By Nancy Allen
March 16, 2013
By Nancy Allen
March 16, 2013
Tommy Finds Our House
and a Good Meal
One day in 2012 I noticed a darling little gray tabby kitten was coming up to our back porch to eat out of the cat plates sitting around. It was puzzling that he appeared to be starving and so thirsty every visit. He always came by around dinner time in the evening. I became convinced someone was locking the kitten up during the day without food or water and letting him out to fend for himself in the late afternoon. I called the new kitten Tommy. He was so sweet, cute, and very loving.
Then one day he didn’t come by for about 3 days. I was very worried about him as he had become a regular at our house. My heart sank. I kept watching for him. Finally, he struggled over to the porch. He could hardly walk and was turning in circles and he was leaning to his side. He was clearly terrified and I was too. I knew circling can be a sign of a serious neurological problem. I was afraid he had been poisoned. I tried to catch him but he was so scared he stumbled away from me under a bush. Normally he would walk right up to me. Finally, I was able to catch him and rushed inside with him to call my vet. My husband and I quickly got him to the vet.
Dr. Vickie Brandon of Felines and Friends was also afraid he may have been poisoned. My husband Arnold told her he had put out some weed killer recently so described to her what kind it was. We researched the ingredients. She gave him some medicine to counteract any possible poisons. At the end of the day she took him home with her and watched him. We were all unsure exactly what problem was. One concern, Dr. Brandon was afraid he probably hadn't eaten in 3 days after he got sick. If a cat doesn't eat in 3 days or more, it can go into liver failure. We got some food into him immediately.
Vickie Brandon, DVM
2627 Arlington St.
Ada, OK 74820
He did not get any sicker. Dr. Brandon searched for other possible causes. She had ruled out poison. She finally decided he probably had a polyp in his middle ear causing the frightening symptoms. She visited several time with the specialists at OSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital in Stillwater. We tried him on some steroids to try to get rid of the polyp. A few weeks went by with no progress.
Finally, we decided to take Tommy to the OSU Boren Veterinary Teaching Hospital, a 2 hour drive one way. That was on May 2, 2012. They started doing tests on him and ended up doing a C.T. scan of his head. It showed Dr. Brandon was right. He had a polyp in his middle ear. He had surgery that day to try to remove it. It was via his throat and into his Eustachian tube which was behind his ear drum. The surgery was a failure. The surgeon couldn't reach the polyp. We went back again for some more discussions and another surgeon was convinced she could remove it. We agreed. Thankfully it was a success. It was a very tricky, difficult procedure to do through the throat into the Eustachian tube and up into the middle ear.
We returned in a few weeks and we were disappointed Tommy was still circling with a pronounced head tilt. We had a long discussion about it. They suggested a very difficult, invasive surgery up through his mouth. I just wasn’t convinced. They felt like he had a recurrence of the polyp since he was still showing the original symptoms. I said, “Is it possible he is still just doing that as a learned behavior now or some other reason?” They said no. I still hesitated, not ready to commit to such a risky, very expensive surgery. Cost wasn't the issue though in my mind. I didn’t want to put Tommy though that possibly devastating surgery.