“I knew he had fight in him even though he couldn’t lift his head or move his little body. We raced up to The Ralph with our little boy and had to leave him there not knowing if we would ever see him again. It was heartbreaking…”
In the words of Romeo’s carers… “Our dearest Romeo might be tiny but he has a big voice and likes to use it! Romeo and his brother O’Malley quickly became part of the family and they are great friends with our other furry felines Thunderball and Charlie-Mouse.
“When Romeo first became ill we could not understand the problem. He became lame but not particularly unwell. It was very odd because his brother, O’Malley, became lame first but he fully recovered and we therefore expected Romeo to make a full recovery.
“However, Romeo deteriorated so badly that we knew we might lose him. Whilst the emergency vet was examining Romeo I could still hear his meows through the walls and I knew he had fight in him even though he couldn’t lift his head or move his little body. We raced up to The Ralph with our little boy and had to leave him there not knowing if we would ever see him again. It was heartbreaking…”
Romeo’s journey with The Ralph
5-month-old Bengal Romeo was referred to our Emergency + Critical Care (ECC) Service a couple of weeks ago. He was losing weight, inappetent (not eating), having difficulty walking, tremoring and becoming increasingly twitchy and disorientated.
Romeo was very lethargic when our ECC team first met him. His potassium levels were far too high, his calcium levels far too low and his blood was way more acidic than it should be. His kidney values were also elevated, which means waste products were not being filtered from his kidneys properly. X-rays also showed severe under-calcification of his bones.
Poorly Romeo was diagnosed with “nutritional secondary hyperparathyroidism with severe osteopenia”, which basically means he had developed with incredibly weak bones due to an imbalanced diet. Because of this, he had fractured one of his back legs and had spinal deformities.
After a week of treatment in our Intensive Care Unit (ICU), including intravenous fluid therapy with calcium and vitamin D supplementation, Romeo steadily improved. His pain-relief medication was gradually weaned down as he became more comfortable. The team fitted Romeo with a feeding tube to ensure he was getting complete nutrition during treatment, and a urinary catheter to keep track of his urine output (and therefore kidney function).
Since Romeo started to improve, he hasn’t stopped! While Romeo continued treatment with the team in ICU, our Physiotherapist, Kim, did daily physiotherapy and occasional hydrotherapy exercises with Romeo. Day by day, he grew a little stronger and increasingly mobile.
As he continually improved in strength, demeanour and mobility, Romeo was discharged home to be with his brother and the rest of their family.
Romeo’s long term mobility will sadly be affected by his bone and spinal deformities. However, regular physiotherapy, pain relief and a complete, balanced diet will maximise his quality of life.
Romeo’s carer: “We have now had Romeo home for almost a week and most of the time he has been very lethargic and quiet. However, last night he really turned a corner and is climbing the stairs all by himself! He’s moving around and is interested in his surroundings. He has crooked little legs and a crooked little spine but we adore him and are just so grateful to The Ralph for saving our little boy.”
Some photos of Romeo at home, kindly shared by his carers: