Mr Tucker

Posted: Monday, August 09, 2010 by Travis Cody in

It was a bit of a rough weekend for us.  On Friday I took Mr Tucker to the vet.  He's been struggling some with his breathing and he's lost quite a bit of weight during the construction.  I thought it was just the anxiety getting to him, but when we watched the country gentlemen this last time, it became starkly apparent just how thin he'd gotten.  He hasn't been acting sick or anything, so we didn't see that it might be something really serious.

So I took him over to the doc and they checked him out.  They drew some blood and took some X-rays and it was scary news.  There was fluid around his lungs, his heart was enlarged, and they thought they saw some unusual darker spots on the X-ray.  They couldn't be sure though.

And I felt guilty for not doing something sooner about the weight loss.  Cats are sneaky though.  It's hard to tell they are in distress.  No excuse for not being more attentive, but he just didn't behave like he was sick.

The vet referred us over to an ER hospital facility where they could do some more extensive tests.  So we went over there with him.  The triage tech came out, took one look at him, and took him right back to put him on oxygen.

I was one scared daddy at that point.  And I felt even more guilty.

He was there all weekend.  We just picked him up today.  They drained the fluid from around his lungs.  They are sending it out to test for cancerous cells as a precaution, but they think the problem is his thyroid.  So he's been on meds for that, plus a diuretic to help with the fluid build up.  They kept him these extra days to get the dosage right on the medication.  As the meds started to wear off, he was in some distress well before the next dosage.  

They think they have the right doses now, but they kept him yesterday to make sure.

I sure missed that little spook.  I'm not ready to part with him yet.  No matter what I did over the last few matter how Pam and I tried to talk ourselves into it...we just couldn't prepare ourselves in any way to make the call.

I'm so relieved we didn't have to.

Here's the medical diagnosis from the paperwork they gave mePleural effusion most likely secondary to cardiomyopathy, which may be secondary to hyperthyroidism, tachycardia, or intrinsic heart disease but unknown at this time.  Right sided congestive heart failure - pleural effusion; hyperthyroidism; sinus tachycardia; mild systolic dysfunction, r/o secondary CHF due to hyperthyroidism and tachycardia.  Echocardiogram reveals a mostly volume overloaded heart with the right sided chambers larger than the left side.  It is possible that the hyperthyroidism and sustained tachycardia are the etiology of these changes rather than primary heart disease.  This can only be determined by managing both components chronically and rechecking an echocardiogram in 3 months.  It is possible that the patient can come off of heart meds in the future.

Emphasis mine on that last part, which is the best news.  He has to take Methimazole, Atenolol, and Furosemide/Lasix.  The first two are for the heart condition and the last one is the diuretic to keep any fluid from building up again. 

The second best news is that I'm not public enemy #1, which I was sure I would be for putting him through all that.  While I was putting his water down, he rubbed on my legs.  Then he showed me his belly.  I gave him some rubs, and he bunny kicked my hand.  Then just a few minutes ago, I got my head butt.


  1. I'm so glad that he's doing better. I hope he continues to improve and doesn't give you any more scares!

  1. Anonymous says:

    Oh no, Travis... hugs to you and Pam... And a really good belly rub for Mr. Tucker. I can only imagine how rough of a time y'all had. Count your blessings that he got good care at the right time. I'm glad to hear he's doing better and I hope he continues to improve...


  1. JohnH985 says:

    I'm glad that he's doing better. It's never easy having to make that decision. I remember when I had to do it with my dog before Buffy. I don't want to do it but there comes a point when I think it's cruel to prolong a pet's life. But it still didn't make me feel better as I held him while the vet gave him the needle and I cried like a baby. I hope Mr. Tucker has a long life still ahead of him.

  1. Glad he is feeling better. I hope he can get off the heart meds later on.

  1. What an adorable pic.
    That is one special human cat.

    So glad things are getting back to normal and he is better.

  1. Travis,I am glad that Mr tucker is doing OK,I woud be devastated if something happend to Harvey.I know in the back of my mind that day is comming,He is 17 years old after all.

  1. Debra says:

    So very sorry Mr. Tucker has been having a difficult time. What a joy he must be to you and the Mrs. Hopefully he will continue to improve!

  1. Cherie says:

    I'm so glad that Mr. Tucker got to come home with you! It can be so hard to tell when your furry critter is in distress. I had a similar experience, except I had to "make the call," and really the vet didn't give me much of a choice. I pray that there are many more head butts in your future. :)

  1. Anonymous says:

    Trav: Oh my! I'm sorry Mr. Tucker went through all that. I'll bet you were tired and worried. Keeping my fingers crossed that the part you emphasized comes true! GGG - the anonymous blogger bandit, I guess.

  1. Linda says:

    Wow, that is one heck of a diagnosis - no wonder the poor guy was losing weight and lethargic. I like that last emphasized part though that he may be able to come off of the medications - that's a great prognosis to look forward to.

    Don't kick yourself too much for not having taken Mr. Tucker to the vet sooner as, like you said, cats don't show distress easily and it's sometimes very hard to pick up on the subtle signs that something may be wrong. If you hadn't had all the construction going on as a source of anxiety, you may have noticed a bit sooner but that was just enough to throw things off for you.

    Head scritches to Mr. Tucker and best wishes for a speedy recovery to a fella that certainly loves his Dad even if you did put him through "all that"!

  1. Barb says:

    Big hugs, Travis. I sure hope Mr Tucker is feeling lots better now.

    I know just how you feel as I've been through it several times. When you have pets for 40 years you go through just about everything and I have.

    Ear scritches to Mr, Tucker from me!

  1. I hope Mr Tucker will be alright! I just hate it when one of my animals are not feeling good or get hurt. It tears at my heart!

  1. Akelamalu says:

    Oh poor Mr Tucker! Hopefully he'll be OK now with care. x

  1. Phew...I had a scary moment just looking at the top of this post. Thank heavens Mr. Tucker is home with you and Pam.

    I know what you mean about feeling terrible about not going to the vet sooner. My Xena has had a crappy summer with her skin allergies, and all through July all I could do was listen to her scratch through the night, because I couldn't afford to take her to the vet until the end of the month. By then she had bald patches everywhere, including her poor tail. But my new vet was so wonderful. She didn't look at me as if I was criminally negligent like my previous vet would have done.

  1. Thanks everyone for the good thoughts for Mr Tucker. I really appreciate it. He's doing OK, and so far we haven't had any trouble getting him to swallow his meds.

  1. Jeni says:

    I felt this big lump forming in my throat when I started reading this post. Oh no! Please don't let anything happen to Mr. Tucker -such a handsome gentleman he is, such a sweet cat. So when I read the last line about the "head bump" I thought -probably the best and most appreciated head bump Trav has ever received from Mr. Tucker!
    So glad to hear meds are helping and things don't look that terribly dire down the road -at least not for a while anyway. Hope he continues to improve now too. Tell him to be a good boy and take his meds and all will be fine!

  1. jennifer says:

    Travis I'm sorry it took me so long to find this post!!!

    Heaving a relieved *sigh* with you that Mr. Tucker is home and on the road to recovery.

  1. Poor little sweetie pie. Please give him some extra petting from me.

  1. Wow, I've missed a lot. I'm so sorry that Mr. Tucker was taken ill, but I'm glad you caught it early enough. His diagnosis sounds strangely like mine, but his prognosis is much better, so that's good!