Sunday, 30 December 2012

Mishka by Moonlight

"Do you believe in immortality? No, and one life is enough for me." - Albert Einstein

Mishka was two in September but in cat years she is 25 - what should be her prime. We took her home to LIVE, and not spend too much of that doing stuff she doesn't like. So emphasis noms, sleeping in the sun, trying to catch a bird.
or a frog - since the nights are warm Mishka was allowed her hearts desire to head out after her midnight snack and I found a little frog for her to play with. The little brown frogs who live in the water tray of my potplants hop about on the window cleaning up moths after dark. They are not fussed about being picked up - we took one to school for show and tell once. No danger of our fat furball catching it - always one bemused hop behind the frog.
Sometimes she doesn't want to hunt - she just listens to the wind and sniffs. The scent of the night garden is different and Mishka by moonlight is exquisite - it's her element. Such a shame i can't capture a picture of her luminous fur, shadow like a second cat spirit beside her under a strange dark bright sky, the fullmoon on the sea beyond and the southern stars above ... plainly I'm no poet; you had to be there. Just sitting.

So tick one off the bucket list. Cats are crepuscular (FIP expanding my vocab again) most active around dawn and dusk. Really I can't understand people who want a cat to give up being a cat to be on people time.
Now that Mishka has celebrated christmas with us our next goal is easter. I saw this while grocery shopping today - fresh baked just after boxing day and best before New Years day! Perhaps we should make the goal Valentines Day.

FIP makes you paranoid

"It is also useful to have the client remember a time when the cat was healthiest, and write down the cat’s 3 favourite activities. Then the cat cannot accomplish two of those activities, quality of life is compromised and euthanasia should be considered (Wright & Rogers, 2010)." ~ Dr Dianne  Addie wet FIP – case study 

eating - tick, sleeping on anything black and getting white fur all over it - tick, going outside and hunting (badly) - tick 

It's a few days after christmas. I was absolutely dreading having to be cheerful while surrounded by people who think "it's just a cat"  For a while I even had an awful idea playing in my head that I might be asked to euthanase the cat because it would be more convenient than having an awkward drama at Christmas. (yup FIP makes you paranoid) What would the cat hating grandfather make of my devotion to furball's care over cooking xmas dinner? Would there be A SCENE ... well guess who donated a massive cash injection to Mishka's fighting fund - one of only five people to do so.

The Christmas drama did indeed happen. On christmas eve she got some nasty reaction to the injection of sedative  - didn't wake up on schedule and then developed a nasty looking haemorhagic rash at the site ( we thought at first she was going to go into a hemorhagic crisis ) Turned out to just be she had scratched and licked the itchy spot to death. 

So we got to road test plantain herbal poultice - just mush ribwort plantain leaves up and bandage over the sore spot. Worked quite well - also on my itchy toe (bit by a jack jumper that morning) but she was still worrying the spot over the next few days and in danger of tearing out a lot of fur so we tried swaddling with a "Thunder shirt" (bad idea although it stopped her licking it really should have been introduced very very gradually. Wearing a weird t shirt made her anxious - more licking and scratching when she had it removed but this settled quickly.)

Not quite the christmas day we had hoped for Mishka but she's partying on.

Friday, 21 December 2012


Food does not come in a pyramid for Mishka, just - Noms or Antinoms. (nom = sound cat makes head down in plate of  yummy food "nom nom nom") Strangely curcumin extract. ground eggshell, the appallingly black fulvic minerals, and Dr Wheatgrass extract which all cause my human child to gag are acceptable cat condiments.

Noms - fish, roast chicken, roast lamb, mashed pumpkin, Kraft cheeseslices,whey powder, raw egg yolk, grass and wheatgrass even though this sometimes makes her gag or even throw up (the kitty equivalent of alcohol? so nom i don't care about hangovers?)
Antinoms -raw meat, beef, ascorbic acid, spirulina, glandular, Hills a/d, chicken liver, beef liver, liver powder, liver flavouring, did i mention liver?

Tish's list is of course the complete reverse - except for spirulina - evil green pond sludge which no one except me thinks is acceptable. Mishka will reject the entire plate of food if it contains a particle of antinoms the size of a nailhead.

So of course a raw diet is just what the doctors Addie (FIP research), Lipkin (virus hunter) Kremer (HIV expert below) ordered for our purebred princess. Ziwipeak (airdried meat - fits into the definition of a raw diet as it avoids high/low temp processing ) and raw eggyolk are the closest she gets to a primal diet.

The experts mention L carnitine which is the one amino acid I thought a carnivore would have trouble being deficient in. Turns out we can cook the nutrition out of anything; 

" dog and cat foods are extremely low in free L- Carnitine levels as compared with that found in raw ground beef. Most pets are maintained strictly on commercial pet food diets and are thus kept chronically deficient in L- Carnitine. " Lack of Carnitine causes muscle weakness including heart disease.

Carnitine is easy to get as a powder - but the acidic form has a sour taste which cats loathe. If you cannot pill a cat who won't eat raw try QUINICARN chicken flavoured powder Supplement For Dogs & Cats "Supports Body's Defense Against Physiological and Metabolic Stress" cat dose 250 mg daily

Kremer's Nontoxic AIDS Therapy and Prevention

I am slowly reading a scholarly work on HIV/AIDS by Heinrich Kremer, 'The Silent Revolution of the AIDS- and Cancer-Medicine' A complete summary of the book is available online - it has the lowdown on what kicks a system from th1 to th2 and how to prevent that; makes so much sense, like a universal theory of disease. I cut to the healing section yesterday. it has some reccomendations which may translate well to cats. the key is to avoid oxidative stress and support the glutathione levels in the body; FIP cats have low plasma glutathione. it is why dr addie wants us to add arginine to the diet for FIP as a couple of teaspoons of raw red meat a week - again i'm researching precise dose levels for supplemental powders as Mishka won't eat raw ( so much cheaper and easier if she would just eat the meat raw! Amino acid supplementation is fiddly - stuffing up ratios causes much more harm than good.)

NAcetylCysteine NAC another key antioxidant in the glutathione chain may also be useful both as treatment and preventative.
"N-acetylcysteine (NAC) is a chemically modified form of the dietary amino acid cysteine. Cysteine and NAC contain sulphur, which is key to protecting the body from damage by oxidation. Other sulphur containing antioxidants include alpha-lipoic acid and glutathione. Glutathione levels are considered the most reliable indicator of the body's resistance to oxidation, and NAC plays a role in glutathione metabolism. While touted by many supplement manufacturers as a precursor to glutathione, NAC probably has more of a sparing effect. That is, it neutralises oxidants in place of glutathione, allowing glutathione levels to be maintained."


FIP is notoriously hard to diagnose if it is dry form - but even the wet form does have a differential.

Dear all,
Today we had to say goodbye to our 11 week old baby Alfie. 3 days ago he started to get sick; his appetite was gone, he was lethargic, I could feel his spine and ribs while his tummy felt "healthy" as if he just had eaten.

All these symptoms worried me, so I went with him to the vet the day after. They took blood samples to send to the lab. The abdominal puncture fluid was clear, colourless and not stringy.

The following day we got back the results from the lab and they were not consistent with fip. Today, we took him to a clinic for an ultrasound, a Rivalta test and an analysis of the puncture fluid. The Rivalta test was very clearly negative and through the ultrasound we learned Alfie had a congenital disorder; his pericardium contained not only his heart but also a big part of his liver... This is not a inherited disease but "just" something in the embryonic development that went wrong :(

Without surgery there was no chance for Alfie, so we didn't have a choice but to give him this chance and left him there for surgery later today. Unfortunately Alfie was already too weak or maybe just too young too cope with the anaesthetics and died even before the surgery could start. Obviously we are very sad about this...

For three days I lived with the sadness, stress and insecurity that a lot of you have been through too when you discover your kitten might have fip. I have been in contact with some of you and I searched the internet for information about fip and differential diagnosis while at the same time I was afraid to believe it could be anything else but the much dreaded fip... It's for this reason that I want to share Alfie's story. If you think your kitten might have (the beginning of) wet fip, insist on all the tests at once. Blood and puncture fluid analysis, Rivalta test and ultrasound of abdomen and thorax, because my Alfie is proof that this can give some of the symptoms presented by fip.

PS On the picture you can see Alfie in better days... We miss him so much :(

from Cattery SmittenKitten

Dr Pedersen's comments on expensive diagnostic tests

"Okay, I'm not going to do many graphic pictures, but I do not understand why veterinarians have so much trouble diagnosing it like me, okay. I do not understand it because there are just the two forms. There is the wet form and the dry form and sometimes there is a little intermediate as they can switch from one to another and you can catch them in that transition stage, but people seem to have a hard time making this diagnosis, and like Al said, if you have a young cat from a shelter cattery that has a distended abdomen and has this yellowish, mucinous fluid that contains the right kind of inflammatory cells, high protein… gee, what else is this? What else can we call it? And the problem that we have is that because the diagnosis of FIP as I said, once they become clinically apparent, they’re going to die, okay, and I tell you right now, they’re going to die. There is no treatment. Okay… that I know of, that has been successful to reverse this thing. Okay, so basically because it’s a fatal disease, people especially veterinarians, and especially owners and especially pathologists; do not want to tell you that this is a fatal disease. They say, just as Al says. You get tired of seeing a path report that describes, there's a clinical history just like FIP, lesions that cannot be anything but FIP and then they say, characteristic of FIP, typical FIP. What does that mean? You tell me, does it have FIP? Just tell me.

And so, the problem is that in any of these kinds of diseases where there is a 100% mortality and believe me, owners are just as guilty because owners will push that risk, and is there a chance that it is this, or it is that, toxoplasmosis is one million, you know, is it the mycosis, one in a million, you know, all of these things, and so, they are always grasping for stuff and they are pushing it, and the more they push you, the more diagnostic tests that you ask for, and the problem is that hardly any of those diagnostic tests are 100% correct. And so, even the PCR test maybe only 80%. Immunohistochemistry might be 70-80% depending on what you do. The blood work is not 100%. They are all just little things that help you make the diagnosis, but there is not a single test that’s simple, short of taking a biopsy or taking some fluid, and doing a specific test by a lab that knows what they are doing, which is another problem, okay, to get a decent result back. And then, you know, then there are still veterinarians refusing to believe that antibody titers are not necessarily diagnostic, so they will continue to do the FIP virus serology on a whole bunch of cats. One cat will die of FIP in the cattery. They will test every cat for $30 or $40 a cat, and then they’ll get the results back and then they will say, “Well, I don’t know what they mean.” So then they’ll call me up. Well, I didn’t order 50 serologies at $50 a piece, you know, and so they wanted a free consult, you know, as far as I never charge for consults, but they want a consultation as to what that test means, well, no veterinarian should ever ask for a test that they do not know how to interpret it.
If the results come back [Applause] if the results come back and they can’t interpret it, why the hell did they ask for it in the first place?"  from WINN feline foundation 2011 FIP symposium

How to Give Medicine to an Uncooperative Cat

Step 8: Get spouse to lie on cat with head just visible from below armpit. Put pill in end of drinking straw, force mouth open with pencil and blow down drinking straw.
Step 9: Check label to make sure pill not harmful to humans, drink glass of water to take taste away. Apply Band-Aid to spouse's forearm and remove blood from carpet with cold water and soap.


Shironeko - Results may vary
< Some cats are Zen masters. Sub cutaneous fluids seemed sooooo easy from the video demonstration by the very pregnant lady vet (nope). We are talking about a longhaired cat that thinks fur brush is medieval torture device so the road to health was always going to be a little extra challenging. She didn't even like the pentoxifylline transdermal cream (pea sized blob rubbed into ear twice daily) The only patient more uncooperative than the cat is my husband - the doctor.

Fortunately Mishka eats size 3 capsules pretty reliably like kibble if we put them in a teaspoon of moist food served as the entree when she is hungry. Most supplements have to be downsized anyway - get empty gelatine capsules. More excellent tips on medicating cats from Joel Kehler. Here's one method for getting the little pills down without upsetting kitty. (although it looks like i faked it she did eat the pill!)

What's worse than pills? Liquids. Even 6 mls is a lot of liquid for a cat if it tastes bad. Their natural response is to drool like Niagara Falls and squirting too much in fast may choke kitty. It doesn't actually need to be medicine. The early days of FIP with a dehydrated, inapetant cat required some syringe feeding of electrolytes and food. We found the process so distressing initially - and then we discovered the magic of soothing music. It still wasn't a picnic and if she hadn't perked up within 48 hours we would have pulled the plug. Here's a how to give liquids video from Lauren via FIP fighters on facebook. Her cat doesn't look impossibly upset by the whole process.
"One thing I would like to add that Brian (giving the syringe) did during the video: It looks like when she turned her head he was giving the syringe head on/under nose. Try and avoid this at all costs. It's a lot easier on the cat if you do it on the side and they naturally open their mouth when you do it there.Here's a few pointers:- Smaller syringes are MUCH easier to use. If you're doing this long-term always keep a few on backup because they do tend to break a lot.- If the medicine/food is cold, you can take the syringe in-between your hands and hold it/roll it for a few seconds to warm it up.- If your kitty is nervous be sure and massage the back of her neck and talk to her while you're administrating the medicine/food.- This is A LOT less of a mess but still keep a napkin nearby. You can still make a papertowel bib if needed.- If your kitty doesn't like being on her back AT ALL you can still do this technique but have her on her tummy instead. Still go from the side and still hold her close, it'll make her feel more safe and secure. You don't have to grab the scruff hard. It's only for a little bit of control and comfort on her end. I'm fully against hurtful techniques against cats even if a vet is doing it to get medicine in. I can assure you this in no way harms your cat and it should be instinct for them to accept it.Be sure and give your babies lots of love and kisses after this and possibly a treat if they're not too stressed over it so they associate this with some kind of positivity instead of a majorly hated event."

Polyprenyl immunostimulant is a taste issue for some cats, the insert says 1%. It was initially tested via injection - now it is approved for oral use so unfortunately the company are refusing to advise on injection except to say it will sting as it is hypertonic. After a somewhat traumatic first effort when i tried mixing the entire dose into Mishy's lunch we settled on a pattern of putting it a ml at a time into a well in a level teaspoon of moist food and carefully pushing this shut and serving it piecemeal to a very hungry breakfast kitty. Any higher ratio leads to rejection. If she starts to look satiated we stop and start again an hour later - she is sometimes full after 3-4 mls. A heaped teaspoon is actually a prey sized meal for a cat. The PI is only stable after mixing with food for about 30 mins and must be kept out of the light. Video of how we do it

here is Tanja's unhappy experience of using PI with her cat Sampson :

 I chose to go with PI as I was looking for that miracle that would keep Sampson alive a lot longer, and the successful cases looked better on paper than the interferon; unfortunately for Sampson he threw a clot and with everything he was battling at the same time I could not morally try to make him recover from that plus the FIP. 
Personally I do not think the PI was working for Sampson, before he threw the clot I had already decided to stop the PI treatment, his belly was also starting to feel quite fluidy and I believe it was transforming into the wet form. It is a gamble and I do and don't regret using PI. If I hadn't I would always wonder but the process of giving him the PI in such a large amount by mouth was quite stressful for him and I wish we hadn't spent our last days doing that.

 Sampson, he was honestly the furry love of my life and miss him so much that it feels like a piece of me has been torn to shreds, if i could go back and they could offer me an injectible, absolutely without a doubt i would do that, giving it orally was the worst part of the whole thing, no matter how i did it.

Videoing the method could be good, i was giving S-man the full amount in one go because he wouldn't eat the food with any on it, and i didnt want to give him the meds more than once in a day because i felt bad making him do it again, we just had a big treat of chicken loaf afterwards.

Injecting sub cutaneous vitamin C was actually orders of magnitude less stressful than a misguided attempt to use ascorbic acid in her food or as a syringed supplement. (note: Sodium ascorbate though is virtually tasteless to a cat.) Although it must have stung like a bee, it was quick and we were forgiven eventually. We decided 4 shots only after the IV was removed to taper the dose down and give her the best start at the beginning of her illness. Mishka now gets interferon by injection. Actually it is knowing the routine that makes it unstressful - shot and then noms. It really helps to be given at a consistent time and the same 'medicine location' not used for sleeping or feeding, held by her bff Michael. She even stays relaxed with him in the car and at the vets.

Thursday, 13 December 2012

The Christmas Tomten

“Winters come and winters go, Summers come and summers go, Soon the swallows will be here.” thinks the Tomten.

Yuletide "the midpoint of winter - the cosmic balance between life and death". I feel like we are poised on such a tipping point - and i cant help thinking being in the southern hemisphere the december solstice signals the descent.

Mishka has been going 4 months on the FIP roller coaster. She's on Feline interferon twice a week and a weekly abdo drainage and one week into a trial of PI to see if we can tip the balance over toward life.

There are a few other kittens diagnosed around the same time still alive and well including Tomten - who is named after a scandinavian gnome who talks to the cat in tomten language, "a silent little language a cat can understand."
Nov 2012 "Our biggest fear in the storm was how to keep the feline interferon cold when we lost power. (My vet is importing it from the UK). Jan 1 will be the six month mark so we are thinking about doing another ultrasound then to see how everything looks. Knock on wood Gizmo also seems ok. Not sure how Gizmo would ever handle it if we loose Tom as they are inseparable." ~ Cassie

Gizmo and Tomten, the darker kitty who has FIP, live with the Hallbergs in New Jersey USA. He was diagnosed back in July 2012. His mom Cassie posts updates to the FIPcat support yahoo group. In october his dosages were prednisone 2mg daily and Feline Interferon injections .4ml weekly. Now it is down to every 2nd day for the prednisone and every ten days for the interferon.

Good Yule Tomten and family! Here is a video interpretation of the children's book 'The Tomten' to enjoy

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Hi everyone- sorry its been a while since I posted. Hurricane Sandy did a number on our internet.

Tomten continues to do well. He will be at the 6 month mark since his initial diagnosis on Jan 1st 2012 (Big Day!!!) So for everyone who is new to this site and feeling at a total loss (That was me 6 months ago) there is hope!

For the most part he continues to do well. He is now on the feline interferon injections once every 10 days plus Prednisone every other day. The last two weeks he was a bit withdrawn and less active but the last two days he seems back to himself. (we live in total dread when his behavior changes the least little bit)

I took him and his brother Gizmo for their annual check up last Saturday. His regular vet (he also sees an internal medicine specialist who is leading the FIP treatment) was amazed by him. We decided to never vaccinate him again so as not to stress his immune system. She also took some blood to run a blood pannel. Both Vets agree that they want to rescan him again in January to see if the intestinal mass is still gone and if the lymph nodes are still inflamed.

I think his blood pannel looks much better: The Alb/Glob ration has gone from .44 back in July to .9. Which I think means no longer consistent with FIP. They key change is the alb which in July was 2.2 and now is 4.4. The glob hasn't changed much, its gone from 5.0 to 4.9.

There are some parameters that are really high but Dr. Harrison (the internal medicine vet was pleased. Marlene I would love to get your thoughts on it....

Bets wishes to everyone,


Tomtens blood panel

Test Result Reference Range Low Normal High


ALT (SGPT) 35 28 - 100 U/L

AST (SGOT) 30 5 - 55 U/L

ALBUMIN 4.4 2.3 - 3.9 g/dL HIGH

TOTAL PROTEIN 9.3 5.9 - 8.5 g/dL HIGH

GLOBULIN 4.9 3.0 - 5.6 g/dL

TOTAL BILIRUBIN 0.0 0.0 - 0.4 mg/dL

DIRECT BILIRUBIN 0.0 0.0 - 0.2 mg/dL

BUN 37 15 - 34 mg/dL HIGH

CREATININE 1.2 0.8 - 2.3 mg/dL

CHOLESTEROL 142 82 - 218 mg/dL

GLUCOSE 114 70 - 150 mg/dL

CALCIUM 11.8 1
8.2 - 11.8 mg/dL

PHOSPHORUS 4.2 3.0 - 7.0 mg/dL

CHLORIDE 118 111 - 125 mEq/L

POTASSIUM 3.7 3.9 - 5.3 mEq/L LOW

SODIUM 157 147 - 156 mEq/L HIGH

A/G RATIO 0.9 0.4 - 0.8 HIGH

INDIRECT BILIRUBIN 0.0 0 - 0.3 mg/dL



2. Index of N,+,++ exhibits no significant effect on chemistry values.
3. Index of N,+,++ exhibits no significant effect on chemistry values.

Test Result Reference Range Low Normal High

WBC 6.3 4.2 - 15.6 K/uL

RBC 8.07 6.0 - 10.0 M/uL

HGB 12.8 9.5 - 15 g/dL

HCT 39.7 29 - 45 %

MCV 49 41 - 58 fL

MCH 15.9 11.0 - 17.5 pg

MCHC 32.2 29 - 36 g/dL


NEUTROPHILSEG 58.8 35 - 75 %

LYMPHOCYTES 30.5 20 - 55 %

MONOCYTES 5.0 1 - 4 % HIGH

EOSINOPHIL 5.4 2 - 12 %

BASOPHIL 0.3 0 - 1 %

AUTO PLATELET 192 170 - 600 K/uL


ABSOLUTE NEUTROPHILSEG 3704 2500 - 12500 /uL

ABSOLUTE LYMPHOCYTE 1922 1500 - 7000 /uL




14 December  2012

I love CR!!!! Cure is better but I love Clinical Response.

His total protein has gone up from 7.2 in July to 9.3. His Calcium has also gone up from 7.7 to 11.8.

He is eating well. Tomten has always lived to eat. I notice he sometimes now eats smaller amounts and then goes back and finishes it off 15 minutes later. In July his weight fell to 8.0 lbs he is up to 9.6 lbs.

Unfortunately he is addicted to fancy feast cat food which I fear may not be the most healthy but per Dr. Addie's recco I am supplementing it with a teaspoon a day of either Applepaws chicken, Tuna, Salmon. And he is getting raw steak 3 times a week. (Which he loves!!!) Makes up for the injections which he is increasingly getting more agitated about.

I will keep you posted on the scan in January.

For everyone who is new to the site and feeling hopeless (that was me in July- after all this was his second diagnosis of FIP- the first being a misdiagnosis when he was a kitten and actually had herpes. And I figured he couldn't get lucky twice and this was it). Hang in there! There is hope. Every day I have with Tom is a gift. I don't know how many we will have but we all treasure each day we have with our goofy fur ball and his brother.

Thanks to everyone for your continued support!


22 September 2012

Subject: [FIPCatSupport] Update on Tomten- still doing well

Hi Everyone,  Its been a while since I posted. I contacted Dr. Addie and she agreed to consult with Dr. Harrison to see if Tomten really has or had fip and if he does to give us some advice on how to manage him since he is doing so well on the feline interferon. Now I am just waiting for the two to connect. Knock on wood he continues to do well. Went for a walk on his leash today outside and he was in kitty bliss!We are so grateful to still have him with us.

Dr.Addie was extremely helpful she suggested we immedietly take him off the L-lysine paste he has been taking for herpes since he was a kitten. Apparently, it interferes with the L'argine uptake. She also recommended we add raw red meat to his diet which Dr. Harrison is open to. So he is now getting chopped steak everyday and canned salmon from COSTCO. The steak is expensive but compared to the feline interferon a relative bargain! I also just ordered some applaws from Hopefully they will like it. His brother is super finkly and they really love their fancy feast but I am increasingly concerned I am feeding them yummy junk food. So we will see how it goes with the applaws.

Tomten is doing great but he is losing patience with us jabbing him every week. Upsetting for me as my once "velcro cat" is now nervous every time I pick him up that he is going to get jabbed. So hard because we can't explain it may be whats keeping him alive. But that being said the weather today was amazing and he loved going out for a walk with his brother.

One super goofy FIP moment is the family has taken to singing to Tomten and his brother Gizmo every night the "Kill the virus song" Modeled after Elmer Fudd's of bugs bunny fame "kill the wabbit song". I don't know that its helping but makes us all laugh and that seems to make the cats happy.

best thoughts to everyone, Cassie

14 January 2013 - click here for Tomtens update Great News!

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Vexed Vaccinations

" In cats we now recognise that vaccinating with too many vaccines in the same place all the time can cause fibrosarcoma, a nasty cancer." ~ Nancy Scanlon, DVM, Chino Hills, USA

The annual boosters for our animals used to confound me. I imagined pets had a most bizarre immune system - forgetful regarding life threatening viruses but functioning perfectly with regard to all other viral and bacterial assaults. They didn't seem to be in anyway prone to the petty common illnesses that snotty humans suffer. No vomiting illnesses, no boxes of kitty kleenex were needed each winter and the dogs were happily rolling in anything dead, bounding about in the wind and rain, and taking any opportunity to eat cat poo - yummy.

Holistic vet Dr Yasson says science confirms annual vaccinations are unecessary
"Current Veterinary Therapy, 11th Edition, which is one of the most significant textbooks in veterinary medicine to date, says that vaccines tend to last a lifetime in dogs and cats.   Dogs and cats in old age do tend to have more chronic disease when they have those vaccines repeated on a yearly basis.  Annual revaccinations are unnecessary"

Lisa A. Pierson, DVM gives her rationale and reccomendations for a sensible feline vaccination schedule.

"There is nothing in the scientific literature to support annual vaccination with the FVRCP and Feline Leukemia (FeLV) vaccines. It is well-known that:

  • the vaccines commonly used for cats confer immunity for much longer than 1 year - and actually provide lifelong immunity in most instances for panleukopenia
  • adjuvants contained in killed vaccines put cats at risk for fatal tumors (sarcomas)
  • even the non-adjuvanted FVRCP vaccines have caused sarcomas, as have the PureVax vaccines
  • natural immunity to feline leukemia is very strong by the time the cat reaches ~1 year of age
  • the FVRCP vaccine is strongly linked to kidney inflammation"

To those I would add two comments:

1."Saving a small fortune"  if the pets live to be as old as First Cat 19yrs, and NewDog 11yrs. Neither and Senior dog who died at 19, have been vaccinated for many years since we gave up sending them to boarding if we go on holidays - it makes much more sense to employ a house sitter.
2. Vaccination is a huge antioxidant stress.
"One research worker in the laboratory had been immunizing animals against diseases like tetanus and Diptheria.  His experience showed that after being immunized, some of the animals died suddenly within 24 hours.  These deaths had been attributed to anaphylaxis.  Authorities the world over had decided that this was so (it is a severe allergic reaction).  I suggested that vitamin C deficiency was the cause.  The animals involved did not make their own.  Like primates they required it in their diet.   To discover the truth only required a simple experiment.....
     The result was definite, unquestionable and final.  Half of a group of animals were supplemented with vitamin C before being immunised.  None died.  The un-supplemented half continued to die at rates equal to those found in previous experiments.
    The importance of this discovery can hardly be stressed.  In Australia and all over the world, infants were being immunised.  Those whose vitamin C status was low were at risk.  here, at last, was experimental evidence that supported my claims that stepping up immunisation campaigns among Aboriginal infants increased the death rate."  Every Second Child  by
Dr Archie Kalokerinos, M.D. (p.139-140)

A cat makes vitamin C but as far as I can tell they are low on the list of responders able to make around 40mg/kg daily. They will in the wild naturally derive vitamin c from prey. The antioxidant vit C and E are not easy to preserve in processed foods - they have to be topped up before packaging and survive sitting on shelves for months. I wonder how they actually compare to raw foods of similar caloric value? I expect Dr Belfield DVM will know - he gives all his pets and patients supplemental vit C.

We roll the dice when we choose to intervene. My husband's cousin is severely mentally disabled due to the MMR vaccine.

In humans vit c status can make all the difference between a 'routine' vaccination and disability or death. "In Archie’s opinion, the death rate in the Aborigine babies and children stemmed from widespread subclinical scurvy, which resulted in every second child dying, after the medical profession’s vaccination teams swept through the districts." HIs latest book is about Shaken Baby syndrome and is free to download Dr Kalokerinos also predicted that there would be widespread problems from the Ford administration 1976 swine flu vaccine program - and indeed there was, prompting it's early termination, and including a fantastic Mafia Boss death link ( really Hollywood could not have come up with a better plot!)

and in humans fatal mistakes in manufacturing as well as straightforward vaccination related deaths still occur in children particularly with their fragile immature immune sytstems. Ashley Jade Epapara  died in her cot 24 hrs after receiving the infamous 2010 fluvax

John Robbie

"My beautiful John Robie. Still doing well 8 months after his FIP diagnosis. He is a miracle thanks to PI. ( Polyprenyl Immunostimulant ) " ~ CatMom: Lisa Cone

7th Dec 2012

John Robie on the stove - a favorite place. 33 weeks on PI and still going strong!

Happy Catmas John Robie and Lisa!

The charming Jon Robbie is named after the antihero of "To Catch a Thief" since he stole Lisa's heart!

  • John Robie (approximate BD of June 25, 2010). 
    "John Robie is an active 2 year old, curious, kittenish loving brat. His Dry FIP is concentrated in his intestines and it can be uncomfortable for him to poop (he meows in the cat box), but he's otherwise a normal cat and has even gained some weight. He actually looks (and acts) like a normal (but not fat) teenage cat. It is difficult to remember that he has a fatal disease. But, he's a feisty one and strong. He bounced back from exploratory surgery like it didn't even phase him. I think I knew then that he was going to be my fighter and he sure has.
    He was dumped in a parking lot at 5 weeks old and found by me. He's probably some exotic mix as he is VERY different from all of other street cats. He had terrible fleas and ear mites when I found him and a slight URI but was otherwise healthy. He was just going to be a foster, but he was too amazing and I fell in love, so he became a part of a household with 8 other cats. When he was a year old, I fostered 3, 4 week old kittens for a few months. He was always and indoor cat. He started losing weight in late March and we took him in to our vet almost immediately. My normal vet diagnosed FIP immediately and told me he had a few weeks tops. I have too much experience with vets not being proactive so I went exploring. A client of mine (I'm a pet sitter) had a recent great experience with a vet that works with pug rescue (I also have pugs) so I took him there for a second opinion. They were much more proactive, did exploratory surgery, took a biopsy and was willing to work with getting him PI. 
    That vet was Airport Irvine Animal Hospital Irvine, CA. They also started him on Prednisone, Trental (pentoxifylline) and an appetite stimulant right away. He responded pretty well right away to the meds. We got approved for PI and he started on that on April 7. I weaned him slowly off of Pred, but when we got to the point where he had stopped the pred completely, he started doing badly again. I upped the pred to normal dosage again until he stabilized again, then weaned him down to .25 mg every other day. He has remained on .25 pred every other day, 1/8 Trental every other day and PI every other day since then and it has been the perfect combination thus far. 
    Oh, one other thing...None of the 8 other cats in my household (who are older than JR) have shown any signs of FIP (yet), nor have the foster kittens that were "raised" by JR shown any signs of FIP. I hope it stays that way. " ~ Lisa

    Amen to that.

    April 2013 update:

    still doing amazing!
    John Robie is still on Prednisone at one year. A dose of .25 ever other day seems to be the ticket for him. He does NOT do well when he is off completely.

    May 2013 update:

    His update is currently in flux. He was stable on the same dosage of all 3 meds. We decreased his Pred and he took a turn for the worst.
    We upped it back up to the original dosage then slowly decreased it weekly. As of 2 days ago, he is started showing symptoms again with the Pred at .25 every other day.
    So now we have increased it again to .25 every day.
    Hopefully that will stabilize him.
    The trental and PI dosage remains the same.
    Fortunately John Robbie is back to his playful self on the daily prednisone. Please be cautious when the cat is doing well; they really do look normal and start perhaps fussing about medications so that people try to scale the medications back. I have collected several case histories of cats who have had problems when their doses were scaled back like Abbey. Oliver Mackinnon takes his 5mls of PI DAILY for 3 years and only now is starting to think about scaling back, Blade has been chugging along on his meds for 2 years - if it ain't broke dont fix!

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Death and taxes

"In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes." ~ Benjamin Franklin

FIP is not an illness the general cat owning public are aware of though breeders and vets are well acquainted with the general hopeless picture, if not the finer points since they tend to treat those affected as disposable, as do the bean counters - the insurance companies.

There were breed premiums mentioned in the brochure I picked up while waiting at the vet last november with little Mishka - all runny nose and feverish mystery. I was moved to pick up a brochure as it felt really odd to have a sick cat who was so young. Birmans weren't considered one of the dodgy breeds by the insurers. In fact prior to accepting Mishka a little investigation had falsely assured me the breed was considered a very hardy, healthy one. A much better tool found too late: This web page contains a list of genetic or inherited conditions which have been reported and lists the cat breeds affected. It's long and Birmans are frequently mentioned.

It didn't seem worth the premium based on the past record of First Cat - two vet visits in 19 yrs. With 20/20 hindsight it was a minor saving as in the teeny print you can only get off the interwebs FIP is specifically excluded including euthanasia for FIP. Neither PI nor interferon nor Moducare would be acceptable even if it was covered, being experimental or non-prescription treatments.

The current purchasing system for medications and nutriceuticals resembles a MLM Ponzi scheme, and I expect asking the government to release the most expensive of these treatments for FIP, the feline interferon, from GST is talking to stone. Mishka also takes a fair few nutritional supplements since she won't eat raw meat - colostrum and whey powder - full of growth factors, vitamin C, rutin and fulvic minerals and we have tried a heap more curcumin, pentoxifylline, prednisolone to name a few.

but restoring my faith in human nature are a bunch of people who give of their time and resources freely; I'll just mention someone here: Jevgenia sent Mishka her left over polyprenyl which amounts to nearly a full months course to try. It made it through customs without the stupid $325 AQIS clearance form we truly didnt need - we could have imported via Tanja who already had one for her cat (deceased) but the information given to her incorrectly said each cat had to have a separate permit. This butt covering delay has seen more than one cat die already waiting for their chance. If you want other cats in australia to have this chance too then donate to Mishka's fighting fund (right) so I can bring in enough boxes of PI on the one form to have spares ready to send out.

Mishka was knocked back months ago by the PI people because she has wet fip and their initial study showed it was ineffectual but possibly because most cats only survive a few days with the disease and PI needs about 2 -4 weeks to effect a change. It's still an off label use for FIP, dr Legendre himself is calling it a delaying treatment not a cure but what else is there except hope? Now it's approved for rhinotracheitis and not a freeby experimental drug you just need deep pockets, a vet's prescription (and for non US cats someone with the import clearance) in order to have a go.

Mishka has fought on for nearly 4 months now - i think largely due to having her own physician ( my husband) careful nursing, FOI and Moducare. The vets have been a mixed bag - choose with care!

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Having a girl's look

“There is nothing like looking, if you want to find something. You certainly usually find something, if you look, but it is not always quite the something you were after.” J.R.R. Tolkien

The long words really get to me sometimes "Bovine dialyzable leukocyte extract"? Is that a nice name for bloody extract of squished cow? There seems to be a possibility of a scam in the supplements labelled 'transfer factors' - some FIP cats are getting
I think however there is legitimate research: As Prof Lipkin says - raw meat is full of goodies!
Bovine dialyzable leukocyte extract (bDLE) is a dialyzate of a heterogeneous mixture of low molecular weight substances released from disintegrated leukocytes of the blood or lymphoid tissue obtained from homogenized bovine spleen. bDLE is clinically effective for a broad spectrum of diseases. To determine whether bDLE improves survival and modulates the expression of pro-inflammatory cytokine genes in LPS-induced, murine endotoxic shock, Balb/C mice were treated with bDLE (1 U) after pretreatment with LPS (17 mg/kg). The bDLE improved survival (90%), suppressed IL-10 and IL-6, and decreased IL-1β, TNF-α, and IL-12p40 mRNA expression; and decreased the production of IL-10 (P<0.01), TNF-α (P<0.01), and IL-6 (P<0.01) in LPS-induced, murine endotoxic shock. Our results demonstrate that bDLE leads to improved survival in LPS-induced endotoxic shock in mice, modulating the pro-inflammatory cytokine gene expression, suggesting that bDLE is an effective therapeutic agent for inflammatory illnesses associated with an unbalanced expression of pro-inflammatory cytokine genes such as in endotoxic shock, rheumatic arthritis and other diseases.

Hoping the ever helpful Dr Norris will comment soon. The amazing claims for some supplements are worse than hair product ads. It pays to be skeptical and do your due diligence though the horrible knowledge that FIP is a rapid disease means this is a real dilemma. In hindsight I would like to erase the two week delay popping homeopathic drops on an intermittently febrile cat while I tracked down and checked out feline interferon (FOI). Hence I hope this blog will be helpful to others in some way rather than just more to read and worry over.

A Miracle Kitten

"Every event which might claim to be a miracle is, in the last resort, something presented to our senses, something seen heard touched smelled or tasted." ~
C. S. Lewis

Carol Drymon of Windhaven Exotics was given some of the first Polyprenyl Immunostimulant as part of the initial field trials. The vet who introduced her to PI is Meredith Beard DVM. The kitten dubbed  "Miracle" who had a presumptive diagnosis of wet FIP in 2009 is still alive and well as of April 2013 Carol tells me Miracle is living in San Diego now in a loving home. I hope to get a picture sometime :)
"The most astonishing event during my use of the PI to this date, was with a six week old F6 Savannah kitten born September 1st, 2009 that had the wet form of Feline Infectious Peritonitis, FIP. Her full sister had been put to sleep shortly after starting the PI protocol (because of confirmed FIP). This kitten’s abdomen was extremely swollen and she was becoming very lethargic and ill. At the veterinarian’s, she was diagnosed by Dr. Beard as having wet FIP after a tummy tap that withdrew the typical yellow viscous fluid that FIP is known for.

I decided to give her a chance with the PI. I kept this kitten (now named Miracle) on the PI, even after the prescribed two week protocol time period had ended. After the first five weeks, there was a noticeable reduction in the swelling of her abdomen. She was eating starting to play again, too. After two months, the swelling was almost gone and the kitten was gaining weight and began to appear more normal in her body, even though she was still only half the size of her four other siblings. I continued with the PI, adjusting the dose as she grew, and she was growing. After January 2010, I was only giving her the PI every other day, the dose being given was according to her weight. She was acting normal. She looked normal. She was never sick and was playing with other kittens in one of the big kitten rooms.

To date, Miracle is no longer on the PI. She has grown considerably, although she is still slightly on the small side, and she is extremely healthy. As far as I’m concerned, her wet FIP was cured by the use of PI."
You can read Carol's complete article on PI with Miracle's story here 
Originally appearing in Bengal's Illustrated - back issue available

Perhaps the criteria used for diagnosis of wet FIP were not 'hard' enough for Miracle to make the Sass and Sass "PI Hall of Fame" FIP survivors page - whatever the reason I was only given this information after begging for a trial of PI on facebook FIP fighters page. Prior to that we were continually reminded that PI was ineffectual for wet FIP.

Where iz my cheezeburger?

 " A great many things in my life would be different if only I could open the door to the refrigerator. "~ Henri, le chat noir


 Grains and carnivores - not a happy mix

It is nice to have Mishka back to normal - hunting around the house in the wee hours for snacks ... bang bang bang at 4 am opening cupboards, finding her in a pile of kibble ....

oh crap - waiting for the sound of puking
She was vomiting again on tuesday evening / wed morning. Perhaps it was a bit of plastic from chomping into the loaf of fruit bread on the bench, or the bread itself.  Thankfully settled by midday but for many hours I thought it was all over though she is stronger; still playing with me after 4 chucks! took five to take her down a bit, and she remained well hydrated. Previously one or two chucks made her a limp fur rag. She was examined and cleared by our vet for continued treatment, so drained again wed pm and perked up straight way as usual - so we put it down to scoffing kibble accidentally left out for the other cat on top of the illicit snacks. We are not serving even a  mouthful of this junk food even as a treat anymore though she does miss it since Friskies Indoor was all she ever ate when she came to us.

Mishka wasn't particularly fippy belly leading up to the vomiting so it caught me by surprise. Might be magical thinking but let's pretend the fluid is slowing down marginally. After a week we only drained 465 mls. The time before we took off that much after only five days. No hairball has come up, and also no grass yet even though she has also scoffed her nommy new wheatgrass today which astonishingly seemed to make her feel better almost immediately.

Firstly i stopped the curcumin and pentoxifylline cream since they can both upset the tummy with no difference in Mishka's constitution except she is happier ( the pentoxi cream was was getting increasingly unsettling applied even just twice daily instead of the required three. i wasn't going to renew the prescription as it hasn't made huge inroads into her disease for the emotional cost - just tried replacing it with curcumin as the anti-inflammatory. We haven't missed the prednisolone.

Curcumin extract suggested by a friend was originally rejected because i thought it would be hard to dose ( not true ~ she likes the flavour or ignores it but it stains fur pink! ) and I have read it may be immune suppressive although possibly in away that is ok For starters it hammers the TH1 and TH2 systems even handedly 
Too many long words - waiting on comment by Dr Norris. We can't get Thorne brand Curcuvet in australia but herbs of gold sell an easy to get product containing the same bioavailable Meriva extract Thorne uses.

And still waaaiting for the customs clearance to get PI - come on Santa!

Ebony and Ivory

"I have no opposable thumbs but I oppose everything." ~ Henri, le chat noir

William Braden of Seattle has a successful series of faux french short films featuring the moody tuxedo Henri and his white housemate only known as l'Imbicile Blanc - two yin yang cats who present his philosophies from a catseye view such as this vet visit -

which got me to thinking if Mishka ever gets as world weary as Henri we will be pulling the plug, but right now she's easily pleased -sunshine, noms, a quite place to nap, perhaps an exciting bit of string or a paperclip.

Our own yin yang pair of cats are equally complementary; the dark tortie 'first ladycat' Tish ~ a moggie who hasn't seen a vet in over a decade and prefers raw meat, preferably hunted down by herself is 19 while the unfortunate fippy blond birman Mishka is just 2.

Our years of experience with Tish in no way prepared us for pedigreed princess Mishka - canned fish addict and hairball hoarder. Apparently moving home, dumping flea powder and worm medicine into Tish who can outgun a copperhead snake does not stress her system to breaking point. She greets all our visitors with graceful purring but ...

Mishka is freaked by new people and funny smells. For her to have come this far with treatment is a testament to her underlying pluck - the inner snow leopard in our little fluffball.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Christmas Wish for Mishka

"Has The Cat been a good The Cat? That is the question...." ~ Tummymountain 

Oh I so think she has! Do visit the Tummymountain link - i didn't want to steal their picture of cat's wishes - it is heartmeltingly cute and accurate.

Cats live in the moment so Mishka's not counting sleeps to Christmas and neither is she stressed out waiting for the latest wonder drug that might help her win out over FIP ... but I am! We are waiting on PI - the Polyprenyl  immunostimulant (which we were told doesn't work for wet FIP) we now know has apparently cured one cat named Miracle, and an enzyme preparation called Serapeptase. Pray customs have some xmas spirit though they are not noted for it :(

and we have reached the end of the financial tether - actually i think we passed that redflag months ago but apparently cats are colour blind. If you were thinking of sending me a christmas card save a tree, if you were going to take me out for a cup or coffee and cake, save my aching joints by hitting the donate button below instead - paypal doesn't take much off it and they are secure.

Just by donating $5 you can help Mishka pave the path for other FIP cats with experimental treatment. Dr Norris Associate Professor in Veterinary Microbiology SYdney University says PI is definitely worth a try in Mishka - 3 months survival is a very good result so far. Mishka has the rarest and most advanced sort of fip affecting both lungs and abdomen. PI is only available in america and its use for FIP is considered 'off label'. We can raise a few extra hundred to also set up a stockpile of PI for rapid response for australian cats. The drug's price is quadrupled by taxes and customs forms which have to be purchased each time the PI is ordered so if can spread this out it over one big order this helps and importantly avoids delays in treatment which are fatal for FIP cats. If you are going to treat FIP do it early. Viruses multiply by doubling - do the scary math. Dr Norris is importing two boxes with her own money.

Once protocols for treatment are established through trial and error the survival rate goes up - it's not just all about double blind research studies. Sick cats like Mishka also just have to do the hard yards of the learning curve in the early days.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Lessons from Dr. Lipkin

"SARS was contained not because of a drug or vaccine but because we identified people who were infected or at risk, and we isolated them." ~ Prof Ian Lipkin MD

"When DISCOVER features editor Pamela Weintraub interviewed Lipkin last year, his dog, Koprowski was desperately sick. Lipkin had a treatment plan: not an antiviral drug or chemotherapy, but red meat. “It has antibiotics, it has growth hormone, it has everything"
Ian Lipkin is a virus hunter who was instrumental in helping China get control of SARS beginning with easy low tech things like soap and water for handwashing. He treated one of the first cases of AIDS successfully for a while with the new but existing technique of plasmapharesis to remove the antibody complexes that were causing his patients neurological symptoms.

Let's follow Lipkins lead and treat FIP with these things. Raw meat Mishka wont eat so until i can get hold of raw goats milk shes happily eating a kitty powershake - undenatured whey and colostrum powders, a teaspoon of each mixed with a teasoon of water daily, and raw egg yolk - yum!

FIP shares some similarities with SARS they are both corona viruses, and AIDS a disease of marked immune dysfunction.

Here's Mishka - Half the cat she was. She's leaking about 100 mls of fluid and protein a day into her peritoneum from damaged blood vessels - if we opened her belly up we would see little lumps called granulomas everwhere as the body tries unsuccessfully to destroy diseased cells that are nestled in the tissues like splinters. Collateral damage inflames the blood vessels - so far everything we have tried has not stopped this.
I have to wonder if plasmapharesis would have any success - UC Davis uses it for dogs with myesthenia gravis just as it is used in humans with this disease which inspired Lipkins AIDS treatment.

Monday, 29 October 2012

Hope is a Black Swan

"Rara avis in terris nigroque simillima cygno" (a rare bird in the lands, very much like a black swan) ~ Juvenal

The first thing you will likely hear after the diagnosis of FIP is that 'there is no cure'. Utter bunkum - there are cured cats - not a sure thing, not easy and not cheap but just one survivor proves that it is possible. Black swans did exist unbeknownst to Juvenal writing in 1st century Rome. If your cat has wet FIP the cure is Feline Omega Interferon (FOI); if your cat has dry FIP the cure is Polyprenyl Immunostimulant (PI). UPDATE: PI has also possibly cured a kitten with wet FIP. The sooner you start the more likely the cat will do well.

Wet FIP Cases

Miracle 6 week old F6 Savanah

Dusty 3yo scottish fold - survived wet fip with pleural effusion in 2007. Still alive and well October 2012 and on no meds. Diagnosis confirmed by Jaqui Norris, University of Sydney direct immunoflourescence of pleural aspirate. This is the feline omega interferon (FOI) 'poster case' for the manufacturers Virbac.
Click here for full case history
I talked directly to the vet responsible for Dusty's case - Simon Craig in Sydney Australia; his practice is up the road from where I used to live and I have followed their pioneering work in autologous bonemarrow stemcell treatment for hip arthitis in dogs which we can now use in humans too, thanks to their collaboration with a local doc. Be aware Simon Craig says it is no miracle cure and did not help most of his patients and he has not used it in years.

Dry FIP Case

The Hucaby cats live in Nashville Tennesee. Gringo (white cat in centre photo) was 2 years old and Natasha was 15 when they contracted dry FIP in 2006. Both were successfully treated with PI and Natasha reached the grand old age of 20 in 2010. (Update: at autopsy Natasha was found not to have FIP "Natasha passed last year of natural causes at the age of 21. Dr. Legendre has not included her data on his paper since he doubted that she had FIP (he had no doubts about Gringo). Natasha's necropsy revealed no FIP, as I recall. Dr. Legendre was correct as always." Oct 2012)

Click here to read their story
Polyprenyl Immunostimuant (PI ) survivors - reprinted with permission