Could use some encouragement (stomatitis and kidney disease in young cat)...

r-kins

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(TL; DR: My young cat is sick and I'm feeling really overwhelmed and frustrated and exhausted.)

Hey all! It's been almost three years since my beloved cat passed away from what was likely a brain tumor. He was only five. We didn't know what it was, so I spent almost a year trying to figure out what was wrong and then two months towards the end we knew it was a mass in his brain and were trying to see if it was bacteria or fungus by treating. (I didn't want to put him through brain surgery and chemo for another year at most with him, so those were the best treatments available after lots of testing.) After meds and feeding tubes and gentle care hoping he'd get better, he suddenly developed a neurological problem and I had to let him go.

It took me two years to be ready for another cat. I still cry when I think about him. He was my soulmate, and his illness and death were deeply traumatizing for me. Almost exactly a year ago, I adopted the sweetest pair of brothers. I named them Freddie and Finn. They were supposedly three according to the shelter, but my vet said they looked closer to 1.5 years. Their first exam went great. Tested negative for everything, just a tiny bit of gingivitis, everything else was a thumbs up.

I took Freddie in for his yearly a couple of weeks ago and the vet found he has terrible stomatitis that has advanced so badly within a year he needs teeth removed and will (likely) eventually need a mouth full extraction. I mentioned he'd been urinating slightly larger amounts lately, and blood and urine tests have shown some kind of kidney disease is likely. The vet tried antibiotics and a culture in case it was an infection and his levels came back the same, so he's being transitioned to renal food and she said it would be a good idea to get an ultrasound read by an internist to make sure it's not underdeveloped kidneys or anything else, since it's unusual (although not unheard of) for kidney disease in such a young cat.

I'm distraught. I'm having what I feel is likely PTSD from the trauma of my other cat's sickness and passing. I'm confused as to why my new wonderful cat is sick with long-term disease, and why everything is so unfair. I just wanted a healthy cat so I could enjoy them without stress, as I'm already someone with anxiety. I'm worried for him. I'm worried I won't do a good job, and I'm worried he'll die. I'm worried he'll get sick of the new renal food. I feel like I'm stealing his teeth from him. I'm angry that everything in Chicago (where I live) is so expensive that it feel like I'm already getting fleeced just from the price of the ultrasound. My actual vet is as reasonably priced as Chicago can be and it's still so expensive to have the testing, pay for special food, and have his dental done. (I trust her and she's never pushy.) I have family and friends that care and support me, but I feel so alone in the caregiving and treatment. I would never give him back to a shelter or let him be in pain and left untreated, but everything is suddenly so overwhelming that I just needed to reach out to others that have felt this way, which I'm sure is many of you, as we're all posting all over cat forums.

Sorry for any typos. I'm just a mess lately.
 

Furballsmom

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I don't know if this will help, but if this had happened to me I'd try and take the approach that if he were with someone else who didn't have the resources he'd be in a horrible situation.

This is so unfair for both of you, but bless your heart that you are his person and are there for him.

You have all my thoughts and prayers

:vibes::crossfingers: :hugs: :alright:

Some of us who have had kidney kitties have found that a low phosphorus commercial nonprescription food such as Evangers or Weruva can be utilized.
 
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r-kins

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I don't know if this will help, but if this had happened to me I'd try and take the approach that if he were with someone else who didn't have the resources he'd be in a horrible situation.

This is so unfair for both of you, but bless your heart that you are his person and are there for him.

You have all my thoughts and prayers

:vibes::crossfingers: :hugs: :alright:

Some of us who have had kidney kitties have found that a low phosphorus commercial nonprescription food such as Evangers or Weruva can be utilized.
Thank you for your kind words. I am really glad that I can take care of him. It's a lot to handle and I know I'll be able to do it, but it's just so daunting, both emotionally and monetarily.

Fortunately for me, he's a vacuum cleaner and wolfed down his Royal Canin mystery meat, but I'll keep these two brands in mind, especially if he begins to get bored with the other food. I don't love that all of the bigger brands seem to be made with "byproduct" and just don't sound great, but obviously if it works for his kidneys and he eats it, who am I to judge?
 

mrsgreenjeens

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Just to you know, many cats have their teeth pulled (all of them), and they still eat kibble! Sounds weird, but it's true. BUT, if he has kidney disease, it's best if he eats the wet version of the kidney diet, if he (Freddie) is agreeable to that. And there are many different kidney foods out there, so if he tires of one, there are more to choose from. And there are over the counter foods that work well for kidney cats as well. None of my kidney cats ever ate the kidney diets, mainly because they didn't like them. As to the stomatitis, did Freddie stop eating, or slow down in his eating? Usually cats with stomatis have trouble eating. It's possible that once he has a dental and get the teeth that are problematic pulled, he will be just fine. Sometimes specific antibiotics help with stomatitis.

I've had three kidney cats and never had an ultra sound in any of them, nor did my Vet recommend one. Perhaps it was because they were older, but I'm just wondering what difference it would make in the long run. If his kidneys are underdeveloped, there is nothing they can do about it, so what good does it do to know about it? (Our Vet could feel that their kidneys weren't the right size just by feeling around during their exams - usually one was smallelr than the other) If it is something else, could they "cure" him? I would ask those questions before spending the money for it, especially if you feel they are fleecing you. With one of our kidney cats, she started developing liver problems and our Vet said they could do an ultrasound on her liver if we wanted, but when we asked what that would achieve, she basically said "not much unless you want to put her through surgery in case it's a tumor". That wasn't going to happen to a then 14 or 15 year old cat with kidney disease, so we declined. She still lived until she was 16 :redheartpump:.

Anyway, you mentioned the bloodwork amd urine tests shows some kind of kidney disease is likely. What does that mean? Usually it's either they have it or they don't, especially if you try antibiotics for a UTI and the results don't change. Is that why they want an ultrasound?

Hang in there :alright: I know it's scary when you get news as you have, but it's possible Freddie still has a lot of living left. And even if he loses all his teeth, he can be a happy cat. As long as he has an appetite, that's a great sign for both issues!
 

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I agree about asking the purpose for an ultrasound and knowing more details about Freddie's kidney values. I have also heard that stomatitis can have an impact on other organs - which could explain Freddie's abnormal kidney values. After all it is inflammation which most likely affects other parts of the body. It very well could be that once you resolve his stomatitis, the kidney values will change. The teeth are typically what causes stomatitis in the first place, and their removal can resolve it.

I did have more than one ultrasound done on Feeby (18+ yo) - for a multitude of reasons, but what they found about her kidneys is that the structure of them was likely altered/damaged from the oxalate stones, which were removed when she was 5. The structural changes weren't identified until she was 17+ yo, through these ultrasounds that were done for other reasons. So, she went all those years with those kidneys doing what they needed to do despite the structural changes! I should also mention her ureters were affected by the stones as well. She has been diagnosed with kidney disease, but they said it is not related.

All that said, focus on taking care of his teeth and the stomatitis first and foremost. It may turn out that he won't need the renal food - but the fact that he likes it is good news for now!
 
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r-kins

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Hello everyone, thank you so much for your input! The Cat Site didn't send me any notifications so I didn't realize anyone else had replied.

First off, thank you for reaching out. This has been really hard to go through and I find myself crying all the time over my sweet cat who doesn't deserve this at all.

So the details: My vet thought it was important to look at Freddie's kidneys because he's such a young cat that there might be another problem than kidney disease because he's so young. Cyst, underdeveloped, tumors, etc. Also, his values were worrisome enough (his creatinine was at 7 and still at 6.5 after the antibiotic shot) that she was concerned about putting him under anesthesia for the dental.

I did go ahead with the ultrasound. Unfortunately, the internist said that his kidneys showed stage 3 kidney disease, which means a loss of 75% of function. She thinks he's around 4-7, so a little older than we originally thought. His blood pressure was high, so he's on meds for that now. The good news is that he isn't losing a lot of protein in his urine so it's not as advanced as it could be.

The internist said most likely, he was injured or ate something poisonous in the past and that he's had this a long time. I'm going to get his twin (they're very obviously from the same litter) tested to see if he has any elevated levels. If it's genetic it's likely he has it, or if it's something Freddie ate or that happened to him, they've been together from the start and up to all the same shenanigans.

So now...all I can do is treat him and wait for him to become sicker. The internist said that on paper, he'll have 1-2 more years even if he doesn't look sick now. She's seen all sorts of things and said cats are less textbook than dogs, but I could tell she didn't want to give me any false hope. He's still very playful, hungry, and well-hydrated. Luckily he prefers wet food.

The internist agreed his teeth are bad but because his kidney problems are so advanced, it may be more dangerous to treat the teeth due to the anesthesia damaging his kidneys...but also a tooth infection can make kidney problems worse. So it's kind of a stalemate. She said it may be best to send him to a dental specialty place with an anesthesiologist to make sure he's as monitored as possible. We can wait until he shows eating problems, but will it be dental, or kidney related? It will be hard to tell.

So right now, the plan is to keep him on renal food, blood pressure meds, and he's getting Kidney Support Gold, which a couple of people I know say worked miracles on their cats. The internist said it couldn't hurt. I'm going to reach out again for more specifications on the dental with both my vet (who does dentals) and the internist and see if I can find a place that feels confident about treating him. As far as the dental pain, he's eating great, but my vet touched his gums and said the way he was twitching when she did it indicated pain. He also has very receded gums on his front fangs. This was all before the kidney issues.

I can also look into getting him a kidney transplant, but that's its own ethical issue of how much he can handle, how much I can handle, and how fair it is to take a kidney from a donor that can't consent. If he was old, I wouldn't think about it. But he's young. It's very far from me as University of Madison Veterinary no longer has the program, so we'd be going to Penn State. The odds are good. The long-term care sounds like it would be rough on me. The cost is...high. But I'd rather have my cat than a new car, so that's not why I'd rule it out.

Sorry if there's any typos. I'm exhausted.
 
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mrsgreenjeens

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Yes, I'm glad you did give us an update, and I'm sorry to hear it is definitely kidney disease. But the fact that he is still eating well and playful and super in stage 3 is super!!! Really :hugs:! There are people here on TCS who've had kidney cats who lived for many, many years after being diagnosed, so I don't think anyone can ever know how long they have. All of mine lived three years after diagnoses, and they were all 13 when diagnosed. Your little Freddie may still have a long life ahead...no one can really predict that.

I don't know if you are aware of this website, but it's for all things kidney cat and was my go to when my furbabies were still alive: Tanya's Comprehensive Guide to Feline Chronic Kidney Disease - Everything You Need to Know to Help Your Cat
 
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r-kins

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Yes, I'm glad you did give us an update, and I'm sorry to hear it is definitely kidney disease. But the fact that he is still eating well and playful and super in stage 3 is super!!! Really :hugs:! There are people here on TCS who've had kidney cats who lived for many, many years after being diagnosed, so I don't think anyone can ever know how long they have. All of mine lived three years after diagnoses, and they were all 13 when diagnosed. Your little Freddie may still have a long life ahead...no one can really predict that.

I don't know if you are aware of this website, but it's for all things kidney cat and was my go to when my furbabies were still alive: Tanya's Comprehensive Guide to Feline Chronic Kidney Disease - Everything You Need to Know to Help Your Cat
Thank you for that resource. I'm going to read every single word on the page.
 
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r-kins

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I did want to add a couple of clarifications: I got Freddie's creatinine mixed up with his phosphorous. His creatinine is at 3.3, so actually a lot better than I thought. Still bad, but way better than 6.5.

I started this thread when I was very emotional, so while I am extremely frustrated with the cost of veterinary care, especially in Chicago, I don't think anyone was trying to screw me over. My vet has always referred out if she thought a specialist is necessary (my last cat developed neurological symptoms after his loss of appetite and she immediately sent me to the emergency vet), and she has never been pushy. I trust that she wants my cat to be as healthy as possible. The cost of the ultrasound and appointment with a specialist was high, but it is in par with Chicago costs. I could have gone to find a random vet with an ultrasound device, but for an uncommon diagnosis in a young cat, it did seem like a good idea once I came down from my stress.

I'm very fortunate to be in a financial position where I can take care of my cat rather than have to put him to sleep without trying anything, even if it does stretch my budget uncomfortably.
 

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Hello everyone, thank you so much for your input! The Cat Site didn't send me any notifications so I didn't realize anyone else had replied.

First off, thank you for reaching out. This has been really hard to go through and I find myself crying all the time over my sweet cat who doesn't deserve this at all.
I am very new to this group, only a few days, but I am overwhelmed and so reassured by the amount of support, knowledge and...well, just care and empathy and understanding. I think that everyone here has been through something similar, if not worse and - most importantly - they know how we all feel.

Several years ago, I had a cat that developed epilepsy, a dear little Tortoishell rescue cat. At the time, we had a few local cattle vets here but that was about it. I felt totally and utterly helpless and then I started to read up and learn everything I could about her problem and what to do. I consulted vets in Nairobi and in the UK and I found the growing knowledge empowering and comforting. And I stopped being so scared. Actually no, I was still scared and felt very alone especially when I had to test her glucose levels daily - and had NO idea how to do that initially. I just felt better by knowing what I was doing and also being able to understand "vet speak". I did eventually have to put her down, it was what it was, but not before I knew exactly what I was dealing with.

I then had a second rescue cat not so long after, who - through a silly accident with our dog - had his pelvic ring become detached from his spinal cord. At 8 weeks old I was told to put him down, but instead - and with the advice of a very good German vet - I kept in him a box for 6 weeks so he could hardly move. It was a nightmare for all of us, and I was anxious throughout, but the pelvic ring knitted back to the spinal cord and he is now almost 5 years old and happy and healthy.

My cats are my Achilles heel, like you and so many here I'd imagine. We are at the mercy of vets, and in the US, I know that comes with a steep price doesn't it. Get a team around you, and you're getting more knowledge about the condition here, and I am sure everyone is here behind you also. It does give you strength doesn't it, to know you're not alone with your thoughts and worries and not having to second-guess all the time. I'm wishing you all the best and lots of support
 

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Of course you feel this way.......I truly think you were picked by a higher order to care for these sweet little ones, you must be a marvelous cat parent! You are doing much more than most, I feel your pain. Cats get along very well with no teeth, especially since they swallow most of their food anyway. Even hard food. Get on Amazon or any pet med site and research some kidney supplements, it couldn't hurt. don't give up, we are here for you. My cats are going on 4 years now since they received the death sentence of leukemia, one was given 'days' to live. He had lost 2/3 of his body weight and was too weak to walk. I started them on dmg. so your cats may live a long life, vets don't know everything! PS kidney values can screw up big time when cats are stressed, like with vet visits, so it may be better than you think.
 
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r-kins

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I am very new to this group, only a few days, but I am overwhelmed and so reassured by the amount of support, knowledge and...well, just care and empathy and understanding. I think that everyone here has been through something similar, if not worse and - most importantly - they know how we all feel.
It is truly such a wonderful place. I joined years ago, distraught about my cat's play aggression (I thought he hated me), and had so much help from wonderful cat owners who all care deeply about their own pets. Every time I've sought advice, someone has been there, and I always hope that my experiences can help someone even a little bit.

Thank you for your comment. It sounds like you definitely belong here (in terms of love and understanding towards your cats and cat owners), and I'm so impressed you reached out to vets around the world. I had never even thought to do so. Just reading about kidney cats in other countries has given me a little more hope, and I never would have thought about it except for visiting the forums. I don't know if I would have found Tanya's kidney guide if not for this thread, and it's already given me more questions to ask my vet.

This place is so wonderful. You are all truly amazing people with huge hearts for both cats and the people who love them.
 
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r-kins

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Of course you feel this way.......I truly think you were picked by a higher order to care for these sweet little ones, you must be a marvelous cat parent! You are doing much more than most, I feel your pain. Cats get along very well with no teeth, especially since they swallow most of their food anyway. Even hard food. Get on Amazon or any pet med site and research some kidney supplements, it couldn't hurt. don't give up, we are here for you. My cats are going on 4 years now since they received the death sentence of leukemia, one was given 'days' to live. He had lost 2/3 of his body weight and was too weak to walk. I started them on dmg. so your cats may live a long life, vets don't know everything! PS kidney values can screw up big time when cats are stressed, like with vet visits, so it may be better than you think.
Thank you for your kind words. I'm looking into more supplements now and asked the specialist if she had any in particular to suggest. I'm even trying psychic healing and bought different stones (metaphysical healing) to place around him on the off chance it helps, even though I don't really believe in it. It couldn't hurt, right? He likes to bat the stones onto the floor, at least.

It's true, all sorts of things can happen with cats. I'm hoping that we get lucky, and will just do everything in my power to keep him healthy and happy. It's wonderful and heartening to hear how well your cats are doing against the odds. Is DMG for feline leukemia only?

As I cried and wondered "Why me? Why my poor cats?" and all the things one thinks after a such a tragic diagnosis, my friend told me that sick cats come to me because they know they won't be here long, and that they'll receive 1000 lifetimes of love from me in the short time they're here. It brought me to tears, and made me think of how much this applies to people on The Cat Site forums.

There is so often a lack of love and caring in this world that people who care this much about animals are so special, able to love infinitely and unconditionally.
 

Furballsmom

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my friend told me that sick cats come to me because they know they won't be here long, and that they'll receive 1000 lifetimes of love from me in the short time they're here
Thank you for the compliment. You are a very very special person 💖
 
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r-kins

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A happy little update today! Freddie's blood pressure was high due to his kidneys, so he's been on meds the past two weeks. I'm pleased to report we went in for a blood pressure check today and he's doing much better since starting the medication! He doesn't need to go in until April now. We're both happy about that!
 

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(TL; DR: My young cat is sick and I'm feeling really overwhelmed and frustrated and exhausted.)

Hey all! It's been almost three years since my beloved cat passed away from what was likely a brain tumor. He was only five. We didn't know what it was, so I spent almost a year trying to figure out what was wrong and then two months towards the end we knew it was a mass in his brain and were trying to see if it was bacteria or fungus by treating. (I didn't want to put him through brain surgery and chemo for another year at most with him, so those were the best treatments available after lots of testing.) After meds and feeding tubes and gentle care hoping he'd get better, he suddenly developed a neurological problem and I had to let him go.

It took me two years to be ready for another cat. I still cry when I think about him. He was my soulmate, and his illness and death were deeply traumatizing for me. Almost exactly a year ago, I adopted the sweetest pair of brothers. I named them Freddie and Finn. They were supposedly three according to the shelter, but my vet said they looked closer to 1.5 years. Their first exam went great. Tested negative for everything, just a tiny bit of gingivitis, everything else was a thumbs up.

I took Freddie in for his yearly a couple of weeks ago and the vet found he has terrible stomatitis that has advanced so badly within a year he needs teeth removed and will (likely) eventually need a mouth full extraction. I mentioned he'd been urinating slightly larger amounts lately, and blood and urine tests have shown some kind of kidney disease is likely. The vet tried antibiotics and a culture in case it was an infection and his levels came back the same, so he's being transitioned to renal food and she said it would be a good idea to get an ultrasound read by an internist to make sure it's not underdeveloped kidneys or anything else, since it's unusual (although not unheard of) for kidney disease in such a young cat.

I'm distraught. I'm having what I feel is likely PTSD from the trauma of my other cat's sickness and passing. I'm confused as to why my new wonderful cat is sick with long-term disease, and why everything is so unfair. I just wanted a healthy cat so I could enjoy them without stress, as I'm already someone with anxiety. I'm worried for him. I'm worried I won't do a good job, and I'm worried he'll die. I'm worried he'll get sick of the new renal food. I feel like I'm stealing his teeth from him. I'm angry that everything in Chicago (where I live) is so expensive that it feel like I'm already getting fleeced just from the price of the ultrasound. My actual vet is as reasonably priced as Chicago can be and it's still so expensive to have the testing, pay for special food, and have his dental done. (I trust her and she's never pushy.) I have family and friends that care and support me, but I feel so alone in the caregiving and treatment. I would never give him back to a shelter or let him be in pain and left untreated, but everything is suddenly so overwhelming that I just needed to reach out to others that have felt this way, which I'm sure is many of you, as we're all posting all over cat forums.

Sorry for any typos. I'm just a mess lately.
Oh sweetheart, Im so so sorry. That must be so hard on you. I don’t know much and I certainly don’t know how I can help, but I just wanted to say that you’re not alone. I’m very anxious, worried, frustrated, overwhelmed and exhausted from my constant anxiety for my kitties. I promise, it’s okay. And it will be. You’re doing great. I wish you and your cats nothing but the best. Sending hugs 🧡 Please, take care
 
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