AvaMed, Loving Help For A Sick Cat

Hello, my name is Sean-Michael and as anyone who knows me can tell you, I am a Cat Guy. It shouldn't surprise you then that It runs in the family and that my sister, Amy, is a long time cat rescuer who believes in the adopt don't shop model, voluntarily photographs animals in shelters to help them find homes and has two wonderful rescue cats of her own, Eeyore and Ava. I am asking for help with Ava's health fund which is currently maxing out her animal care credit at over $5000, and the next step in treatment will be over $1000 more. If that's all you need to hear then I won't take up more of your time, just click to donate via this page. Any funds raised above the $6000 goal will be donated to the emergency pet hospital to help other sick animals in need. I asked Amy to write up the story in her own words of how Ava came to be in the family and why we are asking for help. I am quoting her below for accuracy sake: "I adopted Ava from the Irvine Animal Care Center in 2010 after a series of unfortunate events. From the moment we met, Ava won me over by wrapping her arms around my neck and giving every ounce of love and trust she had to give. But it wasn’t a matter of me saving Ava nearly so much as she saved me. In fact, her name means “breath of life”, because that’s what she has been to me. This is her story: Ava was taken from the garage of a cat hoarder along with 30 other cats, only 9 of whom were adoptable. It’s truly a miracle that she’s a loving cat, who wants to be hugged, or to sit right next to me at all times. The fur around her neck is missing to this day because the flea collar they had on her was too tight. Her belly had hardly any fur as a result of urine burns (that grew back, but was shaved off this week for imaging). She was so stressed out, she was chewing off fur from all the spots she could reach. While the hoarder did have the kitties fixed, we have now come to find out – the job was botched. Ava still has one ovary remaining inside her. In the 7 years that Ava has resided with me, she has had multiple bladder infections, multiple ear infections which caused a hematoma which caused her ear to crumple, and has lost 20 of her 30 teeth. My mother laughingly refers to her as the million dollar cat, because none of the medical care she’s required has been cheap. But I wouldn’t trade a moment with Ava for a healthier cat. She is simply my whole heart. Last year, she was diagnosed with a hyperactive thyroid and put on a low dose of thyroid medication. She responded well for about 11 months. Just before she was due for her annual physical, she started to throw up again periodically. No big deal, I thought – she probably just needs her meds adjusted. So in we went to our wonderful, kind, loving vet: Dr. Peggy Keng at Culver Pet Clinic. Her bloodwork showed that her thyroid levels had elevated, but everything else looked good. So we were sent home with a higher dose of the same medication, and a follow up scheduled for 6 weeks later. As the weeks passed, rather than showing signs of improvement, Ava started throwing up more and more, and then stopped wanting to eat, and then stopped wanting to be touched. She wasn’t talking, she wasn’t playing, and it was clear that something was very wrong. I moved her follow up appointment forward, and she had gone from 8.8 pounds to 7.14 pounds in just over a month. Dr. Keng was concerned and ran more bloodwork. As it turns out, taking Ava in early may have saved her life. Her red blood cells were way down, her white blood cells were up, and her blood volume had dropped drastically. Dr. Keng called and told me that Ava would need a blood transfusion and imaging within the next 24 hours, and that she needed to be seen by an internal medicine specialist and that they would be looking for cancer. Dr. Keng referred us to the Advanced Veterinary Internal Medicine Center in Tustin, where Dr. Michelle Cieplucha and her fabulous team saved Ava. The first transfusion didn’t stick, so Ava received a second transfusion along with fluids and pain meds because her pancreas was inflamed. They got her eating again, giving her anti nausea medication and a GI medication to help repair the damage that had been done with her vomiting all the time and antibiotics to help with any underlying infection. They took her off of her thyroid medication on the chance that this was all a reaction to the increased dose, and ran other tests, looking for lymphoma, leukemia, and other scary things. Once she was stabilized, they sent Ava home to wait and see if her red blood cells would start regenerating. If they had not, we would have been looking at having her scoped (a little video camera run through her GI tract). But her red blood cells did regenerate! Which leads us to where we are today. Ava can no longer take thyroid medication, without which she is at risk for heart failure. The alternative is for her to have a radioactive isotope treatment to correct her thyroid issues. This will involve another hospital stay – this time for 4-7 days. Once that it done, she should never need thyroid meds again and should be able to resume life has a happy active cat. This is my singular goal. She’s only 10 years old, so she has many good years left to live. I have been fortunate enough to be able to pay off Ava’s medical bills (several thousand dollars) in the past myself. Unfortunately, this time we faced a medical emergency and I did not have time to save up for what needs to be done. I have a balance of about $5200 on a medical credit card for pets, and will need to come up with somewhere between $950 and $1200 more for the radioactive isotope treatment. All in all, we are looking at medical bills reaching over $6000 this month. I’m so thankful to everyone at the Culver Pet Clinic and Advanced Veterinary Internal Medicine, and they deserve every cent that was earned saving my sweet Ava’s life. Frankly, if I had money to spare, I would be donating it right back to help them save other pets in need. But for now, I’m just hoping to pay for Ava! Thank you for reading Ava’s story, and for all the love and support you have extended to us both over the past few weeks. It has been very much appreciated!"


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Sean-Michael Gettys 
Lake Forest, CA
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