Half or whole?
After I dropped my computer off, I stopped by the vet’s today. I wanted to pick up a syringe to shoot water down Maggie’s throat, hoping that it would help with everything. The vet came out to talk to me, because I was a little distressed about the pilling the cat ritual. I explained that Maggie seemed to have stopped eating; her bowl was completely full when I went down to feed them this morning. Since the cats only get fed once a day, it was fairly suspicious.
The vet nodded, “If she’s not eating; then you may need to bring her back in.”
“I don’t think she’s getting sicker; I think she’s depressed.”
Across the waiting room a black cat yowled as if someone were killing him right there. His owner tried to reassure him, but the cat didn’t speak English. Neither does Maggie, so I can’t tell her what the vet said–that if she doesn’t finish the antibiotics, she could develop a super-resistant strain of stomach bug.
“I know.” I nodded. Years ago, I’d wanted to be a vet; I hated being the neurotic pet owner now. “It’s just that I feel like I’m making things worse.”
“Well, if the half-tablets are too large, try cutting them into quarters and see if she’ll take it with some soft food.”
I blinked. “Half-tablets? We’ve been giving her whole tablets.”
Looking down at her chart, the vet said, “Half tablet every twelve hours. Fortunately it’s a very mild medicine, so it’s not dangerous.”
It still made me feel ill. I mean, misreading medication like that could have been fatal. “So, instead of having three more days, I have six more days?”
“Right. But if we can get at least seven days of antibiotics and if the symptoms have stopped, then it’s probably safe to stop the pills. It’s better to finish the round, but if it’s making her miserable you can stop after seven days.”
I thanked her and biked home with my handy syringe. Rob was waiting for me, so we could do her morning pilling. I told him what the vet said and then I grabbed the bottle of pills.
The label said, “One pill every twelve hours.”
One. Not half. I called the vet’s office, related my story and learned that the label was wrong. So, on the one hand, there’s a measure of relief, because I didn’t misread the instructions. On the other hand, I’m ticked. I mean, hello? It’s lucky that it was a “mild” medication because I could have hurt my cat.
The half-pill is, surprise, easier to get down Maggie’s throat. The routine goes like this. I butter the pill and then we stick it in the freezer (thanks, Christina), which helps keep the coating from melting. I grab Maggie and swaddle her in a towel, sitting on the kitchen floor. Holding her on her back, I brace her while Rob pries her mouth open and shoves the pill back as far as he can. She cries. He squirts water down her throat, which forces her to swallow. It does seem to help.
Both pilling sessions went well today. But–but we have to do it for twice as long as we thought we did. Or…or we quit after seven days. And poor Maggie has no idea why we decided to start torturing her.