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Seeking help for Kitty with complex health problems...

July 23rd, 2008, 08:16 PM
Hi everyone! This is 3KittyMomma in Vancouver, Canada, brand new person on the site, with one lovely wee 16 yr old tortie kitty named Susie with so many problems - ongoing and progressing renal failure, osteoarthritis - very serious/painful - at the base of her spine, frequent bladder infections, and seizures. Her vet prescribed pain med - Tramadol - has caused constipation and lack of appetite, so other things have been prescribed (Cisapride, Lactulose, Periactin - also called Cyproheptadine). Note: I routinely add pumpkin and Metamucil to all kitties food (moist only) in this household, just to keep everyone regular. Two other geriatric Kitties doing fine...

Recently I noticed Tramadol - in a pharmacy compounded liquid - was causing her great distress, so I discovered somewhere - - a company selling homeopathic remedies. So, after reading enthusiastic reports from Pet Moms and Dads on their site, I called them and got package of drops/herbal capsules for each of Arthritis, Seizures, and Constipation. We started a couple of weeks ago with just the Arthritis drops (2 drops twice a day) instead of Tramadol - now Susie is doing just fine, walks well with little pain, is much perkier, eats all her food and her coat has improved. And, bonus - the constipation issue has resolved itself. Am continuing Lactulose, Cisapride and Periactin for support, however.

I have several questions: 1) Should I start with the herbal capsules for Arthritis, and if so how should I do it? Cats are very sensitive to anything you might sprinkle on their food that changes its taste...a challenge.
2) Is it possible/appropriate for me to substitute the homeopathic remedy for Seizures for the Phenobarbital she takes twice a day? If yes, when should I start it and how? Could I stop the Phenobarbital cold turkey as I did the Tramadol or do I need to do it gradually? I would prefer to get her off these "big-gun" meds, to improve her quality of life. Any other suggestions here?
3) Can you think of anything preventative in nature to keep Susie from having frequently recurring bladder infections? We talk about cranberry juice for people, but somehow, I don't think so...

Thanks so much for all your help - it's much appreciated by both Susie and me - :cat: I have already learned so much by reading certain forums, although I understand very little about getting around this site. :) 3KM.

July 23rd, 2008, 08:27 PM
Welcome 3KM! I have no cat experience but did want to say hello. :o We have some very knowledgeable cat parents on board and I'm sure some of them will be logging on soon to offer advice.

July 23rd, 2008, 10:02 PM
Thanks so much for your message, Hazelrunpack - I see you there in the picture with your kidlets - I'm sure you love them dearly and care for them exquisitely. I do look forward to hearing from Kitty Kat experts out there. I really have no idea about 99% of this site, but so far so good...:angel2:

July 24th, 2008, 06:57 AM
Hi 3KM, and welcome to the board. Sounds like Susie has some pretty complex issues. I don't have a huge amount of experience with homeopathic remedies so I can't really help you there. My suggestion would be to try to find a homeopathic vet and get their advice on the whole situation. There's another member on this board, growler, who lives in the Vancouver area and takes her cat to a homeopath (her cat also has CRF). Perhaps she can give you some suggestions.

July 24th, 2008, 07:08 AM
Welcome 3KM,I could not even begin to advice you on how to treat your little girl,but admire your determination to find a solution for her,not that I would not do the same for any of my 3 cats.
A Homeopathic vet is a great ideal.
Whether you can stop the seizure-meds,is probably not a question we can answer,but Growler could give you some advice on Susies other problems:fingerscr

July 24th, 2008, 07:11 AM
Stopping meds should be discussed with your vet so you may not get answers to that question on this forum. Hopefully growler will be able to recommend a homeopathic vet for you.

July 24th, 2008, 12:10 PM
Everyone has already pointed you to Growler... prob your best bet for cat advice. So just wanted to also say welcome and send some :pray: & :goodvibes: to you and your kitty!

July 24th, 2008, 01:24 PM
Hey everyone! Thank you so much :angel2:to the folks who have responded so far, I am very encouraged. I will wait for growler's suggestions :pray:, as it seems he/she is very respected and knowledgeable in affairs of Kitty Kats. As it happens, my vet does conventional & homeopathic, he chooses what he thinks will work, but we seem to have been "stuck" in conventional that's not really working well for too long now. (I accept responsibility for this - I am recovering from hip replacement surgery, and it's been very difficult for the past year to make sure the kids are well cared for as well as me...) :lightbulb: I will book a consult with him, and update him on all my kidlets at the same time.
Thank you again !
from 3KittyMomma -

"Dogs have masters, cats have staff..."
So, I am Chief Latrine Person and Chef and Nurse to:
Susie, age 18ish - a tiny long haired Tortie, very sweet
Wally , age 16 - DSH black and white, large, super-affectionate
Sheena, age 21 1/2 - DMH - Calico, part Manx, very sweet and vocal !

July 24th, 2008, 07:08 PM
Wow I just noticed how old your kitties are! Kudos to you for obviously caring for them very well!!! I hope mine make it to 21 and beyond as well! :pray::thumbs up

And hope your recovery from the hip surgery is going well too... I've heard that is quite a long recovery! :goodvibes:

July 24th, 2008, 11:45 PM
Hi 3KittyMomma sorry I couldn't respond last night (fireworks night ;)). I'm a "she" btw :D

I would suggest you speak to your vet first before stopping the seizure meds as that seems to be the most severe/complicated/"touchy" issue Susie has going on - the seizures could worsen if she has an adverse reaction to something in the remedy you have or it could be counter-acted by one of the other remedies/medications.

If you are looking for a great homeopath vet I can point you to mine, he is in North Vancouver Dr. Peter Dobias ( @ The Healing Place ( Dr Dobais is a Homeopath Master Clinician as well as a fully trained conventional vet, he goes more in the homeopath direction though. Dr. Dobias is currently treating my :cat: Duffy who is 17 yrs & also a Tortie (shorthair) w/CRF, in the 7 months under his care her CRF has stabilized from the rapid progression it was previously. There are some holistic remedies that she is taking with his direction as well as some additional supplements also recommended to support the kidneys.

I would suggest for you to book an appointment with either your vet or Dr. Dobias before changing any other medications your cat is currently on. Be sure to bring in the remedies you have purchased to show to the vet so he can have an accurate idea of what Susie is taking now & how it will react with anything else.

:goodvibes: for Susie, Wally & Sheena :highfive: WTG on the long healthy lives
:goodvibes: for your recovery as well

You can read Duffy's CRF thread here ( there are many links to informative sites regarding CRF.

Welcome to & Please do let me know if you have any questions :D

July 25th, 2008, 10:01 AM
Thank you, growler, for all the wise words re: Kitty care. I have heard of Dr. Dobias, actually. My vet is Dr. Goldberg, of the Vancouver Animal Wellness Hospital in Vancouver. His qualifications are similar to those of Dr. Dobias, I believe. Just a matter of coming out of my own recovery fog and wrapping my head around what needs doing now re: Kitty care, I think/hope :pray:

(I mixed myself up - Susie is a Calico, Sheena is a tortie.) Susie I adopted from the neighbourhood almost 2 years ago. Apparently she was on her own outside for 5 years, waiting for her family to come back for her after they moved. How very sad. I have no idea how she survived, especially the winters ! After she appeared in my garden one day, very hungry, I started feeding her and did so under my deck for 8 months before catnapping her and bringing her inside. She hasn't been out since, except in a wire cage on the deck when the weather/my health permit. The taming/trust process has taken a long time, as she was wild and very skittish when we first met. She has her own room - the living room ! She has been under Dr. Michael's care from when she joined "the family". On the first vet visit, he told me she was old and came with a bunch of medical problems, and that she'd be a frequent visitor at the vet's - it's quite true ! But she is a very sweet little girlie, and I love her dearly.

Many thanks again for all your help and good energy. :angel: Susie and I both say thanks a lot :pawprint::cat: cheers from 3KM

July 25th, 2008, 03:51 PM
3kittymomma,what a great story about Susie,she was a very lucky girl in the end,thank you for taking her into your home:thumbs up
Judging by the age of your kitties,they must have perfect lives,with a wonderful person.

July 25th, 2008, 04:34 PM
Thanks for your encouragement and kudos - I think longevity in kitties is partly hereditary, as it is in people, but the rest is environmental, I'm sure.

I would like to let Susie wander freely around the house, including on the deck, but I can't even let her out on my deck because she would climb the gate and be gone in a flash, I think ! Everyone assures me she is better off inside with me, but I'm sure she misses her freedom terribly. Hopefully that will fade with time. (The other cats go out on the deck, fenced and covered, but aren't into escaping into the garden.)

She has a longstanding feud with Wally - he being the agressor, but she, having fended for herself out there in the cruel world for 5 years, is no slouch ! So they must be permanently separated. My dearest wish would be to have Susie really join the family, so she can get a lot more cuddles.

Best wishes to you and your Purry Furry family - may all live healthy and happy and long (all at the same time) lives! cheers :cat::cat::cat:3KM

July 26th, 2008, 02:10 AM
Thank you, growler, for all the wise words re: Kitty care. I have heard of Dr. Dobias, actually. My vet is Dr. Goldberg, of the Vancouver Animal Wellness Hospital in Vancouver. His qualifications are similar to those of Dr. Dobias, I believe.

You can always ask for a second opinion/consult, if you wish, it is your right. :D

Let us know how your visit goes & remember to bring the remedies with you to discuss them in conjunction with the meds she is on.

July 26th, 2008, 11:21 PM
Hi, growler ! Early this morning, I read through Duffy's thread, 2 hours worth, and learned so much! Your caring and concern for your kidlet come through at every turn...:thumbs up! Lucky lucky Duffy to have found you !!!:angel:

I will of course keep everyone posted on what transpires at the vet's - perhaps next week. Life has been a little :crazy: for me just lately, new medical treatments, and quite intense, requiring rest days following...

As a result of reading Duffy's story, here are some learned-over-the-many-years very helpful tidbits.

For Kitties with sedately walking - or galloping renal insufficiency - CRF -

1) It is really important that their potassium levels be adequately maintained, and a good supplement is potassium gluconate - it comes as an innocuous white powder, quite cheap - sprinkled on food works well. A compounding pharmacist will be able to get it for you, if they don't have it as part of their behind-the-counter stock. I give it to all my kitties at each meal, i.e. twice a day, 1/16 tsp. on each food dish.

2) The topic of do-it-yourself sub-cutaneous fluids to maintain adequate hydration - (The advantages of doing it yourself, if you are not squeamish about needles, is that you can make your cat very comfy during the process, and it can actually be an additional cuddle on...) You will also save yourself a whole lot of both time and money, especially if this will be a years long part of life.

a) Make sure you are trained by a Vet Tech, and that you get to practice a fair bit, preferably on your Kitty, during the training. These people are a wealth of knowledge and helpful tips. And they will kindly pick you up off for floor if YOU aren't doing too well during the training. The anomaly of this is your cat will be just fine:cat:, even if you're not ! If you figure you need a second session, ask for it - they will be pleased to help you out...And any time you need additional support, just call them.

b) You can choose the size needle that is used - the bigger the needle, the bigger the hole, the faster the fluid goes in. I use the second largest one (I think), a green 21, less invasive than the largest one. Also, I find that the largest one leaves a big hole, and fluid can easily leak out.

c) You need to find a place where you can hang an IV bag on a hook that is up quite high, so it drains down through gravity. Mine is about 5 ft. up, and it hangs off a lamp that overlooks a bed in my study, where I do these treatments.

Both you and your Purry Furry in Distress need to be as comfortable as possible, so ...
d) Pick a quiet and serene place in your home, far from all noise, etc. If you have a room where you can shut the door on the "madding crowd", it is best to do it there.
e) In any season except hot summer, heat the fluid in the IV bag - immerse the bag in a pot of HOT - not boiling - water for about 1/2 an hour - I usually replace the water once, as it cools off. You would like it to be as close to the kitty's body temperature as possible, so the shock isn't too great. Hot summer is the exception - cool water under the skin feels good to them at that time.
f) In any season except hot summer, heat up a big towel in the microwave, I find 35 seconds on high does it nicely, just before you are ready to begin treatment. I sit on the bed, with the big warm towel on my lap, and Kitty Kat on the towel. I have found it calms and comforts both of us...nuff said.

g) Before sitting down with your Kitty, test the IV line to make sure the fluid is flowing out well through the needle.
h) Camera - Action - Roll'em ! I usually use the first few minutes to talk sweet nothings, do ear scratches, chin rubs and so forth, whatever will make your Kitty relax. After the needle is inserted, and you've verified that it is indeed between the skin and the muscle layer, turn on the fluid, full speed ahead ! This is very important - keep at least one hand on your cat, protecting the needle's position, even if the cat moves a little. Your vet will tell you how many cc. of fluid your Meowr must have, and how frequently. On the side of the the IV bag is a scale 10 at the top - 1000 ml - down to 1 - 100 ml. As the treatment progresses, keep checking the scale.
i) When enough is enough, turn off the fluid and gently remove the needle, somewhat firmly pressing down on that area with your other hand. (Remember to cap the needle so you don't tattoo yourself !)
j) Don't be in a hurry to get up and get on with life. Your cat may well be asleep on your lap, let her sleep for at least a few minutes following the end of the treatment, more if your own physical condition permits. Your Kitty may wish to be transported by you back to her usual stomping grounds, or may wish to be just left alone...She may well have a bulge of water somewhere on her body that will be absorbed into her tissues quite quickly, in an hour or two I think, but apparently it feels a little weird, although not painful or really uncomfortable.
k) (Man, is this ever long - never mind, it will be useful...) A little closing note on lines, bags and needles. :) Bags of fluid have expiry dates, which, for this purpose, can be largely ignored. Just don't buy 24 bags if your Sweetie is only getting 100 cc. once a week. The IV line - one line 'set' will do you for 3 bags. The needles - no need to change needles every time you do this - rule of thumb - after about 4 insertions is time for a new needle.

l) If, after all that, you have some questions, please post them for me and I will answer to the best of my ability...

Eyes crossed, bedtime now :sleepy: Take care, everyone - look after yourselves and your Purry Furries ! 3KM in Vancouver.

July 27th, 2008, 07:36 PM
Hi, growler ! Early this morning, I read through Duffy's thread, 2 hours worth, and learned so much! Your caring and concern for your kidlet come through at every turn...:thumbs up! Lucky lucky Duffy to have found you !!!:angel:

I think it's the other way around :D I'm lucky to have her :lovestruck:

July 28th, 2008, 08:42 PM
hiya, growler ! Have you taught Duffy to answer the phone for you yet?? :wall: Mine haven't mastered it, even after years of being with me...

I asked, on Duffy's site, for an update on Duffy - HOW is she doing??:pray: Hopefully all is well :thumbs up: because you haven't posted anything on her lately. (is no news good news...hope so...)

I think also on Duffy's site, I wrote a recent little story about my crew, especially "sick" Susie...

I know we all feel blessed to have our assorted kidlets - I can't remember who has the SIX cats, but I wonder how she manages...I have my hands full with three, but then they're all older, and need more attention and loving support. :lovestruck:

When I can, I will take Susie to the vet for a consult, taking all the assorted things I've acquired that he doesn't know about, and also update him on the two others. And I will let everyone know what transpires.

In the meantime, enjoy the summer !!! 3KM:pawprint::pawprint::pawprint:

July 28th, 2008, 09:39 PM
hehe nope she doesn't answer the phone for me :D kinda hard for her since I only have a cell & it's with me @ all times, unfortunately she is not :laughing:

I did write an update for Duffy here, she is doing great we have an appt in early Aug for a recheck :goodvibes:

Please do update after your appt as well :goodvibes: for you & yours

August 23rd, 2008, 12:28 AM
Hiya growler, sugarcatmom and everyone else concerned about Susie. For your information, we took Susie to see Dr.Michael ( our conventional and homeopathic vet) on Aug. 12.

Part of it was to show him how well she is doing on a mixed homeopathic drops formula - designed to deal with arthritis - instead of her "big guns" pain med, Tramadol.

She has a super-serious osteoarthritis at the base of her spine, which was causing her unbearable pain and not letting her walk easily or jump. The Tramadol took the edge off the pain (so she wasn't screaming with pain) and gave her lots of other worrisome conditions, like: nausea, no appetite, and constipation. For all I know, it also made walking kidney failure into galloping kidney failure ! So trying to stimulate her to eat (Periactin and others), then force her to eat - good ole force feeding, enjoyed by noone, and keep her bowels regular (pumpkin & metamucil added to moist food, plus a little Cisapride) - these were my challenges.

So I stopped Tramadol cold turkey about a month ago, Susie was obviously in distress with it, when this homeopathic came onto my horizon. This is what has happened with my formerly feisty little gal since then: Susie has started eating like a mini horse, happily vacuuming up all food in sight, her peeing and pooping have completely normalized. She still pees a lot, but that's par for the course with renal failure. She is much perkier, has started to gain back some of the weight she lost over the past 6 months of being so sick. She's walking without any apparent pain or effort, and I can pick her up again without having to wrap her in two towels so I wouldn't get scratched, bitten or both ! And her long calico coat has gone from matted and dull to fluffy and lustrous again - she has started grooming again, which means she is enjoying her life a lot more. An unexpected bonus is we went for 3 weeks without the need for sub-cutaneous fluids - then we had a few days of heat wave, which her body couldn't cope with, so back to the fluids, but it's been almost a week since the last one. (At her worst, she needed fluids every day...) I am feeling pretty blessed about the whole thing.

So, the vet consult was to show off Susie, update Dr. M. on her symptoms, meds and habits, and find out - what next ? I had also bought an herbal capsules supplement to go with the arthritis drops, and a set of drops & capsules to counter Seizures, my next project. Dr. M. said not to bother with the herbal arthritis remedy, as the drops are working so well on their own. He did remind me, however, that this will not cure anything, it is "palliative care" only. Should I care? If Susie is pain-free and content, then I'm a much happier camper too.

And, he gave me a way to gradually get Susie off Phenobarbital, (which she takes twice a day to prevent seizures), and onto the anti-seizures mixed homeopathic drops. It involves starting the homeopathic, continuing also with the Ph., then gradually decreasing the Ph. to zero over a period of 8 - 10 weeks. And, of course, watching for suddenly increased seizure activity. If there is an increase in seizure activity, I must call Dr. M. for further instructions.

In general, he was very pleased with Susie's progress, where none had been expected, frankly. In his practice he prescribes single homeopathics, rarely mixed, he said, but these combinations interested him. If they work so wonderfully, I'm thinking he could incorporate them into his practice also. Nothing stopping him from ordering them from where I get them. Stay tuned.

When Susie was so sick, she was very passive. She is just starting to be healthy enough to give me a little attitude. A Good Sign, I think. I used to call her Miss Chili Pepper because of the fiery attitude, but it wasn't appropriate for the last 6 months... I lifted her onto my lap for a while tonight to pet her and she was OK with it, then let me know when she wanted DOWN. So far so good.

(I can't tell you how glad I am that Susie is significantly better - taking care of my needs - recovering from hip surgery, with lots of challenges - and nursing her for six months was frequently more than I could really do, but you know how it is, you just do what has to be done !

That's it for our report. Wally and Sheena also had their files updated at the vet's, although they didn't attend...Sheena is actually 20 1/2, and not 21 1/2 - oh well ! Sheena is getting a little wobbly and unstable, but I'm really watching her, so if she starts falling or...we'll be on Dr. M's doorstep.

thanks for reading along this far, and thanks for all your help! May our furry kids ever be healthy ! :thumbs up

August 23rd, 2008, 01:02 AM
Good to hear Susie is feeling better :thumbs up :highfive:

Did the Dr order any blood work this visit or soon to see how things are progressing? :goodvibes:

The single remedy homeopathy is Classic Homeopathy. It can be tricky sometimes when adding different herbs/supplements together, one must know how they react with each other.

One main purpose with homeopathy is support and neutralizing the problem whereas with using drug therapy you are suppressing the symptoms and the immune system at the same time but not curing anything, sometimes creating other side effect issues. This is what initially led me to homeopathy neutralizing the problem not masking it.

:goodvibes::fingerscr for continued good health for everyone :goodvibes:

August 23rd, 2008, 10:28 AM
Good morning ! No, no bloodwork ordered at this time for Susie. The behavioural results spoke very loudly on their own ! :)We had tests done in October 07 and again in January of this year, but I don't have copies of the results. Any concerns that Dr. M. has had with them have been addressed, however.

Re: adding potassium for CRF kitties - my vet recommends Potassium Gluconate, easily available at a compounding pharmacy. All my kitties have it sprinkled on their food at all meals. :angel:

I've added my comments to Duffy's page - :cloud9::thumbs up also...

Best wishes from 3KM and :pawprint::pawprint::pawprint: Da crew !