Tuesday, November 06, 2007

hay hay hay

Talked to one of my old neighbours Saturday morning. She told me hay was going for between $6-8 (and occasionally more) per bale. Wow. That's a lot -- especially for that area. When I last bought hay -- early spring of 2005 -- it was selling for $3-5 per bale, depending on what it was (alfalfa, clover, timothy, grass, various combinations) and the quality. So the current prices are a huge jump.

The reason the prices are so high, of course is the lack of rain. The hay just didn't grow well. And what makes it worse is horses fed on pasture during the summer (as mine were) would have to be fed hay during those months because the pastures didn't grow either. I knew it was very dry this summer, but it doesn't really have the same day to day meaning for me now as it used to.

On a different subject -- I picked up Bruiser's ashes today. They are in a little wooden box with a black plaque with his name and the year engraved on it (the lettering is gold). Included with the sympathy card that comes with it are two cards with one of Bruiser's paw prints. I'm not quite sure what I'll do with those (just as I'm not sure what I'll do with the ashes -- I'm not one for displaying them), but they are kinda cute. Bruiser had cute (but really tough) feet.

When Bruiser was at my regular vet before going to the emergency one they had drawn blood and fluid from his abdomen for some tests. Anyway, a day or so later the vet called and left me a message asking if I still wanted the tests run (to see if we could figure out just what it was, because we had several possibilities but nothing further than that). I said not to bother with them, but the tests managed to get run anyway (I wasn't charged). They said the samples were sent out accidentally, and that could be, but my guess is the vet just really wanted to know what was wrong with that cat.

The main three suspects I was told were FIP (feline infectious peritonitis), lymphoma (probably mediastinal form), and a ruptured or torn bladder. All are bad. And all are made more problematic by FIV (the feline equivalent of HIV) -- and Bruiser did test positive for FIV. FIP is (at least now) invariably fatal. Lymphoma can be treated with chemo, but cats with FIV don't do as well. From what my vet is telling the tests show it appears Bruiser had a torn or more likely, a ruptured bladder from an untreated blockage. It is treatable with surgery, however the surgery is expensive (she said about $3000, and I've noticed vet estimates generally run low...), difficult, and the FIV would make recovery from the surgery more difficult, so it's very possible he would have just suffered more and still not survived.

The vet at the emergency clinic said he really didn't think Bruiser had much of a chance no matter which of the three he had and the best case scenario was a few months. Especially with FIV. I know my vet was charmed by the little guy (he was so sweet and cute at the vet) and really wanted to save him, but I think to have pushed ahead with treatment would have just caused him a lot of pain for not much gain. So although I'm sad about having to put Bruiser to sleep and I miss him more than I expected to, the decision to put him to sleep wasn't hard. I felt it was the only compassionate thing to do.

And I couldn't have afforded $3000+ anyway. I am glad the decision didn't come down to money though. To have not been able to do a treatment that would have given him a few more good years because of money would have been crushing. I can't fathom the agony a parent, or spouse or child goes through when the treatment their loved one needs for any hope of survival is out of reach because they can't pay for it.


Blogger veleska1970 said...

our grey tabby george died in 1990 of FIP and kidney failure. but he was really old~~he was 18. i wonder how old bruiser was? did they ever determine how old he was?

5:25 PM  
Blogger eek said...

They thought he could have been as old as 6 or 7 (old for a street cat), but his hard luck life could have just made him appear that old. I would still guess that he was 4 or 5 just from his massive "man cheeks."

7:14 PM  
Blogger eek said...

That should have read "at least 4 or 5" :-)

9:10 PM  
Blogger Région Frontière said...

I'm glad you found out the causes. It must make you feel better knowing you made the right call. Putting him thru all that would have been painful for the both of you.

11:04 AM  
Blogger Jafabrit said...

We lost our dog two weeks before moving to Yellow Springs from nj. We couldn't bear to leave her ashes there, so we sprinkled them in the glen near a big tree we now call the "tootsie tree". Every time I walk in the glen now I smile thinking of her.

I'm glad you were able to find out what was going on with bruiser.

4:13 PM  

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