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Penelope's Pyothorax

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
My cat, Penelope, was diagnosed with Pyothorax at the end of October, 2004. (I had to rush her to the emergency room because she was having trouble breathing). Strangely, after the thoreocentesis (sp?), an injection of antibiotics, and a 10 week regimen of oral antibiotics, she managed to get better. This is strange because normally thoracic lavage and hospitalization is required for the initial week of treatment.

Shortly before Penelope went off the antibiotics she started having coughing attacks -- one to four a day. At first, I thought it was a furball but when the vet x-rayed her two weeks ago she found that the right middle lung lobe was consolidated. (There was no evidence of pleural fluid and the heart was normal in appearance, whatever that means). Penelope's been doing well since the x-ray in terms of eating, sleeping, and playing, but she still has the coughing attacks. So, I scheduled a vet appointment for tomorrow (the vet wanted to see her 2-4 weeks after the last visit to re-check the x-rays; because she's still coughing, I'm going sooner rather than later).

The vet visit is a scary thing for both Penelope and myself. Scary for Penelope because she doesn't know what's happening and she's going away from home to a place where they do "bad things" to her -- she was so scared at the last visit that she peed on me! Scary for me because I'm afraid of what they'll find. This is what the vet wrote in her discharge summary last time:

ASSESSMENT: The consolidated lung lobe may be related to the previous history of pyothorax but another issue is possible. I am recommending that we reassess this finding in 2 to 4 weeks and in order to decide whether surgical intervention is appropriate or whether bronchoalveolar lavage under general anesthesia to collect lung secretions for cytology and culture would be a minimally invasive alternative to further assess the situation.

Neither of the alternatives here -- surgery or lavage under anasthesia -- sounds very good to me. So, needless to say, I've been a worried and anxious mess about Penelope. The fact that my cats mean the world to me compounded with the fact that I can be an obsessive person, anyway, well, it's really hampered my ability to work or do anything without thinking about my little girl.

The vet visit is tomorrow so could I bother you all out there to send some good vibes and say some prayers for Penelope? Thanks for letting me write about all this.

Oh, here are some information sites on pyothorax:


(Just so you know, Penelope tested negative for FIV and FeLV)
post #2 of 18
I'm send some *Good Vibes* for Penelope's Vet visit for tomorrow and some *Calming Vibes* for you.
post #3 of 18
Colleen sending ((((Mega good luck and stress free vibes)))) from the UK for both you and Penelope tomorrow.

Let us know what happened asap.
post #4 of 18
Thread Starter 
Thanks, Rita and Susan. That means a lot to me!
post #5 of 18
My cat George died of of pyothorax 5 years ago at age 10 I always felt that my vet didn't do enough and now after reading the links you provided, I know it may be true.

My vet only put my cat on longterm, heavy antibiotics and never offered a chest tube until my cat had already progressed and became very ill. We couldn't stand his suffering anymore so we euthanized him.

I think it is good you have an "aggressive" vet. You may of already had your recheck by now but be sure to ask a lot of questions and make sure you understand totally what is going on. This may help to ease your mind.

I hope all goes well and I'll pray for Penelope.
post #6 of 18
Vibes to both you and Penelope. You both will be in my thoughts.

post #7 of 18
Penelope, I'm praying for you tonight and will continue to do so all day tomorrow. Please don't be afraid, sweet little girl. Your Mommy is going to take wonderful care of you.Colleen, thank you for this great information. You'll both be in my thoughts and prayers all day, and I'm waiting for a wonderful report! Sierra sends sweet snuggles to you both!
post #8 of 18
Thread Starter 
Thanks for your prayers, CTCat. I'm so sorry to hear about your experience with George. It's possible they didn't know as much about pyothorax five years ago -- I'm not sure. In any case, my regular veterinarian referred to me a specialist in internal medicine who I'm seeing now. Otherwise, I wouldn't be able to get the kind of care I'm receiving now. Please don't blame yourself for anything. I'm sure George had a wonderful 10 years with you and your family.

Michele, you're such a sweetheart -- thanks for the good vibes. We need them!

Stephanie, I knew we could count on you for your prayers. Thank you so much for all of those prayers and for your continuing compassion for Penelope. You are as sweet as your Sierra!
post #9 of 18
Thread Starter 
The vet visit's over (phew) and the good news is that it doesn't look like Penelope's problems are related to her history of pyothorax. According to the vet's report, "the appearance of the right middle lung lobe was much improved compared to the previous radiographs." I'm much relieved about this as it means the vet will probably not have to do invasive surgery. Thank God!!

However, the vet did note that, "There was a generalized bronchial lung pattern." This means that Penelope probably has a bronchial airway disease. This could be caused by heartworm, lungworm, or asthma. The vet took blood and fecal samples to test for the first two. If these come back negative, I'll have to bring Penelope back for bronchoalveolar lavage under general anesthesia to determine whether it's asthma or some other bronchial problem.

I'm really praying that Penelope doesn't have heartworm as this almost untreatable in cats. Also, I'll kick myself for not giving her Heartguard. I didn't know that indoor cats could get heartworm!

It was a trying day for both of us. Penelope shook and cried almost the whole time. I have to drive with one hand on the steering wheel and one in the carrier petting her or she yowls like you wouldn't believe! In the vet office, she quiets down but she tries to hide under the towel in her carrier. It's like "If I can't see it, it'll all go away." Also, they shaved some fur off of her neck. Do they need to do that to get a blood sample? I thought that was strange.

Anyway, thank you all SO SO much for praying for and sending good vibes to Penelope. I'll keep you all updated on her progress.
post #10 of 18
I'm glad she is home and can rest up for now Keep us updated on the test results
post #11 of 18
Originally Posted by SnowLeop
"the appearance of the right middle lung lobe was much improved compared to the previous radiographs."

Such wonderful news, Colleen. Poor little girl, she must have been so frightened.I'm thankful you are both back home together now so you can relax.They do routinely shave Sierra's little neck to draw blood, also. Tell Penelope how beautiful she is with her new fashion statement!You both remain in my prayers, thank you for keeping us updated!
post #12 of 18

Thats one hurdle over!. I'm praying that the results come back all clear

Don't feel bad about not giving Penelope the heartguard!. Even though we don't really have that problem here in the UK i would have thought the same as you with her being indoors
post #13 of 18
Wow, I am so glad to hear shes doing ok. That was very scary and now I will worry about our cats. More stuff to ask the vet or read about now. Good luck with her, my thoughts are with you both.
post #14 of 18
Thread Starter 
Cirque, thank you so much for your kind thoughts. What's wrong with your cats that you need to worry about them?

Susan, thanks for consoling me re: the heartguard. Let's hope it's not heartworm so I don't have to deal with a guilty conscience! It's very rare for felines to get heartworm but I guess they can so we'll see. You're so sweet for lending your support.

Stephanie, your prayers mean so much to me. Thank you for being there for me! Yes, poor little Penelope has had to deal with so many fur shavings (on her sides and now on her neck!) I'll be glad when she can get a fur coat again!

Rita, thank you so much for your concern and support. It means so much to me.
post #15 of 18
Thread Starter 
Good news -- Penelope doesn't have heartworm!

The good part of this little scare is that I will put both cats on a preventative heartworm medication before the summer (and the mosquitos) get here.

Penelope tested negative for lungworm, too, which means she probably has asthma. The vet, however, would like to do a broncheoalveolar lavage under general anasthesia before she prescribes steroids. She said I don't need to do it immediately but I'm thinking I may schedule an appointment for Monday. Penelope is doing okay in terms of eating, sleeping, etc. but everytime she has a coughing attack, I get really scared. Sometimes they last for a minute or two. Also, I'm not sure she's been as active in play, lately. I'm afraid to get her too wound up for fear it will bring on another coughing attack.

So, doing the lavage might lead to the right prescriptions to a better quality of life for Penelope, but what if she dies under anasthesia or something goes wrong in the procedure? This terrifies me. Would you schedule the lavage earlier or later? I'd really appreciate your thoughts on this. Thanks so much for all your prayers and good vibes.
post #16 of 18
I'm so thankful for the results of Penelope's test, Colleen!I don't have the answers to these tough questions. You know you and Penelope remain in my prayers and in my heart!
post #17 of 18
Originally Posted by SnowLeop
The good part of this little scare is that I will put both cats on a preventative heartworm medication before the summer (and the mosquitos) get here.
My vet once told me that a high percentage of feline heartworm cases he's diagnosed have been in indoor cats. I guess we just figure that since they're indoors they're protected. But it just takes that one little mosquito getting in. . .

I hope you and your vet can get Penelope's symptoms under control so her life can return to normal soon. Being sick is nerve-wracking enough. Being a furry animal who has no clue what these humans are doing to her while she feels bad must be very stressful indeed.

Good luck!
post #18 of 18

Colleen thats brilliant news!!!! you must be so relieved

I don't have an answer on what to do either?. I always try and put myself in other peoples situations to see what i would do, and if it was me i would be wanting it over with but because your worried of what could happen once she's under i would be having a long chat with my vet to stress my concerns so that he/she can put you at ease?!.
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