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Benson died today, not sure why

May 22nd, 2006, 12:54 AM
I adopted Benson the cat in December, just 5 months ago. He was 7 years old and was to be euthanized because his previous owner no longer wanted him. He was such a sweet boy and I thought he deserved a better life so I brought him home. I am sitting here now devastated. Even though I only knew him 5 months I loved him so.

He got in a fight with a tom cat about a month ago. I didn't let Benson out usually, but he was an outdoor cat before and very difficult to keep inside. Anyway, the result of this fight was a puncture wound in his tail. It was quite deep, but I cleaned it twice a day and it seemed to be healing nicely. I took him to the vet just to be sure he didn't need antibiotics or anything and she said it was fine, he had no fever and was healing well. He was up to date on his vaccinations. She did notice that Benson was missing a lot of teeth and suggested we test for FIV and feLV, but should wait a few months because if he's been recently exposed through the puncture wound it would take that long to show up. I should also mention that Benson had a heart murmur, and I have been told that anemia can cause heart murmurs. I just get the feeling that perhaps Benson has been unwell for a very long time and didn't show any symptoms until now.

I kept Benson in the house but Friday he got out when the girl across the street came to walk my dogs. I looked for him Friday night, to no avail. Saturday I looked for him again and found him under the porch. I had to go under and get him, he wasn't coming out on his own. I knew this was a bad sign, and he looked a bit off, his gums were pale, his pupils dilated, and he was lethargic so I took him into the vet right away. She examined him and said he had a mild fever and we should do a CBC (blood cell count) and FIV, feLV test. She also said the wound from his fight had healed well and didn't seem to be the cause of the problem. I took him home and she called me late in the afternoon and told me he was quite anemic and I should bring him in this morning.

It was a different vet I saw this morning, and as soon as I took him in he started panting and went into shock. She rushed him to an incubator type thing to get oxygen and to get him stabilized. She said that likely his anemia was worse than yesterday because he hadn't eaten, but that the anemia was a symptom of something more serious. She said that at this point he was a dying cat and she could do a blood transfusion (for $500 to $1000) and his chance of living would be about 50%. However, this would not tell us what was causing the anemia and would not prevent it from happening again. The vet said it was some sort of autoimmune response and we could do lots of tests to find out what it was, but it may not save Benson anyway, it would just tell us what he had. I didn't need to know what he had, I just had to look at him to know it was over. I knew when I woke up this morning that he was dying. He was such a good boy, and even in the end he made it easier for me to make the decision.

Does anyone have any idea of what might have caused this? He didn't have FIV or feLV, any other ideas? I am so sad right now. I used to sit and have my morning coffee with him on my lap. He used to give hugs, he'd just reach right up and hug me. At least he died knowing he was loved, which is more than he got from his last family. What will I do without him? :sad:

May 22nd, 2006, 02:07 AM
I'm so sorry to hear about your loss.:sad:
Losing a pet is one of the most difficult things that we encounter in life.
I can not provide an explanation for why Benson passed away. Unfortunately, both heart murmurs and anemia are not diseases in of themselves, but rather symptoms of any one of many diseases. A post mortem may answer your questions, but it may not. Either way, I offer my deepest condolences.:grouphug:

May 22nd, 2006, 02:08 AM
:grouphug: :pawprint: I'm so very sorry for your loss. Benson was lucky to have found you - and you him - if only for a short time.:pawprint: :grouphug:

May 22nd, 2006, 09:14 AM
Thanks for your condolences. The vet asked me if I wanted to investigate further into why he died and I said no. It would be costly and I would rather spend my money on keeping my remaining pets healthy and happy. It won't bring Benson back anyway. I guess it was just his time to go. If anyone has had a similar experience could you let me know? I would still like to try and figure this out. When I think back, he had a day or two here and there where he was sleepier than normal. Not different behaviorally, just a little tired, but then the next day he'd be up and running around so I never thought much of it. Hindsight is always 20-20 I guess. Just makes me wonder if this was something that's been going on for a while and he just didn't really show any symptoms.

May 22nd, 2006, 10:26 AM
Sorry for your loss. It's hard sometimes to know what is wrong with our animals, you are definitely not the only person who's had that 20/20 feeling. Maybe he had an underlying immune problem and caught an infection from the puncture wound that his system just couldn't shake.

Even if you had found out that he had FiV, there is no cure. I guess one advantage of knowing is you could try some alternative treatments, but even those are no guarantee. So don't beat yourself up.

Just remember you gave him a good life, good care, and honoured him at the end, when he needed to let go.

Something similar happened to me recently with a stray. The vet said it was possibly a parvo virus and that even with intensive care, he only had an outside chance. I spent two days dragging him around to emergency vets before coming to my senses and sending him to the bridge. RIP Louis and Benson.

May 22nd, 2006, 10:30 AM
Hindsight is so easy. Recognizing symptoms, without being paranoid, not easy. Don't torture yourself. You gave this lucky kitty 5 months of love he would not have otherwise experienced. That was an enormous gift!

May 22nd, 2006, 10:43 AM
I'm sorry for your loss and I don't have much of an idea of what might have caused it... but I feel for you... I've lost many pets over the years, some I've been closer to than others and I've lost at least 4 in this past yr and a half... so I understand to some extent what kind of pain your going through...
:sorry: that this happend to you... and your beautiful animal...
:pawprint: :grouphug: :angel:

May 22nd, 2006, 05:34 PM
So sorry for your loss.:grouphug: It's hard when you don't know the cause. You were a wonderful mom to Benson and gave him the best five months of his life.:angel: :pawprint:

May 22nd, 2006, 11:08 PM
Thanks again everyone. I am still having a very hard time with this. He was the kindest little soul I've ever met and I miss him terribly. My morning coffee will never be the same without his little hugs. His last family didn't want him, and I think that perhaps the reason I met Benson was so that I could make his last 5 months happy ones. If that is the case it was all worth it.