Over the past two weeks, I have shared the details of Ranger’s parasite ordeal. I am happy to report that Ranger is in a healthier place now! However, that healthy place comes with a management plan along with a few more vet appointments than the standard annual checkup which really is a small price to pay in the grand scheme of things.
In a perfect world, Ranger would have been treated for parasites, and he would continue living his kitten and adult life without a trace of ever having parasites. In many cases, that is exactly what happens. Ranger, however, faced a few more challenges along the way.
With the lungworms long gone, Ranger still maintained his cough and vomiting mainly because of the tissue damage they created while festering in his body. Ranger was treated with steroids and antibiotics for the tissue damage, yet the coughing and vomiting continued. An X-ray revealed that Ranger had pulmonary and abdominal inflammation which was the result of the parasites. An ultrasound was ordered to determine if there were any other underlying causes of Ranger’s symptoms. Hence, the shaved belly picture above. Fortunately, the ultrasound revealed nothing impressive! Yay! So, the current treatment plan is to reduce the amount of inflammation in Ranger’s abdomen and lungs with medication. Sadly, Ranger will most likely have some inflammation regardless of the treatments, but we are getting the upper hand on the inflammation to avoid further complications.
Ranger was also extremely anemic due to the lungworms. Although his blood work was on the path of improvement, it takes time for the healthy red blood cells and hemoglobin to build back up. Ranger was even eating his clay litter at a certain point because his body was telling him he was deficient in nutrients, so he was trying to compensate by obtaining minerals from the clay litter. Although I admired Ranger’s attempt to help his recovery, eating litter was far from ideal! I temporarily changed the type of litter I used until Ranger was no longer anemic. His doctor also gave him a supplement to help aid in building up his blood counts. Ranger’s blood counts eventually normalized, and I am happy to report that he is no longer eating litter!
Essentially, Ranger is a “healthy” little boy. There are obvious signs that I see in Ranger every single day that reminds me of what he went through but overcame!
- Ranger’s growth potential was reduced due to the bone marrow suppression at a crucial developmental stage in his life due to the relentless lungworms. Basically, what this means is he will always be smaller than he could have been. He is a long cat but a little cat. The silver lining is although Ranger lost some of his kittenhood, he will always have a youthful look!
- Ranger will most likely have some inflammation remain regardless of the treatment. However, he is in the care of a doctor that will keep an eye on any potential problems. We know why and where the inflammation is located, and we will stay ahead of any issues that may arise in the future!
- Ranger will have to eat a strict prescription gastrointestinal food long term. In general, Ranger has a sensitive system that was compounded by parasites. At only 12 weeks of age, Ranger was put on a special diet that would help support his digestive system, and he will have to stay on this diet indefinitely most likely permanently. Fortunately, Ranger is not picky and he has no idea of the food he is missing out on. His sister, Marmalade, is an absolute sweetheart to eat the prescription food right along with him! They will both have healthy guts for sure!
There are diseases and conditions that are detrimental compared to parasites. I have had a cat go through terminal cancer, so I wanted to keep these posts in perspective. I even debated over whether I should even share Ranger’s Parasite Story at all. However, the reality set in that parasites are often taken lightly, and the damage that many of the parasites can create needs attention. Before Ranger’s ordeal, I thought, you just give them some meds and magic, the parasites go away. Once I started fostering and when I adopted Ranger, a whole new light was shed on the world of parasites. Never underestimate parasites!
If you notice any of the following but not limited to, please make an appointment with your cat’s veterinarian: Unhealthy stools (bloody, runny), diarrhea, coughing, bloated belly, constipation, vomiting, etc. Parasites or many other conditions that having nothing to do with parasites can cause these issues. The proper examination and tests ordered by a reputable licensed veterinarian is the only reliable way to accurately diagnose and treat your cat.
It took patience, persistence, and more patience to get Ranger to a strong and healthy cat. He certainly does not feel pity for the experience he had with all of the parasites he endured. Had Ranger not been rescued by a kind person who brought him to the veterinarian clinic I had always used, and then taken in by the rescue I just so happen to be a volunteer with, Ranger may not be here today, and I certainly would not have been able to call Ranger family. I would say Ranger is grateful, I know I am, but most importantly Ranger knows he is loved.