Posted by: forgingahead | May 1, 2010

Zinger Update

Thank you all for your good wishes and encouragement during this difficult time. Reading your comments and emails helped soothe the pain.

Today was a serious roller coaster. The good news is he’s improving. A lot.

The day started with a call from the surgeon clearly outlining the plan:
1. Knock him out for a short time
2. Insert 2 chest tubes
3. Drain the offending pus

She said she’d call when he was done and we’d discuss next steps. All good.

The call 2 hours later was terrible. He wasn’t breathing well under sedation, they’d taken x-rays and then an ultrasound that they thought showed serious damage to his lungs. They were worried that when they brought him out of sedation he wouldn’t be able to breathe on his own.

Two options – both extremely invasive, painful and – of course- extremely expensive. One was to do chest surgery removing the damaged section of lung. But if too much was damaged all would have been for nought. The other was to put him in a pet ambulance (who knew such a thing existed) and take him to UC Davis and put him on a ventilator until – assuming if- he lungs healed.

We got our regular vet involved in the conversation. She said quite reasonably that Zinger had been breathing fine last night and we should take our chances and just get him out of sedation. The surgeon agreed.

As an aside, at this point my body was going into some sort of shock. I was literally shivering and I wasn’t cold. With the benefit of some hindsight I just think it’s kind of amazing how our emotions can impact our bodies.

Ok, back to Zinger’s story.

We saw him about 30 minutes post sedation. He was in an oxygen cage and was super out of it. His co2 levels were improving steadily which was wonderful news. But the team remained quite skeptical of his prognosis. They told us to give him a few more hours and check back.

Those were some long hours. I just kept muttering under my breath “Zinger will be strong and healthy again.” We tried to pass some time by talking about Garmins with a super nice saleswoman at Sports Basement (which is near the hospital) but I don’t think either of us were really there.

At 4:30pm we went back. We finally got to meet the surgeon, Dr. Mehl, in person and she took us back to Zinger. Who was doing REALLY well! Totally off oxygen. Breathing well. And the other great news is they weren’t getting any more pus out of the tubes which means the antibiotics (he’d been on an IV since 8pm the night before) were making headway against the infection.

I practically crawled into his cage nuzzling his head and making my Zinger noises. He was super happy to see me too. What a huge relief to have something closer to my cat back.

Dr. Mehl is cautiously optimistic. If the tubes stay clear overnight then he can hopefully get them removed tomorrow and come home. Then it’s a long course of antibiotics but we’ll take it one day at a time.

In other news, the vet tech Tram who was administering some meds while we were there leaned over and said in a conspiratorial tone “I love your cat, he’s the sweetest one we have here.” And that is why I want him home.


  1. Oh, Kathleen, what a hard thing for all of you. I’m so sorry but I’m sure Zinger will be full of zest and spice again soon, cats always bounce back miraculously. Especially the well-loved ones :). My thoughts are with him and you both!

  2. Zinger will indeed be strong and healthy again, but in the meantime I’m sorry they don’t have a place for you to stay with him in the pet hospital. Sending lots of healing thoughts Zinger’s way. Hang in there!

  3. Yay for Zinger getting better. Keep fighting, little kitty! You’re well-loved.

  4. What great news! I am so happy to hear his outcome so far. What an incredibly hard day for all of you – my heart goes out to everyone. So great to hear that he was happy to see you too – that is a great sign. Continuing the good thoughts…Big hugs! Hang in there, here’s hoping he comes home tomorrow.

  5. Oh poor zinger & you!!! I hope zinger continues to do better!!

  6. It’s amazing how creatures so small can have so many things go wrong!
    I’m glad to hear that he is doing better. Hopefully, he is home with you soon so you can feel better!

  7. I’m so sorry to hear about all the struggle of zinger this weekend!! I’m glad that Zinger is on the mend. Sending fuzzy healing thoughts your way.

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