had feared that.  Don't ask me why, but I worry whenever animals are anaesthetised.  It was so bad that the vet said that she doesn't want to ever have to put him under again, and won't unless it's absolutely necessary.

He got through that difficulty and they moved on to the teeth cleaning part.  The gingivitis was so pronounced and advanced that his bones had resorbed the roots of his teeth.  When they went to clean them, they literally fell out.  One after another, until all that is left are a few tiny incisors in the front.  What they anticipated would be a long process took less than an hour, since the teeth gave up on their own.  At this point, he's Toothless Thor.

I told the vet that I'd have dinner and pick him up at around 6:30.  It's a good thing I waited.  About a half hour before I arrived he started pacing the cage and moving around.  Apparently, the activity elevated his blood pressure and his mouth started to bleed.  Not much, but enough that there were drops of blood on his blanket and his lips were coated in thick red goo.  It's better that it happened there than on the ride home and in my house.  I surely would have panicked and been up all night with him.

As it is, he's staying the night at the vet's office and I'll pick him up tomorrow morning.  They think (and I think) it's best that he get his medications and that he be sedated so that he rests rather than get excited about being home and try to do too much too soon.  It'll be lonely here without him, but I'd rather not clean up blood droppings and lie awake all night.

The good news is that he's down to 14.2 pounds (from his high of 20) which is the weight he was when I picked him up in November 2009.   They're very happy about his weight loss, since most cats who are put on these diets don't lose any weight.  Mostly, it's because their owners don't do what they are supposed to do.  Luckily for Thor, I have more discipline about such things than most people.  At some point he'll go on a maintenance diet, but he'll need to get his mouth back in shape before I think about that.

Apparently, cats can survive quite nicely without teeth.  Since his teeth were in such bad shape, it's likely that he wasn't chewing his food anyway.  Most of the time, the soreness from the gums makes cats just pick up food and swallow it.  Come to think of it, I never heard any crunching from his food bowl, so I'd guess that he was probably just picking up the morsels and swallowing them.  I expect him to be able to go back to his regular dry food after about a week of all canned food while his gums heal.

Before I paid the bill ($450, which was actually made cheaper by the fact that they didn't have to pull any teeth) I asked to go in and see him.  There he sat, in his cage with his blood droppings and a mouth that looked like Rocky after Clubber Lang got through pummeling him.  He recognized me and got up to move closer, but I could tell he was in no shape to come home.

The other good news is that he'll get over this trauma rather quickly.  That's the great thing about dogs and cats.  They are quick to forget and ready to move on. It's a shame more people aren't like that.


Anonymous said...

I love Thor, although we have never met!!! I hope your little fella will be ok! <3 Jamie W.

susan said...

Oh Dear! Poor little Thor.

I was actually tearing up reading about this.

The doctor is correct though, Holly had 3 teeth extracted a few years ago. The vet told me that cats- indoor cats, can do fine without teeth.

Please tell Thor we are thinking of him.