Friday, February 26, 2010

up and down and all around

such is the life of Guinness. His highs are high and his lows are low.

He spends a great deal of his time snuggling, purring, going up and down the stairs, wanting treats, and otherwise behaving like a normal cat. Unfortunately normal is still interrupted with episodes and a lot of time at the university hospital (every afternoon).

The MRI report was less than promising. The differential diagnosis was “thiamine deficiency”, which more than left both his vet and me scratching our heads. Seriously, looking at his MR images, the radiologist came up with a vitamin B deficiency? This happens to cats that eat “inexpensive, tinned food from the store” and “raw fish”, Guinness eats Iams. He is now getting B-1 injections, because well, why not.

Should there happen to be any radiologists reading, here is the MR image interpretation:

There are two ill-defined T2 hyperintensities, 4 mm in diameter, associated with the anatomical location of the lateral geniculate nuclei, present at the dorso-lateral aspect of the thalamus (Seq 701, T2W, Image 11/22). More caudally, similar subtle T2 hyperintensities are visible within the cranial colliculus and periaqueductal gray matter. On Flair sequences, the changes are subtle. The changes are bilateral, symmetric and non-enhancing. Diffuse ill-defined patchy hyperintensities involving the hippocampus.
On sagittal plane T2W sequence, The caudal occipital bone is irregular in outline, responsible for the irregular caudal margin of the cerebellum. The cerebellum appears otherwise normal in size with adequate foliation. The caudo-ventral tip of the cerebellum is triangular, often seen in otherwise normal cats. The tympanic bulla and internal ear structures are unremarkable.


The more I get to know the clinicians and staff at UCD, the more I really like them. Yesterday someone had brought dessert in and two receptionists offered me a piece on different occasions. His lead vet had also emailed me a video that they had taken when Guinness was first admitted, a video that was never meant for us to see. I was touched watching the amount of affection that Guinness was shown during the six-minute clip. Every.single.time he fell over or needed to be moved, someone stroked him or patted his head. They were so gentle, and again, this was not a video that anyone ever thought that we would see. Two days in a row he has had a different nurse come out to get him. On Wednesday his nurse called him gorgeous and talked to him all the way to the clinical area. Yesterday another nurse came to get him. She too spoke to him the entire way to the door that separates the waiting area from the clinical rooms. While she was waiting for the door to open, a receptionist commented to her that Guinness was “lovely”. She agreed and gave him so many compliments. I really don’t think this was done for my benefit; I just don’t get that feeling from them. As I was leaving yesterday, a receptionist came over to ask how I was doing and to tell me how much they care about the animals that are treated at UCD, very sweet.

Since I now have the MRI report, a summary of Guinness’ clinical history, and the video clip, I’ve been searching the internet like mad for email addresses of veterinary neurologists and those teaching at veterinary schools in the U.S. I don’t expect free advice, nor do I expect a concrete diagnosis over the internet, but it can’t hurt to get his information out there. Maybe, just maybe, someone has seen a case similar to this or could suggest another test. Anything. If you know a veterinarian that might like to look at what seems like an impossible case, please email me (see upper right corner).

With that, Guinness and I are heading out the door. Time for his daily appointment. Today we have a bonus appointment with the opthamologist. Wheee……


  1. Sweetie, unfortunately I am no expert and cannot help, but I'm in UCD too, so if you ever want to go for coffee while Guinness is been checked out do let me know, I'll be delighted to meet you! Fran

  2. Of course the nurse called him handsome, bc he is!!!! =) It's so frustrating that they can't figure out what's wrong with him.

    It's so great that the staff is so nice and sweet to him. Warms my heart bc he deserves it. =)

  3. Sending love to you both. I wish I knew someone who could help. Thinking cap on. (( hugs))

  4. You and Guinness are in my thoughts. Oh, and Sharkey and Fluffy are rooting for you, too!

  5. university of california davis runs a vet program and clinic that is world known perhaps your vet could arrange a consult with them or yo could? it has been so heart breaking readimg about all he has been through. check out the univ: good luck!