I’m happy to say that Edward is back to his old self

Written by Vicky & Jenn | cambridge, MA Hospital: Massachusetts Veterinary Referral Hospital

I want to thank the veterinarians and techs at Mass Vet a thousand times over for taking care of my boy Edward in September 2011.

I brought Edward to Mass Vet around midnight last Monday, after having been referred to the clinic by a vet at VESCONE. Edward is a big black-and-white, 10-year-old domestic shorthair, and he was showing signs of a stroke. He couldn’t walk because he was knuckling, and he couldn’t stand without toppling over.

Dr. Kyle examined him and was very honest but compassionate in her diagnosis. She warned my partner and me that his behavior was likely the result of a stroke or brain tumor. Regardless, the problem was definitely neurological, and she said the only way to know for sure was to perform an MRI, which I could not afford. Dr. Kyle said she understood and did not pressure me to have the MRI, which I greatly appreciated.

She kept Edward overnight for observation and administered an enema because he hadn’t had a bowel movement for four days. At six-thirty the next morning, she called with an update on his condition, and promised that a neurologist would do a more thorough examination later in the day.

Dr. Waldrop contacted me in the afternoon with another update. Because I was unable to pay for an MRI, she said the best treatment was to prescribe steroids to decrease any swelling in the brain, and antibiotics just on the off-chance that his behavior was caused by an infection. She also said she was worried about mega-colon and advised me to continue administering lactulose and cisapride, which he was already taking.

Both Dr. Kyle and Dr. Waldorf told me that, if Edward had indeed suffered a stroke, it was likely he would recover within a few weeks. When I picked him up on Tuesday night, a vet technician named Kathy (I’m afraid I didn’t catch her last name) spoke with me for a good 30 minutes regarding Edward’s prognosis and his treatment going forward. When I started to cry because I couldn’t afford the MRI, she assured me that many people can’t afford the test, and that didn’t make me a bad person. She was very kind, and listened to me talk about how I’d gotten Edward and his sister, Nina, during my senior year of college, and how they were the first pets that I’d gotten as an adult. I told her about how Edward always tries to climb into the refrigerator, and that he thinks he’s a dog and greets me at the door, and how he can’t understand why he’s not allowed to go for walks with my golden retriever and yellow lab. I’m sure she hears stories like this multiple times a day, yet she listened patiently and never once indicated that she had more important things to do.

As soon as I got him into the car, he began to purr. I put my fingers through the door of the carrier and he rubbed his nose against them during the entire drive back to Cambridge. Within 24 hours, he was walking around the apartment and cuddling with me and the dogs. He’s pooping regularly, greeting us at the door, sleeping with us at night, and elbowing his way into the refrigerator. We gave him a step stool to get in and out of the litter box (so as not to further aggravate his arthritis), and put a chair next to the counter so he doesn’t have to jump so high to get to his food. He’s very good about taking his meds, and he’s even eating wet food, which I’m hoping will help with hydration and weight loss.

I am holding out hope that he indeed had a stroke, and that the steroids are not masking a brain tumor. But either way, you gave me back my boy, and I’m grateful for every day I have with him, whether it be for another month or another 10 years.

I’ve attached a photo of him with his buddies, Connor and Bailey, and my partner, Jenn. It was taken the night I brought him home. He’s happiest when he’s with his big brother and sister.

Thank you again,



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