Jace (Stomatitis)

This is Jace's story

 

Jace was found in a pet store living with his sister in a bird cage.  He was emaciated, covered in his own feces, and suffering from diarrhea and ringworm.  He also had a condition known as gingivostomatitis, a chronic inflammation of the gums.  For most cats, removing some or all of the teeth will alleviate the symptoms of stomatitis, as it did for his sister.  For Jace, this was not the case.

 

After a year of intense veterinary care provided by Dane County Friends of Ferals, including multiple courses of antibiotics and steroid treatments, and living in a foster home, Jace was no longer afflicted with diarrhea and ringworm, but he was clearly far from being a healthy, happy cat.  Even with all of his teeth removed, the inflammation in his gums had not subsided whatsoever.  His mouth resembled raw ground beef, red and swollen, far worse than any pictures of “severe” cases of stomatitis I could find.  He was constantly drooling a stringy, bloody saliva.  His fur was matted and dirty, as he nearly never groomed himself, and he was underweight, indications of the pain of licking and eating.  It seemed that he ate just enough to survive, and no more.  With his throat nearly swollen shut, he did not vocalize except for hissing, which he did often.  He wanted nothing to do with any human contact.  Jace was not aggressive, as long as he was left alone, but he certainly had a host of behavioral concerns that made it clear that he was a very unhappy cat.

 

Thus began our journey together.

 

I adopted Jace in the summer of 2013.  I had grown very fond of him, despite his best attempts to keep me away.  I believed that there was more to him than met the eye.  I first brought him to HarmonyVet in the fall of 2013.  I didn’t know what to expect from treatment with acupuncture, but what I did know was tha all other treatment options for Jace had failed or were inaccessible to me.  Removing all of his teeth and treating him with antibiotics and steroids had had no appreciable impact on his symptoms.  When these failed, the only remaining options were a prohibitively expensive experimental therapy requiring Jace to travel long distances, a course of treatment requiring drugs not approved for use in the United States, or acupuncture.

 

At our first visit to HarmonyVet, Dr. Lynne Dennis carefully examined Jace, reviewed his treatment history and most recent blood tests, and discussed his case with me.  Having determined a course of treatment, she administered his first acupuncture session.  As the first needles were placed, almost immediately the tension seemed to visibly flow out of Jace.  He began to purr, something I had never heard him do before.  He let me hold him in my arms for the first time as he drifted in and out of sleep.  When it was time for the laser light therapy, at first he was nervous, but soon was purring and leaning his jaw into the wand.

 

Over the course of the next year, Jace became more and more friendly.  He has gone from hiding every time I enter the room to seeking my attention, and occasionally begging for food.  He lets me pet him and even hold him.  He has stopped drooling entirely, and his fur, which he grooms often, is soft and well-kept.  He meows and purrs, and he eats so much that we are now concerned if he might be a little too plump!  Recently, we were able to obtain a new picture of his mouth.  His recovery is nothing short of stunning.  His gums are now smooth and a healthy pink color, and the swelling is gone.

 

It is no mere coincidence that Jace has become a happy, friendly cat as his health has improved.  He is still nervous and skittish at times, which is unsurprising, given how mistreated he was and how little reason he was given to trust humans.  Yet every day, he surprises me with some bold new gesture of trust in me, letting me hold him a little longer or pet him a little more on his belly.  As his pain recedes, so too does his fear.

 

Dr. Lynne’s course of treatment with acupuncture, laser light therapy, and herbal supplementation did more than resolve Jace’s stomatitis symptoms; she helped me to reveal the tender, loving cat that I knew him to be all along.

 

For that, Jace and I cannot overstate our gratitude.

 

For more information about Dane County Friends of Ferals: http://www.daneferals.org/

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