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Question re: sick kitty

LGK

Ideal_Rock
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So my little 14 year old Rat kitty has been sick with what I thought was the sinus infection from hell for months. It's been really, really bad- the zillions of antibiotics have done pretty much nothing; he gets a reprieve from the snot for a few days but his breathing is no easier and then it's right back to horrid in about three days. Basically, he's snorting constantly, mouth breathing most of the time, and dripping mucous non stop. (Which is awful for him, and for his humans; I've ended up designating a Snuggie as "Rat's", so he can sit on me and cuddle and get it, not my clothes, covered in snot.)

He's lost about a pound and a half which is WAY too much- he's down to 5.5lbs now with 7 being his normal weight for years.

He does seem to be fairly perky still- I mean, he's annoyed that he can't breathe well sometimes and will hunch unhappily some of the time, but otherwise he's happy, cuddly, and feisty and isn't, like, hiding and acting sick.

Anyway, he went to the vet for another antibiotic about a week ago, a shot this time since he's hell to pill and a Prednisone shot to maybe help him gain some weight back. Anyway, my husband took him in and the vet tech, not the vet, saw him. (I think this is the fourth course of antibiotics.)

The vet called me a few days ago and said that the tech that had seen Rat said he's got facial swelling. I didn't believe it at first- I couldn't see it I guess, since it happened so gradually- but I realized after I hung up the phone that indeed, one side of his nose and cheekbone is swollen, fairly badly, I'd say at least a half inch- like where the side of his nose should be indented, it just... isn't. I know the vet had told me, when his sinus infection proved really stubborn, that it could be a tumor and to watch for any facial distortion/swelling, and I am feeling kind of terrible that I somehow just didn't see it until it was pointed out. :(( Anyway I called the vet back and he wanted Rat in again on Monday to see him himself, which is the plan.

So. The question I'm finally getting to is- can the swelling he has be an effect of a terrible sinus infection? Or do I need to brace myself for really, really bad news on Monday? I admit I'm trying reaaalllly hard not to freak out- and failing because Rat's my special guy I've had since I was 19 and he was always super healthy and, and, you all understand I'm sure. I can't bring myself to Google search on this one- if anybody here has any idea or even wants to Google for me I'd be really grateful.

Rat's currently getting *lots* of Snuggie-drooling time which is just fine with him- he can spend literally hours kneading and drooling with his head tucked under my chin, and his paws stuck as far into my hair as I'll let him. I had five days off this week- two at home- and Rat got so much Snuggie time, he's gonna be ticked when I go back to work tomorrow and he can't spend all day sitting and drooling on me.
 

CJ2008

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LGK - I wish I had an answer for you, but I don't...

I am glad that I checked in to see your post though because I have kind of a special affection for Rat because of my Rattie (Rattie drools too, BTW). And I totally *know* what you mean when you say he's your special guy.

So I am sending you and Rat hugs and I am wishing and sending out vibes that the swelling will turn out to be absolutely nothing.
 

LGK

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CJ2008|1304132412|2908414 said:
LGK - I wish I had an answer for you, but I don't...

I am glad that I checked in to see your post though because I have kind of a special affection for Rat because of my Rattie (Rattie drools too, BTW). And I totally *know* what you mean when you say he's your special guy.

So I am sending you and Rat hugs and I am wishing and sending out vibes that the swelling will turn out to be absolutely nothing.
Thanks, I'll definitely pass the hug on to the Rat. I was just wondering about you and Rattie the other day- so you kept him huh :naughty: He is SUPER cute and, of course, has an awesome name!
 

Gypsy

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Rugs honey. My cats have had upper respiratory infections since January.

One has Bartonella on top of an upper respiratory.

Hally gets really blocked. We take her in the smallest bathroom and turn on the hot shower and let her breathe steam for 20 minutes or so. It helps.

If you can add some eucalyptus oil to the steam it's even better.

As for his swelling. Honey, there's no way to tell. But there's no point in borrowing trouble today. Today he's cuddling and next to you. So live in the moment and help him with what you can. If Monday comes and the news isn't great... you had a great weekend with him. There will be plenty of time to worry after Monday. And maybe if things go well you won't have to worry on Monday. 8)
 

JewelFreak

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LGK & Rat -- Healing & calming dust for both of you. I'm sending vibes for his problem to be fixed up. Love his kneading & drooling -- my couch has drool stains from Joe Don's moments of bliss. Whatever happens, your special bond will help him & is indestructible. Special hugs from here.

CJ, YOU KEPT RATTIE??????? Haha, fabulous!!! How are things going??

--- Laurie
 

JewelFreak

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I just had another thought -- it's possible Rat has a foreign substance in his sinus, maybe a piece of burr, etc. You'll probably want to x-ray him anyway -- it would show in that case. Hang in there, honey.
 

lulu

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Just sending you hugs. I know it's very hard not to think the worst. Earlier this week our Margaret was passing blood and I immediately assumed her cancer was back, but it was just a bladder infection. So try to stay positive!
 

chemgirl

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Hugs and lots of luck on Monday!

Maybe your cat has allergies? One of my cats has allergies and her ear/eye/nose gets runny in the spring. Its only on one side and I have no idea why. Its been an issue the last two years and I have no idea why it just started up. We moved her, but from a house with a garden to a condo in the city, so you'd think the allergies would be better and not worse. I was googling facial swelling in cats and was reading that it can be caused by allergies. That wouldn't be too bad, and would explain why antibiotics aren't working.
 

MichelleCarmen

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Steam is suppose to help. Also, if he's not eating, I've read you can heat up canned food so that your cat can more easily smell the food and possibly eat. I had two cats with sinus infections and the other cleared up with antibiotics but the second was too old - 17 and didn't respond.

Which vet are you taking him to? Cat's Exclusive? Maybe call the human society and see if they can recommend the strongest antibiotic possible. They deal with all the time!

Sorry he's sick! Best of luck.
 

chemgirl

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The strong antibiotic thing got me thinking. You said your cat is taking injection antibiotics. Is it Convenia? We had a cat on this for a kidney infection and it wasn't strong enough. We had to pill her because the available injectibles weren't strong enough. Maybe pilling is the way to go?
 

LGK

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Thanks guys- really, you are all awesome, it's nice to have a place to fret and have other pet-crazy folks understand.

Chemgirl, yep, it was Convenia. This was the fourth variety of antibiotic Rat's had. We tried: straight pills which I simply couldn't get into him easily so I think he only go 2/3 to 3/4 of the antibiotics, what with the Pez dispenser imitation he was doing. Then we tried a liquid fish-juice infusion that worked pretty well, he got most of that, but it was only do-able for a certain variety of antibiotics.

Third time was capsules, unfortunately. The vet thought it might be easier to get capsules and have me put the powder into tuna oil myself and put that in his face, but the process of opening the capsule, mixing the tuna oil, and then transferring that mix into a syringe thing and THEN squirting it into Rat's head was very messy for both parts of the process, and I know I lost quite a bit of pill- the mix kept clogging the syringe and Rat kept dribbling it out of his mouth. So I think he got about half of that course of antibiotics. Then the Convenia. Which the vet was indeed concerned wasn't strong enough, but he at least was certain it got into Rat, y'know?

I do wonder if it's allergies. It's possible I suppose, but he has had it nonstop for I'd say, 6 months with the last four being really bad. Prior to that it was just a bit of eye runniness and a lot of sneezing. Then it progressed to the snorting/mouth breathing, total nose clog and mucous dripping constantly.

Davi, the vet didn't mention polyps but I do wonder if it's somethign like that... I'll ask him on monday.

He did say he felt an Xray was useless of a cat's sinuses- that the sinus cavity of a cat was just too small to make any sort of useful image. He thought an MRI was a possibility but would run $2K plus and also might not say anything useful, plus Rat is so tiny/skinny that he didn't really want to put him under general anaesthesia unless it was critical.

MC, we aren't doing the drive to Cat's Exclusive anymore, it's too far from Snohomish, so we've been going to VCA Snohomish. That's a really good idea actually, the Humane Society. I do wonder if he simply hasn't gotten the benefit of an antibiotic thoroughly. I was considering trying the pill pockets rather than a liquid.

Lulu, I'm glad Margaret is OK. That must have been a huge relief!

Gypsy, we have been steaming the Rat regularly actually; he is the official bathroom patrol, so he wouldn't let me shower or bathe alone no matter what. Thanks so much for the suggestion of the eucalyptus oil though, I'm up for trying anything at this point if it will give him any relief.

And I am glad to hear other things can cause facial swelling. That does make me a little less wound up over the whole thing. Thank you all!
 

movie zombie

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i'm assuming the vet has checked Rat's teeth? it is possible that something that doesn't look horrible on the gums is actually horrible....had this happen with one of my cats and his face was distorted because of it.

maybe its because i've been through cat medical hell with our kitties but i'd rather have you be prepared for anything on monday. i'd rather you be prepared and then relieved if it turns out to be nothing more than the sinus infection. i will hope that the alternative is a bad tooth/gum problem which is an easy but also pricey fix. but i'd advise you to do what you are now doing: spending a lot of cuddle time with Rat. cats actually do respond even in the most dire of medical experiences when their human is near and loving them up. sometimes its not enough........best to be prepared for that.

re guilt: its sometimes hard to discern a change that a vet so easily can see....they went to school for this stuff and we're mere novices that simply love our critters.

i like the idea of providing a steam in the house near Rat. it should make the air moister and easier for Rat to breathe. and it will make you feel better also.

kitty pets from me to Rat, please.

MoZo
 

yssie

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Oh no - I'm sorry, LGK :(sad Poor Rat!! Worrying about a sick pet is just horrible.

I don't have any more advice, but more cyber-cuddles are coming his way! I've got fingers and toes crossed for a fast and easily treatable diagnosis. One of ours looked absolutely dreadful last spring - allergies, and she'd never had them before, but - yeah, lots and lots of worrying over something quite insignificant. Another got very, very sick, and we'd all (including the vet) lost hope of recovery, but some two years later he's in perfect health.. I'm not trying to downplay it - obviously our cats and situations are very different, and I do think it's best to be prepared for the worst, and be happily surprised - but I know that personally I suck at that, so I'm just trying to tell you that that's okay, and you're not definitively setting yourself up for disappointment if you just can't manage it.. Okay, I'll stop rambling.

::HUGS::!!



ETA: okay, I did a google for you and found this gem:

Capture_0.png
 

TooPatient

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You might also ask about the possibility of asthma.

My little kitty had what looked like a sinus infection that wouldn't go away with antibiotics or diet change. We just found out last year that her never-ending sinus infection and allergy symptoms were actually caused by asthma.


Thinking of you and your sweet kitty!
 

LGK

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Thanks so much for the support guys. I was trying not to stress out tooooo much, but kind of failing.

Anyways, Rat update: the rodent was dragged to the vet today. No real conclusion yet, though he felt at this point xrays might be worth trying tomorrow- he felt that, while they may not tell us anything much it would be worth doing. Also, Rat's getting his sinuses totally flushed out at the same time. Which, while not a cure obviously, will at least give him a couple of good breathing days hopefully and will flush out anything that may have wandered up his nose to cause the issue. And his teeth will get thoroughly checked too, and so forth. I'm not thrilled about having to put him under anaesthesia, but it seems like it's worth the risk.

The good news is, that the vet thinks that it probably *isn't* something really drastic like cancer or a tumor. He thinks that if it were, Rat would have declined much faster. And that it is probably exactly what it looks like, a very stubborn sinus infection, and that yes, such a sinus infection can cause swelling like what he has. Whew! While nothing has been completely ruled out, that was a relief to hear.

The sinus flushing is probably indeed very much like Neti potting a cat, Yssie! :tongue: Hilariously, a girl in the waiting room, after hearing Rat snorting away in his carrier, recommended Neti potting him with a straight face- pretty entertaining! The process could make it possible for the antibiotics to work better, though. Vet said that the infection spreads up into the sinuses above the eyes, where it is super hard for antibiotics to affect/fix. And that flushing can help that process. So the plan is: flush his head out, xray it, and then yet more antibiotics if the xray reveals nothing sinister.

The underlying cause, according to the vet, could very well be herpes. He said it was *super* common for kittens to become infected, and then for the virus to go mostly dormant until they're elderly, and then the virus can cause open sores in their sinuses that then get infected. So, that could be the actual reason for the problem.

Unfortunately Rat did lose yet more weight so we're going to definitely try the food heating and stuff. He is skiiiiinnny. Poor little guy.

The vet kindly provided a towel for him to huddle under after the third time we had to pry him out from under my shirt (erk- he has amazing burrowing skills when he wants to play ostrich). The vet even gave him his towel for the ride home... maybe they didn't want it back after all the Rat snot he liberally applied to it :knockout: ? The towel was genius- we'll have to do that everytime, because it was much easier than the usual routine of him crawling under my clothes. And he felt pretty safe under there, and the vet could simply fold the towel back to get at whatever part he needed to see, and Rat was much less freaked than usual since he was all covered up and safe. (Towels and/or blankets are excellent protection from any sort of evil, at least according to Rat- it's currently raining like crazy here and the tiny coward is hiding, you guessed it, under his Snuggie :rolleyes: so the rain can't get him ).

So we'll see how tomorrow goes. Here's hoping there's nothing on the xrays and that the sinus flushing gives him at least a few good-breathing days.
 

JewelFreak

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Fingers crossed & all kinds of dust for you & Rat today. Eeeuuww, flushing sinuses sounds unpleasant but getting rid of all the gunk should feel great for him. I'm SO glad the news isn't catastrophic.

Interesting to hear he thinks it may be due to herpes. It seems to be so prevalent w/stray & feral cats, amazing the variety of problems it causes. A friend of mine was recently adopted by a feral kitten, blind in one eye -- due, her vet says, probably to the mother having transferred herpes in the womb & preventing the eye from developing correctly. My sweet Meat Loaf also has it in his eyes -- I lob drops at him when he has an outbreak once a month or so.

Ask your vet about Lycine. A few have recommended it for Meat Loaf -- you can buy it in pharmacies or grocery stores & grind a pill into food. It's reputed to help discourage the virus from coming out -- I've used it for years & I think it works to some degree. Any little bit helps!

Looking forward to hearing good news from you & Rat!

--- Laurie
 

stepcutnut

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Sending Rat(love the name by the way) much healing dust :) I ditto asking the Vet about Lycine if indeed herpes related.
 

Aoife

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Here's hoping that it's nothing more serious than the herpes. One of our cats gets periodic outbreaks, usually brought on by allergies, that manifests by one of his eyes swelling. The vet gave us a product called Duralactin, which is a lysine-based supplement specifically for cats in paste/ointment form you can give orally at the first sign of a herpes-related flare-up. It must taste pretty good, because both kitties get very excited when they see the tube coming out of the cupboard. It usually doesn't take more than three or four doses to get the flare under control, so it's definitely worth asking about.

Please keep us updated about how Rat is doing, I'm sending dust his (and your) way.
 

Ara Ann

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He may even have food allergies as well. Check into the natural food based cat foods, without corn/wheat bi-products as fillers. Most pet foods are made with fillers as a base and lots of pets (cats and dogs) get sick from it, but not a lot of vets recognize food can be a trigger for illnesses. I hope he's feeling better soon!
 

CJ2008

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LGK so glad to hear it seems like it's nothing terrible!

Laurie - believe it or not Rattie is still in the garage. We were making really good progress putting the 2 cats together and I was consistent for a while doing it every single day, twice a day - but I ended up feeling bad for my RC. They would be really calm for a while but eventually Rattie gets hyper and I think it stresses out my other cat too much who ends up hissing and batting at Rattie. So I don't feel like I can bring him into the house - and DH has still not said, OK, let's keep him. Even though I just bought him a leash and I'm going to try to train him to walk. ;)) It seems ridiculous that we still haven't made the decision but other things kind of complicate it a little. But between me and you, I don't think Rattie is going anywhere. (Sorry for the threadjack, LGK - just wanted to give JewelFreak a quick update 8)
 

LGK

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Ok. This is pretty difficult to say. The news was not good. He is at least coming home. But he has a huge amount of bone loss all through the right side of his face, sinuses, and teeth. The vet flushed an unbelievable amount of gunk out and removed a tooth so it can drain. Vet says it is most likely cancer since nothing much else destroys bone that fast. But it could've "just" been a catastrophic infection. And that at this point it doesn't make much difference which. But he got some strong anti inflammatories and will be taking antibiotics for the time he has left. Maybe months or, if we're lucky even a year. Anyway, I probably won't say much else on this thread but I'll read it. And moviezombie? Thank you. I know you too have had some major issues with your guys and I did very much appreciate your advice. Same goes for everybody else. And now I'm gonna go snuggle the Rat.
Eta: cj2008, I'm so glad you kept rattie. And it may be silly but its kind of a comfort to know there's another pretty baby Maine coon lookalike out there with the awesomest name ever just starting his life with someone who loves him. Give rattie a chin skritch for me ok?I'm sure your husband will thaw eventually. It took my husband some time to accept o.p.
 

CJ2008

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oh no, no, no, no LGK - this cannot be. :(( I am so sorry to hear this news. I will give Rattie a scratch on his chin if you promise to give Rat extra hugs with my name on them. I am sure anything else I say would be wrong somehow because I cannot image how you must be feeling or what you need to hear. So I will leave it at that and take comfort knowing you will be reading this and that you will be snuggling with Rat. I will do a search on the forum for a picture of him because I want to have his picture in my mind.
 

Gypsy

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LGK|1304466246|2911587 said:
Ok. This is pretty difficult to say. The news was not good. He is at least coming home. But he has a huge amount of bone loss all through the right side of his face, sinuses, and teeth. The vet flushed an unbelievable amount of gunk out and removed a tooth so it can drain. Vet says it is most likely cancer since nothing much else destroys bone that fast. But it could've "just" been a catastrophic infection. And that at this point it doesn't make much difference which. But he got some strong anti inflammatories and will be taking antibiotics for the time he has left. Maybe months or, if we're lucky even a year. Anyway, I probably won't say much else on this thread but I'll read it. And moviezombie? Thank you. I know you too have had some major issues with your guys and I did very much appreciate your advice. Same goes for everybody else. And now I'm gonna go snuggle the Rat.
Eta: cj2008, I'm so glad you kept rattie. And it may be silly but its kind of a comfort to know there's another pretty baby Maine coon lookalike out there with the awesomest name ever just starting his life with someone who loves him. Give rattie a chin skritch for me ok?I'm sure your husband will thaw eventually. It took my husband some time to accept o.p.

Don't believe this as gospel. There are things that can destroy bone very quickly that aren't cancer. Take him to a veterinary dentist. We went through this TWICE. I can't tell you how freaked we were that Duncan might have cancer. Well, 4 years and two surgeries later he has very little jaw bone left, no fangs, and most of his other teeth are gone. But guess what? NO CANCER. BOTH our Veterinary dentists said that regular vets routinely cry cancer when they see bone degradation and that in cats it's simply not true MOST of the time!!!!

Tell them to test him for Bartonella, btw.

Huge hugs honey. And hoping for better news. Head bonks from everyone, but most especially fron Duncan.
 

manderz

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LGK, I'm so sorry :(( My kitty is currently snuggled up next to me, snoring away, and I couldn't imagine getting news like that about him :(( My thoughts are with you guys, and please give him some extra love from me.
 

movie zombie

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i'm so sorry.....and as Gypsy said, please have a dental vet check to make sure.

either way and no matter what, you have been blessed with extra time. and i know you know what to do with it as you are already off to snuggle more with Rat.

again, i'm so very sorry but remain hopeful for a different prognosis from a dental vet.........

MoZo

ps get your camera out and take as many pictures as you can.......
 

Aoife

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Oh, no, LGK, I'm so sorry. I know how news like this feels, we lost one of our cats to CRF a few years ago. I'm wishing many, many months of cuddles and love for you and Rat. Sending healing thoughts your way.
 

yssie

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Oh LGK... ::HUGS::

I just don't have the right words.. I'll be praying for a miracle for your lil' Rat. I really hope the new meds make him feel better - and I know he's going to get more TLC in the coming months than he knows what to do with...

Ugh. I'm so sorry :(sad
 

missy

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Oh, I am so sorry LGK. :(( Keeping you and your sweet kitty in my thoughts and prayers.
 

LGK

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Since coming back from the vet he's utterly, completely refusing to eat and has been hiding. Yesterday (about 24 hours after he'd gotten back) the vet saw him again when I said he wasn't doing well and really didn't have much advice except feed him baby food, which I'd tried. His breathing was even worse than ever, too.

So last night I decided I was going to get some baby food inside him if it killed both of us, dammit, and it was messy but he did get some food in his face (and on the couch, and the wall, and the floor, and the blanket, and me, and him). We've been wiping baby food on his tongue every few hours, much to his utter annoyance. And this morning he started drinking voluntarily and was moving about a bit. If I can get him past the next few days, then I am hopeful we might have some time with him. But it's going to be difficult.

Our other boy kitty, O.P., loves his Rat. Like, we joke that they're gay and loooove each other. A few hours after Rat came back from the vet O.P. finally sat down next to him. It was just heart wrenching- you could see it hit O.P. that Rat was really sick- I think he could smell either the infection draining, or the blood- but he just looked *stricken*. His eyes got all big and he sat and freaked out for a few minutes. Then, he decided he was going to fix Rat right *now*, dammit. And so he wrapped himself up around Rat like a huge orange tribble and started licking Rat all over. He didn't budge all night. He's been meowing at me to fix Rat ever since- after he determined just licking wasn't doing the job. Wish I could.

As far as the teeth thing goes. Unfortunately his actual teeth are fine- no gum disease, not rotten, nothing. It's the jaw that is gone. It just disintegrated from above and behind. And so at least one large tooth had no root or jaw left, and just came out in the vet's hand. So it sounds like there really isn't much that is left to operate on, unfortunately. If he makes it over the next few weeks it might be worth it to take him to a veterinary dentist, but that's still kind of a ways off.

Anyway, thanks guys; and Yssie, I am so very sorry to hear you lost your puppy. My thoughts are with you :(sad
 
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