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Caregiver Feedback (Page 6)

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.

I must tell you that my wife and I really learned a great deal from your web site. While all of the information is invaluable, it is also most comforting to know that others are going through the same difficult experience. The only way one can deal with the CRF situation is to take one day at a time. If you don't do that, it's much more difficult.

I have a 19 yr old male Siamese, Mokie*, who was diagnosed with CRF last June. We give him regular sub-q treatments and some pills to keep everything working. I am committed to hanging in there with him as long as he seems comfortable. I also have added incentive because his 19 year old sister (same litter and in good health) gets extremely vocal when he is out of her sight.

Related to this disease, Mokie lost his sight very quickly about three months ago. The thing that did surprise me is that I did not read any letters on your site which talked about blindness. Our vet has indicated that blindness is quite common in older cats with kidney disease. Apparently, the CRF causes high blood pressure which can rupture the retina. Mokie went from decent vision to total blindness in a few short days. It certainly was not a gradual process. I wonder if we had gotten him on blood pressure medicine earlier (when the CRF was first diagnosed), if his sight could have been preserved. Mokie has adapted quite well to blindness because we keep him confined to just a couple of rooms which he knows well--the master bedroom and the kitchen which are contiguous.

For your information on this disease, the vet concluded that Mokie's CRF condition was caused by years of eating Hill's special diet for feline heart patients ("Hills CD") which is low in fat but very high in protein. He ate this (his sister wouldn't) because we had another cat in the family with a heart problem which required that we give all the cats the same food. Hence, Mokie, at 19 on Feb 26, has a strong heart but lousy kidneys.

Beyond the insidious nature of CRF, we are experiencing the annoying problem of Mokie now refusing to use any one of his three litter boxes to urinate. (He does use the box to defecate which proves he can find it.) He mostly urinates on the floor but sometimes he pees on the recently water-proofed master bed. While we have hardwood floors which clean up nicely with a squirt of "Natures Miracle", I'm growing increasingly frustrated with this problem. I am wondering if anyone else has experienced this problem??? I would imagine it is related more to his blindness than to the CRF. However, I would like to point out that despite his age and blindness, he remains quite mobile. In other words, his refusal to use the litter box seems to be more mental than physical. I would appreciate hearing from others who may be in the same boat (of urine)!! And in case you're wondering, my wife and I vacated the master bedroom for the guest room awhile back!!!

Mokie seems quite comfortable considering the CRF and the blindness. His level of comfort has increased dramatically since he started his blood pressure medicine, fiber pills and appetite enhancers. He also gets the sub-q routine, two days on and one day off with 150cc for each treatment. His weight has increased from 7 to 10 pounds after dropping from the 14 level when he was healthy. He is a big, handsome chocolate point siamese with the greatest personality of any cat we have ever had and we have had several. That's why it is so hard to let go of him.

Thanks for your great web site.

Philip

*Mokie lost his fight with CRF and related blindness on June 20, 1997.


Linx is a nearly 15-year old cat that I rescued as a kitten from the Humane Society two days after having left my parents house and moved to college. She was diagnosed with chronic renal failure last Thanksgiving and it has been a trying, emotional experience.

I am extremely blessed with a wonderful veterinarian who is available to me at all times of the day or night. As Linx receives fluids there once a week, suffice it to say that everybody there knows her and always inquires of her progress.

Your web site is thoughtful, extremely accurate given what I've been told by my vet in the past several months, and heartwarming. But enough of that. I'm writing to share with you a new treatment for appetite that has worked wonders with Linx. I still occasionally give her Valium, but we started her on 1/10 of a tablet of Megestrol Acet (20 mg). This a cancer treatment given to humans to increase appetite. Her dosage is 1/10 of a tablet for four days and then on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Speaking from someone who has tried everything available so far, this has worked wonders for Linx. She is now eating dry food again! And last night she woke me up because she was hungry. I recommend it highly.

I should also mention that when Linx was so bad, we gave her injections of (Decodurabulen). I'm not certain of the spelling, but I'll check with my vet and let you know for sure. It's my understanding that these injections helped stimulate the kidney tissues. That's when she started to feel good again, and sleeping peacefully. I don't know about Avatar, but when Linx was at her worst she wouldn't really sleep, she just crouched. Now she's back to curling up like a normal cat. She takes Winstrol V, Lotensin for blood pressure, Tumil - K, Megestrol and Valium as well as Calcitrol. I also try to give her Pet Tinic as often as I can for iron.

Carol


I want to thank you for your excellent web site. We just lost our beloved Chowder last night to CRF. Your site was a great comfort in giving us the information we needed to understand his condition. I thought everyone might be encouraged by the amazing quality of his life despite the CRF and a creatinine count of over 30, the highest two separate doctors and labs had ever seen.

He was only 3.5yrs. We didn't know until a week ago, but he was born with only one developed kidney. He was just like any other kitten, and even as a young adult showed few signs anything was wrong. He loved his water. He vomited a little more frequently than we would have liked. But there always seemed to be an obvious reason for it. He loved to eat little bits of leaves and plastic that he could find, before we could. These would always be in his vomit. He was never sick for more than a day and a half. He chased around the house and his demanding little personality always kept us hopping giving him all the attention he wanted.

When he finally became sick and would not eat or drink for a day we took him to the 24 hr animal hospital. He was given a SUB-Q until his regular vet opened a day later. When put on an IV for 2 days the CRF was so advanced from long term loss of protein that the fluids leaked into his abdomen. The vet told us he was end stage, nothing more could be done and that he could not believe that the cat was able to live at all, let alone a normal life with a creatinine of over 30 and a BUN of 72.

We brought him home and he had 2 more good days of his favorite things. He was finally allowed to go outside without sitting in our laps. He was so proud of himself finding the perfect spot in our flower garden to lay and watch the squirrels, and sniff the plants. Finally on the 3rd day he became too weak to walk to his spots and started to shake from a high potassium level and we had to let each other go.

Both doctors were amazed at the manner in which Chowder had adapted to and even thrived despite the continuing increase of toxins in his system. A tribute to endurance and adaptability of the feline members of our families.

Thank you again for your wonderful site and best wishes to you and all the cats and their persons who need your help.

Tim and Leah


We don't know how old our CRF cat Cinnamon is, since I got her from the animal shelter, but we're guessing she was two at the time, which would make her ten years old now.

Cinnamon tested positive for feline leukemia when I adopted her. She had been scheduled to be put down at the animal shelter that very day, but she was so friendly (and still is) that I couldn't resist her. I took her home and she spent about three months under our bed, coming out only for food, water and litter box trips. Nine months later she tested negative. I'm told that about 30% of the cats who contract FeLV manage to throw it off.

Then she suffered a spinal injury several years later and was in such pain that we thought we would have to put her to sleep. We took her to UC Davis, where they did a myelogram and discovered that some relatively simple surgery could help.

In April of 1996 she was diagnosed with CRF. From then on, the story is familiar to readers of your CRF page. She's doing well at the moment, recovering from a urinary infection and eating like a horse. We take her outside occasionally to get some fresh air and exercise. Last week she climbed a tree and explored the roof, just like she used to do before she got sick. She gets subqs every other day, Petinic daily and currently Clavamox in pill form. She was on Epogen for seven months but developed antibodies to it about five weeks ago. The only real problem we have at the moment is inappropriate urinating. She uses the litter box if it's handy, but will also urinate on bathroom rugs or on the towels I put in front of the litter boxes. She drinks a lot of water. Her weight is stable at 7.4 lbs but I would like to get her back up to 8 lbs before she has another bad spell.

We have made a number of sacrifices to keep Cinnamon alive. They were worth it, but we're aware of them all the same. We can't plan on being away for more than 36 hours without having to have her hospitalized, and my plan of taking a couple months off from work to travel will have to be put on hold indefinitely. My fiance is starting to grumble about her despoiling his bathmat; I do laundry constantly when at home because she pees everywhere. We found that F.O.N. works well for neutralizing urine smell.

Charleen


Last August, after spending 3 weeks at the Vet, Samantha was diagnosed with CRF. She had been very dehydrated and took a long time to respond. We began SubQ fluids at home. In October, Nutmeg was also diagnosed with CRF. Unfortunately, Meg would not tolerate the fluids and we lost her within 5 days. At the time I visited your website not only to help me understand their disease but it was also a way for me to deal with my grief and guilt.

Samantha has done very well on SubQ fluids. She has continued to gain weight and her BUNs have remained statistically stable. She tolerates the bloodwork very well.

I have come back today because of Samantha. She has reached the point where she has built up so much scar tissue around her shoulder blades that she can't accept the fluids. I am seeking help. Because of your page I learned that I can give her the fluids somewhere other than between her shoulder blades. I was so worried that there wasn't anything else that I could do for her. If you know of any other ideas, I would certainly appreciate hearing about them.

Thanks again for your webpage. It has been a great help!

Ann and Samantha (and John, Cassie, Pandy, Caspar, Alex, Chessie, Boomer, Qantas, and Momcat)


Thank you so much for your most informative web site. As an abyssinian breeder of 13 years I have treated cats for both acute and chronic renal failure. You do a great favor to all cat owners by providing critical but easy to understand information about CRF. And it's nice to get a chance to learn a few new tricks..I used the tuna juice idea but with meat babyfood. A little spoon of chicken, twice as much hot water and a couple scoops of "special" cat food and my girl has her face in the food before I get it on the ground.

Jan


Thank you for your web site - taking the time to put all that together was certainly a "good deed". I was thrilled to stumble upon the site and learn that what we were going through was normal.

My one question (my vet asked) is what is the name of appetite stimulant you mentioned? My vet said many have side effects since they are steroid based. My answer to that was the cat would probably be in a rough shape by that time, and side effects would probably be the least of the kitty's problems.

Read on if you have time only -- it's our cat's story.

Our kitty was diagnosed with renal failure about 8 mos ago - but it took a nasty fall off our balcony (4 floors down to concrete) and a visit to a different vet at the emergency clinic to really help 17 year old Taipan. The fall knocked a tooth out and winded him, but xrays showed brittle bones that were unscathed (thank goodness). The vet's more immediate concern was that the cat start receiving s.c. fluid at home on a daily basis.

Our own vet showed us how and in three weeks (the fall long forgotten), our kitty has really picked up.

Of course, now he doesn't want to eat this and he won't eat that - so I was grateful to find two foods on your list (with 800 numbers) that we've never had where we live.

We've been coddling him (since his fall), so trying to get him to eat without "roast beef bits" as inducement has been practically impossible. The tuna (and other) juices sounds like a great idea. I'm phoning the two 1-800 numbers on Monday to see if anything is available here - and if not, I'll try to get the products UPS'd

. Thank you again. It was very encouraging to see your site. We now believe we'll have our kitty for a while longer, and we are grateful for every day we get with him as long as he is not suffering.

Rita and Dayle


Just a note to say thanks for this web site. My cat Buster was diagnosed with CRF March 7th. He spent 6 days at the Vet hospital and I spent much of that time in tears and feeling very depressed. Your web site gave me alot of good information and hope. Buster is doing very well. He has been taking sub Q`s three times a week and really likes his kd cat food. The Vet is going to try to cut back the subQ therapy to twice a week. Buster, who will turn 12 next month, has alot of energy, is eating like a horse and seems to enjoy all the extra attention he is getting.

I just wanted to thank you for all the work you've obviously put into your page. Our kitty, Trifle, has been diagnosed with CRF for the last 2-3 years, and has been stable since then. However, we are now in the midst of a crisis with her, and the information both in the web pages and the responses from visitors to your web page has been really helpful and comforting for both my husband and me.

Aline


Just stopped by your site to see what's cooking. It looks great! Congratulations for keeping it updated and growing. I'd like to mention a couple of things that I've learned over the past few weeks. You might want to think about adding some of this information or modifying your text slightly in these areas.

Calcitriol: Lucky has high calcium, but normal phosphorous and potassium. Because of the high calcium, my vet specialist did not want to put him on Calcitriol. As you probably know, Calcitriol can raise calcium levels. I found out that the Calcitriol specialists at OSU were recommending Calcitriol for cats with high calcium, so I convinced my vet to try it. We are currently using it at half dosage. It has been several weeks now, and Lucky's calcium, phosphorous, BUN, and Creat. levels have all come down significantly. His liver values, which were starting to look bad, have also improved.

Epogen: We started Epogen a couple of weeks ago when Lucky's anemia became severe. I noticed that your description says that Epogen is given Sub-Q. Actually, I am giving the injection "IM" directly into the muscle of the thigh. The other folks I've talked with about Epogen are also giving it this way. I don't know if you want to make a distinction in your description between Sub-Q and IM. The IM method is a bit trickier and may require two people. I don't know if Epogen is given Sub-Q. Maybe it can be given both ways.

Amphojel: Amphojel has caused Lucky's most significant problem, which is severe constipation to the point of intestinal blockage. I noticed that you mention constipation in passing in your discussion of Amphojel. In Lucky's case, this problem is of major concern as it has been life-threatening on more than half a dozen occasions. (If you want details, write back and I'll explain.) Believe me, I tried everything under the sun to control the problem and even seriously considered putting Lucky to sleep, as the problem became almost unmanageable. The vet told me the only option was surgery to remove Lucky's colon. (That was B.S.) I finally took Lucky off Amphojel and his constipation went away almost immediately. My vet specialist convinced me to put him back on it but at a lower dosage. Now, we're doing a delicate balancing act to keep him happy. I would recommend that people who are experiencing severe constipation problems and intestinal blockages consider Amphojel as a primary cause. It seems to me that some vets may be off base in diagnosing and treating constipation related to CRF. I don't know why they don't consider Amphojel as the culprit more often.

That's all I have for now. Hope you don't mind the input. I give in the spirit of helping you help others. Take care.

Louise
WilsonTnL@aol.com


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