So we’ve hit a few bumps in the road. Both Zissou and Esteban seem to be showing signs of sensitive tummies and, as some of you may have read on the forums, Esteban seems to be showing signs of phantom limb pain. We even thought for a little bit that maybe Zissou was experiencing phantom pain in her tail.
The sensitive tummy issue has been the easiest bump to smooth out. I went to PetSmart and comparison shopped for a sensitive stomach diet for Zissou as hers was the first to manifest in mild vomiting and diarrhea. I wasn’t super impressed with the options in my budget range. I was trying to keep a future home in mind, knowing that they may not want to spend as much as I would. When I think sensitive stomach diet, I think fish as a first ingredient. A lot of the “cheaper” sensitive stomach diets had poultry as first ingredients. I left with Purina Pro Plan sensitive skin and stomach, which has herring as a first ingredient. I feed all of my own pets Pro Plan, so I was very happy with the purchase I made. I’ll just be holding out hope that her new home is willing to spend a little more to keep her belly happy because so far, we’ve had great success feeding her this food. Today is the first day I’ve fed Esteban this food as his sensitive tummy issues have just started to manifest in the form of …errr…gas heh heh.
Our theory on Zissou’s phantom pain is still up in the air. When she first came to us, she was super growly. She became more friendly with us quickly, but continued to be growly and moody with all of the other animals. Jay speculated that losing her tail was causing the rapid mood swings as her tail is technically part of her spinal column. Lately, though, she’s been less growly and more social with everyone. Steve was the first of our own pets to stand up to Zissou and hang out with her, even when she was growling and hissing, so we absolutely have Steve to thank for Zissou’s turn around. Steve taught Zissou how to play! Zissou now plays with Steve, Saxon, Spyder, and Esteban! It’s so funny to see them all zooming around the kitchen! Really, we hear them banging around more than we see them!! Still, though, she has moments where she lashes out for no reason. She was just laying with Jay while he studied and he said that she was biting his hand out of nowhere.
Esteban’s phantom pain is my biggest worry. He will jump onto my lap to snuggle, ask for attention, then bite and yell at me out of nowhere. I’ve also seen him be eating, then yell and bite at the air in the direction of his amputated leg when no one was there touching him. He has days – or even hours – where he’s irritable for seemingly no reason, then days – or hours – where he’s super sweet and cuddly and nothing bothers him. He can go from laying on the couch in that crouched pose that makes it look like he’s in pain to running from room to room doing cat zoomies!
The weather here in Upstate NY has not been conducive to getting out of the house much. I called the humane society last week to set up a vet appointment for first thing this coming week. Ten minutes after I hung up the phone, the forecast came on the news saying we were going to have a “long term snow event” lasting from Saturday through Monday night. Ugh!! I don’t mind the snow but I need to get things done!! I called the humane society back and rescheduled for Tuesday! (So far there’s something like 7 inches on the ground on top of last week’s foot and we’re expecting another foot by the end of the day tomorrow I think.)
So fingers are crossed for good news on Tuesday. I don’t know what kind of experience the vet has with phantom limb pain, so I really appreciate all of the input I’ve gotten here. It means that I can go into the appointment prepared. I’m really glad that I decided to keep Esteban in foster care longer. If he had gone to a home and bitten somebody (god forbid a child) because of phantom limb pain, he could have been returned to the shelter and been put on a bite hold! His future would have been so uncertain after that! This is why foster homes are so important!!
Here are some silly pictures of Zissou since Esteban has escaped my camera recently: