Re: Darcy's story (a bit long)

Karla Starrett ( karlas@honeymoonpaper.com )
Mon, 22 Feb 1999 11:58:21 -0500

It sounds very familiar. My Frankie had breathing problems also but
unfortunatly he was an older cat and could not over come some of the
problems it caused such as stress on the other organs.
I am glad that you are willing to fight this disease it can be
overwhelming at times.
Try the immunoregulin alot of people on the list has used it with success.
Good luck and prayers for Darcy and your friend

Karla

At 08:19 AM 2/22/99 -0700, you wrote:
>Hello all!
>
>I have a friend who has a beautiful FeLV+ cat. She's having trouble
>with him and she and her vet are not quite sure what steps to take
>next. She doesn't really understand how mailing lists work, so I told
>her I'd act as go-between as far as posting messages and forwarding
>replies. If after reading Darcy's story you have anything you can
>suggest from your own experiences or knowledge, please, please post and
>I'll forward it on to her. Thanks so much for your time!
>
>Tiffany (owned by 8 beautiful indoor-only, altered, non-FeLV+ cats)
>
>Darcy's Story
>
>(I don't know if it's general knowledge, but RAC is Rabies Animal
>Control.)
>
>Darcy was adopted from RAC two years ago. I was told that he was six
>weeks old, weaned and eating solid food, neutered, and "a fat, healthy,
>happy little kitten". Two days later, my vet told me Darcy was only
>four weeks old, malnourished, loaded with worms, and suffering from
>double pneumonia. In short, he was in bad shape, and the prognosis for
>recovery wasn't good. But he was given a dose of droncit and a supply
>of amoxi, and we went home to wrestle the devil.
>
>Within days, he was worse; the amoxi wasn't working. We returned to Dr.
>E. and he took a culture and changed the antibiotic from amoxi to
>panmycin. The culture results wouldn't be back for two-three days, so
>we'd just have to struggle through until then. Those were two of the
>longest days I'll ever know. Darcy stopped eating and drinking, and
>finally curled up in his litter box, sinking deeper into his illness. I
>held him through those endless nights and begged him to keep breathing,
>forcing him to take water and liquefied food from an eye dropper. The
>panmycin had no effect, and each day I called Dr. E's office every few
>hours to ask about the culture results which seemed to take forever to
>arrive.
>
>Finally, the lab report came back: Darcy needed Cefadroxil, the only
>antibiotic that killed the culture. I raced to Dr. E's office for the
>precious fluid, and started Darcy on it the minute I came home. This
>was the point of no return: if he made it through the night, recovery
>was almost assured.
>
>The hours crawled by while my poor little baby struggled for air, but
>finally, right before dawn, his breathing leveled out and he relaxed
>into an even sleep. When he awoke, he yawned and stretched -- and
>tottered into the kitchen toward his bowls. When he hesitantly began
>lapping water for the first time in three days, I burst into tears of
>joy and gratitude. Soon he started to nibble his food, and I knew the
>worst was over. My Darcy would live.
>
>He stayed on the Cefadroxil for two full weeks, and by then it was time
>to take him in to Dr. E. again for a follow-up exam, his FeLV test, and
>his vaccinations. He'd been so sick the whole time I'd had him that
>we'd had to postpone all the routine care until he'd recovered enough to
>draw a blood sample. Now he'd gained weight and filled out, his eyes
>were bright and clear, his coat was kitten-soft and shiny -- he was the
>very picture of health.
>
>When Dr. E. showed me the results of the leukemia test, I felt as though
>I'd been kicked in the stomach. There in front of me were the horrible
>blue dots condemning my Darcy to premature death. Dr. E. surmised that
>Darcy's mother had been infected, consequently infecting the whole
>litter. I was stunned into paralysis, not believing that my exuberant
>little kitten playing happily on the examination table had just been
>given a death sentence.
>
>Compassionate man that he is, Dr. E. explained all the ramifications of
>being leukemia-positive. I listened to the odds, and decided to opt for
>whatever time we could have together. Darcy would have the best life I
>could give him, and when it was time to let go, he would tell me. But
>not until then.
>
>Since that day, Darcy's life has been as normal as I could make it.
>He's gotten all his vaccinations (except for FeLV, of course), and he's
>been retested twice. The readings were both strong positives, so
>there's no longer any doubt. Dr. E. has never disputed or questioned my
>decision, but I know he's become very frustrated at times treating
>Darcy's seemingly endless chronic conditions.
>
>Darcy is two years old now (I estimate he was born in mid-February, so I
>celebrate his birthday on Valentine's Day), and judging only from
>appearance, he's a normal, healthy, happy, classic, charcoal grey
>tabby. But he sounds like he's breathing through a bellows, wheezy and
>asthmatic, and this has gone from an occasional occurrence to a constant
>condition.
>
>Since his first bout with double pneumonia, Darcy's been back to see Dr.
>E. many times, and usually for the same thing, or variations thereof:
>upper respiratory, bronchial, asthma, allergies. Makes sense, I
>suppose, since his respiratory system was whammied from the beginning,
>but I know it's the underlying dormant leukemia that keeps him from
>being able to ever totally recover. He's been on so many different
>types of antibiotics: Amoxi (nothing in the Amoxi family works for
>him); Panmycin (also ineffective); Cefadroxil (formerly the magic
>bullet, but no longer); Baytril (doesn't work); Antirobe (doesn't work);
>Delta Alba Plex (works for a few days, then quits). His last
>prescription was for Cefzil, an antibiotic usually prescribed for
>children with URI. As with most everything else he's taken, it seemed
>to help for about three days, then fizzled out.
>
>Last April, Dr. E. started Darcy on Prednisone to alleviate the asthma
>symptoms. He began with a single .5mg tablet every other day; last
>month, the dosage was increased to two tablets every other day. In
>addition, he gets 1/4 tablet of theophyline daily, which he's been on
>since last August. Every morning and evening when he's fed (Darcy has
>no "appestat", so I feed him controlled portions twice a day), I give
>him 6ml of a nutritional supplement recommended by Dr. E. (Classic
>nutritional powder with betacarotine). Also every morning, he gets 1/2
>capsule of echinacea powder, another suggestion by Dr. E. which we've
>been following since the results of the first blood test.
>
>Late last July, Dr. E. felt it would be helpful for Darcy to have his
>sinuses scoped and a series of x-rays taken to see if there might be
>some kind of obstruction inhibiting his breathing. Even though it meant
>subjecting him to anesthesia, I felt the overall benefits would outweigh
>the risks, so I agreed. There was nothing unusual in the sinus
>cavities, but Darcy does have an elongated palate, which can become
>irritated and then magnifies the wheezy breathing sounds. There is a
>surgical procedure that could possibly correct this, but results aren't
>guaranteed and Dr. E. doesn't think the additional risks of subjecting
>Darcy to another anesthesia are justifiable in this case. Darcy's
>recovery from this anesthesia was very difficult, and I won't put him
>through it again unless there's absolutely no other alternative.
>
>Sprinkled throughout all the various and sundry office visits and
>treatments throughout the past two years were assorted alternative
>approaches, including herbal allergy medications and enclosed sessions
>with humidifiers (both warm and cool mist). The results were negligible
>at best and Darcy hated them all. Sometimes I feel as though I'm
>torturing him, and I can't bear the thought of forcing him to endure
>anything more.
>
>Where we are now: Darcy isn't taking any antibiotics, since they don't
>seem to do him any good anyway. He looks wonderful and behaves normally
>in every way . . . but he sounds hideous; his every breath is audible.
>Sometimes his eyes water and his nose runs a little; I'm convinced if I
>could teach him how to blow his nose and use one of my own asthma
>inhalers that his wheezy-noise problem would be solved. (He only
>wheezes when he's up and walking around, not when he's sleeping.) He
>hasn't seen Dr. E. in over a month, but he'll be going in this week for
>a checkup and so I can get new prednisone and theophyline
>prescriptions. I'm going to ask Dr. E. about immunoregulin, and also
>about using small doses of human allergy medication (like Claritin or
>some such) for Darcy. It doesn't hurt to ask.
>
>Meanwhile, Darcy's still loving his life and having a great time. He
>doesn't know he sounds awful, or if he knows, he doesn't seem to care.
>He still very much wants to live, and as long as he doesn't give up, I
>can't give up on him. We'll both know if that ever changes.
>
>/smg

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