It appears that Shadow got snake bit. Or at least that is the vet's best guess. He seems to be well on the mend now, after 3 trips to the vet, including one overnight visit (with 2 postponements in my picking him up). It's been a long week for poor Shadow.
Monday morning when we got up Shadow was napping in the closet on the laundry. A bit different - he's never chosen that place before, but ok. But then I noticed that he hadn't moved in several hours. Hmmm. I brought him some food and he ate it, so that was good. Finally around lunchtime I saw him walking and noticed he was limping. Huh - not so good. I couldn't find any obvious problem, so I initially thought we'd just wait and see. A few hours later, it seemed he was limping more, so I called the vet. No appointments that afternoon, but I got an appt for the next morning. Nothing seemed urgent at that point - I thought maybe he had sprained his foot.
Tuesday morning, he was limping even more. Good thing we were headed to the vet. I made M come along to help corral Shadow. The vet pokes and prods him. His left foot is swollen and sore. The vet thinks it is either a broken bone (probably from jumping off something too high) or an infected cat bite. She prods some more and thinks she finds a wound on the bottom of his foot - so she takes him off to shave his foot and get a better look. She comes back with the option of sedating him and draining the pus from his foot or having us do hot compresses at home. She thinks either would work, but that the opening another wound on his foot would be more painful for him. So, off we go with antibiotics and anti-inflammatory meds. I do hot compresses on his foot 6 times that afternoon/evening.
Wednesday morning I can't tell if his foot is more swollen or not, but we do the hot compress. By lunchtime, though, it is clear that his foot is more swollen, so I call the vet and they tell me to bring him in and drop him off. So off we go again. After dropping Shadow off, M and I head to the library. I was hoping to be able to pick Shadow back up on our way home, but instead I get a call that they would like to keep him overnight. They sedated him and drained out a good bit of pus, but they want to keep an eye on him. They tell me I can pick him up after 9 am on Thursday.
Thursday morning, I decided to call and see if Shadow was ready. They go off to check and I'm told that they would like to do another compress on him and can I wait to pick him up until after lunch. Hmmm. Slight change on my plans for the afternoon, but ok. We're about to head out to get him around 2 when I decide maybe I should call and check again. Nope, they want to keep him until after 4pm. Urrggh. That's going to be tight. We have M's open house at 4:30 - on the far side of the county. M and I dash through open house, talking to his teachers but bringing home all the paperwork to fill out and get to the vet's a few minutes after 6. I had called ahead to tell them that I was on my way and to please wait for me. Shadow's foot is still quite swollen, but not nearly so badly as before. We're instructed to give him warm water foot baths and massage his foot. They say he doesn't mind this. She wants to recheck him on Saturday morning.
Hah! - Shadow certainly doesn't like warm foot baths at home. It takes 2 people - one to hold his front and one to hold his foot in the bath (and keep the other rear foot from gaining purchase and scooting him out of there).
This morning M and I took Shadow back to the vet, for his 3rd visit (our 4th trip out there). She is quite pleased with how well the swelling is going down - says there is still edema, but no more pus. We have to continue the hot water baths on his foot through the weekend, but can then stop them (which is good since M and D will both be back at school fulltime then). And, of course, finish out the course of antibiotics.
Shadow is clearly feeling better. He is jumping up on things again, including the counter (ahem - not supposed to be up there!). It's very good to have him back home again and feeling better!