ronniecaliente
Warning, novella length posting, but I just have to get it all written down.

It was just a month ago that I was talking to a close friend about her cat, Trina, who is 15, and was not eating regularly and lost a lot of weight. I gave her suggestions for what we did to get our old cat, Puddin, to eat when she had cancer at age 16. I remember thinking to myself "thank goodness my 2 kitties are young and healthy, and I don't have to go through that again anytime soon!" since they are only 3 years, 8 months (siblings).

Little did I know that just 1 week later I'd be taking Maggie to the vet to be checked out, because on Monday she refused to eat her treats (very unlike her), and wasn't her usual boisterous self. By Tuesday I realized she was just licking her food and not actually eating it, and she seemed lighter and rather lethargic. I got an appointment for Wednesday, and after checking her out and doing a blood draw, the vet told me she was yellowish (jaundiced), she had a slight fever and her liver levels were elevated, but she tested negative for pancreatitis (a possible cause for her feeling ill). She was afraid of hepatic lipidosis (this was the first time I'd heard of this condition), and gave me an appetite stimulant, anti-nausea meds and an antibiotic for her, in case it was an infection. They gave her fluids to hydrate her, and told us to bring her back the next day to check her temp and give her fluids, as the 4th of July was the next day and they would be closed. We had an appointment for her on Saturday to come back, and I purchased some food that was supposed to be extra palatable for sick cats. I irrationally thought I'd jinxed myself by talking to my friend about how to get her cat to eat.

I have a friend who is a vet and asked her how much food should I try to get Maggie to eat, and she told me a minimum of 30ml, so I measured that out and throughout the day on Friday the 4th, my partner (her daddy) and I tried to finger feed her. She was drooling a lot and only half the food we gave her was getting in her mouth and she was getting more apathetic instead of feisty, and we were so worried, we took her to the emergency vet in our area. They kept her overnight and gave her fluids and meds and observed her, and the next morning we took her to the much larger specialty facility about 10 miles away for an ultrasound. After she had her ultrasound, the vet called me with bad news, Maggie was very ill, her liver levels were worse, and it was inflamed as was her pancreas. They tested again for pancreatitis, and it wasn't conclusive, but did show some abnormalities. We decided to proceed with the protocol for hepatic lipidosis, medication and feeding. She had a naso-gastric tube put in, and spent the next 2 nights in kitty ICU.

She required a plasma transfusion as her clotting times were slow, and once they improved they aspirated some cells from her liver. They did not show anything out of the ordinary, but an actual biopsy was too risky. They put in an esophageal tube for feeding, and we took her home Monday night (7/7). I started regular tube feedings, and her meds would go through the tube too, which was great. She responded well, no vomiting after feeding, but feline encephalopathy was affecting her, she would get up mid-feeding and just move to another spot or turn in a circle and lay down again. The toxins in her liver that were going to her brain and causing confusion. She had a few accidents on the floor or in her beds, but did make it to her litter box most times. Unfortunately she developed diarrhea and as a long haired cat, that made for troublesome cleanup. We were noticing small improvements in her demeanor, and she was responding to us and reacting to things like birds outside when I opened the window, etc, and she even drank some water on her own, so we were hopeful. She would occasionally spot her brother outside the bedroom we set up as her recovery room, and her ears would perk up and they'd look at each other.

She was scheduled for a recheck on Tuesday, 7/15, but before that happened, she started vomiting after feeding and meds. I started feeding her much smaller meals, more often, and giving her meds at separate times. It seemed like the water to clean the line was putting her over the edge. The vet called me at her recheck and let me know her levels were even worse, and she wanted to start her on steroids, in case it was inflammatory liver disease. She said we could leave her overnight for observation, and be able to get some sleep, or take her home, and we'd do exactly the same thing they would do. Since we already knew how to give meds, we took her home and stayed with her all evening. I fed her a small meal and she kept it down. At 10PM I gave her her prednisolone, but she vomited it up. I waited till midnight and gave it again, and she kept it down. At 1:00AM I gave her her clavamox, and she seemed like it would come up, but I lay on the floor with her and stroked her back and head and she fell asleep. Around 1:45AM, she started to cry in pain, her daddy was holding her and I was on the phone with a vet tech at the ER facility, and described her symptoms, when it happened, and she died. It was awful, and I have a hard time not replaying it in my mind. My partner started yelling her name, asking her to breathe, and I was just crying "oh, no god no, no no!" and the poor vet tech was saying "please bring her in, bring her in!"

We took her in as quickly as we could, there was no traffic as it was 2:00AM, I had my hand in the carrier the whole time, on her to see if she was moving. They were waiting at the door for us, but it was too late, she was gone. The vet looked at her, they cleaned her up (she had vomited) and brought her in on a little bed to say goodbye. We were all so hopeful she'd recover, because she was so young and the vet said her heart was strong. But in the end, my little girl just didn't have any fight left in her, and she died just before 2:00AM on 7/16.

I keep going on and on in my head, what if I noticed sooner she was just licking her food and not eating? What if we started her on steroids sooner? Should we have started them right away? was it that last dose of medication that sent her over the edge? I know we did the best we could, but we feel so responsible and guilty for not being able to save her. Now that it's been a week that she's gone, we feel guilty for being able to start sleeping better. I still cry every day, I wake up and think "time to get Maggie's syringe of food ready" or "i have to give her her meds", then I remember that I don't. I have been watching her brother like a hawk, making sure he has attention and regularity in his life, and I am monitoring his food to make sure he's still eating.
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Katel
I am so sorry to hear what a terrible time you had with your little cat Maggie, truly awful.  Please don't blame yourselves for anything as you did more than many would have done and tried
everything and it was obviously a very difficult disease for the vets to diagnose properly.
You followed their advice just as any of us would done and gave her love and comfort in her last days.
She was home with the ones she loved. which is so important. 
Her little brother will probably miss her but I know you are loving him and taking good 
care of him.

Please come back and talk more if you want to as we all share our pain here and give support
to each other and perhaps later on if you feel like it post a picture of your dear Maggie.  

Sincere and warm condolences
Kate 
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MurphysMom_0831
I'm so sorry for your loss of little Maggie. Her story sounds eerily familiar to me except in my case, it was my beloved Golden Retriever, Murphy. He went to the Rainbow Bridge in my arms on June 18 after spending 13 days in a specialty hospital and having surgery which finally diagnosed massive pancreatitis. His entire story is in a thread here, too. All the things tested for and all the treatments you describe Maggie receiving are the same ones Murphy received. He had stopped eating at the end of May, and during surgery they inserted 2 feeding tubes into his stomach. One was removed a few days later as it was making him worse. He then perked up very well on June 17 and was supposed to come home June 19. However, he took a terrible turn on June 18, could no longer keep down even the tube feedings, could no longer get up or raise his head. I rushed down there to spend time with him before he was sent to the Rainbow Bridge while lying in my arms. None of his tests confirmed pancreatitis either, even numerous ultrasounds, but he had all the lab abnormalities that Maggie had, and that's why they said they had to do surgery and find out what it was making him so ill. Murphy lost his ability to fight any longer as well.

I feel it is very comforting that we were able to be with them when they passed. Murphy knew I was there as he wagged his tail at me when they wheeled him into the Quiet Room, and obviously Maggie knew you and your husband were there with her. I believe seeing our beloved babies through their final journey is one of the greatest things we can do to repay the unconditional love we received from them.

Again, I am very sorry for your loss.

Blessings,
Murphy's Mom (Kathryn)
"Sometimes there is a dog who is so special, he is able to wrap himself so completely around your heart it is impossible to tell where you begin and he ends."  For My Beloved Murphy, 08/31/2004 - 06/18/2014


http://rainbowsbridge.com/residents/MURPH121/Resident.htm


http://s327.photobucket.com/user/kathrynbrown1626/library/?sort=6&page=1
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ronniecaliente
Thank you for the kind words, Kathryn and Kate, they are very appreciated!

Kathryn, I'm so sorry to read about Murphy's illness, it does sound very similar to our experience with Maggie. It was so hard to go from never even knowing about this illness to losing her in 14 days. We'd read so much about hepatic lipidosis, encephalopathy, pancreatitis, and the care protocol, we were so certain it would work because we'd armed ourselves with great vets and knowledge and dedication to her care.

It becomes more real each day - I keep expecting to hear her come running down the stairs when I shake the bag of treats, or to follow me to the bathroom, laundry room, kitchen (she followed me everywhere!). She was only 10lbs, but when she ran down the stairs, she sounded like she weighed 50, it was so funny how loud she was!

It's especially tough because I work from home, and spent every day with them from the time we brought them home at 11 weeks, except for the occasional weekend trip away, or a day spent in the actual office downtown once a month. Missing our daily routines is hard. Maggie would go upstairs after Garry got home from work and he'd always lay down for a little nap, and she'd join him, draping herself over his legs. At night, Maggie would climb on my lap on the couch, then move to the end table, where she'd grab my arm and hold onto my hand so I wouldn't stop petting her belly - her favorite spot to be petted!

I know she knew we loved her more than anything (except for her brother). They were so different too - Max is very serious, very zen, but sometimes a little weird. Maggie was non-stop goofiness, she acted like a kitten and made me smile even when she got into mischief! I'm trying to bring a more playful side of Max out now, so he's not so serious. I'm so glad we have him, it would be so much harder if it was only Maggie.

Veronika


http://rainbowsbridge.com/residents/MAGGI391/Resident.htm
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MurphysMom_0831
Veronika, this is really unusual. I work from home, too. Murphy was always lying right next to my desk, in between it and my parrot's cage. He knew when it was time for me to start work and headed for my office, and knew right when I should be finished and headed for the living room. He developed Addison's disease in April 2011 and after that first crisis, I started sleeping on the couch with him lying right in front of it from so I was always right there to make sure he was okay. I haven't been back in my bed since. As soon as I would sit down on the couch, no matter the time of day, there was Murphy either next to me or lying in front of me, often under my legs (and he was a big Golden) wanting a belly rub. Every night when we went to sleep, I had my hand on his belly giving him a rub until my arm fell asleep, too. Any time I was sitting down and stopped rubbing him, he'd paw at me and move my hand back to his belly with his paw. It was so adorable. I have a photo at his Rainbow Residency of him asking for a belly rub. The house is so terribly quiet and it's so lonely without him. Belly rubs were our favorite thing, and it's what I miss most other than his presence.

I went through a terrible ordeal in regards to guilt over agreeing to the extremely aggressive treatment at the hospital, especially the surgery. I know in my mind that if I hadn't agreed, I never would have known what was wrong with him or if he could be saved. However, in my heart I absolutely can't deal with the pain he endured, him being afraid about not being at home with all the horrible things being done to him, and most of all Momma not being right there as I was for all of his life. I was only allowed to visit once in 13 days, and it was 2 days before he passed. Everything I eventually agreed to didn't work anyway. I'm trying very hard to come to grips with what my mind tells me, but it's so hard to know if I did what Murphy would have wanted. I'm actually entering pet loss therapy next week.

I'm so thankful I have Spencer, the puppy Murphy put it in my mind to get back earlier this year. They became best friends, even if they only got to spend a few months together. Spencer goes to puppy daycare every day while I work as it's impossible to listen on headphones with a crazy little dude getting into everything. But he's a real blessing and grows on me more every day. My parrot talks up a storm and loves to be held and petted, and she comforts me as well when I'm upset by asking "are you alright, are you okay?"

I'm so thankful you have Maggie's brother Max to help you through your grief. And what a wonderful connection to her.

Blessings,
Murphy's Mom (Kathryn)
"Sometimes there is a dog who is so special, he is able to wrap himself so completely around your heart it is impossible to tell where you begin and he ends."  For My Beloved Murphy, 08/31/2004 - 06/18/2014


http://rainbowsbridge.com/residents/MURPH121/Resident.htm


http://s327.photobucket.com/user/kathrynbrown1626/library/?sort=6&page=1
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