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About Clematis

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  • Your relationship to the individual who died
  • Date of Death
  • Name/Location of Hospice if they were involved:
    Hospice Compassus Sedona, AZ

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  • Your gender
  • Location (city, state)
    Sedona, AZ
  • Interests
    Lena (my therapy cat), Playing music (cello, ukulele, classical guitar, etc.), Watercolors, Ceramics, Flowers-growing and painting them

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  1. Lena seems to have gotten fairly used to her new supplement. When she has several options, as in this trifecta breakfast, she eats that part last, but she eats it and is not crying and complaining about it. She seemed a little thinner after being ill and is now making up for lost meals. I have read that cats with kidney disease tend to lose weight and I don't want to see her get scrawny so I feed her any time she likes as long as the food is part of her plan. Not long ago I was always trying to get her to lose a little weight; her first vet said she should, and she did lose about half a pound. Now that is the last of my worries; I am more concerned about her hydration and overall health. She seems ravenous all hours of the day, and I am enjoying watching her eat. This is the cat I am used to...
  2. Awww...I feel for you and think about you and Arlie every day...
  3. That seems ridiculous and unnecessary...
  4. Awww...that must be really hard. I feel for you...
  5. I love Lena's new vet. We are slogging along. She got better when she started on the antibiotic, and then better after she had completed it. Now we are adjusting to life with kidney disease. We went to a Pet Partners evaluation to see if she could keep on as a therapy cat. She made her preferences clearly known with some hissing, snarling, and unsavory comments. I surmised that meant no, and she is now a retired therapy cat. She was prescribed a Chinese herb called Rehmannia Eight, and it is to be ground up and mixed with her food, more than once a day. She is also taking a probiotic/prebiotic/anti-inflammatory supplement for pets, the powder from two capsules per day. She does not like the supplements at all and has all kinds of things to say about me ruining her food with supplements. She cries and whines when she sees it, and I feel really badly about ruining her food for her, because she loves to eat. I finally found a compromise about this. I mix up the supplement with some food in the morning and put it in a container. Then, at each meal I put the unadulterated food on one side of her bowl and a little of the stuff with the supplements on the other side of the bowl. She eventually eats all of it. When she has eaten all of a given day's food with the supplements in it, she can have pure cat food fo the rest of the day. She is eating about six small meals per day. This seems to be ok. I hate to put something in my darling's food that she thinks is nasty, but I think it's good for her health...
  6. That's too bad that you can't get a local vet with whom to build a relationship for Arlie. I think the roaming vet and her assistant/husband are good hearted people who love animals, but I think this kind of slippery slope happens when professionals are isolated and have inadequate resources. You don't think of resources you don't have at your disposal. Since she does not have an ultrasound, she cannot get a sterile urine sample from a cat because you need to guide the needle to the bladder with the ultrasound. She should be working closely with someone else and/or making a lot of referrals until she can figure out how to better equip her mobile vet clinic.
  7. Thank you! Lena's new vet said that she is in the very very early stages of kidney disease, but the reason she was feeling sick, lethargic, cranky and not hungry was that she had a UTI. She prescribed an antibiotic and a Chinese herbal remedy called Rehmannia Eight Combination, that is supposed to help her with hydration and delay the progression of the kidney disease. She also told me that Lena does not have to change her foods at this time and is nowhere near needing subcutaneous fluids. Better yet, she told me that there is every reason to believe Lena will have a long life and she will be happy and healthy for many years. Her old vet, the roaming vet, never called me back, but her husband/assistant did. I told him about the UTI and what the new vet said, explaining that she was able to make this diagnosis with the additional information from the UA and ultrasound. He said that they were going with the strong recommendation they had given me of aggressive treatment - subcutaneous fluids and changing her food to that nasty low protein stuff made mostly from pork liver - because they were figuring her clinical symptoms - feeling sick - were due to a very rapidly progressing kidney disease, and that is why they had told me she would not be likely to live very long. Had I stuck with them, they might have been right, because she would have been struggling along with an untreated UTI. I find that disturbing, but am not obsessing over it. I am very much relieved that Lena once more has a vet I feel very good about. Lena's first vet, Dr. Brown, who had twins a couple of years ago, leading me to search for a new vet and I ended up with the roaming vet. So now Lena could see new vet or her first vet. Only problem is that their office is in Flagstaff and that is an hour's drive away, but I can do that. It is a much better alternative than having her seen by someone in whom I have no confidence or trust. And Lena has been on the antibiotic for three days now and is feeling much better. It is a big relief. I was so worried seeing her mope around. I love her SO much!
  8. I was very impressed with Lena's new vet, and Lena seemed to like her as well. She said that it really is essential to have a urinalysis as well as a blood test to make this diagnosis. She also told me that even if Lena does have kidney disease, she is likely to have a long life with good care. She also told me that there are a lot of options to slow the progression. I will know the results of the new lab work tomorrow, and am hoping and praying for the best...
  9. Lena has an appointment for tomorrow for with the vet that my friend Paula recommended. She is the vet who bought Paula's practice when she retired. This is good. Paula did say that Lena's bloodwork was suspicious and it is possible that she may have kidney disease, but if she does at least I will have a diagnosis in which I can have confidence of accuracy. Of course I am hoping that the ckd diagnosis was incorrect. I'll keep you posted when I get any news.
  10. I have been doing my homework, obsessively and perseveratively as is my specialty, researching kidney disease in cats, diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, and so on. The vet is stuck on Royal Canin renal diet. When I read the ingredients, I thought no way ever, because it is highly processed and its primary ingredient after water is pork liver. Pork Liver! This is a cat who sleeps next to a stack of yarmulkes. I have gone to great lengths to buy her the most natural and whole-food products I can find, just like I do for myself. I just can't believe she has chronic kidney disease at the age of 8-1/2 after eating a diet selected to prevent that for the last five years. It doesn't seem possible, and maybe it's not. I found out that there are some other things that could have resulted in her lab results. I also discovered that a complete assessment includes a urinalysis at the same time, blood pressure, and an ultrasound to actually look at the kidneys and other organs. You have to rule out infection, kidney stones, kidney obstructions, and some other things. Also, if dehydration is a possible factor, the cat's hydration needs to be stabilized and the labs repeated in about two weeks. This vet only did one blood test and called it a diagnosis. I had a friend many years ago who told me that when she went to medical school, one of the first things they were taught was that you can't treat a number. If you see an abnormal number on a lab result or other finding, you do a thorough assessment to arrive at a diagnosis, and only then can you consider treatment options. I had a doctor years ago that I saw in Sedona and I didn't think that much of him, but it's a small town. When my dad moved out here, he went to my doctor, who was getting ready to start treatment of something about which he had a number but no further assessment upon which to base a real diagnosis, and my dad was going to do it. I said no, not my dad. I found another doctor, who did a thorough assessment and Dr. #1 was just wrong. He was going to treat my dad for a condition that he did not have. It's unfortunate, but you have to do your homework, for yourself and your loved ones. And I surely do love my cat! After a few days of trying, I finally got hold of my retired vet friend Paula. She worked for somewhere near 40 years before she had to retire because you can't be a Vet and take blood thinners. She had a sterling reputation, and was highly respected. Anyway, she asked me for the history, lab numbers, etc. and she told me that I was right in what I had come up with. She said that these results were indicative of a concern in the kidney area, but there wasn't even close to enough information to reach a definitive diagnosis, and certainly not such a serious one that requires such significant life changes. Not time to panic yet, she said, and that time may not even come. This is good.
  11. I feel so so sad about Lena. I went to synagogue tonight and sat there crying during the service. In six weeks I will have had her for seven years. I thought we would have twice that again, and now it looks like the bulk of our time together may be over. I love this cat so so much. Who knows how much time we have left? I only had one very short conversation with the vet since she called me while I was at the register at the grocery store, trying to help the cashier sort out the groceries for my elderly neighbor and myself. I have talked to her husband (who is her assistant) twice. He said that they were talking about Lena and plan to come see her this week when they are in Sedona to give her fluids. Then sometime soon he will show me how to give her subcutaneous fluids. I bought an IV pole on Amazon...
  12. Thanks, Marty. That is nice that Kay's church is praying for Arlie. I wonder if my synagogue would do that - I kind of think not, but it may be that my friends there might.
  13. I did give George my info and also my progress and where I got stuck - finding info about phosphorus. He may well do better on that issue than I have. It is horrible to watch our beloved furry family members suffer and not be able to do anything about it. I have thought for at least a year, off and on, that something was not quite right with Lena. She has been a little crankier, most of the time, and sometimes she just seems to be tired and lethargic. Also, she started throwing up in a pattern that I realized was related to having an empty stomach early in the morning. I started feeding her earlier in the morning, and that was helpful but not totally effective. I felt like I was being told from all sides that all of this was normal for cats and I was probably just worrying excessively over nothing. But looking back, I think she was actually showing symptoms - the intermittent lethargy, mood change, vomiting - all of that is classic for chronic kidney disease (CKD) in cats. But nothing significant showed up on her bloodwork. Her SDMA, the early CKD marker was 12 two years ago and then 13 one year ago. 14 is the top of normal. This year it is 16. I suppose I could have had bloodwork done earlier - at six months rather than eleven months, but no one suggested this. Actually, no one ever suggested that I get bloodwork or pet insurance for Lena - I just came to this myself. I wish I could have known earlier, but I don't think that was actually possible. It is not generally diagnosed until there are other signs on the bloodwork like elevated creatinine, and that did not show up until just now. I really thought I could help Lena dodge the bullet of CKD by giving her this fabulous wet food that is high in moisture and low in everything you don't want (fat, carbs, synthetic chemicals, sodium, fillers, etc.) Who knows? It is entirely possible that she would have gotten it sooner had I not switched to that food from the dry food five years ago. I suppose it's natural to wonder if we could have done things differently. I remember once Lena's water ran out and was dry - maybe it was twice. I responded by getting her two bowls and bigger ones, so it would not happen again. I don't think that brought on kidney disease. I know in my head that I have been very careful in my care for her, sparing nothing that I could ever think of. The bad news in that is that there is not really much more that I can do. Well, I can give her subcutaneous fluids, and there may be more that is possible, but it is a progressive disease that affects an awful lot of kitties...
  14. Hi George - thanks! I sent you my info in a pm. Cats with kidney disease are supposed to have high liquid, low protein, and low phosphorus. Lena mostly eats Simply Nourish canned food; it's a PetSmart brand. It is human quality food that is low-fat and virtually no carb. It is low protein (10%) because the moisture content is so high (83%). The phosphorus is supposed to be low, but this is a little unclear. I called the company at 888-839-9638 to find out about the phosphorus and I didn't get the best answer. He asked me for the flavors. She mostly eats Chicken Stew, Chicken & Duck Stew, Chicken & Vegetable Stew, and Tuna & Potato Stew. He told me the numbers ranged from .59 to .70, and these are good numbers but he told me it was grams per 3 oz can. The numbers should really be a percentage of DMA (I think that means Dry Materials Analysis). If those numbers really are .59% to .70% of the DMA, that is fabulous because it means that the food she loves and I feel good about and have a stockpile of is perfect for her. Lena has a history of eating anything that says "cat" on it, but she seems to be getting more fussy. Not real crazy about new brands unless it is mostly gravy/liquid, and some of those it's hard to find out the phosphorus on. I found a product called lil' soups that Lena more or less inhales, and that is great because it's mostly liquid. But I can't find out anything about them. Like the phosphorus... The other thing that people do for cats with chronic kidney disease is to give them subcutaneous fluids to help flush the system and add more fluids. That is supposed to slow the progression and also to make them feel better. I also read something about tracking their weight (daily), but I'm not sure what that's supposed to do...something about fluid retention and processing by the kidneys? I'm not sure.
  15. I don't even know where to post this, so I'll put it here under "Still Slogging Along". Yesterday Lena's vet diagnosed her with Kidney Disease. I am devastated and worried and grief-stricken. She is tired and looks like she isn't feeling well. It is an early diagnosis because she has been getting annual bloodwork for several years. Also, she has had health insurance for several years, which makes this not a Pre-existing condition going forward. So hopefully the insurance will help in the future. Still, it is really disheartening news...
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