Sunday, November 11, 2012

Updates on Myrna, Cooper, and Katharine

Some recent changes for our cats:

Cooper's vet from Michigan State, whom we've been seeing for his hypercalcemia, wanted him off of Buprenex-a narcotic that cats tolerate very well, which he's been on for a year for litter box issues with no physical complications or issues in his blood work.  She and his regular vet discussed the options and we all eventually decided to try Valium. We had already tried Amitriptaline prior to Buprenex and the Amitriptaline had caused complications.  We decided to begin Valium this week.  We had his blood work updated Monday to make sure he was healthy and could begin Valium.  Valium can cause liver and kidney issues so we had to make sure he was healthy enough to begin it. We must retest in two weeks to make sure there are no sudden changes in blood chemistry levels and then retest a month later to make sure things are still going well.  We learned from Myrna's cardiologist, when we began her on Valium, that if there were any issues, they would show up very quickly in the blood work and physically-if the cat eats, vomits, develops lethargy, etc. His blood work proved to be fine.  We began just yesterday, Saturday, and have begun Valium at 1 mg a day-1/2 tab twice a day. We will titrate up from there as needed.  So far, he eats very well on Valium and in fact, cleans the bowl whereas before, he only ate about half.   This is great news because he's so bony at 11.6 lbs because of his size-he's twice or more bigger than the other cats.  The best news from his blood work-his calcium continues to fall and is now in high normal range at 11.7, down from 13.8 earlier in the summer!!!  This is great news as hypercalc can cause damage to the heart and kidneys as well as other complications.  His BUN however is up at 34, the top end of high normal. But all other values are normal and neither vet is concerned.  We should try to do urine test next time if he has a bladder which he did not this week at the vet's. 

Katharine Hepburn, on the other hand, may or may not have an issue with her liver.  Her ALT level was high last summer but the vet said to ignore it. In September, she began to eat more and to demand food more often whereas before she would eat a few bites and leave and not eat again until her next meal. I was concerned that she had developed diabetes so I had her blood tested.  Now her ALT value has climbed to 197 when high normal is 100.  Her AST, the other liver value, is normal at 37.  Her albumin is high end normal at 3.7 but all other values are normal.  But her blood RBC is 10.51, HGB is 17.1, HCT 53.4, all extremely high and above normal.  Her lymphocytes are 59.3, just over high normal.  The vet said to retest the blood in a month but nothing else.  When I researched the blood chemistry, I found that they can indicate either that she's dehydrated or that there's an infection or issues with her liver, bone marrow, or she could be eating things she shouldn’t-and she does chew on everything, or a dental issue, or thyroid, etc.  So, I decided we’ll try to combat the dehydration if that’s the issue.  We will give her more water in her food-she was already receiving ½ cc of water; she will receive 3 ccs of water by mouth three times a day at meal time.  She isn’t externally dehydrated.  Her gums are not pale and her skin seems to bounce back normally.  If next month when we retest the blood it is still high, then I will need to take her to a specialist at MSU or have the regular vet call MSU for guidance and to what is next for tests and procedures.  She seems fine except for always eating.

Now, the only thing to mention about Myrna, our HCM cat, is that she’s urinating quite often and no one knows why. She drinks a lot, probably due to her meds which is normal. Only this September she seemed to go from urinating 3-4 hrs to urinating around 1 ½ to 2 hrs and sometimes every hour for two or three hours. But then she’ll return midday to going every 3 hours.  Blood work and urine are normal. If this continues, I may have to take her to MSU to see a renal or nephrology specialist or have her vet call MSU for a consultation.  Other than that, she’s a joy to be with, such a sweet little girl, even when she wakes me two or three times a night to use the litter box.


Katharine Hepburn

Myrna Loy

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