Feedback (Page 11)
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.
site saved my cat's life. When veterinarians were ready for me
to put "Tom" down nine months ago, I said no and insisted upon
sub-Q fluid therapy to be administered by me at home. Today he
is a happy cat running around the house as usual. He is over 17
eat Hills Kd (a common complaint among crf cat owners) but he
does like Waltham low protein/low phosphorous dry cat food available
at Petsmart. I also feed him Whiskas canned cat food for taurine
benefit although you must read the labels to find the lowest protein
content variety. Initially, when he was very sick, I boiled chicken
and turkey white breast meat for him which he tolerated well and
assisted his recuperation. I supplement his diet with pulverized
potassium gluconate (standard tablet supplement available for
people at health stores) which I sprinkle on his wet food because
I read that the excessive urination crf cats experience depletes
potassium and causes muscle degradation.
that a veterinary emergency center would sell me the sub-Q fluids
for less than half what my veterinarian demanded. The high volume
of fluid they use at these centers accounts for why they have
more of it and can sell it cheaper. As your web site notes, being
a caregiver to a cfr cat is not easy but for me it is worth every
bit of time, energy and money as long as the quality of Tom's
life is good. Feel free to e-mail me if anyone wants to discuss
feline crf matters.
succumbed to his kidney failure and had to be put down on November
18, 2002. The Plasmalyte subcutaneous fluid injections left him
bloated because he couldn't expel waste anymore. I tried reducing
the fluid amount but that didn't help. The fluid therapy extended
his life for one year. Would I choose the same path again? Absolutely,
despite the emotional roller coaster your website so accurately
describes. I offer this information to help you make an informed
decision about your CRF cat. ---Mike
Your web site
is amazing. I wish it existed 7 years ago when my Cat, Sprout
battled with CRF.
Do you have
any information on Homeopathic treatments? I couldn't find any.
My other cat,
Smudge, was diagnosed with CRF 5 years ago and I've been treating
him with acupuncture and Chinese Remedy called 6-flavor tea. His
quality of life is totally unchanged. It would give people hope
to know there are other -- non-Western options.
Your web site
has been a mental lifesaver for me. My Maddy turned 20 in April
and we are just now beginning to enter what will probably be the
emotional roller coaster that you mention. Although I seem to
be much more in need of Valium than she is!
I have seen
many postings about "water bowls" and having cats drink from the
faucet, etc. I would like to recommend the Petmate Fresh Flow
Purifying Pet Fountain (approx. $40 from petco.com). I purchased
mine when Maddy began to drink less from her bowl even though
I always made sure her water was fresh. Once I purchased the pet
fountain she began drinking much more. The water is always circulating
through a filter and kept fresh. I use bottled water with it and
give it a thorough rinse and cleaning every 2-3 weeks. The water
is moving constantly and is very quiet.
I truly believe
that without the pet fountain, Maddy's health would have declined
significantly. I have not seen this mentioned in any of the other
posts and hope it will be of help to others. Thank you again.
a very healthy cat as of May this year (2002), except for having
hyperthyroidism, which was being controlled very well with Tapazole.
The only problem was, he had a relatively large thyroid tumor,
which seemed to be starting to make swallowing difficult. We
had been monitoring its size for a year, and finally, my vet
suggested I go to a veterinary oncologist, who specializes in
the radioactive I-11 (?) treatment of thyroid tumors. The oncologist
examined Kafka and performed a scan of his body with radioactive
material injected in him. She said the bulk of the tumor was
not active thyroid cells, and concluded that, although it is
very rare, his tumor was quite possibly malignant. She said
the I-11 treatment would not be effective, and recommended surgery.
I was very
upset to think that we'd sat on a tumor, that could be malignant,
for a whole year, and scheduled surgery right away. My vet performed
the surgery and released Kafka the same day. The tumor turned
out to be benign, and we thought our worst fears were over.
After surgery, Kafka was fine for about 1 1/2 days, then started
acting very strangely. We had been giving him pain medication,
and thought he must be in pain, so fiddled around with the dosages
and frequency of his medicine for a couple of days, until finally,
after he still hadn't eaten for days, he was rushed to the emergency
vet, where he even had a seizure. It turned out he had become
hypocalcaemic, and could easily have died. This happened to
him because one of his parathyroids was damaged or removed during
surgery, and the remaining one was either damaged or inactive.
In any event, he had been exhibiting a classic symptom of hypocalcaemia
(facial twitches/blinking), yet we had no idea of its significance
b/c our vet had never mentioned the possibility of hypocalcaemia
to us. After that, I did research on the internet, and virtually
every article I found on thyroid removal mentioned this "calcium
crisis" as a possible side/after effect of the surgery, which
could have been easily avoided with careful monitoring of his
calcium level for a few days.
episode, his calcium and thyroid levels had to be checked every
few days and, after about 10 days, the tests revealed that he
had a new problem - renal failure. It was at this point that
we took him to veterinary specialists, and he was put on subQ
fluids and many of the typical meds for CRF-related problems.
We were able to maintain his creatinine level at around 4.6
for a while, but in September, it had shot up to 8.3, and he
was in obvious distress the day we had him put to sleep.
was diagnosed with CRF, I did research on its connection with
the thyroid. I learned that hyperthyroidism often masks the
presence of kidney deterioration/CRF, and the removal of the
thyroid is very often followed by a showing of renal failure.
Most distressing is the fact that, again, all of the articles
I found (after the fact) warned of this possibility, and suggested
that with an older cat, more thorough testing be done for the
presence of hidden kidney failure. If it is possible or likely
that the cat has some renal failure, surgery is not recommended,
and management with medicine is preferred. (The same advice
goes for the I-11 treatments). I really wish we had been told
all of this before we opted for surgery!
we were faced with a pretty big tumor and the oncologist's opinion
that it was malignant, so we might have had to go the surgery
route anyway. However, perhaps the mass could have been biopsied
and, given that it was benign, we could have opted for medical
management of the hyperthyroidism. One other thing that has
always bothered me was the possible connection between the episode
of hypocalcaemia and the renal failure. Kafka was in very bad
shape for those few days after his surgery, and I know that
thyroid and calcium levels are very important to the kidneys.
I can't help but think that the shock to his system probably
kicked less-advanced CRF into full gear, which he might not
have experienced otherwise for a few more years.
heartbroken that only months ago, Kafka was a healthy, happy
cat, and that a manageable illness like hyperthyroidism eventually
led to his death. Knowing that hyperthyroidism is so common
in cats, I wish that we had been told about the calcium issue
and the possibility of CRF following the thyroid removal. At
the very least, I think vets should give out a handout or article
on these issues. I wish I had done more research before Kafka's
surgery, and can't help feeling guilty that I didn't. I guess
I assumed the vets would tell us of any risks involved - bad
a cat that I got when she was approximately 4 months old - a
barn cat. She has been an indoor/outdoor cat the whole time.
She was diagnosed w/CRF when she was 16. Her BUN count was 69
and creatinine 3+ . I was told by one vet that even if I did
fluids daily she would only have months to live. She also has
a heart murmur rated 4/6. I of course could not accept what
this vet said, and quickly made an app't for her reg. vet (who
was out of town when I got the diagnosis). He agreed that daily
fluids would be best, but stated that they have had cats that
lived anywhere from months to years. I told him I was unable
to do the daily fluids & I would not stress Chelsea into doing
that. He suggested hooking her up to an IV and running 1 bag
of fluids thru her every day for 3 days. We did that. That was
October 2000. Her BUN count went down to 30 and creatinine 0.
had always been spoiled and ate whatever she liked - from age
14 on she ate only boneless,skinless chicken breast. Prior to
that she ate 9 lives canned and dry (but then they changed it
to new & improved, and she no longer liked it) She no longer
eats hard food as her teeth are few and far between. I couldn't
get her to eat any of the prescribed food, so I decided I would
make her as happy as possible for as long as I could. By Nov
of 2000 her BUN & creatinine were above normal. I started experimenting
with food. She would eat pork chops, bacon (which I thought
was good because of the salt, she would retain and drink more
water), she still was fed chicken, turkey and now her main food
was tuna,(starkist in water) drained - she would drink the water,
then eat the tuna only after it was mixed with miracle whip
- not mayo. she also likes vegetable oil on top.
My cat now
is 20. It has been 2 years since she has been diagnosed with
CRF. She has lost weight, her normal weight is around 8 pounds,
she is now about 6 1/2. She has bouts of constipation that I'm
treating now with mineral oil (added to her tuna water). She
is deaf in one ear, and losing hearing in the other. She has
cataracts. A lot of fur dander, and where they shaved her fur
for the last blood test, (3 months ago) it still has not fully
grown back. The vets can't believe how well she is doing! She
has rec'd no treatment EXCEPT for the 3 day of fluids once per
year, Oct of 2000, and again in Oct of 2001. She eats tuna,
oven roasted turkey lunch meat (does not like honey roasted
or any other type of flavor), pork, roast beef, deer meat, chicken,
Kentucky Fried Chicken, Boston Market Chicken, and turkey. I
give her a few treats daily. She drinks tuna water, and water.
The vets can't explain it, other than she's a tough old cat.
I can't explain it but cherish every day I have with her. Like
I said, she has always been extremely spoiled, and very much
loved. I don't know how I will deal with the day that she goes.
Unfortunately, I have no children ~ and she has become mine.
My husband says I'll need therapy - I just might. Anyway, just
wanted to share my story with you, I don't know if itís the
miracle whip that helps, the veg oil or what, but anything that
can be helpful to anyone else, please share.
website is wonderful, it helped me so much. After 2 years of
caring for my "Juliet" with kidney failure she passed this week.
I want to offer perhaps an insight to my cat's failure. Prior
to my change in vets, the old vet gave Juliet shots of cortisone
for years for skin allergies which she had badly in the fall
months. What I believed to be standard practice. Upon bringing
her to the new vet who cared for Juliet in her sickness, she
believed that the shots of cortisone caused her kidney failure.
I wish I had know that. Please let your readers know that this
may add to an animal's kidney failure although I could never
once again for this website.
had one cat in kidney failure and on sub-q fluids for two years
(18 months of that time on Epogen) and another on sub-q fluids
for nearly three years, I offer a couple of tips that may help
someone else, if you want to use them somewhere.
at home, I learned:
1). Don't be afraid to learn how to do this. It's usually much
less stressful for your cat to do it at home, and you can use
the easy-to-learn needle skill for giving some other medications
(such as some antibiotics, and Epogen) in a way that is virtually
stress-free for your cat and for yourself. (Especially if you
have cats that will NOT accept pilling or liquids.)
2) Each cat had a totally individual "style" preference -- and
figuring out that preference was essential to low-stress and
successful fluid-giving. Venus I stretched on her side and held
her firmly and vigilantly down at her shoulder with one hand
while giving her the fluids with my other hand. I could NOT
ever relax my firm hold on her or she was halfway across the
room. But Lily turned into a demon when I tried to hold her
in any position at all -- and it turned out that she was completely
calm (although wearing an enormously martyred expression) if
I simply let her sit and stand and move around slightly while
she was receiving fluids. All I needed to do with her was the
lightest of occasional touches to keep her from moving too much.
3) A cat usually has not only a favorite way to be held (it's
even possible to hold the cat in your arms, if that's what he
or she prefers), but a preferred PLACE for you to insert the
needle. Lily preferred the area just around her right shoulder.
When the skin eventually got tough there I had to switch to
the left shoulder and that was upsetting to her for several
days until she got used to it.
4) Warming fluids gently (letting the bag sit in a pan of hot
water for a few minutes) really can help in colder weather.
It was truly a miracle for Venus, who stopped producing red
blood cells on her own very soon and very dramatically after
she went into kidney failure. It completely gave her her zest
dosage note that may help somebody: Venus started out doing
very well on twice-a-month injections, but gradually over the
next 7 months she stopped responding so well. My wonderful vet
worked very hard trying more frequent and larger injections.
Finally, when even twice-a-week injections at the maximum dose
were no longer helping and she was rapidly approaching a dangerously
low PCV -- in fact, in looked like I had only a week or so left
with her -- he suggested I could give her Epogen every 48 hours,
which was the limit allowable for the drug.
was another miracle -- she instantly responded. For whatever
reason, it turned out she needed her Epogen every 48 hours.
Twice a week was not enough! We did PCV tests every week for
her last year, and we had to keep cutting the Epogen dosage
down until she was getting just a tiny tiny amount every 48
hours (at one point, until we found the correct tiny dosage,
she even had TOO MANY red blood cells for a few days). She stayed
steady as a rock at 40% for her entire last year. A miracle!
Someone may find this every 48-hour thing helpful -- if we hadn't
tried it in desperation, she would have died.
It may help to let your cats eat their food off your fingers,
or out of the palm of your hand. (If your cat likes this, once
you start, you may never be able to stop, though!) Finger-or-hand
food seems to be harder for the cat to ignore than a plate or
dish of food. (None of the other tricks I've read about -- warming
food, sprinkling it with various things, etc. ever worked for
up on your cat because he or she is gaunt. They don't seem to
mind as long as they keep enough strength to do what they want.
Lily appeared to have no thigh muscles left for a very long
time before she died, but she could still jump up onto chairs
and do what mattered most to her.
about food -- neither of my cats would eat the proper low-protein
food (in any variety, canned, dry, or home-made) for the last
years of their lives. I mixed Venus's regular canned (high-quality)
cat foods with cooked rice and she accepted that pretty well.
It may not have been a good healthy solution, but it was the
only one she would accept. Lily put her paws down and made it
clear she would rather die than eat any more low-protein food,
or any rice mixed with food -- so she spent the last three years
of her life eating whatever she wanted -- any and every variety
of canned food; and people food frequently. I know it is exactly
the opposite of what every vet would recommend -- but she deserved
to make a choice she felt so strongly about.
I was lucky -- even though my cats had a couple of rough spots
(Venus especially) -- most of the time they were simply happy
and clearly feeling OK. For each of my amazing and beloved ladies
it was a gentle way to leave their lives here, Venus at 18 and
Lily at 20. It's not an easy human thing to do, but so many
cats are strong and matter-of-fact -- and generous-- and enjoy
what is, more than mourning what was. There is
so much joy in giving to your cat, and in honoring his or her
spirit and his or her wishes. I wish I could help everyone on
know why there isn't more info about PEG tubes related to CRF
management. I have a cat that was diagnosed with CRF 14 months
ago. The Veterinary Teaching Hospital where I live highly recommended
placing a PEG tube - as they recommend in general for CRF cats.
I was very
skeptical about it, but I now attribute how well she is doing
to the PEG tube. Her creatinine and BUN values have been maintained
at virtually the same levels the past 14 months. Because of
the PEG tube she gets the recommended low-protein diet which
she's not interested in eating on her own; she gets enough calories
to maintain healthy weight; she gets all her fluids via the
most natural and effective route of absorption (the digestive
tract) without having to be traumatized with needles, and she
enjoys the feeding times. She runs into my room and perches
on my leg during feedings, purring all the while. She still
eats some food on her own. The feedings through the PEG tube
stimulate her to eat, since she is usually nauseous on an empty
stomach and doesn't feel like eating on her own.
I have been
in touch with several schools that provide kidney transplants
and several specialists with which I've spoken have told me
that some of their clients have PEG tubes placed before transplants,
then cancel the transplant because their cat does so well after
having a PEG tube. Of course there are drawbacks to having a
PEG tube - including obligations of the owner. I give my cat
water or food through hers every 3 hours, except for through
the night when I sleep. But I'm sure there are other owners
such as myself who would prefer this option over the other alternatives.
I also think public opinion may be more negative about PEG tubes
than is warranted if they had more information.
Hi! I think
I have written you before re: my cat, Chelsea. She will be 21
mid March, diagnosed w/CRF in Oct of 2000. At first the vet
gave her 6-8 weeks, because of her age and test results. In
Nov of 2000 I had her admitted & she had a bag of fluid ran
thru her a day for 3 days. This brought all her levels back
down to normal. During this time she ate tuna w/Miracle Whip,
the tuna water, occasionally chicken (I know all this is bad
for her because of the protein, but it was all she would eat),
pork, ham, and occasionally bacon. In Oct of 2001 I had the
same done again. In Nov of 2002, the vet & I discussed having
this done again, but agreed she wasn't strong enough (she has
to be gassed - knocked out - for the catheter, and the stress
of being left at the vet for 3 days was too much for her, even
tho I visited twice daily). Starting in Nov I have taken her
weekly to have fluids under the skin. She gets on the avg 250-300
cc. She's still doing ok for the most part. She is 80% or more
deaf, and has cataracts - all caused just from being old.
can't explain why she's still w/us, except for the fact that
she's a very, very strong willed cat. I just want to tell people
not to give up, and to experiment with foods, even tho they
may not eat whats healthy for them, sometimes it just works.
My cat is extremely spoiled, and I will do anything for her,
she's like my child - especially since I have had her since
4 months old. I feed her whatever she likes and hold her and
talk to her as much as I can. People say that she is truly a
miracle and its because of the bond of love we share and the
strength we give each other. To be 21 years old is a wonder,
but with her medical condition it is just amazing.
I have been
giving fluids to my cat, Annie, for the past 8-1/2 months. Foolishly,
without question, I purchased the fluid from my vet. At $69.00
per carton of twelve.
at Sam's Club if the product was available there. As it turned
out, it was.......at $19.00 per carton. There isn't anything
I would not do to keep Annie with me. In addition to the fluids
twice a day, she receives Epogen twice a week and Alternagel
twice a day.
Just a word
of advice and caution.......ask around to get the best possible
price for the care of that little, precious life.