Secret is a very sweet beautiful, five month old, spayed female kitten who presented to RSAH in respiratory distress. She had been visiting in the Chilcotin for 2 weeks and was fine until the day before she was to come home. Her owner thought she was a little quieter than normal and she slept the whole way home. The next day Secret wasn’t really interested in food or water and seemed to be having hard time breathing. Her concerned loving owner brought her into emergency that day.
When Secret arrived she was very depressed and not really responsive when we talked to her. Her heart was pounding away and she was having difficult time breathing. Her gums were very pale. We took an x-ray of her lungs and abdomen. Her heart was very difficult to see on the radiograph and there was loss of detail in her abdomen, which made us think that there could be fluid in the chest and abdomen. We took some blood from Secret and ran a complete blood count. Her red blood cells were very low. It was at this point I asked if by any chance she could have gotten into rat/mouse bait. Her owner thought there was some under the dresser but didn’t think kitty could reach it. To be sure, we ran a rodenticide test which came back as positive.
Rodenticides work by interfering with the blood clotting cascade, in particular vitamin K1. When it is ingested vitamin K1 is not avail able for the animal to use to clot its blood and it begins to bleed. With Secret, she bled into her chest (which is why we couldn’t see the heart well on radiographs) and her abdomen.
Treatment consisted of giving an injection of vitamin K1 under the skin and we put her on a very careful dose of IV fluids to bring her blood pressure up. She had a restful night. The next morning her breathing was worse. She was cold and her heart rate was still high (the heart is working twice as hard to get the red blood cells carrying oxygen to the tissues. Because there are few red blood cells, the heart works really hard to get these few out into the body to do the work that all the red blood cells should be doing).
We put Secret over our hot water table we use for dentals, wrapped her up and put hot water bottles all around her. Her blood work showed that the red blood count was continuing to drop. Secret needed a blood transfusion.
Trying to find a cat big enough to donate enough blood for Secret could have been challenge. Desiray, one of the employees at RSAH was called and she had her kitty Carter here within 10 minutes! Carter graciously donated 44 ml of blood, which we gave to Secret. The response to Carter’s blood was amazing. Within 10 minutes we could see Secret start to become more aware of her surroundings. Her gums were becoming pinker. By the end of the transfusion she was lifting her head and looking around, kneading and when offered some food she actually ate! Secret continued to grow stronger overnight. By the next day her red blood cell count was almost normal, she was eating and walking around and interacting with everyone and purring! This little girl is a fighter and we are so glad that she survived! Thank you to our hero of the day, Carter (and his owner Desiray), for so graciously donating his blood so Secret could continue to live a long healthy life.