Wednesday, September 14, 2016
One of the foster kittens, Bam Bam, has had some upper respiratory stuff going on for a few weeks. He wasn't responding to the standard meds, so yesterday I took him to the vet the rescue uses, so that he could get a check-up. The vet gave him some different meds for his stuffy nose, and that should clear up with no problem, but during the course of the exam she discovered something more disconcerting.
Bam Bam has a heart murmur. A fairly significant one.
Getting diagnosed with a heart murmur would cause some rescues to euthanize, due to the uncertain future of the kitten. Heck, some rescues euthanize for such minor problems as ringworm. However, I do not volunteer for a high-kill rescue, and thus, little Bammer is back home with his littermates, his foster mamacat, and I.
The problem with heart murmurs for rescues is that while the treatment is manageable, cost-wise, the diagnostics needed in order to determine the scope of the problem are very expensive. Getting an echocardiogram done on a cat does not come cheap; ASK ME HOW I KNOW. *cough* Also, heart murmur cats are more difficult to get adopted out, due to the fact that they are more expensive to own than a healthy cat because of the diagnostic tests that will need to be repeated during the life of the cat. Also, many potential adopters shy away from cats seen as "unhealthy". Of course we will be disclosing his condition to potential adopters; to do otherwise would be unethical.
But! The rescue I volunteer for believes that if the animal has a reasonable chance at a good life, that opportunity must be given. The rescue will be doing some more consulting with their veterinarian after the initial test results come in and will go from there.
This is part of rescue, and part of fostering. The animals are not all healthy, and even the ones who appear healthy can come with some nasty medical surprises. Not all the animals make it.
But Bam's murmur was caught at a young age, and there's no reason to think that he shouldn't have many good years yet to charm the pants off the people around him. And we're going to give him that chance.
After all, SOMEbody's gotta keep an eye on those pesky backyard birds.