Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Our mysteriously Fleurp and her anemia

So several years ago, Fleurp started licking the cement in our basement and eating dirt out of our plants. It was such an odd thing (although sadly not the oddest thing ever to happen in my house - that distinction goes to Ollie who used to eat the pink fiberglass insulation) that I looked it up online. I found that it was a huge red flag that a cat could be anemic.

I made an appointment with the vet as soon as I could, although I am kinda sad to admit how much time had elapsed since I first realized the symptom and the time I got there, and low and behold her blood count was very low.  We put her on prednisolone and doxycycline and took x-rays (lots of x-rays before was all said and done since she had a huge chunk of cement in her belly)

We tested her for felv/fiv (negative) and hemobart (neg), but she responded so nicely to the pred and held her RBC that we let it go.

That fall she seemed to be having problems again so I brought her in for another cbc and she was fine.

The next spring, anemic again.  More tests. More pred.. Still no answers, and she bounces back like a rubber ball we cross our fingers.

Again, spring.. *sigh* went holistic route this time.. we got her through it with just holistic remedies. Didn't even test her that year, but she started losing the fur off her ears.  Vet was so busy that when I asked about it she told me to discontinue the remedy and didn't offer any other solutions.. she did fine off the remedy so we just let it go and crossed our fingers again.

Last year.. more anemia.  More discussions with the vet. Still no answers.

this year on June 12th
This year I spent the whole year preparing her body to do battle with anemia. I gave her regular supplementation of liqui-tinic to keep her body well stocked with b vitamins, amino acids and iron. I gave her semi regular supplementation of her raw food with Fancy Feast classics to keep her weight up (she has weight loss with her anemia) I brushed her regularly in case shedding had anything to do with it. I lavished her with love.

Yeah, love didn't cut it, neither did anything else. Her blood was so sticky that the machine that does the CBC read it as 3% (which is practically dead and needs a blood transfusion now) so they spun it and got 13. It was odd because she was still fairly pink up until that last day, and her weight was holding steady; and while she wasn't lethargic she was less interested in things just staring off at nothing unless we were actively trying to get her attention - which was very easy to do. This time she started licking the mirror.. just one mirror in the bedroom, and she did it every time after I gave her some canned food.

The vet.. I like the vet because she is thorough, but she takes every immediate symptom and runs through all of the scenarios, including the worst case one. Fleurp had a bit of an arrhythmia, and she is talking of blood tests and echo-cardiograms before we even ran her cbc.  When her blood count came back, I asked if that could cause the arrhythmia and she admitted it could, so I said we would worry about that afterwards. Since we have no idea why she becomes anemic every single late spring, she talked about all of the things we could test including a bone biopsy. It has been mentioned a few times that it might be immune mediated hemolytic anemia and that we can test for, with the Coombs test.  So we ran that... and oddly enough it was negative.

I REALLY want to know what this is, but I don't see the point in running tests, especially bone biopsies which has got to hurt, to prove what it might be if the treatment is always going to be a round of steroids when ever she starts having a problem. I need to have another good discussion with the vet about what it could be, what tests there are to prove it, and if it is what ever we are testing for, what is the results of knowing this.  If there is a possibility to fix what ever it is, I'm all over that like white on rice (well on white rice - since forbidden rice is black)

24 hours after starting pred.. she's getting into trouble again
So we tested her again on Monday, and her PCV went from 13% to 23%.  Like a rubber ball my little girl.. (in more ways than one) so we are going to continue her on pred twice a day until the 1st when we test her again (and Muffin and Kit are going in for dental cleanings) and hopefully we will have a stronger game plan, but if not the vet is talking about putting her on pred come the first of June next year and just hoping to keep this from happening again.


  1. Anonymous1:06 AM

    Our dog Kassie kept collapsing and having anemia, so bad that she had to have 3 transfusions over the course of a year, 2 one right after the other the first time she collapsed. At first they thought maybe she had cancer as the illness had made her spleen and some other organs enlarge. They ended up diagnosing her as having an autoimmune disorder and was on prednisone for quite a while. She was so bad the first time around that they weren't really sure she would make it. On the prednisone and I think another med she improved and we had about a half a year before she relapsed, then again after a transfusion and increase in her meds she bounced back. We ended up having her for another 4 years before we finally had to let her go but not due to the illness. She ended up having severe arthritis and hip problems, when she was no longer able to walk and was in constant pain we let her go. Did your doc indicate thoughts of an autoimmune disorder? Basically ours indicated that Kassie's immune system attacked her red blood cells for unknown reasons. She went into remission about year 3, so was able to have a year off of prednisone before we had to let her go. Maybe that's kind of what is happening with Fleurp. She's able to stabilize with the meds and help and during the course of the year her immune system starts attacking again until it gets too overwhelming for her body. :-( Hope they figure this out for you. ::HUGS::

  2. Poor Fleurp! I hope you are able to keep her stable in the future. Having these anemic spells are no fun for either of you.

  3. We purr that an answer will be found soon.
    This does not sound like much fun.
    Purrs for Fleurp.
    Purrs Georgia and Julie,
    Treasure and JJ

  4. Amazing that even with your supplementation and preparation she still became anemic. Lots of purrs for both of you while you get her feeling better.

  5. This truly is a mystery. I know you've done everything you can. How frustrating.

  6. Obviously, Fleurp has the right humans to care for her; look at all you've done, and you'll do even more. Around here, folks with unusual pet issues take their animals to Michigan State University Veterinary care, where the staff and students work hard to diagnose and treat. Wonder if Fleurp could use a whole battery of vet minds to help her. And what's with Spring? Sending purrs to your and Fleurp.

  7. Oh dear, this is very hard for Fleurp AND you! You're doing all that you can, but this seems chronic. Purrs to all.

  8. Poor Fleurp. Hope there's something that can stabilize her condition or even cure it. Purrs.

    Emma and Buster

  9. It is odd that it seems to happen every year around this time but it sounds like you are working through all the options. Knowing this and giving her pred next year might be the best thing. Purrs to you, sweet Fleurp.

  10. I will add Fleurp to my prayer list, poor kitty.

  11. I'm sorry to hear that Fleurp has been so ill! That has to be really stressful. *hugs* I will be praying that you find the root cause and a good solution. Cinco and Manna send their purrs too.

  12. How strange. We're sorry Fleurp is having these issues. We hope you can one day figure out what is causing it. But at least you know what to expect and can treat her when necessary. Purrs to Fleurp.

  13. That is not good news poor Fleurp being not well.......................

  14. Have you thought about a university vet school? They are pretty up on everything usually, and maybe they can figure Fleurp's problem once and for all.


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