Tag: Kidney Disease

Update on Stella

She’s been recovering well (yay!) and so far seems to be doing better. I’ve been feeding her on my desk. She seems to eat more when I’m nearby than when I’m not.

Our checkup with the regular vet went well. She was pleased that Stella’s test results showed similar numbers to last December’s blood work. The kidney disease hasn’t progressed very much.

She played like a kitten today — I have the cuts on my hand to prove it. Feisty little girl. Twenty going on three.

She is showing her age: her hip muscles are almost non-existent because of arthritis and kidney problems that cause the kidneys to eat up any available protein source (like muscles). She seems happy and is not in pain.

It’s hard when you suddenly realize that the kitty who was with you through college is suddenly getting older. Every day with her is suddenly more special.

Post emergency clinic

Initally, Stella seemed to be a little better this afternoon. I stayed home with her and she seemed to be walking and trotting around the apartment. Just a little wobbly but not much. I was getting ready to go to the barn to feed (horsesitting), and woke Stella up to move her into the bathroom. She was worse than she had been this morning. Her front legs trembled as if she was too weak to properly stand just before 4:00.

The emergency vets did a blood panel on her (results showed slightly elevated kidney numbers). From what I understood, the blood panel did not show that she was anemic or that she had an imbalance in her electrolytes. The vet thought that maybe Stella could have elevated blood pressure that might cause her weakness or that the combination of her arthritis and muscle atrophy in her rear limbs/hips made her wobbly. The vet gave Stella 60 cc of fluids and I took her home.

The vet suggested x-rays and blood pressure check. Unfortunately, it was too expensive to do there. I was already beyond the limit of what I can afford.

She is currently bathing herself on the little bed set up next to my desk. She just finished her first really good meal of the day. She’s been drinking well.

Illnesses invade! Run!

I have a sinus infection, Isis has EPM, and Ambush and Stella have urinary tract infections (UTIs). Recovery is on its way through…

The day after Isis came home from the hospital, Ambush had a sugar crash. He was unaware of anyone or anything that happened to him. A trip to the vet, some good wet food and blood glucose test later, he was on the road to recovery. The next day he went back to the vet’s for a full day of testing. Ambush’s blood sugar plummeted from 350 in the morning (no insulin injection that morning or the night before) to about 40 or so four hours after the vet gave him the insulin injection. His liver enzymes were normal except for one.

He was started on a 10-day regimen of Clavamox (antibioitic), which did not sit well with his stomach. Kitty had the runs bad and stopped eating. His blood suagar levels were all over the place because of he lost his appetite. We stopped the Clavamox, put him on a regular “catkins” diet (Innova EVO dry and wet food for all of the kitties), and worked on getting his appetite and litter box routine back to normal. After a few days (and a litlte plain yogurt later), everything was back to normal.

Ambush goes back to the vet either on Friday or next Monday for his antibiotic injection. After the UTI is gone, we’ll get his insulin dose figured out again so he isn’t drinking so much water.

Right around June 22, Stella started peeing on my bed: three times in 24 hours. She was also sleepling a lot more than normal. My bed has a plastic cover. Part of the side-effect of Stella’s kidney disease is that she has “accidents” on my bed periodically. I went through every set of sheets I had, dropped Stella into the bathroom as a containment area, and called the vet. Stella came back positive for a UTI and received an antibiotic injection last week. She is feeling better and is back out. No more peeing on the bed for the past four days, yay! Why do I feel like I just jinxed myself?

It has been difficult dealing with so many sick animals and then getting sick myself. The doctor declared yesterday that I have the beginnings of a sinus infection and gave me some antibiotics. I’ve been getting a fever most afternoons this week. I’ve been at work in the morning and from home in the afternoon. Very glad to be some place that is flexible enough to let me do that.

Stella: Gamer kitty!

Today started with a vet visit with Stella for her fluids. She has been so good about it. Surprising, considering that she has limited patience. If something takes longer than five minutes, she will start protesting vigorously. The fluids have made a huge difference for her: the evening after she has her fluids, she plays hard.

One night, she decided to help me play Guild Wars. This was the first time she took a noticeable interest in what was happening on the screen. Some times she would watch the cursor, but nothing major. This was different. She played for several minutes, trying to “help” my character beat a large battle.

Now she regularly helps me play, some times getting in the way. Tonight she was enthralled with the characters and screen. I have another video I’ll upload.

Last night, she chased her tail in the bathtub for several minutes.

Yup, she’s almost 20 and acts like she’s a kitten. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Stella’s vet appointment

Stella got fluids today — and had some good news! She lost a few ounces last week. Today she was back up to 5 pounds. It’s a gain of one or two ounces, but that’s a lot for a little cat.

Stella has been surprisingly good for her fluids. She knows we’re trying to help her. She isn’t happy about it, but she doesn’t fight when she has fluids either. She plays like a kitten the evening after she has her fluids.

She definitely seems to be feeling better today. I’m not sure why she didn’t feel well over the weekend.

Stella doing better

Stella finally seems to be doing better. After two courses of trying to give her Clavamox antibiotic twice per day (and her successfully avoiding it 25% of the time), the vet gave her an injectible antibiotic that lasts for two weeks. The dose is determined by the cat’s weight, so it has the potential to be expensive. At five pounds, Stella’s dose was cheaper than one run of Clavamox.

Every few weeks, Stella quits eating whatever food is offered to her. I’ve been through a lot of dry and wet cat foods trying to find something she likes and is okay for a cat with kidney problems.

She is currently eating two dry foods made by Fromm: Salmon a la Veg and Grain-free Surf and Turf. The Surf and Turf has a higher protein level (which isn’t great for Stella) however, because the dry food does not have grains, Ambush can also eat it. (Unfortunately Ambush prefers the Surf and Turf to his Indigo Moon grain-free dry food.)
Read More Stella doing better

Stella’s Vet Visit

Stella was really good at the vet’s. She seems to have calmed down and knows we’re trying to help her. She’s been quiet in the car and good about getting into her padded carrier. She let Dr. Kipp draw blood without too much fuss for the blood test.

While we were waiting for the test results, a friend of mine arrived. She has an older kitty who gets subcutaneous fluids twice per week. She’s been a great help with suggestions and dealing with kitties with kidney issues.

The results were better than expected. The test looked for differences in the BUN (blood urea nitrogen) and creatinine levels. Stella was originally tested in December of last year and showed some abnormal creatinine levels and slightly elevated BUN. This time the BUN level was only marginally chagned but the creatinine levels had changed considerably.

My vet suggested that we start Stella on subcutaneous fluids. I was able to watch while my friend’s kitty had his fluids. Such a good kitty. He was so polite about everything. (He reminded me of Basette at the vets from almost 4.5 years ago.)

I learned about how to place a new needle on the contraption. (It uses 18 gage needle — yikes! Vastly different from the little insulin dosing syringes.) Stella was really good when we did everything. Granted, there were three of us in the room.

I don’t know how easy it will be when I am at home by myself. We’re going to start her off with once per week and then move it up to twice per week. Hopefully by that time I’ll be able to do the fluids at home.

Stella: No UTI

Stella does not have a UTI: lab culture came back negative for anything. Dr Kipp thinks that Stella’s urninating is due to a progression of her kidney failure possibly also some senility. Stella has a follow-up visit tomorrow afternoon at 4:45 to check her blood work (luckily that test is only $25 instead of the $99 for the urine test). The blood work will also help us know if Stella needs to be started on regular subcutaneous fluids.

Pretty soon the question may be not what we can do, but how much do we do, and when do we put her down. Sigh.

Read More Stella: No UTI

Stellster and the bed

Stella has developed a bad habit: if any piles of clothes are left on the bed or within her reach (like the laundry basket), she will pee on them. If the litter box is not clean or does not have enough litter in it, she will pee on my bed. (Mattress covers are worth their weight in gold!)

Two nights in a row, I forgot to buy new litter. The three litter boxes are cleaned once or twice per day. (If I let the boxes go more than 36 hours, Stella lets me know by marking where I sleep on the bed.) Even though the boxes were clean, there wasn’t much litter in them. Stella peed on my bed. I brought home new litter after work the next day and washed the bed clothes.

I know this is part of her growing older and getting persnickety. It’s really frustrating when she does things like this. This peeing is behavioral because I can correct it by making sure the litter boxes are always in pristine shape. Read More Stellster and the bed

Finally some progress with Stella

Stella hates the wet food from the vet (NF kidney prescription diet). Ambush (aka “the Vacuum”) won’t eat it. Stella still didn’t like the Merrick’s Turduken or Granny’s Pot Pie wet food, which both smell marvelous. Ambush and Kiesha were in love with these flavors. Stella couldn’t care less.

The good news? Stella likes one dry food I found: Blue Buffalo Spa Selects. It’s a Lite formula, which she doesn’t need, but the food is 28% protein and she eats it. I’m going to keep trying different wet foods, but at least there is something she is eating.

I’ve put Ambush back on Innova EVO and he seems quite happy with that. He doesn’t eat Stella’s dry food (miracles do happen!). Stella doesn’t appear to be eating the EVO either. Who would have thought they wouldn’t like each other’s food?

Stella. Again. Sigh.

Last night, Stella did not look good. When we were going to bed, she tried to stand up to position her self next to me. Her rear end didn’t cooperate and she flopped over. She hadn’t eaten much that night and it was definitely showing. Poor kitten.

The vet said that ideally Stella should be on an all wet food diet. That might happen if I could find a wet food she would eat. Was it the wet food or because she had dry food out?

I did an experiment this morning. Stella had two choices of wet food: NF prescription diet for kidney disease and a half can of Merrick Turducken. I left good size portions in two differnet bowls and took up the dry food before going to work.

I got home tonight to discover the hadn’t touched the NF food at all. She had nibbled at the Turducken. When Stella likes a wet food, she eats all of it over the course of the day. (When the Felidae dry food was out, Stella would eat the Wellness canned food, but not always all of it.)

Stella usually stays with me when I’m on the computer or doing other things around the apartment. At my desk, she has this bad habit of insisting that she is in front of the monitor. I put a little of the Blue Buffalo dry food on a paper plate on my desk off to the side. Miss Stella ate three different times. Maybe 5-10 pieces of the food each time, but it was a start.

She felt much better tonight. She played, followed me around, insisted that I pet her no matter where I was. It was so nice to see that last night.

I can has wet food?

Stella, bless her heart, is not eating most of the food I leave out for her. She prefers dry food over wet food. With her kidney issues, wet food is much better for her. So far, I’ve tried cans and flavors from four or five differnet brands. Stella ate the Wellness wet food pertty well for three days. Until I found a dry food she would eat… and then she quite eating the wet food. The dry food had to go away because the protein was too high. Then she refused to eat either… So we’re back to the beginning. (I’m tempted to just get another bag of the dry food that she will eat just so she will eat *something*. The protein is about 10% higher than what she should have, though.)

I’ve about given up trying to find a dry food she and Ambush could have to munch on. The vet said that a wet food diet would be ideal. I picked up a few cans of the prescription kidney (Purina NF?) for Stella. Now we get to see if she will eat it.

Luckily, Ambush will eat anything Stella won’t. He won’t be getting her prescription food, but at least the other flavors of wet food she refused to eat won’t go to waste.

Stella’s vet check

Week before last, Ambush had his vet checkup. We upped his insulin dose to three units twice per day and decided to change the kitty food to something with lower carbs and lower protein (for Stella). My vet suggested that I bring Stella in, especially after mentioning how hard the last few months had been on the itty-bitty-cuteness-kitty(tm).

DSCF0683.JPGStella is now 19. Up until these past few months, she never looked her age. People usually guessed that she was 8 or so. She always looked great and played like a kitten.

For four months, I lived with my stepmom, who was wonderfully generous to take me and my three kitties in when I moved from TN to NC for a new job. It’s an awful lot to ask three older cats to adjust to a move across state lines, change home spaces twice in five months, and deal with other critters.

Stella now looks her age. She is sleeping more. She has lost weight. She also decided she no longer likes the California Naturals dry cat food. Stella stays in the bathroom while I’m at work. She has her own little palace setup with two beds, steps to get into the bathroom or on the counter. Ambush often bullies Stella out of her food. Having Stella in the bathroom lets me put out a good bit of wet food that she can graze on during the day without Ambush interfering.

With Ambush’s change in foods, I tried to find something for both of them. Let me tell you, it’s hard. I found one that sounded great: Felidae. Lower carb, lower protein. Perfect. I also picked up a sampling of wet food, including several cans of Wellness no-grain wet cat food. Stella’s favorite wet food turned out to be the Purina prescription diabetic wet food, which she isn’t supposed to have.

One problem with Felidae: no one likes it. Ambush, who likes spaghetti sauce and Italian dressing, refused to eat Felidae. All of the kitties have dry food to nibble on during the day and get wet food in the morning and evening (mostly because Ambush gets wet food as a distration when he has his injections). With Felidae in her food bowl during the day, Stella ate all of the Wellness wet food.

Last Thursday evening, Stella had trouble with her hips. She has had arthritis for a while, so her careful movements are nothing new. This time she lost coordination with her hips and almost tipped over. Her hind end wobbled when she walked instead of following her front end in a straight line. I made a vet apointment the following morning for Tuesday (today).

At the vet appointment this afternoon, Stella weighed 4.1 pounds (down from ~6 pounds in December). The vet wanted to do a urinalysis and a full blood panel, including a CBC to check kidney function and provide a comparison point to the December tests.

I warned the vet that Stella is good for the first five minutes and then all hell breaks loose. Sure enough, five minutes after Stella was outside the room, I heard her distinctly nasal cat-screams. I felt sorry for Stella, but sorrier for the unsuspecting vet tech who must have been holding Stella. A few minutes later, they brought Stella back in the room and set her on the table. The vet was quiet leery of Stella. They were uanble to draw blood for the tests but were able to obtain some uring. Poor Stella came back in with a bandage on her back leg.

Stella must have *really* been bad. The vet wasn’t sure if she would be able to do a physical exam on Stella to check her eyes, ears, teeth, etc. I picked up Stella and held her. The vet kept saying she couldn’t get over how good Stella was. The vet examined the kitty’s eyes and ears while I held Stella. We set her on the table to check her teeth.

The good news? Stella’s eyes have the clarity of a cat half her age. Her teeth have very little tartar. The vet tech was shocked when I told her I have never had Stella’s teeth cleaned. (She had an apointment for that in December, but my old vet suggested avoiding it at Stella’s age.)

The bad news? Stella’s kidney disease has progressed. Even though no blood tests were performed, Stella’s physical deterioration gave plenty of hints. The vet gave me the talk about end-of-life concerns for Stella and how her kidney disease is fatal… and we’re managing her comfort. I will continue to do what I can.

I think I could both use a good cry tonight to let out the pent-up feelings. Things held close so I wouldn’t be upset, so I wouldn’t cry.