What a hard week hubby and I have had! It all began when we noticed a lot of little "uncooked rice-like" non-moving "things" left on the blankets and comforters of every place our cat Leo had laid. I called up our vet and they told us to bring them a fecal sample from him to have analyzed at their out-sourced lab. In the meantime, I researched the issue via the pet vet sites (and people I know who also have cats) and everything pointed to tapeworms! How? I honestly do not know since all of our cats are completely and strictly indoor cats only!
A day later, the vet called us and said that he had isospora which is supposedly an intestinal parasite similar to giardia. Now, when I dropped off Leo's fecal, I also bagged up the samples of the "rice-like" dead tapeworms for them to look at as well. I asked them about it and they said he doesn't have tapeworm, just isospora and that they did not "know" what the rice-like things were. Well, turns out they may have been right about the isospora, but they were completely wrong about the tapeworms!
Because these parasites are so contagious, we have to treat all five cats for both issues. So, yesterday morning I called up the vet to let them know that hubby was going to pick up the cats meds and they said they will have them dosed and ready for us. Then when my husband showed up at the vets office to pick them up, he was told some BS about our one cat Midnight had not been seen in the last six months so they couldn't give us his portion. WHAT? How useless is that? Why would we treat only four of our cats and not all as seriously contagious as the problem is? They told us that since we already have an appointment set for this Monday night anyhow to have Midnight seen for three wart-like things on his tail, we should be able to pick up all the meds then ... (sigh)
(What the tapeworms actually look like. They break off in segments via the cats anus. Although they come out live, they do not live very long outside the host cat's body ~ that is when they dry up and die looking like uncooked rice.)
Last night, we left Leo out by himself in the cat's room to stretch his legs a bit as we have had to keep him in a cage and separated from the other cats until the problem is resolved. Two hours later, I went in the room to put him to bed and back in his cage and what did I see? EEKK!! A live, moving, disgusting tapeworm which had apparently just slithered out of his butt! That was it! I had had enough of the vet's BS and first thing this morning hubby and I drove over to the vet and demanded help! That is when they told us that he also had tapeworms as well as the isopora! Gimme a break, will ya? I was so upset and livid at that point that Dr. Heather had decided to take a break from a surgery she was working on to come out and straighten out their mess!
She maintained that she could lose her license if she dispensed meds to Midnight without the "six month check up." She also said that the tapeworms were more than likely from fleas ~ either ingested by one of the cats or caused by feces in the litter boxes. Now, our cats do not have fleas, but after further thought, hubby told me that he remembered seeing one on Fancy Pants (the idiot neighbor lady's Siamese cat) the last time we watched her for her owner. AH HA!!! Made logical sense at that point and, lesson learned! We will never take another stray cat in for any reason, temporarily or otherwise, that way ever again. I absolutely refuse to go through this nightmare again! Everything, including the water and food bowls, cats boxes, blankets, rugs, etc.) had to be completely washed and decontaminated as best we could.. On top of that, we had to treat all of the cats for fleas.
Dr. Heather must have felt sorry for us and had decided to dispense the isospora meds after all so long as we still agreed to bring Midnight to his scheduled appointment on Monday night. For some ridiculous reason unknown to us; however, she did not give us tapeworm meds, only the meds the cats were supposed to get before their office screwed up.
And so we had to stop off at our local PetSmart and pick up tapeworm meds to give to all of the cats as well as giving them their isospora dosage. It isn't exactly over yet as only time will tell if the treatments worked, and we are keeping our fingers triple-crossed! All of this because we tried to do the right thing thinking that we were helping to save a nice, sweet cat. As the saying goes, "No good deed goes unpunished" ... how true!