Mika's Struggles With Cholangiohepatitis

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mikameek

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I have returned from my vacation and I am not sure how I feel about the pet sitter. She didn't pay as close attention to Mika as I was hoping she would but I guess that is expected with someone who isn't living in to take care of the pets. I believe that the dog was eating more of Mika's food than Mika actually was.

She was really restless when I came home. It was hectic with everyone coming in and unpacking but she was very scared, running around and running away from me. She was even hesitant to let me pet her at first. Its been about an hour since we got home and she still seems a little wary of everyone. Kind of bummed me out, though I guess I shouldn't be expecting her to be excited like a dog.

The petsitter said that she took her medicine really well except she had to give her pill to her in the pill pusher the first night because she was refusing the turkey. It may be old so I don't blame her.

I can't wait to cuddle my baby tonight. I've missed her so much!!
 
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mikameek

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It's been almost a week since I've updated and I apologize for that. It's been really hectic here. I've been left to take care of my two nieces while they're here since both my parents are working. They're 6 and 10. While they're pretty independent they still require a lot of watching. However, because of that this update will be long:

Mika has been acting more scared since we have come home. She randomly gets nervous about loud sounds and gets very tense for seemingly no reason. I've literally watched her get tense with two people walking towards her (examples, both my nieces or myself and my father) and if we get too close she darts off like we're after her. If we change direction or ignore her, she still remains tense and will watch us. I haven't EVER seen that behavior before with her. I don't exactly know what it means or how it bodes for the pet sitter we had.

All was pretty quiet when it came to medicine. She finished her antibiotics and has been peeing fine, acting fine. She was eating her ursodiol in meat and was doing well up until Tuesday with that. She started chewing into the pieces with the medicine and refusing the meat all together. Then yesterday (Wednesday, 08/01) her appetite dive bombed. She wasn't eating well, refusing all foods I gave her but still begging for something like she was hungry. I gave her some kitten replacement milk which she drank all of. Then 4 hours later she threw it up. Then a few hours after that she threw up again. The last time was bright yellow bile. I got nervous because she has been irritatingly attracted to the plastic holders of the ozarka water bottles. Anytime the pantry is left open she sneaks in there to chew on it or try and tear it. Her throwing up made me nervous she had eaten a piece of plastic (which I didn't find in her throw up) but after the second time she was completely fine. She played with the girls (even jumping around and acting excited and full of energy) and even ate all of the food she had left from the morning. She took her medicine fine (I had to give it to her orally, like before without the meat) and was really good. She even ate more during the night. Her appetite was completely fine this morning.

Today we had a vet visit to check her UTI and where her weight was after the depo shot. She didn't gain any weight but maintained which the vet felt was a really good sign. She wanted to wait to start the prednisolone for another week and then check in two weeks after that but I explained to her that in 3 weeks I would be back up at school and wouldn't be able to return to her for the recheck. She decided it would be fine to start the prednisolone now. She also helped me find compounded ursodiol. My previous vet out here told me there wasn't even an option to find it compounded whereas this vet called around to multiple different pharmacies to find the best price. It really made me feel like they understood my situation as a college student and a pet owner and was willing to help.

I gave Mika the prednisolone tonight. She's getting 2 ml every day. It's the uncompounded form but in the future I may get it compounded because it was much less expensive than I thought it would be. Right now it's cherry flavor and very sticky (Mika sprayed when I gave it to her the first time) so she doesn't appreciate it. But hopefully we can find a flavor she won't be upset with.

Her yellowing has gotten worse which I suspect is because she hasn't been getting her ursodiol as well. I can tell that the iris of her eyes are starting to get a ring of yellow in them. Her face has also started up again. The vet felt like it would be worth it to start up her denamarin again until her yellowing goes down and give her liver a break. I agree but I worry about her being on it for the rest of her life. It doesn't come in a liquid form which will make it difficult to give to her (its a bigger pill) when I'm at school. My roommates are not as nice and will definitely hate having to help me medicate Mika nightly.

I've also noticed that Mika is losing hair. She's losing hair under her armpits and on the backs of her legs again. The vet said she felt that was probably from the stress. We left for multiple days. She's still very sick. Being medicated. She said that she hopes once we get into a comfortable, predictable routine that Mika will get more relaxed with it (obviously not love it, but more relaxed) and will become less stressed with medicating. I think at this point its reasonable to believe she's going to need medication for the rest of her life.

I got her some new dry food from Blue today. Pieces with freeze dried raw food in it. I thought about getting her TikiCat dry food but I have been considering switching her to raw for a few weeks now. She really enjoys eating the pieces of meat from our dinners (cooked plain because of my mother's diet) and is always excited for it. If I could get the research right and figure out how to do it properly, it may be better for her. She really seems to enjoy it but I don't know how she'll feel with the supplements she'll need to have on the food. She's picky about that kind of stuff. She won't even eat food if it has "tasteless, odorless" probiotics on it.

The reality of the next 10 years of my life kind of hit me the other night. I won't be able to have much of a social life or be able to spontaneously do the things that I might want to do because of Mika. Travel and other things will have to be well planned out because she is sick. Even if she was sick but good at her medicine things would be completely different but she's bad at taking her medication and also sick. She's a burden to anyone other than me. My friends want to take a trip to Vegas in the winter for a collective birthday trip (the 3 of us are back to back, November, December and January) which will be for 4 days. In that time my parents will have to watch her and I worry they won't medicate her properly because they get frustrated. It's been weighing on me that I'm going to have to forfeit trips that keep me away over night or going out in the evenings because I can't be away when Mika needs to be medicated. I have a cousin that I'm really close to who lives an hour and half from me. I use to make the drive to see her regularly before Mika because she's unable to be away from home for long because of her mother and her dog. Now I hardly see her anymore except at family functions. I love Mika and I kept telling people it's like having a kid with cancer, "You just don't plan for it but you make due when it happens" but its really tiring. The vet told me today that it's really awesome that I'm doing so much for her. Just another reminder that while its hard and weighs on me, I couldn't imagine not doing it for her if she needs it. She deserves to be the happiest kitty in the world with all she's had to put up with and has gone through.

She follows me around now. She's been sleeping on the top of the couches that I hang out on with the girls or goes with me to the bathroom. It really warms my heart that she loves me that much, to do that. I took a nap today and she came and slept with me for an hour, just curled up by my stomach. Those moments are the moments I live for. Her, happy and carefree, loving on me and happy to be with me.
 

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Hi! Welcome back!
One thing that popped into my mind, is there any way you can work with your parents and developed a method that won't frustrate them? That would give you a tiny bit more flexibility. :)
 
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mikameek

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Hi! Welcome back!
One thing that popped into my mind, is there any way you can work with your parents and developed a method that won't frustrate them? That would give you a tiny bit more flexibility. :)
Honestly, I'm not even sure. I think the process of having to take care of my cat in general frustrates them. But then to add on top of it, Mika has to be burrito'd which she will wiggle free from if it isn't tight enough or done well enough, not to mention it's a two person ordeal because someone has to hold her still and keep her head still while the other person has to maneuver to get the medicine into her completely. To top it all off, if it isn't done right, she sprays, spits, drools and flicks her tongue to get all of it out of her mouth so she makes a mess that has to be cleaned up.

I haven't figured out any other way to give her medicine that is fool proof. In the end, what would be best is if Mika wasn't on any medication at all.
 

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It's been almost a week since I've updated and I apologize for that. It's been really hectic here. I've been left to take care of my two nieces while they're here since both my parents are working. They're 6 and 10. While they're pretty independent they still require a lot of watching. However, because of that this update will be long:

Mika has been acting more scared since we have come home. She randomly gets nervous about loud sounds and gets very tense for seemingly no reason. I've literally watched her get tense with two people walking towards her (examples, both my nieces or myself and my father) and if we get too close she darts off like we're after her. If we change direction or ignore her, she still remains tense and will watch us. I haven't EVER seen that behavior before with her. I don't exactly know what it means or how it bodes for the pet sitter we had.

All was pretty quiet when it came to medicine. She finished her antibiotics and has been peeing fine, acting fine. She was eating her ursodiol in meat and was doing well up until Tuesday with that. She started chewing into the pieces with the medicine and refusing the meat all together. Then yesterday (Wednesday, 08/01) her appetite dive bombed. She wasn't eating well, refusing all foods I gave her but still begging for something like she was hungry. I gave her some kitten replacement milk which she drank all of. Then 4 hours later she threw it up. Then a few hours after that she threw up again. The last time was bright yellow bile. I got nervous because she has been irritatingly attracted to the plastic holders of the ozarka water bottles. Anytime the pantry is left open she sneaks in there to chew on it or try and tear it. Her throwing up made me nervous she had eaten a piece of plastic (which I didn't find in her throw up) but after the second time she was completely fine. She played with the girls (even jumping around and acting excited and full of energy) and even ate all of the food she had left from the morning. She took her medicine fine (I had to give it to her orally, like before without the meat) and was really good. She even ate more during the night. Her appetite was completely fine this morning.

Today we had a vet visit to check her UTI and where her weight was after the depo shot. She didn't gain any weight but maintained which the vet felt was a really good sign. She wanted to wait to start the prednisolone for another week and then check in two weeks after that but I explained to her that in 3 weeks I would be back up at school and wouldn't be able to return to her for the recheck. She decided it would be fine to start the prednisolone now. She also helped me find compounded ursodiol. My previous vet out here told me there wasn't even an option to find it compounded whereas this vet called around to multiple different pharmacies to find the best price. It really made me feel like they understood my situation as a college student and a pet owner and was willing to help.

I gave Mika the prednisolone tonight. She's getting 2 ml every day. It's the uncompounded form but in the future I may get it compounded because it was much less expensive than I thought it would be. Right now it's cherry flavor and very sticky (Mika sprayed when I gave it to her the first time) so she doesn't appreciate it. But hopefully we can find a flavor she won't be upset with.

Her yellowing has gotten worse which I suspect is because she hasn't been getting her ursodiol as well. I can tell that the iris of her eyes are starting to get a ring of yellow in them. Her face has also started up again. The vet felt like it would be worth it to start up her denamarin again until her yellowing goes down and give her liver a break. I agree but I worry about her being on it for the rest of her life. It doesn't come in a liquid form which will make it difficult to give to her (its a bigger pill) when I'm at school. My roommates are not as nice and will definitely hate having to help me medicate Mika nightly.

I've also noticed that Mika is losing hair. She's losing hair under her armpits and on the backs of her legs again. The vet said she felt that was probably from the stress. We left for multiple days. She's still very sick. Being medicated. She said that she hopes once we get into a comfortable, predictable routine that Mika will get more relaxed with it (obviously not love it, but more relaxed) and will become less stressed with medicating. I think at this point its reasonable to believe she's going to need medication for the rest of her life.

I got her some new dry food from Blue today. Pieces with freeze dried raw food in it. I thought about getting her TikiCat dry food but I have been considering switching her to raw for a few weeks now. She really enjoys eating the pieces of meat from our dinners (cooked plain because of my mother's diet) and is always excited for it. If I could get the research right and figure out how to do it properly, it may be better for her. She really seems to enjoy it but I don't know how she'll feel with the supplements she'll need to have on the food. She's picky about that kind of stuff. She won't even eat food if it has "tasteless, odorless" probiotics on it.

The reality of the next 10 years of my life kind of hit me the other night. I won't be able to have much of a social life or be able to spontaneously do the things that I might want to do because of Mika. Travel and other things will have to be well planned out because she is sick. Even if she was sick but good at her medicine things would be completely different but she's bad at taking her medication and also sick. She's a burden to anyone other than me. My friends want to take a trip to Vegas in the winter for a collective birthday trip (the 3 of us are back to back, November, December and January) which will be for 4 days. In that time my parents will have to watch her and I worry they won't medicate her properly because they get frustrated. It's been weighing on me that I'm going to have to forfeit trips that keep me away over night or going out in the evenings because I can't be away when Mika needs to be medicated. I have a cousin that I'm really close to who lives an hour and half from me. I use to make the drive to see her regularly before Mika because she's unable to be away from home for long because of her mother and her dog. Now I hardly see her anymore except at family functions. I love Mika and I kept telling people it's like having a kid with cancer, "You just don't plan for it but you make due when it happens" but its really tiring. The vet told me today that it's really awesome that I'm doing so much for her. Just another reminder that while its hard and weighs on me, I couldn't imagine not doing it for her if she needs it. She deserves to be the happiest kitty in the world with all she's had to put up with and has gone through.

She follows me around now. She's been sleeping on the top of the couches that I hang out on with the girls or goes with me to the bathroom. It really warms my heart that she loves me that much, to do that. I took a nap today and she came and slept with me for an hour, just curled up by my stomach. Those moments are the moments I live for. Her, happy and carefree, loving on me and happy to be with me.
Maybe you could purchase some raw to try. Primal sells "starter packs" and according to their web site there is a place near Willis, Tx that sells their products:
Store Locator
just put Willis Tx in to get locations
Raw Frozen Formula Starter Paks
Feline Raw Frozen Formulas

I'm not vouching for Primal but I see people mention it. I would try it but no place near me. There may be other companies thats sell samples.
 
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mikameek

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There hasn't been much to report as of late. Nothing has changed much on our end. Mika is eating really well but I don't think she's putting on any weight. It makes me think that the prednisolone isn't doing anything but then again I don't know how long they're expecting it to take before she puts on weight. My nieces have been loving on her and she's just adoring all the attention. She does seem to still get skittish when we're returning from somewhere but I think that has to do with her getting upset because the dachshund is high energy when we return. It scares her I think.

She seems to be feeling much better otherwise. She is dragging her ribbon toy around and (from a previous thread I made) that's her play hunting. She did this a lot before she got really sick.

Mika, unsurprisingly, hates the prednisolone. Hopefully she'll get reduced to a lower amount and we can get the flavored one because cherry is NOT a favorite at all.
 

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I've been reading everything you posted her mikameek mikameek and I have to say, you are an amazing person. I love all the devotion and love your giving your kitty cat. It hurts my heart that your poor baby has been going through this, but she has the best possible mom ever. I could feel your anxiety through your posts on her days she wasn't feeling well.

I'm so glad Mika is on an upswing and I will keep her in my thoughts that she continues to get better!
 
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I've been reading everything you posted her mikameek mikameek and I have to say, you are an amazing person. I love all the devotion and love your giving your kitty cat. It hurts my heart that your poor baby has been going through this, but she has the best possible mom ever. I could feel your anxiety through your posts on her days she wasn't feeling well.

I'm so glad Mika is on an upswing and I will keep her in my thoughts that she continues to get better!
I really appreciate you reaching out! I sometimes don’t know if anyone actually sees these posts. I have been using it as a diary but there are times I hope that I get a response about her behaviors or symptoms. I really appreciate everything you said. I’m the luckiest cat mom ever to have found such a sweet baby. Her love is the greatest reward for all of this! If I couldn’t change things to make her healthy, I wouldn’t change anything at all. Even if Mika is awful about the medicine I really believe she knows it’s helping. She doesn’t run from me or fight nearly as much anymore (though maybe that’s because she knows she’ll get treat at the end? ;) )
 
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mikameek

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Awww, I'm so glad!!
ewww, yeah, cherry??
Yeah, the cherry was the only flavor the vet had because it’s “human medicine”. The pharmacy that compounds Mika’s ursodiol though also does the prednisolone. They picked a beef flavor for the ursodiol that Mika actually seems okay with. Maybe we can get the prednisolone that way too?
 

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I really appreciate you reaching out! I sometimes don’t know if anyone actually sees these posts. I have been using it as a diary but there are times I hope that I get a response about her behaviors or symptoms. I really appreciate everything you said. I’m the luckiest cat mom ever to have found such a sweet baby. Her love is the greatest reward for all of this! If I couldn’t change things to make her healthy, I wouldn’t change anything at all. Even if Mika is awful about the medicine I really believe she knows it’s helping. She doesn’t run from me or fight nearly as much anymore (though maybe that’s because she knows she’ll get treat at the end? ;) )
I applaud you for your persistence in helping Mika! I know how heartbreaking it is and how helpess we feel as I am going through many of the same things with my Cat Stinky! I'm curious did you try the Milk Thistle? I know Vets. do recommend it for Liver/Bile problems sometimes. My cat has gotten where he turns his nose up at canned meat now but he will eat cooked or raw pork and ham almost anytime. I try not to give much of that unless he has been eating a good amount of kibble. Anything to get the calories in. I thought maybe I convert him to a raw diet so I ground up some raw pork in the food processor and added a sample of the "EZ Complete" I had gotten some time back but he wouldn't touch it. You can get a sample of the "EZ Complete" for a dollar if you are inclined to try any raw diet.

Samples
 
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mikameek

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I applaud you for your persistence in helping Mika! I know how heartbreaking it is and how helpess we feel as I am going through many of the same things with my Cat Stinky! I'm curious did you try the Milk Thistle? I know Vets. do recommend it for Liver/Bile problems sometimes. My cat has gotten where he turns his nose up at canned meat now but he will eat cooked or raw pork and ham almost anytime. I try not to give much of that unless he has been eating a good amount of kibble. Anything to get the calories in. I thought maybe I convert him to a raw diet so I ground up some raw pork in the food processor and added a sample of the "EZ Complete" I had gotten some time back but he wouldn't touch it. You can get a sample of the "EZ Complete" for a dollar if you are inclined to try any raw diet.

Samples
I really appreciate this very much, thank you! I've looked into doing Milk Thistle but I want to wait till we lower the amount of medicine she is on. I don't want to be adding another thing to be shoving down her throat on top of everything else right now. Plus the denamarin she is on has a milk thistle compound in it. I actually just ordered a sample for the EZ Complete last night! Thank you so much for your suggestions, it really means a lot!
 
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Mika is well. I have noticed that she is having more yellowing. It's creeping back up the back of her legs again. I had kept her off of the denamarin because I was medicating her myself, which is difficult to do with a pill the size that denamarin is. I ordered a cat bag the other day after seeing a post on another thread here that the only thing that saved the relationship someone had with their heavily medicated cat was the bag. It just arrived today and I decided to try it out by giving Mika her denamarin pill. And let me say, that bag does wonders! Mika wasn't able to get her paws through the opening near her head, she wasn't able to run away or move much. She could move her head but the bag made it possible to hold her head still by myself. She took the pill wonderfully!

Hopefully adding the denamarin back into her routine will help out her liver to bring back down the yellowing.

Other than that, there isn't much to report. I was out all day Sunday (August 12th) and some of the day the Saturday before (August 11th). Apparently Mika walked all around the house looking for me and spent a lot of her time in my room. She was very cuddly when I got back Sunday evening. I also noticed she had very small pees in the litter box from that day (I had cleaned it before I left on Saturday). I think being away from me is stressful for her but hopefully when we get back to school she'll feel less stressed being with cats and people she knows.

She's eating amazingly well and is back on a wet kick. She's only rejected 2 flavors of food out of the 10 or so meals she's had. Specifically, I think it's a brand thing for the specific flavors because I have fed her the same flavor (salmon, which is her favorite) from a different brand and she ate it very well.

She actually just came and joined me in the room I'm in, making lots of meows to pay attention to her. I also realized recently, which completely went over my head the other day when I learned about it, that when Mika is play hunting, she always brings me her "kills". I suppose because it's not a real dead animal, I'm touched she wants to take care of me too. My heart just bursts with her. I woke up today with her sleeping on my chest and I could feel her purring very hard on me (She isn't a loud purr'er, she doesn't make too much sound other than sometimes you can hear the air she is pushing out from her mouth when you rub her around there. Other than that, you know she's purring because you can feel it.).

I don't think she's gained any weight but I did buy a bag of Solid Gold dry food, which I don't know how I feel about yet. It claims to have more iron in it to help promote muscle growth. I read recently on here though that Solid Gold is in a lawsuit because of their advertising so I'm considering returning it and going to buy something else. She doesn't seem to like the flavor much either.
 
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mikameek

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Wow
Just wow. The bag and everything, I'm just amazed!!
The bag really is amazing. I've only used it once but hopefully it will make medicating her so much easier! I was having difficulty because Mika was learning to position herself inside the towel to where her paws got up by her face and she was able to wiggle out of the burrito. Or she would push out and create a giant hole she could escape from. The bag leaves her no where to go and she didn't seem stressed in the least bit inside it. She actually went in very well and waited patiently while I got it off her!
 

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I'm sorry to hear about the yellowing. You're right, it is an indication there's something going on with the liver. I'm glad you're able to pill her again! I need to look into the bag, my Pixie wiggles out of the burrito, or runs when she sees a towel on the floor... That's really smart of you.

The big sign she's feeling better is the eating! I've noticed with cats, they will NOT force themselves to eat if they don't feel good.

I'm glad that she's acting more like herself, I hope she gets back into normal peeing patterns soon. Keep us updated :)
 
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