Our house is definitely one that loves our kitties, and in July of 2018, we saved Heidi from a local shelter. She was the sweetest, little most loving girl. When I picked her up, she purred and rolled over in my arms, burying her face against me. She just wanted to be held and loved on. The shelter employees suspected that she was a Russian Blue mix, but they had no information about her origins, although they thought her birthday was May 3rd.
Unfortunately, URIs were going around at the time and a few days after going home, she got very sick. For the next few months, she battled respiratory infections. It was tough, but her family loved her and wouldn’t give up. Her spay appointment was delayed because, as her vet, Dr. Ahmed of Hesperia Animal Hospital, said, “She is a very sick kitty” and he worried about her immune system. After several rounds of antibiotics, B12 shots, and immune support, she was cleared to go get her spaying completed, but after spaying, she developed a new URI and was sick again. Back she went on antibiotics for several more weeks before she was finally declared free of it.
Finally, at a year old, she seemed fine. Not so! Some time in mid to late September, she started to cough. It was just a little cough, like a furball, but over a few weeks, it got worse. We realized it was not normal and took her in for a checkup on October 9th. The vet panicked and said she was dehydrated and underweight – she had never been a big “eater,” and being skinny was pretty normal for her, but the extent of her weight loss was hard to determine without regularly scheduled weigh ins (since then, we obtained a baby scale and weigh her regularly). She started coughing and losing weight, getting tired with no appetite.
The vet hospitalized her for two nights, and 3 days, during which she had multiple x-rays, bloodwork, and an urinalysis. It turns out fluid had accumulated within her chest cavity and collapsed one of her lungs. After a fluid draining, cytology on the fluid, and the return of her bloodwork, it was determined that this sweet little girl had FIP on Oct 16th.
She had to have two operations – one to remove fluid, and one to remove air that took its place, keeping the lung collapsed. She was placed on prednisolone, clavamox, and gentamicin sulfate drops for her stuffy nose. Her vets did lots of research and had heard of a cure being studied. They separately wanted to give her GS-441524, but weren’t allowed to – they even reached out to the studies to beg for help, but were denied any further assistance. They were giving some tips for palliative care, but that was it. Her vets told us to give her lots of love – they feared the worse would come sooner, rather than later.
We loved her so much and
posted about her on Instagram. She was
improving on the prednisolone, at least a little bit, and that was certainly good, but we knew it was just a matter of time before the fluid came back. Someone contacted me there and told me about FIP Warriors on Facebook. The admins reached out and gave me lots of information about it, and the costs involved to treat her.
It took a little while to find information and make the decision to go forward, as well as some moving of funds to be able to afford the expensive treatments, but Heidi took her first injection of Shire on Nov. 6th. She didn’t like it, but quickly showed improvement.
If everything works out, her graduation date with be January 28th, 2020. We can’t wait! She gains weight, strength, and energy every day!
As of 11/16/19, she has had 11 shots, and she is doing fantastic! We are so shocked by her improvements. I cannot wait for graduation!
Updates: Heidi has been steadily gaining weight! She has gone all the way up to 8.4 lbs as of 12/8/19! She has had 33 injections, and a few raw spots on the back of her neck, unfortunately. However, she mostly tolerates her shots and is doing extremely well. She is playing, engaging, and curious about the world. She is hanging out with the other kitties and chasing them around the house. She is chatty, snuggly, and incredibly affectionate.
More than all of that, she had her first treatment bloodwork at 4 weeks on 12/2/2019. Her results were phenomenal! Her A/G ratio has gone to 0.8 from 0.5. She is pretty much normal in most ways, just a little high on BUN and potassium, probably from the mild diarrhea she was having – which we treated with a liquid probiotic. This has been improving, and appears to be gone at this point.
Heidi continued to improve over the next several weeks. Her diarrhea went away and she continued to gain weight and strength. Her energy has been amazing! We bought her new toys and a new cat tree to climb and play on. She feels strong enough now to take on her fluffy sister. Her weight climbed from 8.18 on December 4th to 9.04 by December 22nd to 9.6 on January 6th!
She did develop an injection sore around Week 6 that was very large. We took her in for a checkup and she was placed on clavamox and given laser therapy. It has healed nicely. She has gotten a few other smaller injection sores, and now has to wear a shirt for a few hours after her shots, as that is when she is most itchy.
She got her 8 week bloodwork completed on December 30th. It came back with FANTASTIC results! She is now up to 1.1 a/g, and everything else is basically normal. She still has very slightly low MCHD and NA/K Ratio, but so minor, it doesn’t appear to matter. She also had a urinalysis which no longer showed microalbuminuria and is overall normal. She looks on track for her graduation on January 28th.
Here are some pictures and her bloodwork:
Her Week 4 Bloodwork:
Her Week 8 Bloodwork:
Her story is shared on ZenByCat at: https://www.zenbycat.org/fip-warrior/heidi