01 November 2008

And the curtain fell to no applause...

After a moment of joyous rapture in locating Dr. Houard (after a six-month effort), the curtain came crashing down.

I had located him. I prepared a letter of introduction and explanation of why I was reaching out to him. My friend, Mary Perfitt-Nelson, of Enchanted Lair & GoNaked Sphynx, offered to lend me the help of her brother-in-law, Laurent (a Frenchman), who kindly translated my documents into French.

I bundled my two airmail packages up and sent them International Express to both Dr. Houard, in Paris, and his former assistant (now living in Canada), Aline Noel. Mme. Noel took my letter on her next trip to Paris -- the day AFTER my letter arrived -- and personally sat down with Dr. Houard to go over it with him and explain my interest in Ketamine.

How kind and generous people can be... even those whom I have never met.

The last week in October my husband and I, and our Sphynx kids, Bilbo, Lily, and Rose, went RV camping for a week. The day we left and only a few short days after sending my letter to Dr. Houard I received a reply back, via email, from him.

He wrote:

Dear Mme.

I attentively read your mail. I believe that it is necessary to distinguish two phenomena at the time of the first usage of the Kétamine.
Which you eventually observed can relate itself to an intolerance to the dissociative anesthetic, of which the leader is the Kétamine, cats Rex Devon and Sphynx that I evoked in the magazine "Cat Interests Me".

I did not publish this phenomenon in other reviews for I did not succeed explaining the pathégonie of this disturbance.
The death of your cat at the time of the second anesthésie is classical when it exists a cardiomypathie, all anesthetic other probably would have provoked the same consequence. I hope qu these precisions will be useful for you.

Sincere greetings.

Dr Michel HOUARD

I wrote back immediately, that morning, but have not yet received a reply. It is my belief that this kind doctor opened a new email account just to reply to me directly. I am guessing that he has not checked it since.
Dear Dr. Houard,
I wish to thank you for your response to my letter. I am curious of the phenomenon that you talked about in your e-mail and I would like to ask if I can continue to communicate questions that I have in consideration of Ketamine and the cats in the exotic types, notably the Sphynx. You said that it is necessary to distinguish two phenomena when Ketamine is used for the first time. What are the two distinctive identifying phenomena? Is it your opinion that there is a strong connection between the usage of Ketamine and the progression of a myopathy (cardio or hereditary myopathy) in Sphynx and Devons? Pardon me for misunderstanding; but, in your opinion, would any type of anethesia given to a cat with HCM have the same resulting death? Would that apply to HCM cats given isoflurane or sevoflurane or only cats in the exotics line? Other veterinary doctors have posted serious concerns in the matter of Ketamine used on cats with a common genetic link. I would like to provide a document that details a discussion of this subject by American veterinarian, Dr. Mike Richards. Dr. Richards provided answers to AOL members regarding pet-related questions. If doctors know about the potential dangers of Ketamine and other disassociative anesthesias is there not a need for this information to be more available to veterinarians and pet owners? I use a program of translation of language to communicate with you, so please forgive any errors in the syntax and grammar. I wish to again thank you, and Aline, for communicating with me. I am optimistic that a communication line can continue.

The very same day that his email came in to my account the postal service delievered a letter, from the insurance company representing the vet that killed Gimli, stating that they declined my request for replacement, necropsy, creamation, and mileage costs. A total lack of accountability even WITH a statement from the pathologist that the Ketamine caused his death.
Emotions that had subsided through my sense of purpose eroded into tears of frustration, anger, and immense sadness. It was, literally, all I could do to gather my bags and join my husband and our cat-kids in the RV for the trip.
Am I defeated? No... but I am temporarily behind the curtains.