Bunny Needs Cat Support and Insight (long)

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  1. This is very hard for me to write. (trying to resist crying as I think of all of this) I'm hoping a vet or something stumbles on to this with some better insight than I'm having now.

    I am the proud mommy to 3 cats, two of which I've had my entire life, and one I adopted when I married my BH. I've also been the proud mommy to bunnies over the years, but they suffered health conditions that did not allow them to spend as much time with me, or me with them as I would have liked.

    This is my very first baby, my girl, Belldandy. She was the first cat I ever owned or was responsible for without counting family cats I shared my life with when I was younger.
    A year or so ago Belldandy started losing weight... she was originally around 11lbs or 12 when we had her weighed in 2008 and no issues with bloodwork.

    Last year we started noticing some differences. Early spring and into summer she was very nasally; had issues with boogers out of her nose, issues breathing, sneezing and we were told that year was particularly rough on cats and allergies. I was still trying to treat the issues she was having with frequent hair balls, and towards the end of summer and fall we stepped up on the hair ball laxative to assist with that. Her blood work was so so, no major issues and anything that looked weird panned out ok with followups.

    Come late October, early November we move the cats to a new appt. Sometime between right before the end of Oct and the beginning of Nov she loses her bottom left canine? (the big vampiry one! :smile: ) and I notice some redness. We take her to the doctors' and they want to run some bloodwork prior to any work to remove the rest of the tooth.

    THIS EVENT IS THE CATALYST for the rest of my life...

    The bloodwork comes back, not good, she's got elevated levels like she's fighting something and we can't do the surgery to remove the rest of the tooth. If there's any good news to this, the rest of the tooth that's the stump in her jaw is fine, she heals it well and we don't need to remove it.

    However, beyond the bad blood work we have the issue that's she's now lost about 2 lbs since 2008. Jan 17th 2010 she's now down to 9.9lbs. She's losing about .3lbs every month or about.

    We give her antibotics to get rid of the sinus issues, and that clears it up, (she's good on that mid Jan of this year). He gives her de-worming to resolve any potential issues with that in her stomach. We've had 2 stool samples run, no worms of any kind.

    We've done ultrasound of her stomach, and of her lymph nodes. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary.

    So, I'm EXTREMELY worried now. Crap, I had a long out cry a few nights ago worried I'm losing her... and I can't stop the weight loss.

    The facts that I know are:
    -We had her on antibotics and it cleared up her sinus issues... they ahve not returned yet and I've only seen a rare sneeze from her, that issue I believe is resolved.
    -We had her on a week of steroids, then was off for 2 weeks. Still lost weight. Now we are going to do another full 10 days or so of steriods and see where we are at. We are dosing .5 2x per day that's compounded into a fish liquid because it's all we can get her to keep down... she'll throw up pills.
    - Hair ball formula (laxative) I would assume is doing it's job. Since I've been more diligent about giving it I haven't seen ONE yet... and it's been about 6-7 months now?
    - She's not eating less that we can tell, continues to eat food and drink water as normal, and the food she's eating is the D/D which vet says is fairly high in calories to begin with.
    - She's started throwing up here in the last month (and right before we started steroids) with semi-digested food, and it is HIGHLY potent in smell... reminds me very much of super strong stomach acids combined with rotten egg smell. This has only recently developed, and I can't help but think it's a symptom. She won't throw up more than maybe 1 time every 2-3 days, but it's not regular and very random. Majority of it is digested food, so I don't think it's that she's eating too fast and making herself sick.
    - Since last spring she's been a LOT MORE physically close to us. Both BH and I notice she wants to sleep under covers, or blankets, it's like she's cold or something. Always needs to be near us, or on us, or something of the two. You won't find her far from us, it's almost as if she's trying to tell me she's in pain, or cold, or that something's wrong and it pains me to even consider that as the way she's trying to communicate.
    - She doesn't bathe herself as much as she used to. She doesn't fully clean herself head to toe like I've seen in the past, and she focuses mostly on just her face. She had problems in the past with loose stools and we'd have to trim her butt hair to help but that hasn't come back here recently at all.
    - She's started pooping outside the box in other places in the house (hard to associate with her illness as it could be that BH's cat is harassing her and she doesn't feel comfortable using the litter box if he's stalking her)
    - She's a 10 yr old cat (turned 10 in October) and I TRUELY want to spend more time with her and not sure I can mentally or emotionally consider her life about to be shortened

    Doc wants to send us to a specialist who thinks that she might have cancer in her lymph nodes despite that they weren't overly showing something in the ultrasound done in late Nov/Dec. BH and I talked, I don't think we can consider chemo for her NOT because of $$, but I don't want to affect her current quality of life. I can't afford her to fear us holding her, taking her somewhere... I can't have her fearing us coming to her not sure if it's for affection or to go to the doctor and get a treatment. She is not a fan of the current vet visits, and I don't want her fear to become a permanent state of being if they were to become more frequent. If she continues to lose weight, and we can't stop it she'll potentially die from loss of weight and nutrients.

    Have I written off Chemo for no good reason? Does it have a decent chance of working on a what was healthy 10yr old cat? Should I put her through it?

    I don't know if my potential choices are right, or whether I should make them. I'd love some insight from other owners, cats or not on how you would make these hard decisions.

    I'm not ready to lose her, but I don't want to prolong her life for the wrong reasons either.

    Bunny the Cat Mommy

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  2. first of all i am so sorry about your kitty....
    I think that maybe you should go to the specialist and discuss options with him....animals tend to do very well on chemo and dont have the added side effects that people normally suffer....10 years is old but not that old for a cat who could live 18 years or more....i would try to explore all your options before writing off chemo totally...i would take her and see how she does...if she really has an adverse emotional reaction to going then you can take the next step and take it from there....
    i hope that your kitty gets well and i am sending big hugs to you....when an animal gets sick it is very hard....i have been through it with my beloved boxer Coco....its hard to know what the right thing to do is....do we keep the pet around for us or let them go???....i had to decide in my heart when it was time to let go and she let me "know" by how she was acting....it was the hardest decision i have ever made in my life...
    big hugs again and just know that whatever your instincts tell you they are probably right....you are a wonderful kitty mommy...:hugs:
  3. Thank you, I don't want to write off options for her to get better that truly might be effective and worthwhile... but at the same time I'm just scared... it's hard to consider giving a cat something I've never been through not knowing what it could introduce to her that she might not already have (like pain... I have no clue if she's in pain right now... but maybe it might cause more? some?).

    BH is scheduling the appt for the specialist and they want to do another ultrasound but focus on the lymph nodes this time and do more in depth I suppose. The tests worry me only for the end results I'll find... not the actual procedure even tho I hate it when she's scared to be away from home.
  4. i think its totally normal to be scared....i took Coco for many tests and specialists over a 3 month period....every test scared the c*&p out of me because i thought the results would be devastating....and ITA dont write off anything yet....discuss all the options and take it one step at a time...you are doing the best you can....the one great thing about animals is that they dont hold a grudge and they dont think about yesterday,,,,they live in the moment....there have been many people on this forum that have had pets go thru chemo and i am sure they will chime in....again good luck and big hugs...you are doing all the right things...
  5. I'm so sorry to hear this! I'm no doctor or expert on cats but have you tried to get another vet's opinion perhaps? It breaks my heart to hear this. I remember when my ex's cat got really sick and they have to put her down and this was his cat.

    Only you can decide what to do with regards to chemo and quality of life and such. With my ex, they decided to put her to sleep cause she was having a lot of problems and she was getting kidney failure and in their past memory the kidney failure is a painful experience for the cat.

    I can only give you hugs bunnym. :sad:
  6. We have an appt scheduled with the specialist tomorrow at 4pm Eastern as our doc after hearing about all the recent vomiting told us he wants us in ASAP... so they accommodated us as an emergency visit for tomorrow. It will be for 3 hrs, so I might not have a follow up till late tomorrow.

    Thanks for all the wishes of good health, I appreciate it.
  7. "I can't afford her to fear us holding her, taking her somewhere... I can't have her fearing us coming to her not sure if it's for affection or to go to the doctor and get a treatment. She is not a fan of the current vet visits, and I don't want her fear to become a permanent state of being if they were to become more frequent."

    Bunny, I just want to reassure you that while Belldandy will certainly not enjoy making frequent trips to the vet, as long as you continue to give her love and affection at home she will not fear you. I had to take my Mathilda to the vet frequently when she was ill but she never seemed to hold it against me.

    I hope with all my heart that you get some answers soon, and that it's good news. Even if it's not, the specialist should be able to offer you guidance for deciding on a teatment plan and also for end-of-life decisions, should that be necessary, which I pray it isn't. Please update us. Until then I am keeping my fingers crossed for you and Belldandy.
  8. Bunny I am very sorry for your kitten. I will suggest a different approach. I heard that pets tend to reflect the illnesses of their owners or people around them.You might need to have a check up too.
  9. Thank you, when my BH called to schedule the appt the vet tech taking the info thought for a second we were having her in for a diabetes test... apparently the symptoms are similar?? As much as we don't hope it's something horribly serious and life changing... something like diabetes would be easier to swallow than say cancer or the like.

    I keep feeling like she's got a mass or tumor in her stomach... I mean she's stopped coughing up hair balls... and as much as I'd like to think she's passing them through... I fear she's not... and that they might have gathered in her stomach and is the cause for all this.. but no one yet has looked into my concerns seriously either because they wouldn't cause the symptoms she has... or that it's not very likely.

    Well, it is true that I have been suffering an illness, but it was diagnosed in 2004 (kidney disease) and I have my checkups and levels checked despite my qualms of pain here and there. My pain and agony has not been any higher recently... and is normally minimized as long as I eat and drink on a regular schedule and keep to a semi-strict diet.
  10. bunny, don't have much advise for you but we did have a kitty treated for cancer back in the 90's. he did great until it came back on too strong for him and my parents put him down. just sending you lots of hugs - i hope it is something that can be worked out.
  11. I am very sorry about your kitty and that she has to go through this. But I agree with madamefifi, she will not hold it against you. One of our cats got run over by a car last year and very ill. Three of the vets wrote him off and lept telling me to put him down. He couldn't urinate and had to have his bladder squeezed several times a day. He went to stay at the vets all day while I was at work and I picked him up in the evening. We took him to acupuncture and hunted down rare tables by phoning every pharmacy in the state and he made a quick recovery almost right away. One of the vets said he'd eat his hat if our cat made it, and I was going to buy him one, but bought them chocolates instead:smile:. Get a few opinions if you can and try whatever you can. I honestly didn't believe in acupuncture, even for humans, but it worked on him.
    What I mean to say is, he didn't hold a grudge against us or the vets for the pain we inflicted on him, nor did I listen to three of the four vets there, as long as they still had any alternative treatment ideas and as long as there was the tiniest chance he'd make it. He lost his tail, and had four very bad hip breaks, but it took only three or four months for him to recover and apart from having no tail you cannot notice he was ever that ill.
    If anything he became more cuddly, as he seems to remember that I nursed him when he was ill and slept in the living room so that I could be next to him in his cage when he wasn't allowed to move. Obviously there are no guarantees with the treatments for your cat, but if you financially can at least you'll know you tried your best.
    Best of luck and she's lucky to have such caring humans.
  12. I just wanted to add that most cats do not react badly to Chemo like people do. There is no vomiting, hair loss, dizziness that I saw. My cat had Lymphoma and aside from being tired and without much appetite for a day or 2 after treatment he responded very well. If there is a GOOD chance she will make it through I would definitely try. ((((HUGS))))

    By the way she is beautiful!
  13. Aww, I'm so sorry to read about your poor kitty, Bunny.
    Although it wasn't chemo, but we had a cat, Harry, who underwent radiation therapy for thyroid disease. He was in a specialist hospital for about two weeks for radiation treatment, and he bounced back really well. He was about 14 at the time.
    Best of luck with the specialist. I hope everything goes well for the cat and for you.
  14. I am so sorry Bunny. As I was reading through your posts diabetes immediately came to mind, although why any of her blood test have not shown that is odd (if indeed she has diabetes).

    I've known number of people with kitties with diabetes and it is very manageable but does require a set schedule.

    I'm hoping for the best news possible.
  15. Sorry for the late update, but here's what we know.

    Diabetes is NOT an option at this point.

    Her Eosinophilic count is high, and the "drainage" is occuring from the lower extremities. The issues are being caused because her 'philia?' in her small intestines are not filtering it out correctly and it's aggravating her lining.

    I'm guessing her extreme allergies might have led to the Eosinophilics being released at a high rate and they've taken up in her intestines... which is making her have her bouts of throwing up when the irritation gets to be too much. The philia also aren't absorbing enough of the food/nutrients she's eating which would explain the weight loss.

    All in all, she's most likely suffering from Feline Inflammatory Bowel Disease http://maxshouse.com/inflammatory_bowel_disease.htm and more specifically this line "One favored by most academicians is that this disease is an immune-mediated hypersensitivity reaction to indiscriminate antigens, including enteric bacteria and dietary component" with the bolded statements what I think may have been the starting factor.

    Vet believes that her Eosinophilic infiltrates are the main cause of her issues, and cats' she's seen with this often are the hardest to treat. Her Eosin rate is not 2-4k, but it's closer to that than 1200 which a normal high should/would be.

    We decided over the offerings given choices of:
    1. endo and bioposy ( article listed "A definitive diagnosis of IBD can be made only by mucosal or full-thickness intestinal biopsy. Gastric, duodenal, or colonic mucosal biopsy can be easily obtained by fiberoptic endoscopic techniques" )
    2. explorative surgery in the small intestine (article listed "Full-thickness intestinal biopsy specimens can be obtained via an exploratory celiotomy. Multiple areas of the bowel (i.e., gastric, duodenal, jejunal, ileal) can be biopsied with this approach." )
    3. steroids, B12 and appetite increase medication

    To start with 3. 1 would require her off the meds for a bit if we needed that option, but none of the roids' could be done immediately after surgery in either case, the 2nd being the most extensive and some healing time necessary. She said it's possible w/ 1 or 2 that they go in and dont' find anything else other than what they suspect (the IBD) and don't or can't narrow down anything more than what they've determined so far.

    We can't prevent the disease, but we can try to limit the Eosinoph affect and rate and try to get her weight up some. If we do get it up some, then she'll have some reserves to have more strength for the possibility of option 1. BH and I do NOT think in her current state she's healthy enough to bounce back from 1 or 2, but with some more weight on her MAYBE option 1. From the article quoted, we are seeing this "If the mucosal infiltrate is predominantly gastric or duodenal, vomiting is the primary presenting clinical sign and stools may be normal." which explains more affective on the small than the main bowel as well as "Weight loss is also a variable component of the disease.".

    So specifically she most likely has "eosinophilic gastroenteritis" and in the end it's IBD and we'll need to try to supress the eosinophilic reaction and get her Eosino's down to help her absorb more of her food.

    The treatment in the article:
    "The treatment of choice for most cases of IBD is prednisone or prednisolone. The dosage should he individualized, depending on the severity of clinical signs and the chronicity of the problem. initially 1.0 to 2.0 mg/lb per day divided in two doses is recommended."
    We WERE giving her 1.0mg per day, but the vet tonight wants us to up it to 2.0mg and do it for 2 weeks, then take her in to weigh her and access her situation and how she's reacting to it. Oh, and she lost MORE weight since our last visit, she's down down atleast another .4 or .3 lbs and it's only been 2 weeks? She WAS losing that weight in a month's time.

    We hope to keep the need for immunosuppression drugs if she's not responsive to the prednisone low, but it's not out of the realm of possibility. The vet is LESS likely to believe it's cancer, as other signs would have presented themselves and the draining of the Eosinophils is more likely to be IBD than cancer even if it's mass cell.