Feb.15.2012: This is a final and, I hope, not too compressed last post on this topic.
June.27.2011: The Acupuncturist/Holisitic Vet came over to my house and spent quite some time examining Raz; she then asked me to express him, with the usual result. Then she had a go herself, with the same zero result. We went outside for a cup of coffee and to allow her to watch Raz running around. Then she said" You must stop trying to express him, he doesn't want it, he will not allow it. You have no choice." I was absolutely flabbergasted, I thought I was hearing her sentence him to a horrible death. She recommended that we slowly reduce Raz's drugs over the next few weeks (which we did).
After she went I went to see my Vet and asked him what he thought: he said "One never knows, why not try it, we can always empty him with a catheter if necessary." And so, with my heart in my mouth, I completely stopped trying to express him. Of course, I was hassling the poor guy a million times a day feeling his bladder and following him around; the first day I thought he was going to burst, it was very hard to leave him alone. He kept on squatting and doing the tiniest little pees, but never seemed able to get a decent quantity out.
Then on day two, I noticed the bladder was definitely smaller. And so it went on, day by day. There was quite a long period of time where the bladder felt soft and squishy, never firm and hard, and I almost lost heart because I thought he would never regain muscle tone. I had to force myself to stop feeling him up, as he was getting quite antsy. And besides, it was clear that the bladder was definitely being emptied - perhaps not as completely as one would like, perhaps not as often as one would like, but nevertheless it was definitely happening.
And so the weeks dragged past, with very little improvement visible on a day-by-day basis, but over a week or two one could definitely say "Things are looking up." Then all of a sudden it was a month later, then two months ... and one day I realised there was nothing - literally nothing at all - wrong with Raz. His tail was 100% fine, his stool was 100% fine, his legs, *everything* was 100% fine. He was hunting and catching mice (and eating them); he was climbing trees; he was fighting with next door's bruiser cat; and best of all, he was eating like a horse. His brother had grown quite a bit bigger, but he was catching up fast - as of Feb.2012 Raz is actually larger and chunkier than his brother.
So: the story has a happy ending. A few final comments:
- I am absolutely convinced (as are my Vets) that the one and only reason Raz never got crystals or any kind of urine infection is because he is 100% raw fed, and his urine Ph was always perfect.
- I never added up the Vet bills because I just plain didn't want to know, but as a ballpark guess I'd say it was in the region of Euro 2,500+
- My Vet was very supportive and keen to help; in the end he published a research paper on Raz. He said that the vast majority of cats with this kind of damage do not live long enough to see if they would eventually get better, because the stress, cost and hard work are beyond most owners (but he didn't offer us any kind of discount!).
- I guess Raz is very lucky that (a) we aren't poor; (b) we work from home; and (c) I was absolutely bloody determined to do my very best for him.
And most of all that I found this website, and had the most fantastic support from the people here. I could NOT have managed without them; I think ignorance and despair would have gotten the better of me long before I came to the end of what was a very long and hard road.
I kept a diary the whole way through, and plan to put it on my website together with all the papers, books and information I found and read, in the hope that it may help someone else in the same boat. Please go to http://www.kestrel.ws/erasmus.html
"Our Maine Coon Erasmus: The Tale of his Broken Tail" - but not before Feb.19.2012, by which time it should be online.