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I lost my cat, Zuri, Grieving hard, she was only 12 years old

Discussion in 'Not So Spineless Wonders' started by Ellenantula, Sep 30, 2019.

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    Zuri on throw.jpg View attachment 322162

    I had to euthanize my 12 year old cat Zuri this morning. I consider 12 very young to lose a cat.

    Many months ago I took my cat to the vet for allergies, she was given a cortizone shot and a Convenia injection (long-term antibiotic).
    She didn't really rally, but the sneezing stopped but her appetite decreased a bit (which was fine since she's always a bit tubby. Her appetite returned not long after sneezing treatment.

    Then one day some weeks back (?) ago (not looking up her vet records for this post) her left paw just went limp and numb. The vet felt she had pulled a muscle or something higher up since the paw was examined and clearly uninjured (she's an indoor cat).

    Zuri couldn't even feel it when the vet squeeze her paw or pulled on her toes. The vet put her on Prednisone pills, then on follow up visit maybe 3-4 weeks ago, vet gave her a second course of Pred, but this time in liquid form. The idea was to reduce any inflammation causing numb paw. Zuri was getting around fairly well, still loved cuddles and sleeping with me but definitely lacked her usual appetite (would eat and drink, but much less than before).

    Her limp paw had actually seemed improved (she had been more walking (to litter box, to food/water; and to me: Zuri was making some easy jumps to sofa to sit with me (but she had not jumped up on piano since the original left paw went numb). So, she knew her paw/leg wasn't right and was just working with it and not trying anything too challenging. While I gave her the last of the Prednisone (second course stopped maybe 2 weeks ago or so).

    Then tragedy.

    Returned this morning to vet, emergency -- Zuri was inexplicably paralyzed. She could not walk when I woke up this morning. I tried to assist her but her body just seemed limp. No sign of any injury, again. But she had chosen to sleep on a large pillow I keep on floor for her (a fave daytime sleeping spot) but had pooped and vomited on that pillow. I kept trying to help her walk, but she just couldn't -- just fell over with any attempt. She let me hold her in my lap, and purred (although sometimes they purr when in pain) but she acted like she enjoyed the attention.

    I held her knowing the vet might suggest euthanasia; I was afraid even before we went to vet there'd be nothing to try.

    The vet was at a complete loss what more to do -- clearly problem was neurological and Preds again was apparently not an option. I asked if there was anything else we could do -- but even I realized total paralysis was pretty bad -- she could barely hold her head up even. Vet had no help offer -- would not say if it was result of medications (like the Convenia which takes a few months to completely leave system) or if Zuri had had a stroke or possible brain tumor or something somewhere pressing on nerves.

    Zuri could not even take a step to show vet how paralyzed she was. I'd try to stand her up on vet's floor and she'd just fall over on side. She wasn't even able to manage to walk in circle (which I associate with a stroke). :( It was such a hard decision to make.

    I had felt she was rallying from numb paw. She was scratching a bit on her scratching post she loved. She was easily making jumps onto the sofa. I felt she might even be eating a bit more. But apparently something else neurological occurred overnight.

    I feel so very alone right now. I am spoiled to having her batting my hand as I type; but mostly her love of cuddling with me on sofa. And now tonight, she won't be there snuggle on my pillow with me.
    • Sad Sad x 13
  2. The Snark

    The Snark هرج و مرج مهندس Old Timer

    Clouds come floating into our lives, sometimes bringing rain or ushering storms, but they also have added color to our sunsets.
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  3. Garth Vader

    Garth Vader Arachnohipster

    I'm so sorry for the loss of Zuri. Cats are amazing animals and wonderful companions. I hope you find some solace in knowing you did all you could to take good care of her and gave her a very good life.
    • Love Love x 1
  4. ThatsUnpossible

    ThatsUnpossible Arachnosquire

    Sorry to hear that. It hurts to lose a loved one, and when it’s a pet you always feel guilty for making the decision to euthanise, even though it’s the right decision.

    I always say this is the price we have to pay for loving animals and making them part of the family. :(
    • Love Love x 1
  5. EtienneN

    EtienneN Arachnonovelist-musician-artist Arachnosupporter

    I’m so sorry for the loss of your fur baby. I lost a cat in 2014 to cancer and he had a terrible time with the treatments and after 3 months I said goodbye. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done staying with him when the vet gave the injection.
    • Sad Sad x 1
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  6. pannaking22

    pannaking22 Arachnoemperor Active Member

    I'm so sorry to hear about this. It's so hard to lose a beloved pet like that. She obviously lived a fantastic life with you.
    • Love Love x 1
  7. Thanks for the sympathies and understanding how big a loss she was for me -- I just loved and enjoyed her so much.

    I am thankful we have euthanasia; my vet does a sedative first so they go to sleep and then administers euthanasia 10 minutes or so later. I feel blessed I got to be with her to the very end and hold her little head up with one hand and rub her with my other hand while she slipped away. She always knew how loved she was.
    • Love Love x 2
  8. 14pokies

    14pokies Arachnoprince Active Member

    That's terrible.. Very sorry :(
    • Love Love x 1
  9. SonsofArachne

    SonsofArachne Arachnoangel Active Member

    Sorry for your loss. I had to euthanize my cat Princess who I had for nearly 30 years so I know what you're going through. It was one of the worst things I ever had to do in my life. But I knew she was suffering so even though it broke my heart I went ahead for her sake.
    • Love Love x 1
  10. Cherri

    Cherri Arachnopeon Active Member

    I'm so sorry for the loss of Zuri. My pit bull, scarlet, got liver cancer. She was supposed to have surgery on a Monday, but passed away on a Saturday. She was 13. I cry everytime I think about that dog. It gets better, but never over with.
    • Love Love x 3
  11. So, a coworker died (pancreatic cancer) three weeks ago, and then I looked in and saw my GBB had passed two weeks ago following a recent moult -- no idea why. Yeah, she was a fave T. :(
    I haven't been active in the forum lately.
    Bummed, sad, grieving, tired, depressed, etc.. All in the course of a month. :(

    I try not to keep thinking 'why' -- but what help is that???

    I tried adopting a dog, but it turned out to be an elderly dog with significant health and behavioural issues -- vet literally wouldn't even let me take the dog home. Adoption agency told me it was a 1-2 yo Jack Russell. Wrong. Dog is 11+ yo and being sent to a rescue org. Dog could have been a positive project for me -- I LIKE senior dogs but vet was adamant that for this Jack Russell, this sanctuary was for the best. The challenge of senior care might have helped me. :( I lose so quickly (only had JR for 11 days)

    I am not active lately on forum (though I have tried) but I am just bummed out and sad. Sorry. Life has many changes and turns -- I am waiting for the positive turn. Overdue, imo.

    Whatcha gonna do? Sometimes life really sucks.
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2019 at 10:22 PM
    • Love Love x 2
  12. Feral

    Feral Arachnoknight Active Member

    I am so, so, so sorry all this is happening to you! It's tragically unfair that our little friends' lives can be so much shorter than ours. And it's terrible all the things are happening all together, feeling like they're piling up on you. I hope you have people you can rely on and positive outlets like exercise and pampering yourself, or whatever works for you. You have all my sympathies and warmest wishes, my dear! <3

    I'm torn, I don't know what's right to do here- This part next feels maybe inappropriate and insensitive to say, and I'm sorry, but I also feel like it needs to be said. For your benefit, even if it's uncomfortable. Please understand, it comes from a good place! Not to get to far into it, but... I should say that if if I'm understanding what you said and what you relayed about the vet visit is accurate, and you plan to keep going there, then what happened might raise some serious questions. You may want to look into that. I don't want to say more unless it's wanted.

    Again, I'm so sorry for everything that's happening. I'm sure your beautiful baby had a fantastic life with you, and always knew she was loved! <3
  13. "Hopper" The Jack Russell Story: (adopted by me on 10/4/19 - only had for 11 days) Sorry, but it's a long complicated story.

    The vet recognized Hopper, my newly adopted Jack Russell as soon as she entered the exam room. (I was at my vet's for my follow-up appointment for booster shots and to ask for some meds or something for doggie anxiety and some advice on house-breaking). Hopper's real name turned out to be Jose and he rushed over to the vet (who greeted him by his real name) and it did seem my Hopper really knew this vet well, since he left my side and ran to the vet for hugs and kisses and cuddling.
    (Incidentally, a different vet at the vet clinic had neutered the dog for me a few days earlier (per shelter adoption rules) and that vet apparently only does surgeries, so he didn't recognize the dog). But you'd have thought vet surgeon would have recognized it was a very old dog for neutering. (sigh)

    Anyway, the vet who recognized the dog (and knew its story) said the Jack Russell had belonged to an elderly lady who passed away a few weeks back, and this lady had 2 Jack Russells -- one about 4 yo and this one, who was 10+ yo (vet didn't show me the former owner's chart on dog nor give me the original owner's name).
    The vet had already heard that the owner had passed and her dogs were ‘on the loose’ (more on that later).

    Apparently vet knew that the previous owner never house trained either Jack Russell or let them go outside -- so they both peed/pooped in the house and the owner just cleaned up after them. The owner was old and frail and not up to taking either out for walks. Then, after original owner died, her husband tossed both dogs outside. Their neighbour was very upset over this, but could only find one of the dogs, and took the one she could find to the shelter (my Hopper). The neighbor thought the dog she found was the younger one, hence dog being listed as 1 or 2 yo at shelter. The neighbor had also put out the word about the other dumped and missing Jack Russell too. The vet recognized my Hopper immediately as the senior of the two dogs. Even I had noticed Hopper's teeth looked older than that of a young dog's. But the real proof that the vet really knew the dog was because the vet made an off-hand comment that the original owner lived so near to me. It clicked, because the shelter had warned me, should my dog get loose, it might try to go home since the neighbor lady who brought the dog in lived very near to me too. (Driving me crazy trying to figure out whose dog it was - I even looked at obits after vet visit).

    One big issue was the lack of house training (which I was working on -- walking dog every 2-3 hours round-the-clock (even setting my alarm for night walks). I figured if I kept the walks very frequent, then the dog would learn to go outside (it's how I always house-train a new puppy/dog - to prevent an indoor accident from happening). But it wasn't working. I could take dog out for 20 minutes, return inside and Hopper would still have an accident inside right after a walk. The vet felt, at Hopper's advanced age, that this frequent walking schedule wouldn't work. She felt the challenge was too great due to dog's age and lack of former house training. I don't know if that's correct or not -- but I'm an optimist.

    Another huge issue was Hopper whimpered, whined, cried and barked constantly if you tried to leave his side for a second (Or if he even just THOUGHT I was leaving him). It would start with soft whimper and progress louder and louder until dog was barking and doing frantic circles. It made no sense to me because if I was holding Hopper and got up for a second -- the whining started -- even though Hopper was free to follow me. That whining just escalated into full barking, even though Hopper was already following me to the kitchen, bathroom, etc.. I mean, I wasn't even leaving the house without him -- I was RIGHT THERE in full view with him on my heels!. I was trying to reassure Hopper that he could follow me around the house and that we were still together, but he'd be following me while STILL whining, crying, jumping around my legs frantically, etc.. The dog just seemed terrified to be left alone for one second and didn't trust I wasn't going away.
    (Though, let's be honest, sometimes I do leave the house for work, shopping, etc.).

    It's true that when vet came into exam room, I explained we were there booster shots -- but yeah, I also shared my behavioural concerns to the vet. I figured the vet would just give advice or meds or something to help calm Hopper down. I shared my belief that with my continued walks, positive re-enforcement and a lot of love, this cutie would eventually learn to be a great house dog. Of course, I also thought the dog was much younger, but I assured the vet I didn't mind giving a senior dog a good home until he passed away. His story just pulled my heartstrings even more. And in my optimism, I felt sort of honoured to give a senior dog a wonderful last home. I was already (in my head) planning to purchase some puppy papers, etc. to make it work out.

    The vet left the exam room (presumedly, in my mind, to get me some meds for anxiety or something). But instead vet had left the exam room to go call the shelter and tell them I was leaving the dog with her. (My adoption agreement stated if dog didn't work out -- he would be returned to the shelter). When the vet returned to exam room, she relayed her conversation with shelter to me, and explained that the shelter had agreed that she (the vet) would place Hopper with a Jack Russell sanctuary that was willing to accept a senior dogs to live out their lives. I just didn't know she was doing all this when she left the room, I really thought she'd gone to meds for the dog or maybe a pamphlet on house-training.

    I think the vet believes she had relieved me of a burden, even though I explained to her I was willing to keep Hopper in spite of age. I repeated that I was willing to take Hopper back home with me; and I reminded the vet that I only came in for booster shots and some professional advice/meds for the dog. (Btw, if you haven't guessed, I live in a small town here where everyone seems to know everyone else's business). Before the shelter let me adopt Hopper, they contacted my vet office to see my former vet history and they told me they got such glowing reviews from the vet office about my animal care. So they knew I could provide a good home for Hopper. Even an old Hopper. The vet explained that this dog would be too much on anyone and that the shelter said they would have *never* let Hopper be adopted out to a private home had they known his age and real behavioural history. I tried to explain to the vet that felt up to the challenge, but the vet kept bragging about this wonderful sanctuary for Jack Russells where Hopper/Jose was headed. In my mind, I imagine he was euthanized as soon as I left. Yeah, I can be negative too. :(

    I can see now how the dog appeared totally unadoptable to the vet and shelter. And I admit, I don't know if a senior dog could have been rehabbed by me. But I accepted the challenge and was sad when the challenge/choice was taken from me. I still fully expected to leave the vet office WITH Hopper, in spite of knowing his full story now.

    The vet told me the local shelter was so sorry they had sent me home with such an old dog with behavioural issues, and that the shelter wanted me to come back in and pick out a younger more trainable dog for free. So, likely it may have been the shelter that really made the reclaim decision, not the vet (although the vet's input led to shelter's decision).

    I guess I was just shocked to leave vet's office with an empty leash. And esp so soon after losing Zuri too.
    • Sad Sad x 1
  14. Feral

    Feral Arachnoknight Active Member

    I'm so sorry to hear things have been so rough for you. I'm sure an unexpected loss like that was startling and very upsetting. I'm sorry!

    I can't really comment on that situation, whether I agree with it or not, either the decision itself or how it was handled... it seems like a subjective call on ethics, possible with practice/shelter policies of which I'm unaware. But I am sorry it happened and was so hard on you!

    I was referring to the medical side of things concerning your sweet cat. What you said worried me. Did the vet do any diagnostics/tests? Did he/she at least raise the possibility of something called Aterial Thromboembolism/ATE/"thrombus"?
    • Informative Informative x 1
  15. Sorry, I wrote a tome thinking you were upset vet kept my adopted adopted dog (old/behavioural issues) as your main concern. I goofed.. :(

    My vet never mentioned possible Aterial Thromboembolism/ATE/"thrombus" as reason for cat paralysis :(

    Mostly vet suggested something pressing on nerves somewhere, internal inflammation, or (most likely a spinal column tumour), but also perhaps possible seizure, a stroke, etc. Vet didn't know how to proceed with diagnostics (and I didn't either -- she knew I used to work as a vet tech) but sometimes my vet (different vet from the stranger vet who looked over Hopper) tends to give weight to my take on things -- my vet felt I might have more diagnosis input and I didn't. And I doubt my small town vet had access to run any tests (other than X-rays) and she didn't advise me to go to a larger clinic elsewhere). Zuri was stressed out (suffering) due to inablity to move, walk, roll over, eat, use litter box, etc..

    I was saddened but understood the cat was paralyzed (for whatever reason) and there was little they could offer. And to be honest, considering my finances (I couldn't have gone much above $2000 on her and I think they sort of knew this)... so, really no diagnostic/treatment help to offer. If there were other options/tests, my vet never mentioned them. I wasn't angry with vet, just sad it happened to my cat -- and that (even having worked as vet tech) I had never seen a case like this with full paralysis without some sort of injury or trauma (again, Zuri was strictly indoors). Zuri was unable to walk: she couldn't feed herself, groom, relieve herself in a box, etc. - she had lost her cattitude). Just so sad. Had vet suggested supportive therapy -- I'd have tried it. Vet seemed convinced this was a euthansia situation and had you been there, even with my vet tech knowledge, you may have understood the difficult choice. I could have spent a lot of money on tests and treatments and then still needed to euthanize later. :(

    Sorry for my earlier tome: You're taking about my love of life Zuri and her complete paralysis; and I thought you were upset about me not being able to take Hopper home due to his age and behavioural issues.
    For Zuri, I did consider full paralysis as grounds for euthanasia. It was just heartbreaking. :(

    [edited: disclaimer that I worked as vet tech only in 1989 and early 1990 so my information is both dated and partially forgotten -- and I wasn't diagnosing pets, I mostly checked fecals under microscope, ran autoclave, assisted in surgery (handing over instruments) and preparing syringes for pet shots]. So I am not nor have I ever been a vet expert -- only learned things here and there working in the practice. I eventually left because of their constant declawing of cats instead of them giving clients information to prevent furniture destruction instead of immediately declawing (which I would outlaw if it was in my power). So working as a vet tech kept me upset instead of making me feel I was helping animals.]
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2019 at 6:43 PM
    • Love Love x 1
  16. Feral

    Feral Arachnoknight Active Member

    Oh, I'm sorry! I'm not saying anything negative about you or your actions with either the dog or your cat, please understand! I don't think you did anything wrong, and I am SO SO SO SORRY if I came across that way! You are innocent!

    I was just trying to tactfully say that I really question the way your vet handled this situation, and I've never done this before but it was serious enough of a problem for me to raise doubts to you, especially if you continue to go there for him/her.

    And I'm definitely not saying that deciding to euthanize her was wrong in any case! Please know that. Your choice was your choice, and it's not my place to express any opinion on it. I'm just saying that you deserved the best and most accurate information to base your decision on, whatever you ultimately chose.

    Ive never questioned a vet like this, but this situation was kind of alarming.
    And if someone thought my vet might have seriously mishandled my pets' care, I would want someone to tell me.

    First: Know that, not only did I not see your cat in person or examine her, also
    I am not a vet!
    Do not take my word on this! Look into it yourself, ask the vet questions, maybe bring the records/diagnostics reports to another vet for a second opinion if you want. But don't take my word for it!

    Usually only three things cause events like these- strokes, arterial thromboembolisms (ATE), or tumors. Rarely it can be a fourth, IVDD, a vertebral disc hemorrhage, but it's super rare in cats. There are tests that for all of these that can be run in any clinic, like blood pressure, blood work (especially for renal function and hyperthyroidism, which contribute to and can be indicators of stroke), rads/X-rays, etc. depending on the suspected diagnosis. Physical findings are also key, especially heart auscultation (especially for murmur or other signs of cardiovascular disease) and rectal temperature (for ATE). Maybe an ECG could also help, that I don't know. But in any case, there are test options that any vet can do, either in-house or by sending out to a local lab. Sometimes those four diagnosis have really bad prognosis and can't be treated, depending on the situation. But often all of them they can. Strokes can be often treated, especially if they're caught early, though there may be residual effects. ATEs can sometimes be treated, especially if they're caught early and presentation is limited. Tumors can vary, highly dependent. And IVDD can be treated successfully very often.

    Honestly, in my experience, with every ER vet I've ever worked with, the first thing they think when they see a "paralyzed" limb in a cat or full body paralysis is always ATE. And it usually ends up being the case. From what I can tell from what you say, I have strong suspicions of ATE. (But again, I didn't see your cat and I am not a vet!) ATE is also the most common cause of any limb paresis/plegia in cats. Part of the treatment can be as simple and cheap as anticoagulant therapy (a specific dose of Aspirin, as one example). Cats with only a single affected limb and cats that are treated early have the best prognosis.

    I can give you a bit more info on ATE if you want, if it helps.

    It's very concerning that the vet didn't at least offer to try treating her for at least one of the four major options, even beyond not offering to do in-house and routine diagnostics.

    But again, regardless, please... Please don't take my word on the matter! I did not see your cat and I am not a vet! I'm just trying to help because that vet might have seriously mishandled the situation. I think it's worth investigating, at least. I'm sorry if it's painful to think about, I reallyreallyreally am, I am just trying to help you out. If someone thought my vet might have seriously mishandled my pets' care, I would want someone to tell me. I really do mean this all from the best possible place in my heart. I care for you and your sweet cat! *hugs*
    • Informative Informative x 1
  17. Your post was informative.
    Now I wish my vet had made a referral to a larger vet practice where tests might have been done. While I personally felt my cat was pretty much a goner, I was obviously hoping my vet had some miracle to pull out of her medical experience bag when I took Zuri in that morning. The earlier Preds had helped some with her paw a little (meaning there was some improvement with paw mov't and her jumping ability). Paw not cured, but improved. But that morning, Zuri was just so limp and pathetic, that I trusted the vet. Had I believed there was any treatment option for total paralysis, I'd have gone elsewhere for a second opinion. As it was, I trusted the vet was doing what was best for Zuri.

    I'll be honest, between Zuri's experience and Hopper's experience at vet... I am thinking of going to a different vet in the future. I could drive to the next county or even go to a larger city.

    My current veterinary practice used to be run by two vets -- a wonderful married couple. But in this small community, their clinic is the only one around for miles. And the practice has grown to (I believe) 5 vets (incl original married vet couple - the husband does most the surgeries and takes on the exotic pets and large animals). In the old days, the wife vet would take more time during visits, try more options but somehow, I never get to see her anymore (been 5 years since she examined a pet for me). I do think the new vets are just so busy they perhaps only look for simple options instead of thinking outside the box as original vet used to.

    I am trying hard not to second-guess things; but now, I admit, I am wondering if a better vet could have helped my Zuri. And it sickens me now to think there could have been tests run, perhaps something tried for Zuri that this vet didn't suggest. I am not even familiar with ATE. But I feel much regret and renewed grief now that I didn't seek a second opinion at a larger practice outside my area. Gotta be honest -- your post hit me hard. If Zuri might have been saved.... well, the very thought sickens me that it's all too late now. :(
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2019 at 6:52 PM
    • Love Love x 1
  18. Feral

    Feral Arachnoknight Active Member

    I'm so sorry to cause any additional grief, I was hoping that if a mistake was made on thier part then I could help you avoid it happening to you and your babies again in the future. I hope you understand.

    A classic part of ATE cases that present with just one limb affected is that, while they may or may not get a bit better for a little while on thier own, they're are kinda a ticking time bomb... and if they're not properly treated then it comes back with a vengeance and hits harder. Those clots are terrible, poor thing.

    Again, I am not a vet! But i have seen ATE cases happen just like you describe, and worked with those patients while they were diagnosed, treated, and/or hospitalized. Unlike symptoms of tumors, ATE always happens very suddenly. Often it is painful, but occasionally I have seen very stoic cats and/or less painful cases. It classically presents in both rear legs simultaneously (saddle thrombus), but it can present in any limb, any combination of limbs, or all limbs at the same time. It can be limited to start, then progress to other limbs. This is more likely if it is not properly treated early. Normally in the affected limb/s, when you hold the cat up in a standing position and place the foot curled over so the top of the paw is on the table, the animal will not be able to correct itself and cannot put the foot back in the proper position (so the bottom pads are back on the table). Normally the cat cannot withdraw from painful stimulus, so if you squeeze the webbing of the toes firmly with hemostats, the cat cannot withdraw its foot and does react not painfully. Sometimes, but not always, the foot of the affected limb/s has limited circulation so the pads can be pale (or even bluish/cyanotic) and feel cool in temperature. Often the rectal temp is a little low, especially when the rear limbs are affected. Body temp is actually a good indicator of prognosis if treatment is started. Most, but not all, cats are very vocal and/or panting expressing pain and/or distress, but a few don't express pain/distress outwardly. No other neurological type symptoms are found. Cats who are only affected in a single limb who are treated early have the best survival rates. In case that helps you make a decision about what you'll do about the vet.

    My thoughts and sympathies are with you, and I wish you all the best!
    • Informative Informative x 1
  19. I am upset but I always want the truth, even if it hurts. Ignorance doesn't appeal to me. I suspect local vet is best for annual shots, etc.; but anything more challenging (illnesses) I think I need to go elsewhere. Zuri was treated there for weeks with paw paralysis -- so there were earlier signs and tests that could have been done before she went into full paralysis. It might NOT have been ATE -- but Zuri deserved any possible tests to diagnose it or rule it out.
    • Love Love x 1
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