The saying goes “When life hands you lemons, make lemonade.” In Panama there are many lemon days to flip around and see the bright side on. One of those days was Friday. But the precursor day was Thursday, as it falls on the calendar and as the story goes…
Bandit didn’t wake us up on Thursday morning. When I cracked open my eyes there was a noticeable bright shiny orb part way over the campo instead of a dusky, murky, grey light. By the time I stumbled out of bed, SU was outside and so were Dos Gatos. SU told me he didn’t think that Bandit was well; the lack of wake up call was our first clue. The second was that he had barely given a sniff to the newly poured dry food in the bowl. SU thought he seemed lethargic and pointed out that he was hiding under a plant and not wandering about the garden as usual.
We walked over to where he was hiding and took a look at him. He was breathing from his mouth and indeed seemed lethargic. We left him for a few minutes but agreed to check on him again shortly. By the time we went looking for him again he had moved to a spot behind a Bougainvillea that was a little less accessible. We then decided it was best to move him into the house where it wouldn’t be so easy to hide and I could keep an eye on him. Throughout the day, I noted he had only used the litter box once and hadn’t drunk or eaten anything. He seemed to be dry heaving every once in a while making me think that he had a stomach ache and he was noticeably non verbal for a cat that likes to talk. He was still doing a little mouth breathing but not so heavy to appear that he was in great pain.
After rising once in the middle of the night to find our boy hunkered in a corner and seeing by morning he was a little improved, but still not himself, we agreed to take him into the vet. We have a general vet in town but there is a vet in Las Tablas that specializes in small animals, so off we went. Bandit found his voice once we were in the car and let it be known that he was not happy despite the distress he was in.
We were lucky enough that once we explained the problem the vet was available immediately. After some poking and prodding she said Bandit has no temperature but she thought perhaps that he might have a hair ball lodged in his digestive system. We agreed that our boy should have an x-ray, however once the x-ray was developed the results were inconclusive because of the poor quality of the x-ray machine. After the Doctora made a phone call, off we were sent to La Villa de Los Santos another half hour down the highway for a new x-ray.
Once in the vets office in La Villa we were told that the Doctor would be in shortly, shortly being un momento in español , he was in Chitre. The “un momento” turned into being held hostage for another 45 minutes or so, but, once the vet arrived he quickly whisked Bandit in for x-rays.
When we returned to the office in Las Tablas once again, we were seen right away. After the pictures were reviewed it was agreed by all with any animal medical knowledge present, that likely there was a hair ball but, there was so much air in the digestive tract and intestines it was difficult to tell. The air was the likely cause of his pain causing a colic similar to that in small children. Bandit was given a shot for the pain in his belly and a mineral oil enema to get things moving. He was also prescribed a laxative paste to take three times over the span of a week and a digestive enzyme, 1/2 in the morning and 1/2 at night, to take a minimum of 15 days. Our boy slept for most of the drive home, only occasionally opening an eye to wink at me.
The total cost for the two pictures from the other vet was $60.00. The total cost for care, the paste and 60 tablets of the enzyme was $35.30. The monetary cost to get our boy back to himself was more than reasonable at under $100.00. We left the house at 0830 and didn’t get home until 1330, an investment of 4.5 hours.
The takeaway from our experience is that we should always be ready for the eventuality that our greatest cost is time. In this case, although Boomer was a little puzzled at our long absence, we were very satisfied with results of our Panama Day…in the campo.