Day 20: Rats and a Sick Kitty

Today was not the most exciting day of my internship, but I helped out quite a bit and I know that the AHTs really appreciate it. We had to prepare for a med student class, where they get to come in and dissect rats. They do a full, in-depth dissection to learn anatomy and how it relates to humans, several procedures, and suturing techniques. It’s a really valuable learning experience for them. Most the the prep was done on Friday (setting up all of the stations) so there wasn’t a lot to do today. My job was basically to walk around and observe and answer any questions (which meant going to get someone who knew the answer, haha). The lab took them several hours, and afterwards I helped clean up and then after lunch I washed most of the instruments. So while not terribly exciting, I did get to observe some of the dissection (the cool parts – inflating the lungs, injecting methylene blue into the renal pelvis) and I snagged a nice in color lab guide with fabulous rat anatomy pictures (don’t worry, I got permission :P).

I left early, at 2:30pm, because my 9 year-old male kitty, Simon, has been having paroxysms of sneezing for the past week or so. There’s no nasal or ocular discharge, and otherwise everything is perfectly fine and normal. He’ll just occasionally sneeze several times, stop and swallow hard, then sneeze several more times. So we took him to our vet to seek her advice. Because he’s my kitty, I had all of the worse case scenarios going through my head and was preoccupied and worried the entire day. When we got there, I found out that he weighs 15 pounds!! And he’s not fat, he’s just a big boy. No wonder it hurts when he sits on my stomach, hah. His physical exam checked out great, his teeth looked wonderful, and there’s was nothing apparently wrong with him. The vet’s first thought was a Mycoplasma felis infection. Other thoughts were Cryptococcus (but he is indoor only – he could be a long time carrier of Mycoplasma but not Crypto – and missing all of the classic signs) and nasophayngeal polyp (extremely rare and impossible to diagnose without heavy sedation/anesthesia). We could test for Mycoplasma but the test cost >$200, so we opted instead to treat with doxycycline and see if that fixes the problem. If so, great! If not, then we’ll have to pursue further diagnostics. I really hope this is it, because it would be a cheap and easy cure. He got his first dose tonight, and even though it “tastes like fish,” he was NOT impressed and I had to force it on him, which I hate. But if it cures him then I don’t mind.

Now to bed! It’s been a long day with work + vet visit + spinning class!


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