Hi Dave,
Just wanted to share my cat Caesar's story with you. He was such a sweet little guy...
My cat was acting funny one day. Wasn't eating, really, wasn't drinking, and was acting very strange, pooping outside his box, running around and acting weird... so I took him to a vet. He was an indoor cat, and we had moved in the past couple of years, so I hadn't taken him for routine visits. I took him on a Thursday, and the vet informed me that he couldn't find anything wrong with him except that he had a multitude of tiny bladder stones, but wasn't blocked. His bloodwork was fine, and showed no problems. He was incredibly stressed out by vets, always was since he was a kitten, and had to be sedated for the initial exam. The vet said he wasn't blocked, but it was only a matter of time, and I reasoned that it would be better to get it done now, when he was 11 years old, rather than wait and have a blockage happen when he was older. So the vet told me that they'd keep him under observation and do the surgery the next day.
Friday, the vet calls, and says that he doesn't want to anesthetize my cat again so soon, and that he would rather wait until Monday to do the surgery. Since I didn't think he was in any immediate danger, I agreed. I didn't stop to think about the stress he was probably under... and to be honest, I don't think he really ate much or drank much that whole weekend. The vet had said he wasn't, really, but didn't seem alarmed, so I wasn't either.
He went into bladder stone surgery Monday morning, and the vet said everything was fine. He was given subcu fluids during surgery, and Metacam as well. We brought him home, and he wouldn't eat, wouldn't drink more than dribbles at a time, wouldn't use his litterbox. For the first day or two, we assumed this was just because he was in some pain from surgery. After two days I started force feeding him prescription cat food, per the vet's recommendation. He would drink some water if you put a dish right in front of him. The vet was perplexed - and I couldn't understand what had happened to my vital, larger than life bruiser of a cat who had ALWAYS bounced back from vet visits.
After about a week, I finished dinner to find that Caesar couldn't even get up and walk. Distraught, I took him to the 24-hour emergency vet, who put him on heat and sub-cu, but his kidneys failed. She said that he would probably never recover, and both my husband and I worked full time out of the home and couldn't provide all-day care for a sick cat, so, amidst sobs, I agreed to euthanasia. I have never cried so hard in my life as I did when Caesar died. I don't have kids, I don't have other pets, so it just absolutely broke my heart. He was my one and only. Even writing this now, four months later, I'm crying. The vet said that there was nothing wrong with the bladder incision or his bloodwork, save for massive renal failure. I asked her what could have caused this in a cat with perfect bloodwork pre-surgery, and she said that sometimes cats have bad reactions to medication given during surgery.
So I started doing some research on post-op renal failure in cats, and lo and behold, up comes Metacam. My vet used it in the approved dosage for the approved purpose, but I don't think what he took into consideration is that my poor kitty was probably horribly dehydrated over the weekend he waited for surgery. I think the Metacam hit his system like a hurricane, and it was more than his kidneys could take. I can't prove this, of course, but it's the most likely suspect. It was either that or that we couldn't get enough water in him, so he went into hepatic lipidosis, but either way, after reading what I've read about Metacam, if I ever have another cat, I will never allow it to be given. Thank you for putting up your site - I just wish I'd known about it when it mattered most.