I took Holly for a follow-up vet visit yesterday; the vet checked her out, ran some blood tests, and took some new x-rays*. The bloodwork had actually improved, but there were two new nodules in her lung that hadn’t been there a week ago (and I asked — they definitely weren’t there before; it wasn’t a case of them just not being visible). The vet prescribed some new drugs to treat her symptoms and increased the frequency of her appetite stimulant, so now instead of taking one pill every three days, she’s taking one or more pills every 12 hours.**
At least, that’s the theory. One of the pills I was supposed to give her apparently tastes terrible. I gave her the first dose the same way I’ve been giving her the appetite stimulant — just sticking the pill in her mouth following the directions from every “how to pill a cat” video ever created. She spat it out a couple times; I finally managed to get her to swallow it, but she wound up foaming at the mouth afterwards (the way cats do when they have a really unpleasant taste in their mouth) and then hiding in the closet. I tried to disguise the taste when giving her the second dose, but the results were the same.
I decided I wasn’t going to do this any more — the trauma of going through this twice a day was worse than any benefit the pill could give her. There’s a kind of freedom that comes with having a cat who’s dying: you can make decisions like “I’m not going to do this any more because she hates it” without feeling guilty or conflicted. But in this case, it turns out there are more options: I called the vet, who called a compounding pharmacy, who whipped up a batch of fish-flavored liquid prednisolone. I’m going to try to give her some tomorrow. It smells like fish, but to me it tastes more bitter than fishy. Hey! Don’t look at me like that. I just tried a drop on my finger; I didn’t take a swig from the bottle.
Today’s good news is that Holly seemed to be fully recovered from her pill-related trauma by the time I got home from work tonight. And the two cats seem to be getting back to their normal level of closeness.
*I should probably call them “radiographs”. That’s what the vet calls them, and it makes sense — if you think about it, calling a radiograph an x-ray is like calling a photograph “visible light”.
**Holly takes one medication every 12 hours, another every 24 hours, and a third every 48 hours. I half-expect the vet to prescribe additional drugs for her to take every 4 days and every 8 days.