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Page Seven

Caregiver Feedback (Page 7)

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.

Re: dialysis

as a matter of fact i am working on that right now. my doctor in maryland has a dialysis machine at his vet hospital.... peewee's appt was wed.

a catheter has not been developed for cats that will stay open more than a few days. it is possible that a new catheter will introduced by a group in chicago in about 6 months.

he has done treatment on acute cases only. i was informed that cats do not tolerate the procedure very well, because the neonatal catheter he must use is very small so it takes a long time to clean the blood, we are looking at other possible treatments first. if i want peewee to be a pioneer in this field he is willing to try but first we will exhaust every other option.

the first new step has been an insertion of a gastric feeding tube. upon my request it was placed in peewee in march. he has adjusted wonderfully and now it is so much easier to give him all of his medications, amphojel, cisapride, pepcid, cardieziem, amoxicillin, + a mixture of kd gruel mixed with pumpkin because of constipation and water, lots of water. this has eliminated the need for sub q fluids, he also still eats people tuna.

it has been a roller coaster since march, some good to great days and some at deaths' door but so far he has rebounded nicely. i just mentioned your web site to my doctor (nephrology is his vet speciality) hopefully, he will contact you soon!!!!! i'll keep you informed.

Thanks for your quick response!!!

sandy kuplis and peewee

Thank you for your very kind message regarding Meatloaf. Some of the suggestions in the dietary management section of the web site are working and we're concentrating on having Meatloaf at least eat what he likes--chicken and fish--while we work in the k/d. By the way, we have found some success in pureeing the k/d in a Cuisinart along with Swanson's chicken gravy and some hamburger which seems to make it more palatable for Meatloaf.

After I last e-mailed you, my vet referred me to a book you might want to pass on to your readers. It is Dr. Pitcarin's Complete Guide to Natural Health for Your Dog and Cat. At pages 220-222 there are four recipes specifically for cats with CRF that cats may find more palatable than the commercial food. The book was first published in 1982 by Rodale Press and is in paperback. Even in New York City, I could not find a copy at any of the major bookstores, but I was able to get it at the public library. It is also available directly from Rodale Press [(610) 967-5171] for $16.

Best regards,

Jack Hassid

Thank you, and God bless you a million times for putting your time and effort into creating such a comprehensive resource that will help so many people.

You made a very real difference in our lives today, and (for now at least) saved our cat's life. Right now I am emotionally spent from our exhausting day, so I'm not sure I can tell the whole story. In a nutshell, we learned on Saturday that our 9-year-old cat has CRF. He had lost a lot of weight, so we took him to the vet for tests. We lost a cat in December to CRF as well. She was a pretty sick cat in many ways, but the death knell was when our vet put her under anesthesia to look into another problem without first checking how well her kidneys were doing. Her body was unable to flush out the anesthesia and she just kept getting worse. We decided to forgive and forget -- that the vet had made an honest mistake.

When we took in our now-sick cat, Legume, on Saturday, the vet said he needed to do blood work, and that he'd give Gume a sedative so he wouldn't be unduly stressed. My immediate reaction was, "If his kidneys are the problem, won't he have problems flushing it out?" He said, "No, no -- we'll just give him something mild." Being ignorant, I just said okay. (He should not have given a sedative since he suspected renal failure, right?) They called an hour later with the diagnosis and the vet made it sound grim -- like we could euthanize or let him suffer. Something about this felt wrong. So I got on the internet and searched and searched, and found your site.

To make a long story short, which I am not doing, because of all the information my husband and I pored over this weekend, we were able to speak intelligently about CRF and ask all the right questions. We were also able to discover that our vet didn't know squat about it. When we brought Gume home he was in terrible shape (and he'd been much better when we took him -- his temp then was normal and he was running through the house for food).

Thanks to you, we realized that we had to find a veterinarian who knew a lot about CRF, and who would be willing to work with us to find a balance of quantity and quality of life. On our second call we found a vet who spent a half hour on the phone talking through this with us. She was very caring and concerned, and was especially concerned when we told her his potassium level (2). We brought him in to her and she is giving him IV fluids and trying to get his temp (which was down to 96, from 101 on Saturday) back up to normal. I don't know if she will be able to save him or how far this will go at this point, but thanks to you we were able to get Gume into a situation where he at least has a fighting chance to make it if he wants to.

Thank you so much for taking the time to put together such a wonderful site. I have no doubt in my mind that without it we would have lost Gume and we would have always felt like there must have been something else we could have done --which is what happened with Tofu, the first cat we lost to CRF. I do, however, take solace in the fact that with her, she had so many problems that her chances were slim.

Anyway, I cannot even begin to express my gratitude for the work you've done. With Tofu, we felt lost without a roadmap. This time, we knew what was happening and were able to deal with both vets intelligently. When our new vet (obviously, the old one has been fired) began speaking intelligently about CRF and talking about the hundreds of CRF cats she's treated, teaching the owners to do the sub-Q fluids, etc., we knew we had found the right person.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you so much. You will never fully know what a kindness you have performed, but the fruits of your labors are being reaped in many places. I send you gratitude and peace.

Janice Berry

Thanks for a most helpful web site. I started worrying about diabetes when my cat Sheba (still a youth at 13) developed a huge thirst. Then, the day after a flea bath, she developed cystitis, which I treated with cranberry capsules. (My theory is that the chemicals in the flea bath just overloaded her already weakened kidneys and acted as a catalyst for a crisis that must have been brewing for some time.) The cystitis cleared up promptly, but the thirst remained and she began losing weight and became lethargic.

I started doing some research in a number of cat care books and began to suspect kidney disease. Immediately I searched the web, using "feline kidney disease", and came up with your pages. Within minutes I had an emergency appointment with my veterinarian. Even before the test results were back, he diagnosed Sheba with kidney insufficiency. Test results confirmed CRF. I gave him a printout of the information from your pages.

Sheba has responded almost miraculously to sub-Q fluids administered at the veterinary hospital and now at home. Had your information not been so readily available and thorough I might not have realized the gravity of the situation until too late. Thankfully now the prognosis is as good as it can be.

I would like to share some information that I picked up in my reading, namely that cats with kidney disease tend to clear toxins through their lungs and skin to a greater degree than cats with healthy kidneys. For that reason, thorough daily grooming and a bath once a week or once every two weeks prevents them from re-ingesting excreted toxins and thus putting more stress on the kidneys. Encouraging exercise helps clear toxins through the lungs.

Thanks again, and keep up the good work.


Several months ago, I noticed that my 6 year old cat Luther had begun to lose weight. We had moved from a townhouse to a big house in the country. I assumed he was just getting a lot more exercise because he had many more rooms to run around in (both of my cats are indoor only). Soon I also noticed his unending thirst and decided it was time to go to the vet. The vet took blood and within 24 hours I was told it was his kidneys; his bun was 126 and his creatinine was 11.7. My vet was surprised he was still standing. I cried immediately and assumed it was just a matter of time - until I got on the Internet and found your site. It gave me hope that I could at least put up a fight!

The vet took an x-ray and determined that one of his kidneys was very small and probably had never functioned. He immediately put him on the KD diet and once a week for the next 5 weeks received sub-q treatments. I also force-fed him amphojel twice a day immediately after he ate. Within 6 weeks he regained 2 of the 4 pounds that he had lost and resumed his wrestling matches with his brother.

After all of this happened, I wondered why after 6 years of living with 1 kidney did he have a problem now and I am positive I know the reason. My other cat has suffered from urinary tract problems for years and it was getting worse. The vet prescribed Hills CD formula and I gave it to both of them (I leave food out for them all of the time so they can eat whenever they are hungry and it would just be a big hassle to try to keep them separate). After thinking about this, I realized this was when Luther began having his problems. While doing my research, I also read an article where the author did mention that special diets for urinary tract problems could aggravate kidney problems. I truly believe this is the case.

So if your cat has kidney problems, DO NOT let him/her have access to any food that is meant for urinary tract problems.

Anyway, 6 months later, Luther has regained all of his weight and is his old self again. I have to keep 2 different types of food in tupperware containers with their name on them and feed them only when I'm here. This is not the easiest thing to do - I can't stay in bed past 6:00 on any day because they want to eat and as soon as I get home from work I have to "serve them" immediately! It is worth it, however, because I have my old Luther back. Good luck to you all!


I just began reading your web page yesterday after finding out about it through the "Prevention" article. I have been managing my cat Dodger's CRF for about one year. He is nearly 15 and is one of a household of 6 felines, three aged 14 to 17. I have lost three cats in the past three years but none to CRF. At this point Dodger is still doing well, goes outside, and does not have clinical problems. He does, of course, drink a lot and has the usual blood value indicators.

Your web page is an outstanding effort. I manage my cats' illnesses very seriously and study their problems in veterinary texts while relying, of course, on my vets and the wonderful specialists available in the Washington DC area. I have not yet absorbed the huge amount of information you have assembled but have already made use of some of the dietary information.

One addition to the aluminum hydroxide story. Dodger nearly gagged to death on Amphogel--this seems a universal reaction. AlOH is also available in capsule form, each capsule holding 400 mg of the tasteless powder. (I tasted it!) I break open the capsules with a knife and sprinkle a portion of the powder in Dodger's food. He does not appear to detect it at all. His phosphorus value is still climbing (at 8.0 now) and we are going to try increasing the dose a bit. The brand name of the product is "Alu-Cap" and it is not widely available. I found one local pharmacy that had it. It's also expensive, $22 per 100 capsules (for a very cheap lab chemical!), but this lasts for several months.

Thanks for going to so much effort.Avatar was a beauty.


I am currently doing extensive journalistic research into the topic of pet loss grief and how deeply it affects so many of us for a very long time. I happened across your web site and was simply overwhelmed by both the CRF information as well as the tremendous outpouring of support you received upon the loss of your beautiful cat. I have viewed hundreds of pages covering many topics related to pet loss as well as health topics. Your site is unique and terrific. I have not yet seen any grief site that compares to those memorials given to a single pet. My research was prompted by my own agonizing losses. Last April 14, I lost my feline soulmate when my beloved 16-year old cat, Champy, passed away from a digestive disorder that puzzled even the most respected feline internist in this area. Four days after my beloved boy passed away, his lifelong companion, my beautiful Brandy, also age 16, died from CRF. Unfortunately, I have lost several elderly cats to CRF over the years so I have extensive experience with the disease. Your site provides so much wonderful information for novices and experienced caregivers alike. I currently have an almost 17-year old part-Siamese suffering from CRF so will take notes on any new information.

My condolences on the loss of your lovely kitty. My research has been greatly enhanced by my visit here. Thanks for sharing....

Sue Duncan

I would like to add my gratitude to those of so many others who also found your site so useful and informative.

Our beloved feline companion, Freddie, was diagnosed with CRF on December 27, 1997. He was put on IV fluid therapy and spent most of his last days in the hospital. Although the IV fluids seemed to help briefly and brought down his BUN and creatinine readings, he had extremely rapid protein loss and rapidly worsening anemia. He did not respond to hetastarch and epogen injections. The fluid therapy caused life-threatening complications. The hospital let us take him home at night to try and get him to eat since he would not in the hospital, but on January 2nd, we were told that even with transfusions or dialysis he would only live for another two weeks. We made the decision to put him to sleep January 2, 1998 and are suffering from the most horrible of losses. We were shocked at how rapidly he got worse (He was 14) and that major medical intervention did not work or prolong his life further.

If anyone has information relating to treatments for protein loss and extreme anemia when your pet won't eat and doesn't respond to the drugs cited above, we would be interested in their feedback.

Although we did not have the chance to use the fluid therapy information on your site, it is obviously very helpful, as is all of the other information you have made available. Unfortunately, the links to the grief sites turned out to be most useful for us. A tribute to Freddie can be found on the Lightning Strike Pet-Loss Support Message Board which was posted January 3, 1998.

We will take a copy of your website notice to our animal hospital and see if they will post it. The veterinarians did not seem to be aware of the CRF site or the resources now available on the net. Thank you, again, for creating such a resource.

Jay Gerst

Hello I was glad to see your website on CRF in cats.

I am an herbalist, and maker of herbal products for animals. Most of our clients are veterinarians. We have a formula that was created for older animals. Some of the vets are now using this formula, called Senior Blend, with great success for CRF in cats. I wanted to let you know about it,and if you have anyone who is interested in purchasing the blend, they can email, call, or call our east coast catalog distributor at the below website. I don't normally like to "push" my products, however, this one seems to be working really well for cats that have CRF.

My number is 406-821-4090, and we are in Montana...mountain time, monday-friday 9-5... take care and continued health for our kitties!

Mary Wulff-Tilford,

Holistic Animal Care Consultant & Herbalist


mailto: animals@bitterroot.net http://www.petsage.com/remedies/apawthecary.html

I have only briefly browsed through your dozens of pages of chronic renal failure in felines, and I would like to thank you IMMENSELY for the support and information you have already provided me. My cat, who is only about 5 1/2 years old, was diagnosed with renal failure about two weeks ago (the vet believes she ingested something toxic to cause an acute onset, though nobody can quite figure out what it could have been). I am just beginning to make sense of terms such as "BUN" and "creatinine." I have been giving Scout* sub-Q fluids only since last Sunday, and have already experienced the "emotional roller coaster" which you described so well. I have, just in one week, been excited to see her energy and appetite levels go up, and then mortified to watch her sink into what seems like a deep depression (I am also currently feeding her through an e-tube, as she had ulcers in her mouth when we initially brought her into the vet). I have gotten pretty good with the needle, and Scout is actually a pretty good patient (though I have to admit it is easier--emotionally, anyway--for me to give her injections when she's fighting me, because at least I know she still has energy). I have been asking myself those same questions, like, "Am I really improving the quality of life for my cat?" "Is she happy like this?" "How long can I do this?" I can't imagine the situation for those cat owners who have been doing this for years, and hope the prognosis for Scout is a good one.

It makes me feel awful that I may have to "make a decision," and I want to make sure that I have explored all of our options before I do that. I would like to thank you for at the very least, as someone who is just beginning this journey, for enlightening me as to what kinds of options to look for.

I noticed that other people were giving hints as to the care of their cats. I would like to lend mine, albeit young. Scout would not eat the food the vet originally recommended (actually, she ate it, but then vomited it almost immediately, which, I'm sure made her not want to eat it again). My vet recommended baby food (Gerber, Beech Nut, etc.) to get her used to solids again, because it is easy on the stomach. If anyone takes this advice, PLEASE check with your vet, because there are some ingredients you probably need to avoid (ours was onion and onion powder). But Scout loved it, and it's made it easier to adjust once again to solid cat food.

Thank you again for your insight. I plan on looking to this page frequently during the care of Scout (care I hope lasts for a long, long time).

Jessica & Scout

*Scout lost her fight with CRF on March 3, 1998.

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