I took my cat back to the vet today (they said they would avoid cashing my check until I get paid in December). It turns out that what she has, probably isn’t just fleas. I kind of thought it was more than fleas, but I was hoping the vet was right about it being fleas or allergies or something.
They poked and prodded her all over this time. Judging from the pattern of when she yowls and when she doesn’t (as well as the one time she jumped, hissed, and bit the veterinary assistant) — something she is apparently far better at doing than I am — her pain is in a particular part of her mid-spine area, and then radiating out from that where the nerves from that go, including to that leg that she’s been picking at a lot.
So I got a long discussion of neurological diseases in cats. Apparently, they don’t have MRIs or CAT scans for cats anywhere closer than Maine or Massachusetts. And apparently, that’s both very expensive and unlikely to result in any useful information in terms of treatment (the main thing that is treatable, which this probably isn’t, the treatment is a surgery that can be worse than the actual condition).
They said that it could be something inflammatory like arthritis, and it could be a temporary injury. They want to put her on prednisone and see how well she does on that. She did chase and bully the dog a bit when she got home, which is a good sign. (She’d been too tired to even hiss at the dog before.)
I also got to learn that feline pain management… basically sucks. They apparently have fewer negative reactions to steroids like prednisone than humans do. But at the same time, they have really bad reactions to non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (like ibuprofen in humans), and there’s only a few they can take, and those ones not long-term. And of course, this may be neuropathic pain, which is hell to treat in any species. (As I’m well aware from having the human equivalent.)
She’s been acting really unusual — unusually cuddly, with everybody. She normally does like cuddling except with me, and then not as often as she has been. She even followed me into the shower the other day. When I came home from Thanksgiving dinner, she started prrrrr-yowling at me and then jumped on my chest and wouldn’t get off. She’s slept on top of me every night. She’s turned into cat-Velcro.
So… I’m really hoping this is temporary, but if it’s not, it looks like I have a whole new species (literally) of pain management to find out about, a species that’s even less well-understood than humans. :-/