I am desperate for any advice and or tips. Our Devon, Lester is a rescue cat. He didn't have a very good start having been found in a house with 120 cats. He has been with us for 4yrs and 9 months now, and he is a lovely sweet boy. He is shy and not very confident, but not with me and my husband. We don't know exactly how old he is, but he was estimated at about 2yrs when we had him.
He has almost always had plaque/gingivitis since we had him and we always knew he would have to have a dental op. We put it off as long as we could but he finally had it about a month ago. I was very worried about the anaesthetic as I know some (particularly Ketamine based), can be fatal to devons. I discussed all this with our vet (who has been wonderful), and he was aware of the problems and knew which anaesthetics to use. The operation seemed to go well and he had 5 teeth removed. However, after a couple of hours recovering, Lester suddenly became very ill - struggling to breathe. Ultimately, it turned out that he had an undiagnosed heart problem (he was asymptomatic), and the anaesthetic and stress of the op had triggered it (as I understand can happen). He spent 5 days in hospital at the vets and was very poorly. We nearly lost him twice. He had to spend a couple of days in an incubator on oxygen. Also, during this time he would not eat. He ate nothing for 8 days in all.
Amazingly, he pulled through and we brought home a very skinny weak cat. He is now eating again and gaining weight. We know this condition will be life limiting and are trying to come to terms with it. The huge problem is medication. He has to have 3 pills in the morning (nelio, frusemide and potassium) and 2 in the evening (frusemide and potassium). As he has become stronger, we cannot get him to take them. At the moment I have resorted to going to the vet nurse 1 or 2 times a day (they are only 2 minutes away), and they are giving them (although with difficulty this morning)!
We have tried putting the pills in his mouth as the vets do. When you lift up his head he will not open his jaw - we have to force it. If we manage this, he has now learned not to swallow. We have sat holding his mouth for upto 15 minutes after getting the pills in, with saliva pouring everywhere. Rubbing his throat or blowing up his nose makes no difference. As soon as we loosen our grip he spits them out. Also, this is very stressful for him. If we try to syringe in water to make him swallow, he spits out the pills as we are trying to get the water in. (It makes no difference if we use a pill popper).
We have also tried grinding the pills into a powder with a pestle and mortar, mixing with a little water or cat milk, drawing it up into a syringe and getting this into his mouth. This more or less worked for a while, but he has now learned to spit the liquid straight out. If I mix them with his food he refuses to eat - not good as he is still underweight. The last 2 nights I have mixed a little chicken stock mix, and added the powdered frusemide and potassium to this and left it on a plate for him (and not fed him). He has lapped this (eventually and bit-by-bit), but I don't know how many times I will get away with it. If that stops working he will have to go to the nurse in the evening too. I also don't want to do too much withholding of food. I have tried mixing them with Tuna, salmon and sardines in the hope they may disguise any smell, but he just won't eat it (he is not particularly into fish). There are no treats or food he goes crazy for. I bought expensive pill pocket treats - he refused to go near them.
I am sure you are now getting the picture. My husband and I are at our wit's end. We don't know what to do with him - he is outwitting us at every turn. I am constantly worrying, and scared he is going to have an even shorter lifespan because we can't look after him properly and get his pills in. Our vet surgery has been wonderful, but I am worried about relying so much on their goodwill.
Any other advice or tips would be very welcome. Many Thanks.