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Old 07-27-2008, 08:33 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default FeLV+ Anemia

My 1 year old FeLV+ kitty, Buzz, was diagnosed with anemia Friday. The vet gave him a steroid shot and sent him home to die. She said a transfusion is a possibility but they are expensive and only a temporary fix.
Over the weekend I have been mixing a vitamin suppliment with iron in with his food. His appetite is not what it used to be but he is still eating. I have been offering him food every hour or so and that helps.
The on-line FeLV group I belong to has offered some suggestions - like getting him on doxycycline. Most say to go with the transfusion. I don't like that idea because it seems to me it would be putting him through a lot of stress and pain with not that much of a benefit. I went to an on line anemia group and it seems like the transfusions are a viscious cycle and the cats are living a lousy life with no energy.
I have always known this could happen with him but it sure doesn't make it any easier. I wish someone could find a cure for this horrible disease!
Does anyone have any suggestions that might help my Buzzy?
Thank you,
Sue
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Old 07-27-2008, 10:22 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Anemia has several causes. You have to correctly identify the cause to be able to treat it.

External bleeding - stomach ulcers,
Nutrition - deficiency or malabsorption of iron and/or vitamins
Bone marrow - failure to manufacture the RBCs
Chronic disease - liver, kindney, etc
Autoimmune - body attacks the RBCs

I think I would look for a second opinion....
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Old 07-28-2008, 03:44 AM   #3 (permalink)
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So sorry to hear about your Buzz. FeLV is such a awful virus.

Not sure if this will help any but I'd thought I'd share some thoughts regarding my FIV+ cat.

He is very healthy at the moment but I think the moment Toby goes downhill (i.e. if he does develop FAIDS) and treatment becomes palliative rather than curative, thats it as far as I am concerned. I don't want the memories of my Toby to be marred by the effects of the virus.

I'm subscribed to a FIV+ group and there are so many cases of people desperately searching for 'cures' for their seriously ill cats and pumping unproven 'immune boosters' into them and so forth - only for the cat to die anyway after months of feeling unwell, losing weight and not enjoying life anymore. I'll not do that to Toby.

Sorry - thats something you probably didn't really want to read but it is food for thought. Sadly.
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Old 07-28-2008, 05:05 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Sorry I don't know enough about this ailment to really help you out. If not already I would try to feed the best diet on the face of the earth. Raw food. Will it cure? Good chance it won't, but there's always a chance. Will it help? IMO Yes. It will provide the body with the best possible nutrition in a easy to digest form. If the body takes hold of this diet it could jump start his system. I think its worth a shot but research it for yourself and decide.

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Old 07-28-2008, 12:30 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Let me first say that I lost a very special kitty to FeLV three years ago. I did not have the benefit of the resources we are sharing today...this site, other veterinary/technical sites, groups, etc. I am convinced that, were I to have had such info, James would not have gone to the bridge before his time.

I've read a lot and been able to discuss this concept of kitties "suffering" with others who are dealing with other chronic conditions. From all of that, I'm convinced that, unless a cat is in actual pain, the cat is not suffering. We humans often project attributes onto our kitties that, quite frankly, are beyond their abilities. Cats do not "pine" about their "quality of life"...they take each day and night as it comes and just deal with it. They do not recognize that "life has changed". Furthermore, they are extremely resilient.

If I had my time back with James - knowing what I now do - I would be persuing everything available to us.

Now...anemia. One of my discoveries has been a superb website dedicated to managing feline kidney insufficiency (CRF). There is a very extensive section of that site dealing with anemia. Ignore that it is a CRF site - treating anemia is generic - you'll find it here
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Old 07-28-2008, 01:34 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: FeLV+ Anemia

Quote:
Originally Posted by katlover13
...Most say to go with the transfusion. I don't like that idea because it seems to me it would be putting him through a lot of stress and pain with not that much of a benefit...
At first, I was reluctant to address that directly, concerned that I might be seen as criticizing...or, worse. However, you are asking for any suggestions that might help.

Helen, the woman who owns the CRF site I referenced for you, doesn't feel that blood transfusions are any big deal...
"A blood transfusion is not a major procedure, and normally the cat only needs to stay at the vet's for 3-4 hours; just long enough to receive the blood (which is given slowly) and to be monitored for a possible reaction." (from the lonk above)
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Old 07-28-2008, 03:13 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stryker
I've read a lot and been able to discuss this concept of kitties "suffering" with others who are dealing with other chronic conditions. From all of that, I'm convinced that, unless a cat is in actual pain, the cat is not suffering. We humans often project attributes onto our kitties that, quite frankly, are beyond their abilities. Cats do not "pine" about their "quality of life"...they take each day and night as it comes and just deal with it. They do not recognize that "life has changed". Furthermore, they are extremely resilient.
Cats are survivors. And they instinctively try to hide pain as they know to show pain is to show weakness, one thing an animal cant afford to do in the wild.

Different folks, different strokes but I think theres a lot to be said for not putting an animal though something when the outcome will be the same regardless. That sounds horribly harsh and I don't mean it to be. Its just I'd rather have my cat have a slightly shorter life and feel relatively comfortable before the end than prolong it with possibly painful treatments which in the long term achieve nothing.

And yes, of course its all very well me writing all this because its not my cat. But theres a fairly good possibility that one day it will be Toby and its something I have thought long and hard about. And I've read so many stories when people prolong things when the poor cat should have gone to the Bridge a little while before.
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Old 07-28-2008, 04:30 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I've had FeLV+ cats (had one who lived to eighteen) and the one thing I was adamant about was explaining to my vet that I would never use the "positive cat" excuse in giving up on conventional treatment. The main difference (for me) between positive and negative cats was that the positive cats needed to be monitered more and taken to the doctor at any first sign of illness, always considering the possibility of more aggressive treatment. I also never assumed that any illness was definitely associated with the cat's status unless there were proven signs of it.

I did have an FeLV+ cat who developed huge bleeding stomach ulcers, and we knew that this was undoubtedly associated with his status.

Immune Mediated Hemolytic Anemia (IMHA) is not uncommon in cats. It is not associated with another disease; it just happens sometimes (ideopathic). Steroids are usually effective treatment, although it usually involves daily doses of prednisolone. I had a cat with IMHA. He got his steroid pills daily and had bloodwork done every week to moniter his progress. He was also close to needing a tranfusion. He recovered totally in less than a month. That was porbably 7-8 years ago. The supplement you are using sounds fine (my IMHA cat was on Hi-Vite drops), and keeping him well-fed is important, too. I wouldn't give up yet. Ask your vet about daily steroid treatment and ongoing blood tests. With luck and your obvious TLC, he may bounce back and give you several more years of love and companionship. Fingers and paw toes crossed here for Buzzy!
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Old 07-28-2008, 04:45 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CataholicsAnonymous
I also never assumed that any illness was definitely associated with the cat's status unless there were proven signs of it.
I agree with you. But the chances of the anemia being associated with the FeLV in this case is quite high.

Anyway. I've said my bit as unpopular as I'm sure it is with everyone else. I think I still have a valid point.

I do hope that Buzz feels better soon. He looks like a lovely kitty.
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Old 07-28-2008, 10:03 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Today I started Buzz on Doxycycline on the recomendation of several people on the Feline Leukemia list I belong to. He is getting more tests run tomorrow and I will decide then about a transfusion. I also found out today that the type of anemia he has is the regenerative type.
I am so angry with the vet. I have found out since Friday when he was diagnosed that there is much more hope for him then she led me to believe. She basicly said she was sending him home to die. It may be that he is too sick to make it, but I am not going to give up on him when there is a chance for years of good life! He actually seems better today. He has not purred for a couple of days, but when I had him out sitting on my lap on the deck this evening he was purring like crazy and really enjoying himself.
I will never make him miserable by overdoing the treatments, though. I agree with Abby. There is a point where you have to let go for the animals sake - but Buzzy isn't there yet!
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