Monday, 13 December 2010

Smeagol Update

My slinky black cat has been to the vets and he is recovering at home. It turned out that the funny angle on the tooth was because he had a broken jaw! So the poor guy has been in a lot of pain for quite a while now - no wonder he was eating so lightly.

The vet wired it back in shape. He gets daily pain killers and soft food. This last is problematic because he does not like the kind of fancy pet foods that other cats yum up. He'll only eat dry kibbles (wetting them doesn't help) so he's losing weight while his jaw heals. Presumably he's also hunting. So it is likely that he'll have a permanently wonky jaw...

The vet service cost $800 - including antibiotics and x-rays.

Curiously, this vet also sells homeopathic remedies for animals - so we had a discussion about the placebo effect in animals, which he had not thought possible. He thought that animals do not get this effect since how would they know what is supposed to happen? However, there are many reasons that observers will report improvement in pet or livestock condition after administering a placebo (McMillan 1999). This is why even trials in lab rats have to be double-blind.

McMillan F.D. (1999) J Am Vet Med Assoc. 1999 Oct 1;215(7):992-9.
(This one is a review of studies, Google Scholar has lots of others you can read if you don't have access to the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association.)

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