Tuesday, March 15, 2022

Lori's 2nd Spay Visit

TBT:   Nothing went bad, but nothing went good either.  Her blood platelet count is still too low to operate.  The Vet is certain her equipment is accurate (and discussed it with a technician).  She certainly does blood tests on other cats and it must give normal results for them.  And she said she again did a manual microscope slide platelet count (as she did at the 1st visit). 

She suspects Lori has a lingering infection that is causing the low platelet production, but that there are some tests she can't do herself.  So, she has sent a separate blood sample to a feline pathologist for verification or more information. 

Most of the usual infections/conditions are unlikely.  All The Mews are fully vaccinated and Lori has never even been outside.  The other Mews seem utterly healthy.  And as the Vet said "Lori is a house-raised purebreed, not a street-cat you rescued.  No offense to former street-cats, but yeah, she just hasn't been exposed to much of "the dirty outside world".

The pathologist may discover a problem.  I both hope and fear he (the Vet said "he") will discover the problem.  Hope, for a possible resolution; fear that it may be very serious and permanent.

I remain a bit uncertain about the Vets (there are 2 at the clinic.  I "inherited" them 2 years ago from the previous Vet who solved everything for 35 years.  I'm not saying they aren't fully-able, but 2 years is not 35 years.  And until now, it has all been very routine exams and shots.  And this might be a situation that would challenge the best Vet.

Vets know about animal stuff.  I am no Vet.  But I was an analyst on many subjects for 30 years with the US Govt.  I know how to do research and pick up information quickly.  So I researched cat low platelet count at a dozen reputable sites.  There are things about this "low platelet count" that don't make sense.

I mentioned in a previous post that Lori had no symptoms of low platelet count.  She continues not to, and the Vet agrees (though possibly thinking I am shading the truth).  Well, no medical expert ever loves an amateur...  But I went down the list I had while talking to her on the phone.  Lori has NO symptoms of low platelet count other than a lab test and manual count.  

I asked her the most obvious question last.  If Lori has a low platelet count that causes excessive bleeding, shouldn't she bleed from the blood sample extractions (and she didn't).  She agrees that "it doesn't make sense".  But she WOULD find the cause.  

Not that it stops me from learning about a subject.  There are illness possibilities, physical problem possibilities, and idiopathic possibilities.

1.  Lori has been vaccinated against most of the diseases that can cause low platelets.  I say "most" because (apparently) there are some rare ones with no vaccines available.  Some have meds to solve it.

2.  There are some physical problems possible.  A non-fully functional spleen is one (the spleen stores platelets - among other things - for release as required).   An over-active spleen can also destroy platelets thinking there is too many.  Bone marrow produces platelets; bone marrow cancer can stop that.  An over-active immune response can also reduce platelet count.  There are others rarer.

3.  Idiopathic just means "no known cause" (and maybe genetic?).  And by definition, not fixable.

So here we are, waiting for pathology lab results and wondering what the future will bring.  Lori seems perfectly happy and healthy otherwise.  

Any information, similar experience, or suggestions are welcome.  If it is long, the email is on the sideboard.



The Vet clinic just called.  The pathologist said Lori had "clumps of platelets" but nothing to worry about!  She has plenty of them.  She will get spayed March 21st.

I KNEW she was fine about the platelets.   I just had to make the Vet realize it.  If you sense a certain glee at this outcome, you are not wrong.

Doctors and Vets  are trained to look for horses, not zebras.  Meaning that they look for the expected, not the rare.  But rare exists.

Dr. Theodore Woodward, a former professor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore, coined this term in the late 1940s. He explained that since horses are the most commonly encountered hoofed animal for most people and zebras are hoofed animals that are less likely encountered; one would naturally guess that the hoof beats belong to a horse and not a Zebra.  That how Drs diagnose problems.  The likliest is likliest.

Lori is the Zebra... I knew it, I knew it, I knew it.  Nothing else made sense.  In my career, I could always see the "Zebras".  One small wrong assumption always got to me and I found the "why".

I will not say this to the Vet.  She knows.  And she would have been right 99 of 100 times and I expect to have years of good regular care for The Mews from her.  But I saw the 1 and it was confirmed. 

A friend once said my middle name should be "Persistence".  Yeah, he got that right...

But, for now, Lori gets her spay operation from a skilled and caring Vet in a week, and that's really all I care about.

Tonight I will have a good steak dinner about the good news.  Lori will share it...