Wellâ€¦ after our day at the vet we found out a few things:
1. Arek has an upper respiratory infection (or, at least, heâ€™s being treated for one as weâ€™ve caught him sneezing lately.)
2. Pipsi has some stomach upset (he didnâ€™t actually â€œdiagnoseâ€ anything as he wasnâ€™t able to get a good fecal on her, but he did find blood in the little bit of stool he was able to get. He wants me to bring in a fecal sample again in a few weeks.)
3. Shachar has worms (which means that everyone probably has them, Shachar was the only one he was able to get a good fecal on.) No other symptoms of any illness, though, other than his eye problem, which vet said was indicative of a cat not feeling well.
4. Molly, the only indoor/outdoor cat we have, has no symptoms of anything! Isnâ€™t that crazy??? All the INDOOR cats are sick, and the cat who goes outside is just fine!
Sooooâ€¦ as a prophylactic measure due to Shachars eye problems and Arekâ€™s sneezing, we gave everyone a broad spectrum antibiotic, Pipsi got one for her intestinal problems, and everyone is being treated for worms. Vet said that the type of worms Shachar had (I think it was hookworms) is a type that is not normally seen in cats, but in dogs. I donâ€™t think that our dog has worms (though she needs to be treated now, too, â€œjust in caseâ€) because weâ€™re pretty good about keeping her de-wormedâ€¦ but there are a thousand other ways worms could have gotten to the cats from other dogs. There is really no way to know for sure. The vet said that if one of our kids (or the dog) stepped in poop outside (we have lots of neighbors dogs who love to poop in our yard) and tracked it into the house (which does happen, with four young children), then the worm eggs could have survived in the carpet even after cleaning. And the worst part is that is no real way to get rid of them! Apparently, certain types of worms (or worm eggs) can live for a long period of time outside of the host and they can get embedded in the cracks of the carpet where the shampoo/vacuum canâ€™t reach. Then, as the animals (OR CHILDREN!) walk along, they can pick them up and become infected. So the really bad news is that this ALSO means there is a good chance that our KIDS have worms - especially as Arek (the Maine Coon) is notorious for pooping in the floor (and the assumption is that if Shachar has worms, they all have worms.) The worst thing about all this is that even if we treat everyone now, they could all become re-infected later down the road when they pick it up from the carpet again. The vet wants me to bring in fecal samples from all the animals every few months to see if a pattern develops. In the meantime, weâ€™re going to be treating everyone in the house (humans included) for worms and renting a heavy-duty carpet shampooer in hopes that that will help - every little bit counts, anyway.
Iâ€™d really appreciate your prayers.