Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Myrna Perks UP While Baby Goes on Steroids for Breathing Issues

Myrna continues to eat well on her own although with daily Mirtazapine. She's breathing well. And she perked up by Sunday so seems to have recovered well despite loss of blood in the lungs due to last week's tapping. I believe the iron supplement has helped the body rapidly replace enough red blood cells to perk her up again. If your cat's kidney values BUN and creatinine are creeping up, or if your cat is on high doses or a diuretic, introduce iron to the diet. One 1/2 tab of 65mg of iron a day to start; two 1/2 tabs a day if the numbers creep up; three 1/2 tabs a day if it looks as if the cat is heading into CKD-kidney disease. The iron is also helping her kidneys stay strong, work the diuresis process. That's why her numbers significantly improved from May to June.

Baby-she is now on steroid medication Prednisilone for her breathing as Myrna's albuterol isn't helping Baby breathe. The vet's going on the assumption that there's inflammation and we will see if it improves her breathing after a couple of weeks on the med. Baby can take it because the cardio said she's free of heart disease and it should be safe for her to take. Remember-HCM and heart disease cats CANNOT take steroid medication of any sort because it leads to fluid retention which is what we are trying to avoid.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Unknown Fever Origin Sends Cat to Vet

Baby, our oldest, had really perked up and changed after two weeks on Pepcid as recommended by her cardio after we discussed how she vomits up a lot of hairballs despite Laxatone and special feline fiber food which is suppose to help her digest and pass hair through her GI tract.  

But then last Wednesday she refused to eat.  I gave her water and tuna juice by mouth but had to hand feed her Thursday because she refused to eat anything.  Myrna was going to the vet so I made an appointment for Baby for Friday to see her regular vet.  

Turns out she was sick with fever which explains her issue. She had an enlarged node-sign of illness (wasn't there two weeks or a week ago.) Not sure what it is or if contagious. Blood taken, results Saturday. Urine fine so no UTI. Got sub q fluids, Convenia shot of antibiotic. Not eating much. Doing mirtazapine for she and Myrna and may need to hand feed her as well. Am rechecking thyroid again. Soon may need GI tract scan to check for issues if things don't improve. 

Saturday-the vet called and said Baby's blood work doesn't show signs of illness so we are not sure what is going on. She's still only eating ok. BUT her thyroid is down to 2.8 from 3.1 and I believe it is due to the fact that Pepcid helped her eat all of her YD (the food has no iodine which is what hyperthyroid cats need to avoid.) We may need to take her for various GI tract scans and tests later this summer and we will continue to monitor her thyroid levels.
We will continue to monitor her progress.

Myrna's Lung Scratched at Cardio When Tapped-She Had CHF

From Facebook post Thursday, June 18, 2015:

Myrna at cardio to be tapped. Couldn't get BR down this week despite extra Torsemide here and there.  She almost made two months since April 23 when she was last tapped.  The rainy, cool, then hot and humid weather is making it difficult for her to breathe and to handle the extra fluid in her lungs.  The heavy air is difficult to breathe in, also.  All this despite running fans and portable AC units which may in their own noisy way, cause stress which also leads to CHF.

(Later that day:)  So slight problem at cardio- the lung was scratched when Myrna moved which caused slight bleeding. Normally not a problem except she's on plavix and we are worried she may not coagulate. Blood build up will make breathing difficult and while it could be tapped, if she hasn't stopped bleeding then it will just keep bleeding and needing tapping. Plus loss of blood will weaken her, the heart rate and bp will decline, etc. Good news-a clot has left her heart. Bad news- it's likely showering her body with small clots which may or may not settle somewhere. Currently we think the GI track might have had some given recent issues such as vomiting Monday and Tuesday, restlessness, not eating enough. On the bright side her kidney values are just great!   BUN is 39, down from 52 and creatinine is 2.7 from 3.7 from May 4 after the saddle thrombosis.  We are monitoring her now for problems. If she makes it through the night without any problems then the incident is over.

Facebook post Friday, June 20, 2015

Myrna returned to cardio today because she had a breathing rate of 60 at home. Feared still bleeding.  They put her in the oxygen cage and that calmed her. No longer bleeding but did bleed enough in the lungs and added to what fluid was still in her that elevated her breathing rate.  And she lost enough blood to lower PCV/hemocrit (red blood count) to weaken her and reduce kidney function (she's not going as often.)   This will take her days to recover as red cells reproduce/replace what was loss. Not eating so back to hand feeding. BR still up and pushing extra torsemide.  The cardio did not tap her again to remove the fluid from her lungs.  The blood, which is needed, will not pass through her system using Torsemide but will be eventually reabsorbed into the body. They gave her an injection of lasix and I will give extra Torsemide as needed to help ease congestion.  

Facebook post Sunday, June 21, 2015:
Myrna had an up and down Saturday. Her breathing was 32 in the morning but 40 later then 36 then up again, etc. She didn't eat and was hand fed but I gave her too much and that upset her stomach and she sat around for hours looking miserable. She never vomited. In the afternoon, she began to yowl and tried to get comfortable which seemed impossible. She didn't seem to be in pain due to clots in her legs or congestion and she was walking around fine, just giving me signs of pain. Eventually I gave her extra Valium which quieted her. I also later gave her extra Mirtazapine and by 9 p.m. she had perked up and began eating food. She continued to eat dry food and treats later in the night.

Today, (Sunday) she's better. I only gave her vitamin goop by mouth because she was eating regular food first thing and has continued to eat enough on her own. Her breathing is good at 32-36.
Her blood test shows her iron level is 67 (low normal for cats is 56) so it's a good thing that I give her iron which helps her kidneys because iron helps the body make red blood cells which the kidneys need. I believe that is why her kidney values are stable at BUN 39 and creatinine 2.7 (May 5 after saddle thrombosis-has it already been that long?: BUN 52, creatinine 3.7). I got the idea months ago to give her iron from a blog about CKD cats-Tanya's Comprehensive Guide to Feline CKD. Look it up. It's chock full of information we need to know about CKD since lasix and heart meds affect kidney function and once kidney function begins to decline, as the BUN and creatinine creep up and potassium down, there are many more vitamins and supplements to give a cat to improve kidney function. You can find what we give Myrna here at "Notes" or at the blog under the Medicine tab.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Pepcid for Cat Has Improved the Way It Feels, Eats, Acts

We have been giving Baby Pepcid all week and immediately have seen an improvement in her. She's not only eating all of her food but she's also eating mostly YD, the food she should only eat if she does have a thyroid issue (if there's a concern about the thyroid level increasing, the cat needs to decrease the intake of iodine and YD has no iodine in it.) AND she's also up and about and not hiding and is social. We never considered her to be classically "hiding" before but I guess she was. She would spend all day in the basement up on the top shelves or upstairs in a bedroom under a chair and would only come out once in awhile to barely eat and to barely be social. We have tried the Aerobat for her asthma a couple of times and that seemed to ease any wheezing we heard. We will continue to monitor her need for it and give it when it gets really hot and humid especially. And Myrna's doing very well still. We did give her the Aerobat a couple times but now it's cooled down and she doesn't need it. Nor did it seem to really change her breathing pattern so she may not yet need it.

Iron Supplements for CKD Cats and Cats with HCM

It turns out that I've developed anemia for some reason and need to take iron supplements.  I'll take what Myrna takes I guess. I've been giving her Nature Made Iron 65mg which is 365mg ferrous iron (I have no idea why the label says that or what it means: is it 65 or 365mg?)  Now, Myrna has been getting iron since April so about 10 weeks or a bit less by now.  I was giving her two tabs a day (cut into half meant four servings a day of 170mg total) and then one and a half tabs and have just cut back to one tab total a day.  I was giving it because CKD cats need iron to produce red blood cells that help the kidneys function and damaged kidneys lose red blood cells more easily than normally functioning kidneys.  Her kidney values were going up, kidney function declining so I thought aside from more potassium which she also needed, and aside from the kidney support vitamin/sweet potato mixture I give, that I would also give extra iron.  Initially, that led to thick, black stool which is normal but a sign that the body has too much iron.  I cut back the dose and immediately the stool returned to brown.  I then began to increase the dose and ended up at 3 halves a day of iron for 100mg a day.  While she has diarrhea possibly from the added iron, she also had diarrhea prior to taking iron, and it hasn't been severe or frequent but it may aid in decreasing her congestion (as extra fluid in the body is going to the colon to create loose stool.)  I read that cats that are anemic should only get 35mg a day.  Iron toxicity is a concern when giving extra iron supplements.  Even humans, when we need to add supplements to  meet a need, usually need to take a lot at the beginning until normal blood levels are met and then cut back to a maintenance dose.  So, that is why I've decreased Myrna's iron dose to one tab a day.  I want to avoid any toxic or added health problems while creating enough red blood cells with the added iron for her kidneys to improve their function and to then be able to handle the diuretic meds and diuresis process, which is keeping her from needing to be tapped of extra fluid in the lungs. I'll increase it again as needed.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Baby and Katharine Visit the Cardiologist

Katharine and Baby went to the cardio yesterday. Katharine will continue to have annual check-ups since she has a murmur. She has a gallop murmur when she's first anxious and that has been heard by other vets. But she has a regular murmur at the cardio once she calms down. But her heart is perfect so far. 

Baby saw the cardio because she's ten years old and the last time she went was in 2009 and only because after Myrna became sick, we decided that all of the cats should have heart echos for monitoring of condition.  I've had my concerns about her lately because she seems to not breathe well, not move well, not be able to see well.  But her eye sight has always be good at the vet's.  She's on Trixsyn or hylaruonic acid for mobility and it has seemed to help.   The cardio said her heart is perfect and the cardio doesn't think she'll develop heart disease unless she develops thyroid issues. Hyperthyroidism-as many of you have experienced with your cats-somehow creates heart disease. But she is slightly asthmatic!!   Something missed by her regular vet. And the cardio surmised that Baby's issues might be more GI tract and she may need to see an internist at Michigan State. But she also surmised that constant vomiting of hairballs may create or be due to stomach issues and perhaps some Pepcid might calm her stomach. So, there's no danger in trying it so I gave it to her last night and this morning. We gave the inhaler (Myrna uses it) of albuterol, also last night. Today, she is up and about and eating very well. So, perhaps it is a bit of both asthma and stomach acid that has made her feel run down lately. We will continue daily doses of albuterol and daily 1/4 of Pepcid. If she continues to improve, we will simply continue to monitor her for thyroid levels every few months and skip the internist. She can return to the cardio for a check-up in four to five years unless other issues with the heart and breathing are found.

I also gave Myrna some albuterol last night. It didn't change her breathing rate or pattern but the humidity is over 50% inside so I think it may be time to do it every other day if not every day until the humidity inside and out become more of a problem and interfere with her breathing.

Best Blacklight for Finding Cat Urine and Other Accidents

We bought this blacklight flashlight and love it.  This wider lens, and more wattage allows this to be used in daytime, although not in bright light. But you no longer need to wait until the room is dark or it's pitch black outside before using it.