Sunday, 19 June 2011

Citrus' story

Note the wound mark on her forehead 
Citrus came to our house on 28 April 2011. Although she had a small wound on her left forehead, in our eyes, she was like a super model with beautifully placed ears, expressive face and lithe body. She loves attention but hates to be touched, let alone carried around.

Her previous owner, Ej, informed us that she had rubbed her forehead against the cage a couple of days before she was supposed to come to our house - I think most likely in protest of the move (he he he). We should have taken more note of her habit of rubbing her head against the cage, it would have saved us a lot of headaches and sleepless nights!

Anyway, when she first came home, she was given a brand spanking new cage to sleep in during the day when we are at work and of course to isolate her from the rest of the cats until they get to know her better. However, since Sara was on term break, we decided to keep her in Sara's room instead of the cage since Ej informed that she does not like to be caged.

Every time we wanted to pick her up, she would try and evade us and say "Wheh wheh" as though telling us in no uncertain terms that "I prefer to walk by myself, thank you very much" or "Don't touch me you stupid human, can't you see that I am busy!" - she was hilarious! One of her nicknames is Wowosh, which was derived from her "Wheh wheh", the other nickname is Siti Ros, which sounds like Citrus.

Note the area of the wound
Everything was fine and dandy until we had to leave her in the cage on 1 May as we were participating in the KKM's Cat Fun Show. When we got home, she had again rubbed her forehead on the cage on the same spot! The blood had also solidified and encrusted the forehead, poor dear! We sent her to the clinic immediately and was given some topical ointment and anti itch medication.

For the next couple of weeks, everything looked okay. She was staying in Sara's room instead of her cage, her wound looks to be healing but very slowly. After a few days alone, we decided to let Pearl keep her company in the room.

Then on 19 May, when we got home, she was bleeding again from another wound, this time above her right eye instead so we quickly got her to the clinic. Imagine our surprise and dismay when the vet told her that she had developed a fungus like infection around the wound and it may be ringworm!

The vet shaved the wounded area to enable us to check the fungal infection. (I suspect that the fungal infection could be due to insufficient drying after the bath given on 14 May or due to extensive use of aircon in her room and improper ventilation :(. ) She was also given a round of antibiotics and some topical ointment to rub on the forehead.

The next few days we were busy disinfecting the whole house, starting with Sara's room, then my room, then the whole house. We had just given all the kittens a bath on 14 May so decided not to give them a bath yet. We were not sure whether to isolate the kittens or not but since Pearl doesn't seem to be affected, we maintained the sleeping arrangements.

The ringworm shape
Then on 6 June, we went to see the vet again for another check-up. We were told that the fungus had spread further up her head but has not reached the ears. We were so upset as we thought that she was getting better, and furthermore, we had already done everything the doctor had advised. The vet shaved her forehead again and gave her another round of anti-fungal medication and topical ointment. 

A couple of days later, she hurt herself again and ended up wearing an E-collar as we suspected she has been scratching herself. The vet also advised us not to stress the kitten further as it may also affect her recovery rate. Oh dear, she is stressed out as well!

Citrus definitely did not like the E-collar as it limits her vision. The poor baby was listless for a few days but she was still eating as normal so we just had to bear with it. However, we found out that the E-collar did not help as the following week on 13/6, she had hurt her ears from trying to get the collar off! And of course, the fungus had spread to her ears!!!

Citrus the astronaut! Note the new wound mark
Getting totally fed-up with the slow healing progress, on 14/6 we decided to visit another vet to get a second opinion. The new vet quickly concurred with the earlier diagnosis of fungal infection. However, in order to confirm the infection, she took a scrapping sample of the affected area.

She also told us to continue giving her the anti fungal oral medication but advised us to reduce the usage of the topical medication as it may be too strong for Citrus which may be the reason why she is not healing as expected. 

She also advised us to maintain the use of the E-collar as it will deter Citrus from rubbing her forehead with her paws and spreading the fungus further on her body.

We took head of her advise and reduced the use of the topical medication. The encrustation on her forehead looked so bad, we decided to scrap the dead skin off using the flea comb (use it gently!) instead of our fingers. It seems to improve the situation as we could get rid of more encrustation than before although we couldn't do the same to the ears. We bought a bigger E-collar but also try to minimise using the E-collar and took it off whenever we are home.

The 2nd vet called us the following day on 15/6 to inform us that the results were negative for fungal infection. Huh? So what is it? In the end, she advised us to follow through with the medication and to visit her again when we have finished the medication.

I am still positive that we can overcome this fungal infection or whatever infection this is. Yesterday we gave Citrus her weekly bath, this time the medicated shampoo was applied correctly, according to the timing indicated and applied directly to the affected area. After the bath, we managed to scrapped off a lot more from her head.

Today was the first time I saw Citrus chasing after a ball with her collar on. I believe the tide has turned.

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