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Another pet in health crisis

By Leighangela Published: June 6, 2009

I've been watching the story of Heather and Roxie closely, and now it has helped me prepare for my own pet health crisis. I find it very therapeutic to read others' stories of their pet's health problems, so I would like to share Oscar's story with you.

Oscar is a 14 (?) year old Persian who I found in a cold Chicago alley 13 years ago. He was dirty and crying to me for food, but he wouldn't let me approach him. Instead, he followed me all the way down the alley to my apartment. At that time, I picked him up and shut him in my bedroom while my other cat, Charlie, hissed outside the bedroom door. I put Oscar on an electric blanket, which he happily sunk into. I gave him some of Charlie's food, which he ate while purring loudly, mouth open. He was in heaven. I wouldn't know for a few weeks that he was a Persian, when his scraggly hair would start to grow and poof out to oblivion.

Fast forward to two months ago, and Oscar suddenly wasn't scarfing down the food anymore that he had loved for over a year. He acted like he was starving, but he would only eat small portions at a time, or I would have to offer him five types of food before he would eat. I made a few vet appointments but canceled them due to funds and the fact that Oscar started eating well again. But after a few weeks of this, I had to take him in.

On Wednesday of this week, I took him in for his first appointment and requested blood work. I thought it might be hyperthyroid. I read the vet my list of symptoms (seems hungry, eats less, more drinking, fell off the couch a few times while sleeping), and before I could get to the "stomach feels hard" symptom the vet said that was what he was worried about. An x-ray revealed a very large mass pushing on his liver.

The blood work came back on Friday. It showed elevated liver enzymes, meaning disease. We are not sure what type of liver disease at this time. As I type this, Oscar is at the vet again, having an ultrasound and biopsy. Hopefully, the ultrasound will give them some kind of idea where the mass is attached. If it is attached to the liver, nothing can be done. There are more hopeful scenarios. The biopsy results will come in a few days.

As I filled in my partner on Oscar's status and mentioned the biopsy, I said, "I don't know how they do a needle biopsy without causing bleeding, but they do it all the time." I was reassuring myself.

That reassurance was pretty much blown this morning, after I dropped Oscar off and came home. The vet called to let me know that there is a small chance that the biopsy could cause him to bleed to death, although rare.

So here I am, without Oscar in the house for only the third time in 13 years. The other two times were when he somehow escaped and went on outside adventures. Both time I was hysterical, because I found him while he was outside on one of those adventures.

My emotions are a roller coaster, and that's to be expected. What I didn't expect were these nagging guilty thoughts; terrible thoughts that sound like I wouldn't do absolutely everything I can to save my boy. Thoughts like, 'well I'll save money, buying food for one less pet,' and 'at least all my stress and worry will be over.' The truth is, I will probably mourn for who knows how long, and then start looking for another homeless boy to fill our "vacancy." That is, if my landlord allows it.

To read more about Oscar's journey and view video of him, visit my blog.

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