Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Ninja Update

Ninja had his cardiac echo last week. The results were shocking to say the least. We suspeced HCM (Hypertrophic cardio myopathy)Which is a thickening of the heart walls so much that the heart can't work properly. What we found was that Ninja has DCM (Dilated Cardio Myopathy)which is a thinning and weakening of the heart wall. DCM is very very rare in cats and its just unheard of in kittens. The normal cause is a Taurine deficiency. Years ago before commercial cat foods supplemented Taurine, lots of cats died of DCM. Now, its virtually irradicated.

So we've sent off a Taurine level test. If its low, then we will supplement his taurine, and if he is able to process it properly, his heart will prepare and he will be ok. Thats the hope. The reality is, it takes years for Taurine deficiency to cause this level of heart disease in a cat. Ninja has only been alive for 6 months. This indicates that its a congenital defect. If this is the case, prognosis is grave. Weeks to months to live. We've sent off a Taurine level test, results back in 2 weeks! 2 weeks! Might as well be an eternity.

Meanwhile I'm just enjoying every day with him. If figures that MY cat has the weird diagnosis and short lifespan. I seem to get a lot of that. But maybe thats just God giving me the special ones, because he knows I'll take care of them. Or maybe God is punishing me for putting my pets before him in my life.

I don't know. All I know is, it sucks. Ninja is a cool cat, and I love him so much.



And Sully Wully, looking handsome

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Really? A year?

I can't believe its been a year since I updated this thing.

Well, lets make short work of this.

Moxie. Three months after my last post, I had Moxie's labwork rechecked because I was worried about her liver enzymes being elevated. My vet was reluctant, wanted to save me money, but I persisted. SO thankful that I did. Moxie's liver enzymes were seriously elevated. Follow up bloodwork showed her bile acids also elevated. She was referred to CVSC (center for veterinary specialty care) for an ultrasound.

Dr. Gulikers was amazing. He investigated her whole abdomen, including her intestines for the source of her chronic diarrhea. I was terrified she had liver cancer. Turns out she had gallbladder disease.(Which is funny because a few weeks later, I was in the hospital myself having my gallbladder removed!) Bile was backing up into the liver from the gall bladder causing the elevated labs. The good news is this could be treated medically. After 2 months on Actigall, her bloodwork was COMPLETELY back to normal (except for her kidney values, which were still elevated but unchanged from 6 months previously)

A secondary finding in Moxie's ultrasound, was that she had IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease) causing her diarrhea. We spent about 9 months trying different home made diets to no avail. I finally gave up and tried a commercial diet, Wellness Simple Solutions. It has one grain and one novel protein source. Moxie loves it, she has done great on it. Her stool is normal 95% of the time. She occassionally needs a dose of metronidazole, but those days are few and far between.

Today, her major issue is arthritis in her front limbs from her accident, as well as stiffness in her knees and some spondylosis in her spine. Basic old lady dog stuff. She cant' take anti-inflammatories due to her kidney disease, so we started her on Adequan Canine injections two weeks ago and so far she is doing well. She turned 11 years old in July, but has no idea she's not a puppy. Its almost sad to see her body failing her years and years before her mind is ready to give up.
We moved this year and are now within walking distance of the local dog park. She loves her morning walks to the park and romp with the tennis ball. We still practice our obedience and our tricks and are still doing therapy visits every week. We started a new visit at the Juvenile Detention Center this summer and love it!

Sadly, Kobie passed away in June. I'd try to explain the circumstances surrounding his demise, but would only frustrate myself. He had a simple ear infection that went haywire. He stopped eating. Even with a feeding tube, he rapidly went downhill. In the span of one month, he was painfully thin and had just given up. So I let him go June 1, 2010. I miss him SO MUCH! He was a very special cat, I can't even write this without tearing up. Run free sweet Kobie. I've always been told animals don't have souls, therefore, won't be in heaven. I really want that to NOT be true. There is a book out there that claims a biblical framework for pets going to heaven. I haven't read it yet, because I don't think I can do so right now with a clear and unbiased mind. Maybe some day.

Also over the summer (it was a busy summer) I came to have a little baby black kitten, just days old, to help bottle raise. For some reason (and this was even before Kobie became ill) I was immediately smitten with this kitten. I named him, Ninja, before his eyes were even open. When Kobie passed, the pain was so great, I needed a diversion. Ninja was about 8 weeks old at that point, so I just brought him home to stay. And he's stolen my heart completely. He's six months old now and a complete joy.

But, what pet of mine has ever been so simple. A few weeks ago, while Ninja was playing and leaping about, he suddenly stopped and started panting. I didn't think too much of it at the time. In fact, I thought, "I can't believe I've actually tired him out!". Since then these panting episodes are more frequent and come about with less and less exertion. Its probably HCM (Hypertrophic Cardio Myopathy) which is a thickening of the heart muscle. Its 100% fatal. There is no cure. Its basically a matter of time, and he could just drop dead at any minute. Now, he still needs a cardiac echo to confirm this which I am in the process of setting up. I wonder why my pets always get sick. Then I think maybe God sends me the sick ones because he knows I'll take care of them. Will keep you posted on Ninja.

Sully is sully. He's doing great. He did not like the move at all. But after a few weeks, he's come back out of his shell and is his old self again. Its funny really, how much we thought Sully was a naughty kitten and cat.....we had no idea cats like Ninja existed. Ha! He looks like a saint in comparison.

Thurston stayed behind with Mom. James has since reclaimed him in a sense. I still bring the boys over to visit him sometimes. I feel bad for him, since he has always had and enjoyed other cats for companionship.

So thats it! Pics next post. I'm on a new computer and don't have my pics readily available. Trust me, there are tons!

Check out my new blog if you so desire.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Long Update

Well since two months have passed since I last updated....I guess I'll never get the hang of regular updates. Anyway, moving on.


As you can see I've been mistreating her. ;) She is doing pretty well. She had her three month checkup yesterday. Her eye are doing well, no glaucoma, but her cataracts are continuing to progress. Her kidney values are holding at the same levels so no worsening of her kidney disease. However, she did have some elevated liver enzymes on this round of labs that are of concern. Despite a diet change, pumpkin and probiotics, Moxie is still plagued by periodic bouts of diarrhea that we are still trying to get to the bottom of. Abdominal xrays are next.

Speaking of xrays. We got digital radiology at work. Its been playing up more than its been working, so we were testing it out the other night and took some pics of Moxie's leg, the one she broke four years ago.



You can see the plate and part of a broken screw still left after her surgical repair. What is less obvious is the way the radius and ulna are bowing outward, and the bone walls are very thin. All of this leaves her succeptable to future fractures. We sent these rads off to the specialist for a second opinion. He said there really isn't anything that can be done surgically to repair or prevent fracture. So this means she is now completely retired from agility and rough play. We had our therapy visit tonight where we usually do agility and she was perfectly content to just reap the attention of everyone there.

Oh the humanity!

Everyone else is fine. I'll leave you with some new pics of Sully and Kobie.









Friday, September 04, 2009

Veterinary double talk

I'm so frustrated and upset right now, I just need to vent, so here goes.

Before I left for NY, I took Moxie up to work with me because she had been having intermittant diarrhea and started drinking more water than usual. I just wanted to make sure she was okay before I left town. We saw Dr. S. I like Dr. S because she is very thorough, but she sometimes looks for zebras when its just horses if you know what I mean. Anyway, we ran labwork and a urinalysis, and found out she was Azotemic, had signs of a urinary tract infection, and a low urine specific gravity which along with the azotemia, indicate kidney disease. Dr. S went on VIN (Veterinary Information Network, basically a mecca for all vets to collaborate on cases with a huge searchable database) and printed me out all this info on a disease called Pyelonephritis, which is a chronic kidney infection that leads to damage of the kidneys. This was Moxie's second UTI in as many months, and with the elevated Creatinine levels in her blood, this really seemd like a plausible diagnosis. We sent a sterile sample of her urine to the lab for a bacterial culture and sensitivity.

The next day we saw Dr. W, my regular vet. Just to consult about the bloodwork and see what she thought was going on. She was not as concerned about the azotemia as Dr. S was, and in general was much calmer about all the test results. She wanted a re-check urine specific gravity with a first morning sample and wait on the C&S. So the next morning we rechecked a urine specific gravity and it came back 1.020, which is too low, meaning the kidneys are not concentrating her urine very well. She also wanted me to measure how much water she was drinking in a day, and I did and it averaged 3.5 cups per day, which Dr.W asserted was a normal amount to be drinking.

And so I waited for the results of the C&S.

Results came back on a Saturday, and we saw Dr. J. The results came back "no growth". Dr. J felt like this meant that the bacteria in the urine sample had died before it got to the lab, so she started Moxie on a two week round of Clavamox for a UTI.

I go off to NY for a week and she does great while I'm gone. When I got back I scheduled an ultrasound of Moxie's kidneys and bladder per Dr. W's instructions, and a recheck urinalysis per Dr. S's instructions. The appointment was with Dr. W. The ultrasound was unremarkable. Dr. W feels like her kindeys MAY be polycystic, but she isn't sure so she sent the images out for another opinion from Dr. X, a specialist of some sort. The re-check Urinalysis came back normal, except again for a low specific gravity. The shocker this time was Dr. W didn't want to even look at the rest of the UA, besided the specific gravity, because there was "no growth" on the C&S so there was no infection in the first place.

Huh? This is not what I was told by Dr. J. And if there was no infection, how do you explain all the red and white bloodcells in her urine sediment that Dr. S had found and gone over in detail with me. Dr. W went ahead and checked anyway and said there was nothing in the sediment that made her think infection. I think she was more than a little put out by my questioning her not checking the whole UA, but who do I believe here? Who is right? How am I supposed to know?

So I'm confused. Does she have pyelonephritis? Does she have polycystic kidneys? Does she have kidney disease at all? Why is she still having diarrhea and why is she suddenly drinking at least two to three times as much as she has ever drank before in her ten years of life??? It may be a normal amount of water, but its not normal for her!!! Nothing adds up here. I'm so confused and I don't know who to turn to for answers. I feel like the more I ask people what they think, the more confused I become, and the more I annoy the vets I am working with because I keep questioning things instead of just taking what they say at face value.

So on the one hand I think I need to stick to one vet and one vet only. I've known Dr. W my whole life, she loves Moxie and I know she has her best interest at heart. I also know that Dr. W utilizes VIN and consults with other doctors, so its not like I would be isolating my options to just one doctors opinion. Dr. S is great, but kind of an alarmist. I still don't know if I should be as upset and scared and she made me feel that first night. I think Dr. J just blew me off, because frankly she's a bitch. I won't be consultiing her again thats for sure.

Meanwhile, I'm reading and reading about diet, as thats really the only way to manage kidney disease. Everything I read tells me that the K/D diet she is on is for dogs who are far sicker than she is. The protein is too restricted for a dog in early stages of kidney disease. I found a lot of research to support a home made diet, and found a great list with tools to calculate how much of what to put into her meals each day. Things like protein, phosphorus, calcium, calories, fat, sodium, and potassium are tracked in a fancy spreadsheet. The studies I've read to support that low phosphorus diet with moderate amounts of protein for a dog at this stage of kidney disease are all quite clear and back each other up. For a sampling of what I've read check out These are scientific studies by vet schools and animal nutritionalists.

Anyway I forwarded those links on to Dr.W and she just ignored my email. I think she thinks I'm just some nut. All I really want is what is best for my dog, thats going to give her the best quality of life for as long as possible. Is that really asking so much? I don't feel like I CAN just lay down and accept everything everyone tells me as the gospel truth and absolute best care scenario, because I'm getting so much conflicting information. Its just frustrating. I just needed to rant. Thanks for reading.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Summer Time and the livin is easy....

A brief update, and then we will get to the pictures.

Moxie turned ten years old on July 26th. We celebrated with snacks and play time and cuddles. The past nine years have been tumultuous, but with Moxie by my side, I have come out in a better place. She is my best friend. I will never love another dog like i love Moxie, there will never be another Moxie. I hope I have ten more years to spend with her, but realistically, I know that isn't likely. :(

In an effort to immortalize my precious pup, I asked a friend of mine from the UK to do a clay figurine, a mini moxie if you will. I even sent her some fur clippings which she used to complete the model. Its a piece of Moxie that I will treasure always.


In other news, Moxie has learned to feed herself. For the past three weeks or so I've had moxie on the pumpkin diet (replacing her canned food with canned pumpkin, mixed with her kibble). Thursday morning, I woke up to find a can of her old dog food on the floor of my bedroom. Apparently Moxie was hinting at something. When I didn't take the hint, she took matters into her own paws. When I left for my birthday dinner with the girls at work, she dug a can of food out from under the hutch, brought it into the living room, and proceded to work at it until she opened it, and ate the contents. I have a hard time opening those pop top cans, but she had little trouble apparently. Next thing you know she will be stealing my credit cards and ordering take out when she doesn't approve of my menu. Darn dog is too smart for her own good!

Moxie has had more than one great accomplishment this summer, she (and I by proxy) won our obedience clubs annual obedience award for achieving the top three scores in a row for the year. We submitted our scores from the ASCA trial last August where Moxie got her CD.

A pic of the gorgeous girl with her prize.


Checking that her name is spelled properly....


And finally the best of that photoshoot I told you about in May. I think I will treasure these pictures always as well. Thanks Jamie!







As for the cats, Kobie has decided that eating is a good thing, I hope that lasts. Sully is currently hiding from the big mylar butterfly balloon my friends at work gave me for my bday. Thurston is leaving Kobie alone these days, mostly, in favor of rough housing with Sully. I'll take that!

Next week, I'm off to NYC with Shawnbear for a week. The kids are staying with Mom, with a backup pet sitter in the wings. Something always goes wrong when I leave town. I hope this time will be the exception.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Back online

Hello everyone! Well I'm back online after my lenten hiatus. That went a bit easier than I expected, although now I have an iphone and never have to go without the internet ever again.

So an update on my critters. First Kobie has made a complete and miraculous recovery from whatever the heck it was that was making him so sick. I round of antacids and he's right as rain now, and back up to over 11 pounds. He cleans his plate at every meal. I don't know what was wrong with him, I'm just glad its over and I have my Kobie back.

Sully had a birthday April 1st. He turned two whole years old. If he was my test on how I would raise a human child, I failed miserably. He is positively rotten to the core! He's on the counter, he's in the trash, he's picking on the other cats, he's stealing food from the dog, he's stealing food off my plate, he's a little monster. But I love him and I wouldn't trade him for the world.

Moxie has had some medical problems. First her eyes have gotten much worse. Dr. Cathy is sure she is completely blind from a cataract in her right eye. Also, her kidney values are continuing to rise so we've put her on the K/D diet to counteract the kidney damage. All of this makes me sad because I hate to think of anything wrong with my baby, that could possibly take her from me. I consulted with an animal opthamologist about Moxie's eye, and decided against the surgery. Ultimately, its just too costly to repair a condition that is not life threatening or painful or effecting her quality of life. I just worry that something life threatening, painful, or detrimental to her quality of life WOULD come up, and I wouldn't have the money to fix it if I did the surgery. Besides, there are complications and no guarantees involved.

Moxie and I are going for a photo shoot on Thursday to get some new pics of us together for my Mom for Mothers day. I can't wait. I'll post up the good ones.

Now I'm off to catch up with all of you!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Less than a month since my last post!

I'm getting better at this.

So really the only news since my last post is Kobie. He's lost another half a pound. Re check bloodwork was COMPLETELY normal except for high cholesterol (how does a cat that doesn't eat have high cholesterol?) Even his kidney values are normal now. So why won't he eat.

Dr. Cathy thinks it is just him being picky. SO I switched foods and he ate well for a few days then stopped again, so I switched back to the kidney diet and he wouldn't eat that either. Tonight I fed him a new food entirely and he ate that. But he's started throwing up now.

So what is wrong with this cat? Who knows? We did an ultrasound of his abdomen that was beautiful. Completely normal. So my next step is to go get a bag of dry k/d and see if he will eat dry food any better, though I am loathe to do it, the cat has GOT to start eating! He's wasting away to nothing.

Our last ditch though is that maybe he has a subclinical tooth abscess or something that makes it painful to eat. Just looking at his mouth everything looks great, but I think if this continues I will have him sedated for dental xrays and a cleaning.

As for Moxie, not much going on. I've been sick, working, and studying, so she's been at home alot lately. I did renew my committment to excercise so hopefully we will be getting out on long walks more frequently.

I had to stop going to training classes because I had to switch off my monday night shift at work so I could start attending bible study again. Its really important to me right now that I start to grow as a Christian, and bible study is key to that. Plus I really need a network of good Christian friends. So I've been trying for months to get someone to switch monday for friday, since Friday is my one night I'm normally not doing anything. No dice. No one would switch. Until it finally dawned on me, maybe I am going to have to sacrifice something important to me, to get closer to God. So my two choices were Tuesday night and Thursday night. Tuesday night is GTDOG, and Thursday nights we volunteer at UBH with Therapy pals. Well, I wasn't willing to give up volunteering, so I gave up GTDOG. No more training nights at the club for the foreseeable future. So far, I'm okay with that. Moxie and I will just have to make more time to work together.

Speaking of Sacrifice, I finally decided what I am giving up for Lent this year. (And yes, I know I'm late.) It took me a while to figure out what to do. Actually, thats not true, it took me a while to convince myself what I knew I had to do all along. I thought of all the usual suspects, chocolate, caffeine, fast food, etc. But those are all things I NEED to give up anyway to be healthy, but I don't really NEED them in my life to begin with. It doesn't really put me out to give any of that up. The whole point of Lent is sacrifice. God has been teaching me alot about sacrifice lately. So the first thing that crosses my mind to give up as a sacrifice to God, is the Internet.

At first I dismissed the idea as crazy. It would be far too difficult to give up the internet. But then I started thinking. God gave his only son to die on a cross for my salvation, and I can't give up the internet for forty days for God? What is wrong with this picture?

So the internet it is. No email, no facebook, no forums, no google, for forty days starting at midnight tonight. So, if you need to get in touch with me you will have to call me at 940-391-5106. And please call, because as most of you know, I do most of my socializing via internet, so I will be pretty lonely without it. In return I PROMISE to be better about keeping my phone, charged, on and with me to take your calls, I know I'm bad about that.

So thats it. If you are the praying sort, pray for me, because this isn't going to be easy.