Last Updated: 12/3/10
Photos are listed from newest to oldest.
These three photos are from 12/6/08 since I figured I had better get some photos of her. She was
not very cooperative so I had to hold her:
Elvi from behind; she was eating and, being deaf, did not yet know I was there.
Elvi between my legs. "Let me out of here!"
Elvi - finally, her face; I had to hold it there.
I got these rare photos of three of the cats together at the same spot on 10/6/08:
Tinkie, Elvisina, and Gino
Tinkie, Elvisina, and Gino
Elvisina sleeping on the old rocking chair in
the basement (her favorite place) on 1/13/08.
Elvisina on the stool on 10/6/07.
Elvisina on the couch on 1/1/07.
Elvis on 9/4/06.
Elvi sleeping in Kisty's old basket on 2/19/05. Because she is deaf, I can get a photo without her waking up at all.
Elvi's head on 10/31/04.
Elvi on 10/31/04.
Elvi on 7/28/04.
In the spring of 2004, a cat started hanging around and sneaking some of GK's food outside. This was no big deal as various cats come through all the time. For months, this cat was hardly seen, very skittish. I would scare her off because she would fight with GK, and GK could not eat her food in peace. I thought this cat was a tomcat for that reason, plus, she had slanty eyes and sagging belly. I named "him" Elvis. I managed to tap her on the body a few times while she was eating as she could not hear me (or the dog coming). She is almost totally deaf! Then, for some reason, she became less scared, and, on 7/19/04, I made first physical contact. I ran my hand along her rump to find, oops not an intact male. The next day, I was able to actually look to find Elvis is really Elvisina! She is black and white. On 7/24/04, she let me bring her into a room, cut off a knot ball, trim her dagger nails, comb her, clean her ears, give her a dose of Frontline, etc. I made a vet appointment for 7/3/04 but it was not until 5 pm so I did not grab her at breakfast. I tried later in the day a few times. I finally got her by the neck around 11:30 am but she could not see me coming despite the noise I made, and she bit me a few times hard. She did not come back that day.
I made another appointment on 8/6/04 at 9:20 am that went well. I grabbed her when I fed her and put her in a dog kennel for a few hours which she hated. Here are the results of her exam: 8.1 pounds, no microchip, negative for feline leukemia and AIDS, found the spay scar after shaving, rabies and distemper shots given, negative for worms in her feces, age guessed to be over 8 years old, ear cleaning, and medication for her slightly infected and irritated ears (Otomax contains gentamicin sulfate for bacteria, betamethasone valerate for inflamation, and clotrimazole for fungus). The vet did not think she had ear mites but that her ear infection may have been worse in the past leading to her loss of hearing. She is not too happy to have the ear medication (which I can only give once in the morning since she runs off) but hopefully it will help.
Her back is a little sunken, she has a slight limp, she is fat, her eyes are squinty, so I knew she was an older cat. I have started to give her Cosequin (as well as Samantha) since it helps with bad arthritis. GK hates her so now I bring GK inside a few minutes in the morning so she can eat. GK is so skinny! Elvisina only eats canned food and a lot of it! GK and Saman eat both. Gino and Dude only eat dry!
Here is a link to cat Cosequin at Drs. Foster and Smith. You do not need a prescription to get it. The photo is of the dog version but, if you click, it goes to the cat version.
As winter set in, I brought Elvi into a dog kennel where she seemed to be good at using (and sleeping in) the litter pan. I began letting her out into the house to meet the other cats and move around. But, her occasional wheezing fits, slight conjunctivitis (eye gunk), diarrhea, vomiting, and eating a lot and then very little concerned me. It was not every day but often enough. She only used the litter pan half the time for poo. I made her an appointment for her at the vet on 1/27/05 but took Schmoo, the dog instead, because he was very sick (and died less than four days later). I finally got Elvi to the vet on 2/2/05. She was up to 8.5 pounds from 8.1 pounds on 8/7/04. Her fecal test was negative for worms. The vet said she had a pronounced heart murmur. He said she could have a bacterial or viral infection and put her on Baytril for 10 days. He said she could be contagious of which I am petrified for the other cats who already have spent time with her. If she continues to wheeze in a few weeks, he says she needs a chest x-ray. I had deaf Elvi microchiped. I insisted on a blood panel. It showed a T4 value of 14 with 0.8 to 4 being normal. She has hyperthyroidism which is common in older cats. Most cats with hyperthyrodism have T4 values of about 6 so hers is really high. This vet guesses she is about 10-years-old. Her platelets were a bit low but another vet who gave me the test results said they were not of concern. Two of her liver enzymes were slightly elevated which she said is common in cats with hyperthyroidism and should go away with treatment. Treatments include surgery (~$1000), radioactive iodine therapy ($1250, see radiocat.com), and tapazole (methimazole) (about $600- 800 a year for medications and blood work every month or so). From 10-20% of cats have bad reactions to tapazole (vomiting, allergic reactions, stop eating, etc.). Only the iodine therapy, which requires a week in the hospital, is a cure. They also said to check her blood pressure which may be high from hyperthyrodism. The heart murmur may also be caused by hyperthyroidism. Just once, it would be nice to have a healthy animal! Not only am I a cat magnet, but a magnet for those with costly ailments!
I picked up her pills 2/3/05 around 5:40 pm. Each pill is 5 mg. Elvi gets half a pill twice a day or 5 mg total of methimazole per day to start. I sure hope this works!
By 2/8/05, Elvi has barely eaten anything since being on the methimazole. I also noticed her urine was very yellow. I asked the vet. She said to take her off the methimazole for a few days to see if she starts to eat. I think I will have her get the radioactive treatment but we have to make sure she is healthy enough first by rechecking her blood work again soon and maybe doing a leukemia test again, blood pressure, checking the heart murmur, and maybe a chest x-ray. Her eyes were still weepy/goopy so I started her on 2/5/05 on some extra chlorbiotic (chloramphenicol) I had from a rabbit a few years ago. It seems to help. Elvi really hates that she has to be either in the cage or outside as she was just settling into spending time in the house where she wants to be. Elvi is having a re-check and more tests on 2/18/05.
The tests showed things were about the same. Her T4 was up to 16 but her high liver levels were slightly lower. The x-ray showed that her lungs were clear but her heart is enlarged. Her heart has the big murmur as well, all probably damaged from the hyperthyrodism that would not have occurred if she had a decent owner (remember I just found her less than a year ago so we do not know her history). She was re-tested for feline leukemia which was negative. They could not do the blood pressure because she was too upset. Because her heart damage may be such that she may not live long, the vet does not want her to go through with the radioactive treatment without being seen by a cardiologist. This is what I do not understand. He/she will say either that Elvi is dying and nothing can be done so I can save money not doing the radioactive treatment or that her heart damage is semi-reversible or not too severe so that we should do the radioactive treatment. Either way, there is no benefit to Elvi. Now, if she is too damaged, I am supposed to save money but the radioactive treatment costs $1250 and a visit to a cardiologist costs at least $800 to $1000 so how much did I save and at what cost to Elvi? So, I am waiting to hear what the Radiocat vet thinks as to whether they will allow her to go through with it. The clock is ticking on poor Elvi.
Elvisina went into Radiocat for her iodine shot on 4/4/05 and came home on 4/8/05. Everything went as planned so now we wait three months to re-test her T4 value so see if she is cured.
She was cured all right, too much! On 7/1/05, she had her blood work. Her T4 value went down to 0.3 from 16! Normal is 0.8 to 4. Elvi now has hypothyrodism! Cats rarely get that but dogs do sometimes. Its effects include excessive shedding and lethargy. I am waiting to hear from the Radiocat vet about the best thyroid medication to put her on. They say it would only be temporary, and she would be fine. The good news is that her liver values are now normal, and the vet can no longer hear a heart murmur! Her heart rate was down a little bit too. Her weight is now up to 9.1 pounds. They said it was 6.4 pounds last time (4 months ago) but there is no way as she was about 8 pounds the week before that. Anyway, weight gain is normal after correcting hyperthyroidism.
On 7/29/05, Elvi went to the vet for her distemper and rabies shots. I told the vet that she is still losing a lot of fur which she could see and that she does not eat well and sleeps a lot so she agreed to try her on the thyroid medication for a month and then have her retested. She is taking 50 ug of levothyroxin once a day.
As of 8/17/05, I made Elvi an appointment for 8/25/05. Within a week after going on thyroid medication, her wads of fur coming out stopped. I think I was right that the hypothyroidism caused her fur to fall out. She is eating better and more active. Hopefully the test results will put her in the proper range. On 8/25/05, Elvi's T4 was 0.9 which is the low end of normal. The plan is to keep her on the pills and re-test in a month. Eventually, hopefully, we can wean her off the pills.
On 9/26/05, her T4 was 0.8, even worse (the lowest of "normal"). She will be re-tested in two months. She was 9.4 pounds.
On 12/19/05, Elvi's T4 was 0.9 so it passed. She also had a urinalysis that day which was normal. I had them check her ears again since she flicks them so much. They cleaned the ears and looked at the stuff under the microscope. The vet says she has a mild fungal infection. Well, any fungus is too much. He was reticent to put her on medication because he could not visualize her ear drums to see if they are intact. Since she is deaf, they may not be. If they are ruptured, this medication may cause her to have trouble with her balance so we have to watch her. She is on Otomax twice a day for a week for the fungal infection. She was on this at her first vet visit so I hope it works this time. I asked for her weight but never go it. She seems heavier to me.
I took Elvi in for her yearly checkup a month early on 6/27/06. I had been worried because her thyroid seems low. She eats little but is obese, her fur is falling out with bad dandruff, her wheezing is worse, and she has on and off again vomiting and diarrhea. The vet drew blood. Elvi also got x-rays which show she has some asthma. Why they never did an x-ray before when I said she had trouble breathing is beyond me! The x-ray also showed her heart is slightly enlarged. She has a few breathing attacks each day, mostly when I got to touch her or pick her up. She is up to 11 pounds!
The blood work showed her T4 was down to 0.7 which is low as I thought. Her other values were okay but her BUN was 39 (early kidney failure?) and her pancreatic enzymes were up. She will now get a thyroid pill in the morning and half of one in the evening. He also wants to try a bronchial dilator, terbutalin. Her T4 will be rechecked in a few months. I got the compounded terbutalin on 7/1/06 and started her on that. She gets 0.5 mL twice a day from a concentration of 0.625 mg/mL.
As of 7/20/06, her changed medications seem to be working well. Her hair is not falling out as badly, and she has fewer asthma attacks (and less severe).
On 8/29/06, I took Elvi for bloodwork to test the T4 again. She was up to 11.6 pounds! Her T4 was 1.3 which is much better (0.8 to 4 is normal). She will be re-tested in about four months. The levothyroxin and terbutalin seem to be working well.
On 12/19/06, I took Elvis for her T4 check. The result was 1.4 which is good. Her weight was still 11.6 pounds. She does not need to go back for 3 or 4 months.
On 4/30/07, Elvi had blood drawn for a T4 check again. I had a "total body function test" done which checks other blood work as well. She was down to 11.2 pounds. Her T4 result came back as 1.7 (1 to 4 is normal) so it was ok. Her urea went up to 48 from 39 last time. Results should be less than 35. Her creatinine is up to 3.2 with less than 2.5 desired. So, she may be having early kidney problems. Eventually, I may be giving her fluids like I have with my other old cats. For now, we just wait and retest in about six months.
Elvisina had her yearly checkup on 6/27/07 but no shots or blood work were due. Her weight was still 11.2 pounds. I had her ears cleaned. She has the low grade heart murmur (that was initially bad and later could not be found). I got some caps (fish oil and fat soluble vitamins) to put in her food because her coat is so full of dandruff.
At the end of September, I noticed that Elvisina was leaving blood spots in the basement over night. She also had a lot of smelly diarrhea and one night with diarrhea, vomiting, and blood spots (bright red). I took her to the vet of 9/25/07. He found that her anal glands were super full. He thinks she was straining due to that and causing her rectum to bleed. He squeezed them out (the first session, she peed and started to hyperventilate so he waited and did a second session) and put her on metronidazole for 14 days. This antibiotic (also called Flagyl) may help with intestinal irritation, diarrhea, etc. It is a liquid of concentration 125 mg/mL (12.5%, seems like a lot). She gets 0.5 mL twice a day.
While there, I had her blood tested. The next day, it showed her T4 value was normal (1.4). Her creatinine was still 3.2 but her BUN was up to 55. Ut oh! My cat Samantha started on lactated ringers when her kidney values were better than that (3.2 and 45). Since Elvis has a damaged and enlarged heart from her hyperthyrodism that she used to have as well as a heart murmur and asthma, the vet is afraid her heart cannot take a lot of fluids. So, we are going to try 50 mL every other day and see how she does. I am changing her food from all natural good food to the disgusting Science Diet pig offal diet. Somehow (according to the vet) eating the parts of pigs that humans will not eat as well as grains is better for her than human grade meats without grains. She will get canned KD for her kidneys and dry WD for weight and added fiber (so her anal glands will hopefully be more self expressive). I do not want to put down dry KD because the other cats will eat it. Gino is already on a mix of CD and WD which Elvisina comes and snatches as well. Doodally should not be eating any vet diets but I cannot stop her.
Elvisina is now on eight medications or supplements - levothyroxin for hypothyrodism, terbutalin for asthma, Cosequin for arthritis, Vita Coat for her dry coat (which is working), metronidazole for diarrhea and intestinal problems, wet KD food for kidney failure, dry WD food for weight and intestinal problems, and lactated ringers for kidney failure. So many problems!!
Elvis went back for a recheck on 10/30/07. Her BUN was down to 48 but her creatinine was up to 3.9. The vet said the BUN was down due to the fluids. He suggested giving her the 50 mL of lactated ringers daily instead of every other day which I am doing. Her weight was down 0.1 pounds to 9.9 pounds. She is eating small amounts of canned KD and dry WD Science Diets but likes to eat Gino's CD (higher in fat/lard). I hate that she is on this gross food, and she does not like it either.
Elvisina went to the vet to have blood and urine drawn for testing on 2/5/08. She lost half a pound and is down to 9.5 pounds. That and the fact that she vomits her breakfast a few times a week are concerning.
Her test results showed her creatinine went down to 2.9 (from 3.9) but her BUN went up to 67 (from 48). So, she seems pretty stable with one value quite a bit worse and one quite a bit better. She has mild anemia (red blood cells 26 to 27% with normal being 29+%). If her anemia worsens, she might benefit from iron supplements or expensive injections of Epogen (spelled right?). Her T4 value was down to 0.7 (from 1.4 last time). That is pretty low. We are increasing her dosage of levothyroxin to an entire pill twice a day (a 25% increase). She will be re-tested in a month to see how that is going. The urine contained bacteria, red blood cells, and white blood cells so she has a urinary tract infection too. The vet put her on 1 mL twice a day of Cefadroxil drops. The first time I gave her her three oral medications in a row, she threw them up. It is just too much to take. I hope she can keep down the other doses for the 10 days she needs the antibiotics. A few days later, and she throws up about every three doses but not every time.
Elvisina went back to the vet on 3/4/08 to have her T4 and urine re-checked. She had lost more weight, down to 9.2 pounds (from 9.5). On the way home, Elvi made smelly diarrhea in the carrier. She then squatted all over the house, dripping urine and some blood from the cystocentisis. Her T4 was good at 1.6. Her urine though still had a lot of bacteria and white and red blood cells. We are having it cultured to find the best antibiotic. The vet put her on Baytril based on the results. In a few weeks, she will be checked again to see if it worked.
Her urine was re-tested on 3/24/08. It came back with no bacteria or white blood cells. The chemical test for red blood cells was positive but they did not see any under the microscope. We will check it again in a while to see if there are red blood cells. If so, she may have a stone in there or some other irritation. Her weight on 3/24/08 was 9.2 pounds.
On 6/24/08, I took Elvi to the vet. Her weight was up to 9.8 pounds from 9.2. She has been eating too much of Tinkie's kitten food! She got her rabies shot a few months early. Her urine tested okay (no more infection) but with a little bit of blood, maybe from the cystocentisis. Her T4 was 1.3 which was okay. Her BUN was up to 71 and her creatinine up to 3.3. Due to her bad heart and lungs, I really cannot give her more fluids although a little bit more may be okay. I will aim for 60 mL daily.
Elvis went for bloodwork on 11/11/08. I was surprised that her weight was down to 8.1 pounds. She lost 17% of her weight in 5 months. Her blood results were not good except for her T4 which was 1.0 (slightly low). Her BUN was up to 123! When my last cat with kidney failure, Samantha, was on death's door, her BUN was only 77. Elvisina's creatinine was also up to 7.4. Her white blood cells were up to 30 indicating an infection. Her red blood cells were low, and her hematocrit was only 22 (normal is 30 to 45%). They were supposed to do her urine but they did not. The vet thinks she may have acute renal failure on top of chronic renal failure or maybe a kidney and/or urinary tract infection. We got some Baytril for her to use for 10 days. Then, we will re-test her blood and urine (which was missed last time).
We went back to the vet on 11/25/08. They drew blood but could not get any urine! Poor Elvi lost another 0.4 pounds; she is down to 7.7 pounds. She was 8.1 pounds the very first time she was weighed when she was suffering with really high T4 values. So, she is now the smallest she has been since I have had her. Her blood tests were not good. The one good thing was that her white blood cells are now normal so she had an infection of some sort that is gone. Her BUN went down some to 102 but it is still really high. Her creatinine though went up to 7.7. Worse still, her hematocrit went from 22.1% to only 16.4% so she is very anemic. The vet said that once it is 12%, she will not be able to get up. We may try shots to raise her hematocrit and/or phosphate binders to help with vomiting and anorexia but there is not really anything else that can be done. IV fluids at the emergency vet would cost hundreds of dollars and only give her a short reprieve. This is so wrong.
I started giving Elvi about 2 mL of Maalox twice a day. The vet said the dose was 5 mL but just 2 mL causes her to foam at the mouth and want to vomit. On 11/28/08, she got her first dose of Procrit. She gets 0.17 mL three times a week with the hematocrit to be re-tested in a week. I inject it with a terburculin syringe. Procrit is the human hormone erythropoietin. This hormone is created by healthy kidneys to tell the bone marrow when it needs to make more red blood cells. Since Elvi's kidneys are shot, she does not make enough erythropoietin. The synthetic version should get her to start making red blood cells. Unfortunately, about 30% of cat's bodies realize the erythropoietin is not of cat origin (or more specifically, their own origin). They have yet to make a cat version that works. When the cat's body realizes the hormone is fake, not only will the artificial erythropoietin stop working but their body may ignore what little erythropoietin their own kidneys are still making. At that point, only constant blood transfusions can keep the cat alive. So, this is a risk. It should only be done as a last resort. Elvi is losing weight and health quickly.
On 12/5/08, Elvi had her hematocrit re-tested. It was up to 19. It is not a great improvement but enough to continue. She lost more weight, down to 7.5 pounds. She will be checked in a week.
On 12/12/08, Elvi's hematocrit was only 18! So, it is not getting better. The vet says it may take two to six weeks. I will give it two more weeks. It costs about $100 a week to keep her on the Procrit (half of that for the Procrit and half for the weekly blood tests). I was so hoping it would help her. She also now has bad diarrhea so we may give her metronidazole for that at some point. I need to bathe her rear; it is a mess. The vet also said her total solids was 7.4 but I have no reference for that (normal range or previous results). Her weight was still 7.5 pounds.
On 12/19/08, my father took Elvi back to the vet for a hematocrit at 8:20 am. I called at noon since they had not called. They said the vet was busy (all I needed was a number). They never called me back that day. I will have to call Monday for the results! I do have the receipt which shows her weight is down to 7.2 pounds. I also had them give us some metronidazole for the diarrhea which continues. I am taking her off the Maalox which she spits up anyway at least while she is on the metronidazole. It is just too many medications at the same time!
I called the vet on 12/22/08, and he called back later in the day. The hematocrit was up to 22 so there is a slight improvement.
I took Elvis to the vet myself on 12/26/08. Her hematocrit was up to 23, hardly a change but enough to keep her on it. She does seem a little better as she is harder to catch! Her weight went up for the first time in the last month! It was 7.8 pounds, up 0.6 pounds (if the weighing was done right). Her next appointment will be in 1.5 weeks.
On 1/7/09, I took Elvi to the vet. Her hematocrit had jumped up to 32! She is now in the normal range all of a sudden. We are dropping her Procrit shots to twice a week and 0.16 mL. Unfortunately, her weight went down to 7.2 pounds (although the last measurement may have been wrong). She also has bad diarrhea every few days so she is back on metronidazole for 10 days. Her right eye is also a little goopy.
Elvi went to the vet on 1/19/09. Her hematocrit is up to 37! Her solids were a little high at 8.2 so the vet thought she might be dehydrated (the test was an hour before her daily fluids were due). We are sticking with the current doses. Despite that improvement, her weight continues to go down, now at 6.8 pounds.
Elvisina is becoming weaker. On 2/2/09, she went to the vet. Her hematocrit was up to 40. We decided to give her the Procrit just once a week now. Her solids were 8.8. Her weight was down to 5.7 pounds. The vet wants me to give her more fluids. I will try but am afraid of flooding her lungs and heart. I can only put so much water in to her to combat her kidney failure.
Elvisina became disoriented but was still walking around on 2/14/09 when I decided to keep her in the dog cage because blood came out of her mouth and nose (it stopped almost right away). At that point, I stopped all medications except for the lactated ringers. She went downhill fast and died on 2/16/09 while I was at work. I wish I had known her when she was young and healthy.
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