After we went through the basic motions (poor Ra did NOT enjoy having his temperature taken, I got bitten for my efforts to help control him) he was take away and x-rayed. Within ten or fifteen minutes the vet returned bearing the film and an illuminator panel. As soon as I saw that I knew we had trouble -- they wouldn't bother showing me the x-rays if there wasn't something of concern to be shown. I was given a brief introduction to the various pictures that were taken and then treated to an overview of how a feline's internal organs are laid out. It's rather impressive that a doctor can identify a liver, kidney, heart and spleen by those vague grey/white/black shadows that show up -- for all I knew he had a Tonka Toy inside him where his bladder was. *shiver* According to the doctor all was cool up until the gas pockets were noticed in his intestines, which pointed to the intrusion of a foreign body into his digestive system (Something I'd suspected but mostly ruled out). I was presented with two options, the recommended one being an exploratory surgery with biopsies to be taken of liver, kidney and bowels to ensure proper function. I didn't see a choice, really, because if the other option proved positive we'd end up having to go into surgery any ways, and there was the possibility that he'd have internal damage done to his digestive tract if there was a foreign body... so all around I just opted for the surgery.
Wow, welcome to expense land. I won't even say how much this whole endeavor plus x-rays, exam and the like is costing other than "I've hit four digits at this point."
The interesting part here is that while I was writing about the choices I received a call from the vet. The surgery was complete and Ra was awake. There was no evidence of a foreign body intruding into his digestive system, nor any other damage that might because by such an occurrence. However, while she was doing her exploratory the vet did notice he had an inflamed pancreas and lymph nodes. While doing the surgery they took biopsies of his lymph node and his intestines, evidentially along with a small sample from his pancreas. They'll be keeping him overnight at a minimum, and will try to feed him tomorrow. The earliest I'll be able to take him home will be Wednesday night, and that's if he doesn't have any complications like a fever, vomiting or evidence of internal bleeding.
Why is it I am not very reassured?
The results on the "TLI" test which I'm told looks for chronic pancreatic inflammation (?) won't be back until Thursday at the earliest, an the biopsy results probably won't be back until Sunday. This doesn't go very far to reassure me, either. At this point it could be a genetic trait coming to the fore, a viral infection, a fungal/bacterial infection... they don't know. We ruled out one possibility and opened the door for three others.
I feel so bad for him. I hope we can narrow this down soon to something that can be treated, get it out of the way and get back to normal. I miss my happy, playful, non-ill kitty. Yeah for six days of worry. I'm going to be smoking like a chimney now.