The treatment I've pursued is not inexpensive. The diagnoses, medication, supplies, and supportive vet care have already cost over $6,000. I fully expect to spend another $3,000 to $4,000 by the time we finish. But I'm committed to seeing this treatment through no matter the cost.
If you can donate, please do. If you can't, your well wishes, prayers, and keeping Aloysius in your thoughts is equally appreciated.
Aloysius' Vs. FIP
On August 29th Aloysius was diagnosed with FIP (Feline infectious Peritonitis) a rare illness that can develop from the otherwise common feline coronavirus (FCoV).
I had brought Aloysius in that day for what I thought was a UTI. After the vet discovered he had a 105 degree fever and his urine sample was bright orange (high bilirubin) she recommend an ultrasound and full blood work. The blood work showed moderate anemia, a high total protein level and a very low Albumin/Globulin ratio. The ultrasound showed large build up of liquid in his abdomen. A sample was drawn, it had the FIP hallmark straw yellow color, but to definitively confirm a Rivalta and PCR test were run. Both came back positive.
There is no conventional treatment for FIP, the accepted practice is to treat the symptoms, make the cat more comfortable, then euthanize when there is no longer a quality of life. The mortality rate is virtually 100%, generally within days to weeks of symptoms appearing. It's estimated to kill about 1.5% of all cats.
Going in for what I though would be a routine issue and being told that he was going to die from a disease I've only only heard in passing. I can't even put the heartbreak I felt in that moment into words. Alyosius had only been with us for 7 months, but he is every bit a member of this family. It took me a year after Siam passed away to be ready to bring another cat into the home and even then I felt great trepidation. But within days, seeing the energy and affection he brought, and the bond he formed with Pepper, I knew he was meant to be here. Maybe this struggle is why.
Unwilling to give up I dove into everything and anything I could find about FIP. It would seem that if he HAD to come down with this horrible disease it happened at the right time. I came across an article from the week before on VIN News. In the next 48 hours I had joined a support group fighting this terrible disease, spoke to several vets that were members, sent them blood work and test results, and got put in contact with an incredibly kind soul who overnighted me Aloysius' first treatments.
I kept mostly quiet about his treatment for the first several weeks, I was putting a lot of faith in a limited tested unapproved medication from unknown suppliers. I didn't want to get my hopes up or those around me. But in the first two days I saw miraculous changes. His fever broke within 24 hours, his appetite returned soon after. His energy levels climbed every day, and he began to put weight on for the first time in months. I knew I had made the right decision a week into his treatment when he began waking me up for food at 6am, racing around the condo (often chasing Pepper) nipping at my toes, and dropping his toy hedgehog on my face while I tried to sleep. So I've kept going, one day at a time, graduating from wary to cautiously optimistic.
Links worth reading:
Aloyisus and Pepper - Best of Friends (Usually)
- Seth Downing
- Harold Bauerle
- Harold Bauerle
- Seth Downing
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