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Page Nine

Caregiver Feedback (Page 9)

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 wish I had known about your website earlier. Our eldest cat, Clio, was euthanised on 23 May after a valiant fight against CRF. She was 17 years old and had a quality life until about six months ago. We had talked with our vet about euthanasia before actually making the decision (after asking Clio) so we were prepared when we actually made the decision. An option that was available to us was giving Clio the injection intra-abdominal. This eliminated the need and stress on her of searching for a vein and we had a good hour with her as she gradually lost consciousness and died. It was very peaceful. She did need two injections (the second about 30 minutes after the first) but by that time she had already lost consciousness and didn't even flinch. Please do let others know about this option when they are faced with the same decision.

Kind Regards,
Mary Hanratty


Thanks for creating this site; in desperation I entered "feline renal failure" in an internet search and found you! My cat, Lanikai, recently turned 19 and is in the latter stages of FCRF. He is a Himalayan mixed breed and a fighter, but it is devastating to see my dear friend emaciated and struggling to keep his balance at times.

Being a nutritional consultant, I'm seeking ways to help him in his final days. He was diagnosed with CRF several years ago and due to a misdiagnosis while seeking a second opinion, this vet gave him thyroid medicine which slowed his system down and further injured his kidneys - he has declined more rapidly that he would have.

Anyway, currently his BUN is 114 and his Creatinine 4. I give him 200 every other day of the Lactated Ringers solution, give one, twice a day of Renafood by Standard Process, feed him Hill's AD when he is weaker and Precise Feline Growth Formula-Turkey when stronger. He's gone from 12 lbs. to 6.5 in the last two years, losing more weight every month now. He also gets a monthly shot of mixed steroids which helps control the vomiting.

The tip on warming the bag before doing SQ is great, has made it much easier. I put him on the bathroom floor and hang the bag from a towel hook high on the back of the door. I crouch behind him on my knees and inject him from the rear so I can control him and hold his legs and hold his rear quarters between my legs. The height of the bag makes it flow quickly and has cut the time in half.

He's constipated, which decreases appetite, so I give him 1 inch of Petromalt every day as well as as much Nutri-Stat as he will eat, usually 1 inch also. For treats he gets a few tablespoons of cream or half & half & raw turkey meat.

He still wants to go outside for a few minutes every day and, although weak, can still jump up on the couch and bed, where he spends most of his time sleeping. He can even still climb up into the bathroom sink for a drink of water. Although I give him bottled water, I also let him drink the horrible city water from the sink as he needs as much water in him as possible.

It is painful to see a cat who has been a larger-than-life persona deteriorate, but each moment is precious and I work at home so I can give him lots of love during this time. His ups and downs amaze me as many times I thought he was ready to die, but he bounced back, weaker and bonier, but his spirit wants to live now. Luckily he does not seem to have much cognitive disorder, still uses the litter box effectively and even purrs when feeling better than worse.

Just thought I'd let you know how we're doing and that your website is a compassionate service to all of us in this situation.

I'm so sorry you lost Avatar - I cried when I saw his face on your front page - what a cat!

With heartfelt thanks,
Melissa


Our cat Chessie was diagnosed with CRF in May of this year. He is doing very well now. Chessie is young, he just turned 4 in July. We always thought he was just a quiet, laid back kind of cat. We didn't know that he wasn't feeling 100%. I don't think his kidney ever did work properly. Now he is one our most playful cats.

I found your site very helpful and I gave your web address to our vet. Your links to other sites have also been helpful.

One problem we had was getting him to eat k/d. I blended it with water (14 1/4 oz k/d, 1 1/4 c. water) so I could force feed with an oral syringe. When he started eating on his own, he preferred it blended with water. He still won't eat it straight out of the can.

Maybe this method will work for someone else.

Thank you so much.
Candace


We recently lost our cat, Victor, to CRF. As you have heard many times, your site was a tremendous help and comfort during a battle that cannot be won.

But the main reason I am adding to your e-mail inbox is to suggest an addition to your info on administering pills. As Victor lost weight, our vet suggested Nutri-Cal, a gel dispensed from a tube, as a calorie supplement. We soon discovered that we could hide a pill (or more often a quarter pill, or even fragments in the case of a horse pill like Amphojel) in a blob of Nutri-Cal, and Victor would lick it right off our fingers. From that point on, pilling Victor involved no fuss whatever.

Moreover, in Victor's final two days, he would still take his meds in Nutri-Cal when he wouldn't even eat the baby food we had been feeding him for months. We don't know if this would work for other cats, but considering how hard it can be to administer pills, it's worth a try.

Thanks again for all you have shared with the community.

Best,
Greg


Subject: food your crf cat will like

Hi,

Sensible Choice Chicken and Rice -- canned only

Tiger Tail - 18 years next spring; Tiger II 17 yrs next spring.

I found this food by using one of the links from your site 18 months ago. Our cat hated all the food the vet had - KD etc. This food has been a godsend. Both of our crf cats love it and it has kept them going for 1.5 years. We occasionally give them some chicken white meat these last few months but they still like the canned. It is very low in phosphorus and sodium. This food is tuff to find but very well worth it.

Thanks for providing an excellent website for all cat lovers who will probablly get to go through some stage of crf. Our youngest cat - Black Toes- was diabetic and only 12 when a super rare anal gland cancer got him in less than 5 weeks. Surgery couldn't get it all.

Keep up the good work and many THANKS again,

Roy


I'm writing you from Germany. I also had two cats with CRF. Momo died in december 1999 in the age of 13 but Kim (13 years old) is still with me. My vet gave me "vasotop 1.25" for them. It's a medicament which they used for cats with heart-problems but then they noticed that the blood tests of crf-cats became very much better with "vasotop 1.25" (the old name is "delix"). Momo died in the end after 4 years with sub-Q-fluids, diet and delix / vasotop. But he lived longer than without vasotop! His labor-Ergebnisse became very much better for a long time! Kim also had a creatinin-Wert of 2.1 but since a half year he gets his vasotop and has now a creatinin-Wert of 1.74 (BUN 22!) I wanted to tell you that in the hope that it is useful for you. (I don't know if you know this medikament in the USA?)

Claudia
P.S. Also greetings from Kim and his new friend Sally (3 year old cat!)


Hello:

I have some information for CRF cat owners who might be having difficulty administering subcutaneous fluids due to a "fiesty" or "squirmy" cat. My 10-yr old siamese cat just didn't handle it well at all. He would "bolt" out of our arms.... the towel technique didn't work either.

Our vet. recommended a RESTRAINING BAG and he is now much more relaxed (mostly because we don't have to be so firm with him to hold him down). The nylon bag has a zipper down the back, and a velcro closure around the neck. You can zip up the back, and leave a gap for the insertion of the needle. We found our cat to be much more relaxed when we started using the bag and he's taking the fluids without a struggle.

Please inform others that they should contact their vet., who could order a restraining bag for them if they are having difficulties. Maybe it could be included in the section on "how to administer fluids"?

Many thanks,
Diane


The site is well-done, and quite helpful to an older tabby's friend who must now care for her CRF. I was looking for a support for the Sub Q bag before her first hydration, and I happened to see my wife's telescope on its tripod in Mickey's favorite room. I also own a camera tripod, which is light, portable and easy to store when the Sub Q session is finished. An "S" hook from the hardware store fits nicely over the handle that adjusts the head angle, but there are lots of other ways to fit a hook that holds the bag. Even the cheapest tripod (try video accessories at discount stores) is easily adjustable for height and sturdy enough to support a liter of LRS.

Thanks.
Farron Brougher


Marvin is my gorgeous black cat who was born without fully developed kidneys. He is almost three years old and sadly his vet feels that it is time to consider putting him to sleep.I have looked through much of your site and wish so much that I had some of the options available to you in America.

We live in Scotland where transplants are unheard of in cats, dialysis is not even an option.I have to let my beautiful cat go knowing that something could have been done for him if the geography was right.

I think that the point of my e-mail is to say that you are very lucky and if you feel down at all, just think of how difficult it would be if there were no resources available to give your little cat a chance to fight kidney disease. I wish you all well and hope that you feel privileged that you can do so much more for your cat.

Cheryl Meikle


Your site has been a great help. Understanding what is going on and feeling that there is something that I can do has made me a lot less frantic.

Since Cleo was diagnosed in March I had figured out some of the tips I've seen in the feedback on my own,but there are a few others that I haven't seen mentioned. When we started giving the Sub Q treatments warming the bag was a big help, but even more so was when we realized that if we did it early in the morning,before Cleo had gotten into her daily routine she was much quiter and didn't struggle at all. I've also made a point of taking her back to bed and cuddling her afterwards. She really seems to appreciate the reassurance.

Cleo has also had a problem with constipation. Your note on Amphogel alerted me that it could be a problem. She has had a couple of enemas which help for a while, but it seems to be a recurring problem and the cause of her refusal to eat. Her vet suggested one over the counter laxative when bran (she wouldn't eat it), metamucil (she threw it up), laxatone (the only result of trying to get it into her mouth was very sticky fur) and mineral oil (no effect) didn't work out. The brand she suggested didn't work either, but after spending half an hour reading every laxative package in the pharmacy I decided to try Senokot-S. I took it to the vet, she checked it out and said to give it a try. The key was that this has a stool softener! Two days later success. I am also giving her olive oil (1tsp /day) and she seems to actually like it.

Also on your dietary management page I saw Hills g/d listed. Cleo, like a lot of other cats hates k/d unless mixed with a/d, which isn't so good for her, and she still had to be spoon fed. My vet hadn't heard of g/d, her Hills catalog didn't even list it. According to the Hills website the g/d has slightly more protein and phosphorus. However, when you check out the actualy labels it had the same protein, less fat, more fiber, more moisture, less ash and less phosphorus. More to the point Cleo practically dove into the can when I stopped to get another spoonful. Anyone whose cat won't eat k/d should consider this. I haven't seen anyone else mention it, perhaps because Hills lists it for "early stages" of CRF.

I hope this helps someone. Now I have to go check out some of the other tips with my vet.

Thank you again,
Ann Marie


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