Posted by: forgingahead | April 30, 2010

My Heart Hurts

Zinger is my heart. And my heart is in the hospital tonight.

It started yesterday. His breathing had a hitch in it. Weird, but he seemed ok otherwise.

This morning he didn’t get up. Didn’t eat. Didn’t drink. And his breathing was full on labored. Not good.

We got to Arguello Pet Hospital and my wonderful vet Dr. Heffelfinger took an x-ray. Fluid around the outside of the lungs. A lot of fluid. Very bad.

Likely diagnosis was a tumor in the heart or some long sounding thing that would mean a lifetime of medication and ongoing trips to the vet to have the fluid removed with a needle. Next step – go to a specialist in the morning for an ultrasound of his heart.

In the meantime she’d pull some of the fluid out with a needle to allow him to breathe more easily.

We waited about an hour for that to happen. During that time I pretty much cried because the two options didn’t sound good at all.

When the Dr. Heffelfinger came to get us she had news. The diagnosis was actually something else all together. Something she’d only seen once or twice. Pyothorax. Pyo meaning pus. Thorax meaning chest. A pus filled chest cavity.

When she’d pulled the liquid out it looked all wrong so she examined it under a microscope and found that we’re dealing with a massive infection. Basically an abscess in the shape of the blob crowding out the places where his little lungs go. Hence the difficulty breathing.

The bad news – life threatening and requiring immediate aggressive treatment. Hospitalization, antibiotic IV, chest tubes inserted by a surgeon to help drain the pus and more.

The sort of good news. Once he recovers, and if his lungs are not irreparably damaged, he’ll be fine. Cured. Good to go. And thank goodness to Dr. Heffelfinger for the quick diagnosis so we lost no more time.

He’s in very good hands at the San Francisco Veterinary Specialists hospital. But I miss my heart.



  1. Hang in there, Zinger, sweetie!

  2. Oh, Zinger looks cool! I hope he is home safe with you soon!

  3. Beautiful Zinger—we’re thinking of you with soft, gentle hugs and our sweet, darling niece—be strong. Like I said in my e-mail, there is always hope. . . . give your boy a “head nuzzle” for us!

    Hugs and Love/Pam & Dan

  4. It sure does hurt when our 4-legged family is hurting. Sending good thoughts for Zinger’s recovery and warm hugs for you and Bert.

    Love, M.

  5. Remember he has a lot going for him. Lots of love, very healthy going into this and a true love of life. All of these factors are on the good news side of this. Love to Zinger and hugs to you and Bert!

  6. Big hugs to you and Bert. As a dog owner, with recent health issues (as you know all about!) – no words can help you feel better. Please know that I am here for you and Zinger is in my constant thoughts. Please keep me updated – my heart goes out to you all during this very stressful time.

  7. sorry to hear of zinger’s condition and hope all is well soon. love tony

  8. Oh, poor Zinger. I hope all goes well and that he has a speedy and complete recovery.

  9. I hope he gets cured!

  10. Sending you lots of positive thoughts.

  11. So sorry to hear this….sending good thoughts your way for Zinger’s continued improvement and recovery. What a sweet looking cat.

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