It’s the truth for many animal lovers: we fall for the sickies, the behaviour challenges, the pets with disabilities. In our technician Dana’s case, she fell for a snotty, three-legged cat named Trini (actually she was named Gabrielle, but her shelter name didn’t stick!). Before becoming a veterinary technician, Dana was heavily involved with animal shelter work, and always enjoyed seeing the changes in cats once they were nursed back to health. She had high hopes that this would be the case for Trini, who was said to have a chronic upper respiratory infection after over six months in-and-out of a shelter and foster home settings.
Trini had a blood test done to check for feline leukemia and feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV), two diseases that can weaken a cat’s immune system. Thankfully she tested negative. She was given a course of antibiotics, which helped to clear up the congestion…but only for a little while. She also received anti-viral medications with hopes of getting to the root of her problem, but nope, these treatments also didn’t resolve Trini’s respiratory infection. Even when Trini didn’t have an actively runny nose, her breathing would be laboured. At one point her chest was x-rayed, and nothing unusual was discovered. Routine bloodwork was completely normal. Trini was just a very snotty cat.
This is where the story ended for a couple of years. Yes Trini still sneezed and dribbled boogers wherever she slept, and Dana’s house was never in complete silence because Trini was always breathing noisily in the background. Despite her illness, Trini was a very happy cat, playful and friendly even when she met strangers. There was never a question about Trini’s quality of life because she was just so enthusiastic about everything.
In November, we decided to try one last thing. Polyps are sometimes found in cats with chronic respiratory issues, so we decided to look for one. Trini had to be sedated for the procedure, which she handled excellently. When Dr. Craig peeked into Trini’s mouth, she found the answer to Trini’s problems hidden underneath her soft palate: it was a polyp all along!!
As soon as Trini recovered from her sedation, the change was immediately noticable. Her breathing was nearly silent, the snottiness had cleared up, and even Trini’s meow had changed pitch. Due to the polyp’s removal, Trini did develop Horner’s syndrome in her left eye: a neurological disorder, sometimes causing the third eyelid to protrude, and making the affected eye and its pupil appear smaller than the unaffected eye. There is no set timeline for when this will resolve, and no treatment necessary – Trini will just look a bit goofy until her nerves heal up.
The overall change in Trini has been amazing. She was always a happy cat, but her energy has multiplied, she is able to eat more comfortably, and she loves to “talk” with her newfound voice. Every member of our staff is so thrilled that this quick procedure was able to significantly improve Trini’s quality of life.