Legs and Lactulose

Pathetic attempt at a catchy title, isn’t it? (What can I say, living with a liver shunt cat certainly makes you appreciate when life is “boring”.)

Just a quick update on everyone’s favourite Spotted Schnookums.

We’d been having another round of urinary issues with him – back and forth to the ER, during late spring and early summer, if I recall.  Once again, the P.U. surgery was being brought up. (Do. Not. Want!)

He’s now been on a Chinese herb, and his Cosequin four times per day, and mostly his pee output has been acceptable for the last few weeks. (I don’t want to jinx it!) He has a follow up exam soon; more urine tests, and possibly another blood test.

We’re still trying to get his gut back to normal after last year’s Clavamox for those rounds of urinary problems, and then the ABX earlier. He’s been on a new probiotic for a couple of months now.  We’re still not back up to his previous high levels of Lactulose, but things are hopefully moving back to his normal.

Kinda.

Now we’ve been having more frequent Hepatic Encephalopathy episodes with him. Some are micro-episodes, with barely discernible drool for a couple of hours, yet normal behavior. Others are more moderate drool for 12 or so hours, but again, more or less normal appetite and behavior.

But, he has had two episodes this summer that really worried us. Both times his hind end was significantly impaired – to the point we were concerned he had fallen and injured his leg. However, it was not injury, but more significant neurological impairment than he typically has experienced with his prior, worse episodes. I’m pretty sure it was the same (right hind) leg both times.

While he does often get what I call “wobbly” during his more moderate episodes, these were the first we can recall where he really acted as if he couldn’t bear weight on especially his hind leg for a short period of time.  Shortly after I had palpated the entire area and found no tenderness, he began drooling, and we realized it was not an injury; it was a New! Previously Unseen! Oh Scheisse! sign of an oncoming episode.

I know with every major milestone Newt has had, we have had to make adjustments. Initial full stabilization, teenage kittenhood, early adulthood, etc. And with him now being NINE YEARS OLD, we will probably have to make adjustments as we learn more about his “senior” status and how that might come into play with his liver shunt.

I’m really hoping this current probiotic is finally doing the trick, and we can ease him back up to his previous Lact level.  (For years, he was on the highest dose of any of the liver shunt cats in his support group – and still not quite at the preferred output consistency.)  So, hopefully all these summertime blips are simply blips as we get him back to his old normal.  Or, we keep making notes, and identify what his newest new normal is going to be.

Newt’s Another Year Older

Newt eats ice cream and pieNewt is Now 9 Years Old!

How does that old song go? Another day older and deeper in debt? Only in this case, it’s another YEAR older!

Another Year Older

Yes, that’s right. Everybody’s favorite Spotted Schnookums had yet ANOTHER birthday, and there was much rejoicing – and ice cream and key lime pie – in Newtopia. Our “he’s probably going to die any day” kitten is now nine years old and officially a senior cat. Can you believe it?!

In looking back over Newt’s blog, I am dumbfounded to see how long it’s been since the last update. How is this possible? (I coulda sworn it had only been a couple of weeks – months, at most!) We’ve had some ups and downs during the last year. Sadly we lost a couple more family members, and Newt has had some more issues with urinary obstructions. Needless to say, he’s being monitored even more closely than before – and I thought that would be impossible!

His liver shunt cat support group is still going strong, and that is where the bulk of my online time usually goes. My current goal is to try and maybe back fill some posts with some of the brighter spots over the last year. (Am still holding a grudge about being forced to switch over to this new platform, but I will try and do better about giving more frequent updates. Y’all know how I have always been a reluctant blogger LOL)

 

Newt is Now Eight Years Old!

Am thrilled to report it’s that time again – yup; Newt’s birthday is today. He is now eight years old! Hard to believe that the runty, dirty, little kitty baby who was “going to die any day” is now approaching middle age. 🙂

Liver shunts in cats are rare; successful medical management is even rarer – or so we’ve been told. We are personally aware of hundreds of parents around the world (many of whom are in Newt’s support group) who are successfully managing their kitty ’s liver shunts. Many thanks to each of you who are sharing our journey with our Little Lion, and sharing Hope for other liver shunt cats.

Together, we ARE making a difference.

Big hugs, and many thanks.

PS – Newt says “send more ice cream !

Ice Cream!

Vet Check Up

Newt had his annual check up this past Tuesday. Apparently the whole clinic was cooing and ahhhing over him – not just the vets and techs, but people in the waiting room.

His blood work showed an elevation in his liver enzymes from last year. Not a huge increase, but big enough that we are going to consider milk thistle seed extract for additional hepatic support. Several other liver shunt cat parents have had very good luck with milk thistle for their PSS kitties.

We are SO lucky with our little liver shunt cat. We have progressed from the very early days where it almost seemed as if the vet clinic had a revolving door, to now, where he mostly has a yearly check up, just like a “normal” cat.

Vet was very pleased; said he looks great!  Cat Daddy explained Newt wasn’t looking quite as spiffy as usual, as he’s had mild episodes off and on the last few days (change of season, so, not out of the norm for him). So, great news that even on a not-quite normal day, he looked normal.

Bonus in that for the first time ever, really, he ACTED like a “normal” cat at the vet. (Yeah, ok fine, no such thing as “normal cat” LOL but Newt has historically been abnormally calm and unfazed through all and sundry). Apparently this time, he began using the most uncivilized language upon entering the clinic, hid under the chair in the exam room, then hid in Cat Daddy’s lap during the exam, and when they took him back to draw blood, express anal glands, etc., he continually invoked the most strident string of curse-filled feline objections ever.

::sniff:: My little boy is growing up!

Throwback Thursday – Hope

OK guys, ended up with an accidental Throwback Thursday post!

Think I need a group hug.  Don’t fret, Newt is FINE. I’m just getting a bit snively and emotional, after looking at his original vet records for the first time in what seems like years.

Was told that he was probably going to die any day, and to just keep him comfortable, so this is nothing new. But reading the discharge papers with the words “poor prognosis” really is taking my breath away.

I remember how stunned we were, and how desperate we were for information and for … Hope. And now, six years later, our tiny Little Lion is a sleek and spoiled older Little Lion?

It seems unbelievable.

So much gratitude to everyone who has joined us on this journey, both from the earliest days to the most recent. Each of you is so important. Each of your sharing your stories of Hope with your own liver shunt kitties is such a beacon of Hope.

Together, we ARE making a difference.

Oops, gotta go, my “poor prognosis” puddy tat needs belly snorgles!

If It Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fix It, Part 342

Well, well, well.

After much frustration, teeth gnashing, and whining (OMG, the WHINING), I finally closed my eyes and pushed the import button.

Once I FOUND it, that is.

I am stunned by the seemingly effortless transfer of what appears, at first glance, to have been a total import of all the posts, pics, comments, etc., of my little blog about our little liver shunt cat named Newt.

Long-time readers may remember my whining about “If It Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fix It” over the years. I used to be quite the tumbleweed, happy to roll with the winds., Change came easily, and was welcomed with wild abandon.  Alas, age has brought a certain degree of caution, which has been compounded by additional layers of caution with ANYTHING to do with our little Spotted Schnookums. Not that I’m superstitious or anything, mind you (remind me to tell you about my recent Friday the 13th Full Moon Adventure).

But … if it’s working, don’t risk it! Something Might Happen …

Well, it appears something DID happen!  This whole import thing suddenly and mysteriously worked, after more than a month of wailing, whining, researching and complaining. Fingers crossed, and much cross-checking in process.  However, it appears that THIS change may be for the better. If the interface is faster and easier to use, well then perhaps the ongoing excuses of why it’s been such a challenge to blog may actually decrease, and posts may actually … dare I say, increase?!

I won’t hold my breath, but … we’ll see. 🙂

Bunny Snax

I was just reminded again why Newt will not be getting his very own bunny rabbit.

He’s been doing very well. Like so many other parents of liver shunt cats, we marvel each day that he is enjoying his normal, happy life. And while he might think his life would be happier with a pet rabbit, the answer is a definite “no!”

You see, I’ve been engaging in a bit of self-care, and relaxing in the fresh air with my antique spinning wheel. Have been enjoying the reasonable temperatures by sitting out in the yard with The Dog and the spinning wheel, enjoying my first attempt at spinning angora rabbit fiber. Oh, my goodness. It’s soft, it’s squishy, it’s fun to spin! (And seeing how angora rabbits must be either plucked or clipped as a routine part of their grooming, it is guilt-free fiber, in my mind. Am doing that bunny a FAVOR, right?)

Have completed one bobbin, and am debating about spinning a second bobbin to ply with the first, or ply with a contrasting cotton thread. Am not a huge fan of brown, and the white is softer anyway.

But seeing how I have almost an equal amount remaining, perhaps I should ply it on itself, to make it doubly squishalicious?

Newt, on the other hand, seems to think angora is simply delicious. He is THRILLED with the angora. Or, at least he was – until I yanked his head, neck and upper body out
of the little bag, and ripped the fur out of his tightly clenched teeth, with
him all wall-eyed, growling and doing his “Little Lion, Mighty Hunter” schtick.

Guess this proves we definitely won’t be getting him his own bunny!

Chill of an Early Fall?

Yesterday morning, while gulping coffee and gazing out the window, I was subconsciously aware that Something Was Not Quite Right, but couldn’t quite figure out what.

Took me a few minutes to realize that the neighbor’s tree has already begun shedding its leaves, and what remain are already turning colors.

What?! It’s only early summer … mid-summer … ok fine, LATE summer. But still! Leaves changing color already?!  Where did the rest of the year go?

I suppose my first clue should have been Newt.

For a couple of weeks now, he’s been quietly insistent on regularly burrowing under the down comforter next to me, instead of just sleeping on it. And last night, he was most pathetic, trying to root and nest under it, until I took pity and arranged him a little Newt-shaped cocoon where he could burrow until I relented and joined him.

It’s still pretty warm and muggy, but the temperatures have not been nearly so yucky as they usually seem for August in DC.

Like so many other liver shunt cats, Newt seems to often be a furry little heat-seeking missile. I do have to wonder if his recent insistence on stealing my covers indicates an early Fall, and possibly hard winter.

If it does, should I start the Newt Almanac? Think it could give the Farmers’ Almanac a run for its money?

Another Lesson

Uhm.

Hello. It’s me again. The reluctant blogger with the world’s most adorable liver shunt cat? Oh, I know, all of you owners think your OWN liver shunt cat is the cutest, but humour me, okay? I need a bit of tea and sympathy, and possibly a swift kick in the ass.

I think we’ve gotten Newt’s annual ER visit out of the way.

He’s been doing so well. Cat Daddy had been out of town for a few
days, and I was trying to complete some major home improvement projects,
and my vigilance slipped. I’m trying desperately to not feel guilty,
but … it’s my fault.

Any sort of change can affect my special little snowflake, so between
the moving of furniture, the painting, the slightly off-kilter feeding
schedules, the dashing to and fro from the store, the missing his daddy,
my own personal stress of family crisis, and various other stimuli,
well, he was already showing mild pre-episodic signs, but I was hoping a
full-blown Hepatic Encepalopathy episode might be averted.

I carefully prepped his meals and soups, trying to keep him on some semblance of order while Cat Daddy was away. Things were going really well, in spite of the frenzy.

Until some dumbass (that would be moi) forgot to pull the bowls of
Forbidden Food after Other Cats had lunch on Sunday. By the time I realized what had
happened, and began administering extra Lactulose, it had already gotten a
firm hold. This was his worst episode in almost 5 years. Not as bad as
the worst early ones, but pretty worrisome. Heavy drool, progressing to appareent blindness, low temp, weakness and neurological impairments.

If things had been worse at
the ER and they had insisted on keeping him, I woulda been begging for
mojo like I did when he had his little Pecker Problem. But a Lactulose
enema, some fluids, and chilling under the expert care of Cat Daddy (who
returned home JUST in time) had him right as rain again.

I seriously doubt that he learned anything about stealing Other Cats’ Food, but I certainly got a rude lesson!