Thursday, August 16, 2012

Bike Rides and Exploding Cysts

Ever since a bike with a rack became available to me, I've been looking forward to strapping a cat down (in a carrier, mind you) and using the bike to transport a cat to the vet. 

On July 19th, I got my chance and Harry got to take his first bike ride.

Granted, I was hoping my first bike ride vet visit would be one of those "check up" vet visits to update shots. Instead, I was bestowed with one of those "injury" visits.
Between Harry's shoulder blades he had a cyst that first showed up about seven years ago. My Omaha vet told me to watch it, and not to worry unless there was a change in size or appearance. Even though her advice to me was not to touch it everyday (she felt it was easier to notice a difference in size if you only checked it a couple of times a month), I fiddled with it all the time.

There were a couple of times that he scratched at it and made it bleed, but other than that, it hadn't changed at all in those seven or so years. Then, in early July, it started growing. I had a cyst of my own once, on my wrist, so I wasn't horribly alarmed. I added "get Harry's cyst cut out" to my to-do list, but it was pretty far down on the list. A "B" priority, if you will.

The evening before Harry's first bike ride, I was feeding everyone, just like normal. While I was gathering the feeding supplies, Harry jumped up on the counter to help me and provide encouragement (aka: to get in my way and meow pathetically at me). I reached out to pet him without averting my eyes from the task at hand and my fingers automatically went to fondle his cyst.

Where the little bump should have been, my fingers found a wet and open wound.

I went running for Georgia, my most amazing vet tech neighbor, who came up and checked it out. Her sound advice to me was that, since it wasn't an emergency, I shouldn't take him to the emergency vet, I should just clean it up and wait until the morning and take him to my normal vet.

The next morning, I put him in his carrier, used bungee cords and dead bike tire tubes to strap it down to the bike rack, and we rode to the vet (which is a very short ride, only two miles). It was great! Harry meowed, but no more than he would have in a car, and, much like when I'm out buying loads of cat food, I felt like a real cat lady, riding down the street with my cat on the back.

Taking care of the remains of the ruptured cyst required Harry to go under the knife, so he had to stay at the vet. He ended up with a handful of stitches and a tube to drain the wound. After three days, we went back and got the tube taken out, and after two weeks they removed his stitches. Surprisingly, he left it alone, outside of presenting it to the dogs, other cats, and people, like he was saying "Hey, look, I have an owie."

Three vet visits, approximately three weeks, and a handful of bike rides later and he's all healed up. I feel like we came out on top in the whole ordeal - the stupid cyst is gone, they cleaned his teeth for cheap since he was already knocked out, and I now know for sure that I can take the cats on a bike ride, although probably not all of them at once!