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Urgent help needed for Attila, cat with a rare disease!

February 14th, 2008, 12:08 PM
Hello everybody,
I'm new to this board. My name is Marta, I'm writing from Italy so please excuse my English! :sorry:
I'm a member of a board similar to this one in Italy (it's all written in Italian, but here it is: and I'm looking for help for a cat called Attila, whose owner has been a member of the same board for years. Attila is 3 y.o. and he was diagnosed a rare disease called "orbital aspergillosis". It's a fungus that hides behing the eyes and quickly spreads to invade eyes, nose and brain. Attila lost his left eye and will soon lose his other eye as well, but this is not going to be enough to save his life, unless we find a newer, more effective therapy than the one his vets prescribed... which seemed to be the best available for the moment.
The therapy consists of oral posaconazole (the drug is called Noxafil and costs about 800 Euros in Europe... we raised funds thanks to donations from all over Europe to buy it!) but it's not working very well. The reason I'm writing, is that we read on this website
( that the only other case of orbital aspergillosis in a cat was in the USA, a persian cat was successfully cured in your Country and we are trying to get in touch with the owners of this cat and/or with the vets who cured him/her. We have no idea where they live and exactly when their cat got this disease, but considering the drug "posaconazole" is a quite recent one, we hope they can still be reached. Maybe they read this board, maybe someone knows them or can help us find them. We would like to get in touch to compare our experience with theirs, to understand if their cat went thorough the same pain that Attila is enduring and knowing that he was saved, maybe we can find a little hope for our dear, lovely Attila. We really are desperate to find them and to get in touch with anyone who can give us any help or support in this situation, so if you can help us please feel free to get in touch at:

Thanks for reading! Marta

ps: this is a link to a video where you can see Attila:

February 14th, 2008, 12:15 PM
Hi marta, I live in nyc and I've never heard of this condition before. I'm passing it to every rescue group I know. If you could find out what part of the U.S. the cat lives in it would really help.

February 14th, 2008, 12:18 PM
I would like to applaud you in your efforts, most people would be quick to euthanize the cat without ever second guessing their judgement. I wish I could help you, but this is all very new to me as I'm sure it will be to many people. Good luck in your quest for information and your hope to find a cure.

February 15th, 2008, 02:56 AM
Thank you for your help, I think one of our biggest hopes is that our request for help is spread around as much as possible, to all rescue groups and veterinarians and cat-lovers so that maybe we will run into someone who actually knows about this disease or can do something. I know it's a shot in the dark, but what else can we do? :shrug:
Euthanasia is really out of our thoghts right now, we are not going to do it unless it clear and absolutely impossible that Attila can be cured and he is suffering too much. Actually these days his eye is swollen and hurting, but he is lively, he's eating and grooming himself and sometimes he goes for a little walk in his garden when the waether is warm... he wants to live, he wants to fight this disease and we're not going to leave him alone! :grouphug:
Thanks everybody for any kind of help you can provide, if you just forward this message to the people you know who love cats or to your vets maybe something will happen...
Thanks again, I wih you a beautiful day! :)

February 15th, 2008, 06:08 AM
Marta,that video brought me to tears:cry:
I am sorry I cannot help,but:pray:you'll find someone who can:fingerscr

February 15th, 2008, 11:47 AM
:cry: :pray::cat::angel:

February 15th, 2008, 03:36 PM

I googled Gillian J. McLellan, BVMS one of the dr's who wrote/took part in the article and she seems to be in Iowa and there is an eamil address for her

I wonder if you could email her and maybe google the rest and see if you can get an email address for them(you may have done this already I don't know)

David R. Mason BVetMed
Las Vegas, NV(didn't find an email-yet)
Haven't found much on the other vets yet.

Have you tried contacting the AVMA
not saying they will know anything about the cat in the states but maybe they will take intrest in the case and maybe someone would be willing to talk to your friends vet about it.

:fingerscr that you are able to get in-touch with one of them.

February 17th, 2008, 05:02 AM
Hello Dustybird, thank you for your help!
I sent an email to Dr. MacLellan a few days ago and also to the other reseachers who wrote that article, all of them work at the Iowa state university and I hope at least one of them will get back to me... so far, still no reply but maybe they're very bust and a few days' wait is normal... let's hope they'll reply soon...
I'm asking a friend of my who's a doctor and works in a hospital to write them again and also to the AVMA (thank for the link, btw! I didn't know about them!) maybe considering she's a doctor her request will draw more attention than mine, you know, sounding more official or something :pray:.
Unfortunately yesterday we got the rhynoscpy results and they said the fungus has spread thoughout the nose as well as behinf the eyes... so it's getting more and more urgent to find a way to stop it before it does something like attacking the brain, which we know is beyond any cure... :sad:
I'll keep you posted, hoping there's good news soon... Thanks averybody for your help! Marta

February 25th, 2008, 08:35 AM
Hello! I just wanted to post an update: in the end the vets in Milan have decided to get in touch with the Australian researcher who replied to my request for help and said she was available to help.
We discovered that in Italy amphotericin B liposomal was never even tried on a cat, the vets in Milan were surprised to hear about that therapy and decided we should try it asap!
We are buying 1 vial of "Ambisome" (that will be enough for 2 weeks) at 295 USD in Switzerland (because that drug is not available in Italy, it's only sold by the authorized dealer to hospitals here so we cannot go to the phamacy and buy it... plus, it costs around 500 USD!!!) and this week they are checking Attila's renal functions and blood urea because this drug may affect them, so we need to check these things often to make sure there won0t be any damage during the therapy. Attila is going to be treated intrvenously 3 times a week, it will take about 2 hours each time so he's going to have to be a very patient good boy... but it's worth trying, since it seems that several cats were cured in Australia using Ambisome.
We are raising funds in Italy to buy the medicines and also to pay for the exams, CAT scans and so on... people are being very generous, we're getting donations from people we don't even know who read our story on the web... it finally seems there's a little sparkle of hope for Attila... he's staring the new therapy on Monday, let's hope his body's reaction will be the right one.
I'll keep you posted! ;)

February 25th, 2008, 09:11 AM
:goodvibes: :fingerscr

February 25th, 2008, 09:18 AM
I hope everything goes well!

February 25th, 2008, 10:02 AM
:grouphug::fingerscr:grouphug::fingerscr:grouphug: :goodvibes::goodvibes::goodvibes::pray::pray:
That she responds well to the meds and that they help her.