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Caregiver Feedback (Page 10)

The opinions expressed in the Caregiver Feedback pages are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Feline CRF Information Center.

My Fiancee and I live in London, England, and we have adopted a cat with CRF from a re-homing charity.

We knew about his condition before taking him on, and your website was a great help to us in deciding whether we could give him a home. But how could we say no? He is a handsome 4 year old ginger tom, called Sponge. He has had CRF for nearly 2 years, but it is currently well controlled.

There are a few things which we have been prescribed by our Vet which don't appear on your website. This may be becuase of different brands or names in the UK - but I thought I'd mention them in case any other Brits want to know.

Sponge has 1/2 a pill of Fortekor 5 each day to help with blood pressure. This medication has only recently been licensed in the UK for use in cats with CRF. It was previously used for Heart Disease in dogs. He is fed on dried Whiskas diet food, but at the recommendation of the Vet we add a few drops of Evening Primrose Oil to each meal. This helps in several ways - it is an essential fatty acid which helps keep teeth, bones and coat healthy, and it has also been suggested in some studies that additional complex fatty acids can reduce the strain on the kidneys. He also seems to quite like the taste of it!

You can buy Evening Primrose from the Vets, but this is very expensive (about 20), and it is also in capsule form so either the capsules have to be cut open and mixed with food or he has to be forced to take it. The human variety you can get from health food shops is a lot cheaper, (about 4), comes in a bottle so you can just add a few drops onto the food, and is also in a purer form. And since we are trying to keep anything impure from Sponge's kidneys, this only seems sensible to me! Our vet has said it is fine to use human oil on him, as it's the same thing.

Sponge is a healthy size and weight, has a glossy coat and a fantastic temperament. He has his bloods monitored every 2 months for Urea and Cretanine, and levels are steady. We love him to pieces and hope he will be cuddling us for a good many years yet!

Emma


One piece of information that I wanted to share is that it is possible to have Periactin (cyproheptadine) compounded into a cream which is rubbed into the ear daily. This really did stimulate my cat's appetite and certainly was much easier than a pill. The trick is to find a compounding pharmacist.

Hope this information helps some folks out there.

Linda


At least in my cat's case - a 16-year old with thyroid and renal problems, I've found a so far effective way to get her to eat.

A friend of mine, a builder with an incredible spatial sense, suggested that my normal feeding process of a small bowl on the floor (or a teaspoon if that doesn't work) may be putting her at an uncomfortable angle for eating.

A small flat dish about 3 inches above the floor has worked beautifully for the past few days. Raising the water dish also seems to help.

I thought it just might help somebody.

Thanks for the great work.

Ed


Thank you for the excellent site.

With respect to the discontinuation of Amphogel tablets, after much searching, I found Alu-Cap capsules (3M Pharmaceuticals, NDC 0089-0105-10). These are gelatin capsules containing dried aluminum hydroxide gel equivalent to 400mg of aluminum hydroxide. The capsule can be opened and a suitable amount of the tasteless (to my inferior human senses anyway) powder mixed with wet food or repackaged into #4 capsules to be launched down kitty's throat.

Hope this proves useful to others.

Louis Eagle, staff to Alex the cat


Thank you for so generously providing this wonderful resource. I felt desperate for information when my cat, Charlie, was diagnosed with CRF nearly one month ago. The diagnosis came as quite a shock because my Charlie was only six years old. Although his case was very advanced and complicated by heart disease and hyperthyroidism, working closely with his veterinarian, I was able to help him sustain a good quality of life for more than three weeks.

Ultimately, his health was so poor that I had to have him put to sleep, but those three weeks gave me the time to make that difficult decision in a rational and well-informed manner. The information Your Web site was extremely helpful to me, both as I struggled to give my cat the best chance at life, and after I realized that the best thing I could do for him would be to help make the end as painless as possible. Thanks, again, for providing such thorough information. And thanks, also, to the many people who contributed their personal stories. You really helped me through a difficult time.

My veterinarian recently told me that Easter Lillies -- indeed lillies of many varieties -- are extremely poisonous to cats, causing acute renal failure if ingested in any significant amount.. Although the ingestion of lillies might seem to cause only a little vomiting at first; later, the irreversable process of kidney failure begins. For a cat whose renal function is already compromised for any reason (congenital malformation, infection, early CRF), a few bites of a lilly leaf or flower could prompt acute renal failure. Perhaps you can add this information to your website.

Thanks, again, for all that you've done to help others out there.

Jennifer


First let me tell you that your site is absolutely the best for infomation on feline CRF. I found more information here than my vet gave me when my cat was diagnosed.

Since administering Ringer's solution on a daily basis, I found a way that one person can do it successfully and I wanted to share this tip....

I put my cat (Harry) in a box, which is a little bigger than a shoe box. Since he loves sitting in boxes, it makes him comfortable. It also prevents him from moving around.

With Harry in the box, I use one hand to hold him down around his head and neck, and with the other hand I can inject him with the needle and start/stop the fluid. It has been very successful.

Gary


I just found your web site this morning. It is very well organized and informative, and should be very helpful in the months and years (I hope) to come. Yesterday, my cat Wayasni was diagnosed with CRF. He's only 4 1/2 years old, and I've had him since the day he was born. Rather than old age, the cause of his CRF seems to stem from a birth defect; apparently his kidneys did not develop completely before he was born. The way his symptoms surfaced seems a bit different then those you and other caregivers have described, and which led the vet to misdiagnose him until I finally opted to have an ultrasound done. Perhaps my story will help others with early detection. I'm not quite sure how to shorten this up, though.

It was about 4 months ago that the first symptom showed up. He started leaving his feces around the house when I wasn't home, which I'd have to go around and pick up. At first I thought it was behavioral, such as separation anxiety. Although he and his brother keep each other company, he's always been very attached to me. But I wasn't really spending any more time away from home than before, so why the change in behavior? Then I thought maybe he didn't like the new litter I had switched to, so I went back to the old brand. Then I realized he was actually having problems with constipation. I tried to get him to drink more water, and a vet had suggested also using Laxatone, an over-the-counter laxative for cats sold at stores like Petco. He'd have nothing to do with the laxative, no matter how I tried administering it. He has always been fed high-quality dry cat food (Iams mostly), so I tried supplementing this with canned cat food for the water content. Although he and his brother loved getting canned cat food more often (I used to give it only as a treat), this did not help him either. He was also now starting to behave in a distressed manner when he had to go.

So I brought him to the vet to have him checked. They gave him subcutaneous fluids, did a fecal analysis, and prescribed an antibiotic for bacteria found in his stools and a laxative, Laculose, which I could give him via syringe. Giving him 1 cc twice a day did help loosen him up, but he still wouldn't use the litter box (much to my dismay).

But then within a week, he began peeing on my carpets, something he has never done before. So I brought him in again for more tests. They did a urine analysis and complete blood work. Things suggested he had a urinary tract infection, even though there was no sign of crystallization. He was concentrating his urine just fine, but there was the presence of some blood in the urine and also elevated levels showing signs that his kidneys were under some stress. She prescribed an antibiotic for the infection, continued use of Laculose, and also suggested I switch his dry food to Science Diet Light because it has a higher level of fiber and less protein.

Unfortunately, I misunderstood how long he needed to be on this antibiotic, and so I only gave him the 1-week dose that I was given to me. He seemed fine after that, but two weeks later he started peeing on the carpets again. She prescribed the antibiotics again, this time giving me enough for two weeks and to check-in by phone with her every few days. The antibiotic this time was a different one, because the first kind caused diarrhea on the 3rd day and I had to stop using the Laculose altogether. This new type of antibiotic seemed to be causing more constipation, but the vet said to just increase the Laculose until I found a good balance.

Then this past Monday, just a day before the two weeks of antibiotics were up, he sat on the stairs and started making his usual distressed meows indicating he had to go. This behavior is what I've come to associate with his constipation. So I put him into the bathroom and closed the door, hoping he might just use the litter box in there. A few minutes later, I went in to check on him, and he had peed & pooped all over the floor, only this time there was quite obviously blood in his urine.

The blood obviously freaked me out, so I rushed him to the vet again. The doctor he had been to twice before was not in that day. The new doctor thought the symptoms, especially the blood in his urine, still seemed to suggest a urinary tract infection or gallbladder stones, which are fairly common in cats, although they are usually older than him. If it was a urinary tract infection,though, then he should have responded to the antibiotics by now. He is only 4 1/2, so she really thought he was much too young for it to be cancer or kidney disease. Not only that but he has always been an indoor cat, has been eating and drinking normally, weighs exactly the same, energetic as usual, running up and down the stairs, fascinated by the birds and chipmunks out the window, playing with his brother regularly, and just as lovable and talkative as I know him to be. He's perfectly fine -- except when he has to go to the bathroom.

The vet suggested an ultrasound, which had been suggested before, but it was very expensive. I requested the urinalysis be done again, because there was something obviously different than before -- I could see now blood in his urine. I hoped that a new set of eyes would help in the diagnosis, as well as in comparison to the test done previously. Unfortunately, she saw nothing different this time, and confirmed there were still no crystals present. She felt this was probably a case of bladder stones.

The thing that kept puzzling me was how the constipation, which started all of this, could be related to a urinary tract infection or even bladder stones. Was it just a coincidence? I finally consented to the ultrasound, despite its cost, because I had to know if anything could be done for him. It was the only thing left to do. As soon as they did this, though, it was obvious that his kidneys were deformed, most likely a birth defect, and it seemed they had to be causing all of his problems. They had been working fine up to this point, but probably under some stress. Now we had the link between constipation and discomfort urinating. Another blood test also showed that one of the indicators for kidney disease had significantly increased since the one done two months before. She said that this is a chronic issue for him, thus these levels may go up and down, especially when he is stressed, but probably have never been completely normal.

So that's where we are right now. It took 4 months to diagnose, and about $700+ dollars in total (ouch!), but now I know. He'll be on a regimen of antibiotics (Amoxi-Clavamox) for 6 weeks, as well as Laculose (unless the antibiotics loosen him up enough), and IVD Modified Formula Cat Food. They are also going to teach me how to give him subcutaneous fluids at home, but how frequently I don't know yet. My roommate and I will also giving Reiki for his kidneys, too (for those who don't know, Reiki is a oriental healing art consisting of a "laying-on of hands" and sending healing energy into the affected part). My source of hope is that he is still young and just as full of energy as his brother. If he has been living with this birth defect for 4 1/2 years so far, then hopefully we can get him back on track and stabilized with this treatment. I'm crossing all my fingers and toes.

If anyone else has gone through this with a young cat like mine, perhaps with a similar birth defect, I would love to hear from them especially.

Linda
ledunham@yahoo.com


I would like to add a few comments to your wonderful website please:

My cat Snowy is mostly syringe fed a high cal cat food (works for him). If you have to syringe feed, try mixing the canned food, canned pumpkin, Lactulose and Tumil-K powder in a bowl, and pouring it into a cake decorating pouch. Fill 20 ml syringes, leaving a little space at the end. Dilute meds into individual mini syringes. Add one diluted med into the end of one food syringe...and so on..

Secondly, I have found a great way to give fluids. I use two 60 ml syringes, fill with LRS fluid using a human sized needle to draw in the fluid from the pouch. I then change that needle for a Butterfly needle. That is a fine needle that is attached to a long narrow plastic tube that attaches to the syringe. If Snowy moves, or gets up, no problem, there is no danger of his being jabbed. I gently inject the fluid, changing the end over from the empty to the full tube, and it is all done within about 2 minutes. It creates a water pouch effect on Snowy, but he absorbs the noticeable amount within a few hours.

It took a long time and patience to get the medication, fluids, laxitive and food quantities right, now Snowy is putting on weight, and there is no more stress and worry about constipation, throwing up, and emergency vet visits. I have almost lost Snowy several times since the CRF started...and have done everything I can to get him healthy and to a happy state.

There is a check list for CRF cats, and my cat is on almost all of the meds they talk about in the Avatar website. Your worst enemies are dehydration (needs fluids sub-q), constipation (needs Lactulose, pumkin and prepulsid to stim. bowels) and vomitting (needs Pepsid AC and appetite stim. Periactin, Tumil-k for potassium). Beware too that hyperthyroidism (needs Tapazole) can go hand in hand with CRF, have your cat checked and discuss what is means to your cat and his test results with your vet. Lastly, hypertension also goes hand and hand (needs Fortekor).

Good luck to you with your beloved feline.

Lori


Hi,

I was referred to your site by a friend...I haven't really had a chance to go all the way through it, but has anyone posted anything about oral doses of Pedialyte to treat CRF? I won't hit you with all the details right now (let me know if you'd like to know the specifics), but my kitty Smithers has not only been surviving, but THRIVING for the past three years on 35 cc of Pedialtye, four times a day. His creatinine and BUN counts haven't stayed the same...they've actually IMPROVED. He's gained his weight back (and then some) :-) and is the picture of health. (He's also on a strict KD diet.)

Our old vet gave Smithers about a 40% chance of any kind of good quality of life with sub-cu fluids, and in fact recommended euthanasia. At my Mom's urging I took Smithers to her vet who put us on the Pedialyte regime. Smithers has absolutely thrived on it. Granted, it requires a cat with the kind of temperment that will accept drinks four times a day, but I want SO BADLY to spread the word about this. I'm convinced it's the one and only reason Smithers is still with us. It also requires a person (or people) who are willing to make sure the cat gets the four daily doses at regular intervals, but it's a "burden" we've been thrilled to take on. I only pray we have this "burden" for years to come.

I know it's unconventional (every other vet I've mentioned it to poo-poos it) but it has worked for us. I want to let people know about this!!!! My understanding is that if the cat's body doesn't need the electrolytes in the Pedialyte, it doesn't put any extra strain on the kidneys to simply excrete them. In other words, it won't do any harm, and it may mean the difference between life and death.

Let me know if there's anything I can do to spread the word about this!!!!!

Penny


Hi, We have a very old female cat that was diagnosed with kidney problems/failure. The vet suggested that we may soon have to give fluids weekly.

We started giving her the homeopathic medicine called Traumed. We pulverize one pill twice daily and mix with her canned food. She is doing really well! After several weeks we ran out of the medicine and it took several days before we could get more. She immediately went downhill--her fur looked terrible, she hid in a dark area of the house, and was in obvious pain. As soon as she was back on Traumed she was fine again. She acts just like normal!

I believe that the contents of this medicine works to detox her system and helps her kidneys do their job.

I wanted to share this information so that others can try it and see if it helps their cats. Although it is listed to be for sports injuries, many people use it for all kinds of problems. You can get it at health food stores or email me for info at ohlig@bohdotech.com.

Hope this helps,
Brigitte Ohlig
ohlig@bohdotech.com


Thank you for your wonderful site. Your photos of Avatar resemble our own lovable giant, 10 year old Maine Coon, "Bobo." Thankfully he is fine. It is our nearly 18 year old Burmese, "Kubie" who has had CRF for a couple of years. You know all the signs of deterioration. He has managed only canned foods for years, no dry food--I've tried all the premium health brands. I put out both canned and dry. Recently I changed over to "Natural Balance" and was thrilled to see Kubie eat the dry food with no problem. He is gaining weight and muscle and hasn't vomitted in a week--this is compared to 5 times a day. The food has been the only change. I offer this in hopes that it might help someone.

Thank you again for the beautiful contribution you have made to all of us very concerned and loving care-givers. Avatar would have been proud to see how you memorialized him and helped others.

Sincerely,
Carole


I just wanted to take a minute to comment on the GIF tube as an alternative to administering the Sub-Q fluids. When my cat was diagnosed with CRF in January, we tried to inject the fluids at first. This seemed to be pretty traumatic for both cat and caregiver. My vet suggested we try the tube.

The tube was a wonderful gift, in that she could receive her fluids in a less invasive manner, less painfully, and quickly. This could be done by one person, and in a relaxing manner. (We always sat in the rocking chair, making it a pleasant experience for both of us.) About six weeks after the tube was inserted, she pulled it out. I think its presence irritated her, especially since she had lost so much weight, and is pretty much nothing but skin and bones. But, since the fluid therapy seemed to have improved her standard of life, we opted to insert it again. The second one stayed in about two months before she pulled it out, and in the meantime, she began to pull her fur out along the side of her body where the tube was.

At this point, we will be going back to injecting the fluids and hope for the best, but if there were to be improvements in the tube, I would be interested in hearing about it.

Any ideas where to go to follow the progress of this invention?

Thank you for listening, and thanks for your time!

Nancy



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