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Help Blackie live a normal life

$1,225 of $3,000 goal

Raised by 24 people in 7 months
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Blackie is 3 and a half years old and one of 10 rescue cats we take care of (plus 15-18 TNR cats outdoors). On January 2, 2018 we noticed he was short of breath and took him to the animal hospital here in Fukuoka City, Japan.

The diagnosis was hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, an enlarged and inefficient heart, presumed to be congenital. His respirations were about 12 or more in 10 seconds, which now--at the end of nearly a month--are down to between 3-5 per 10 seconds.
Over the course of 15 visits, which included sonograms, EKGs, X-rays, blood tests, injections, IV drips and medicine to administer at home (a challenge in itself), we learned that each case is different.  Blackie could live days, weeks, months or years. A best guess is up to 2 more years.
Drugs had to be adjusted as the effects of diuretics to help clear up water in the lungs resulted in an imbalance of minerals such as potassium and sodium, and creatine, which led to loss of appetite and listlessness.  He also takes antibiotics for suspected pneumonia.

On the suggestion of veterinarian friends on several continents, we were told to ask the doctors to to consider a drug called Pimobendan, which could potentially improve heart contractions and also open up the arteries, eliminating the need for one or more drugs. The docs had been considering it, which is not yet mainstream in Japan, but not before we had to rush Blackie to an emergency evenings-only facility near Fukuoka Airport where he stayed the night in an oxygen tent and  got emergency doses of Milrinone (Primacor) and Pimobendan. 

Coordination between the emergency docs and our Vet resulted in Blackie now being prescribed Pimobendan. Thankfully, the Pimobendan started to have the desired effect. He had to stay in a rental oxygen box for several more days though, and we keep it on hand for the future.
There is no cure for Blackie's condition. But his quality of life has vastly improved and it is likley his vet vists will decrease from 5 or so per week now to 1 or 2.

The cost so far this month (January 2018)has been a bit over 2000 U.S. dollars. There is no end-goal but the initial goal we are setting will help us normalize our lives, since we also have to buy food for 10 indoor cars (all rescues from places like Japan Cat Network ) or left in front of my wife's place of employment (a public health office) where people assume they can just get rid of the pets they no longer want, or their unwanted offspring. Blackie and his 3 siblings were throw-aways. We raised they on formula, from little babies. Here is Blackie when he looked more like a baby gorilla.
Initially we thought we would rehome them, but  the longer we took care of them, the harder it was to say goodbye. Or to separate them. We went from 3 cats in 2014 to 10 in the wink of an eye.We want to continue giving all our cats (including the outside cats that we have trapped, neutered, released (TNR) and continued to feed in conjunction with NPO Catnip here in Fukuoka) a good life. The link is to the Terazuka Project, which we are doing. They could use your support too. Helping us with our medical bills for Blackie will make that a possibility.

Thank you very much.

Paul, Kyoko, Blackie, Mi-ke, Brownie, Black and White,
Noamie, Mattie, Puffy, Willy, Asia, Allie
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Blackie has gone. Here is a little site I made for him. There are 4 pages covering the time when he came into our lives until he left this earth.

Thank you all for your support.

http://paularenson.org/blackie/
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私たちが病院を変えて以来、Blackieは安定しています。 Blackieの新しい医者は心臓病学者です。 最初の病院は間違った診断をした:肥大型心筋症(HCM)。 最初の病院の治療は有効ではなく、高価でした。最初の病院の総費用は約320,000円(約3000ドル)でした。正しい診断は:拘束型心筋症(RCM)です。彼はまだ1年の予後を持っています。 治療は効果的ですが、彼の病気は治癒できません。

Blackie has been stable after changing hospitals. His new doctor is a cardiologist. The old hospital incorrectly diagnosed and treated him inappropriately. It was also extremely expensive. (About 320,000 yen or 3000 dollars). They diagnosed his ailments as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy when the correct diagnosis is restrictive cardiomyopathy. He still has a one year prognosis. There is no cure, but treatment is effective at relieving the symptoms.

最初は、医療費は引き続き非常に高くなると思っていました。 Blackieは妥当な費用で優れた治療を受けることができるようになりました。

At first we thought that medical expenses would continue to be high, but at the new hospital he is getting excellent treatment at a reasonable cost.


私たちは新しい病院治療のための寄付を求めていません。
We are not seeking donations for the care he is receiving at the new hospital.

ご協力いただきありがとうございます。

Thank you all very much for your cooperation and understanding.
Blackie (right) with sister Brownie
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Blackie continues to do well 2 weeks after changing doctors and treatment protocol based on a new diagnosis: restrictive cardiomyopathy.

The first doctor mis-diagnosed Blackie's heart condition as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. We owe our veterinarian in our previous town, Dr. Kozue Fujii, much gratitude for recommending we see a cardiologist. As well, we appreciate our friend, veterinarian and cat specialist Sharon Ellman Murray, for pressing us to get an ultrasound, which would confirm what was ailing Blackie. The first doctor never did one. The second doctor's diagnosis was largely based on an ultrasound.

So much has changed, including stopping a cardiotonic drug and starting one which slows down the heart to the normal range in order to get more blood pumping. The new doctor is also engaged in a careful balancing act regarding the use of a diuretic to counteract edema: too much diuretic results in a miner imbalance, loss of appetite and dehydration. Soon it will be time for Blackie to be switched to a combination of diuretics which are potassium sparing. And he has stopped an antibiotic prescribed by the first for a bronchial infection because he found no such infection. He has also switched Blackie from the first doctor's daily visits for a diuretic injection to 1 visit every two weeks (with no injections) and--now that Blackie is stable--1 visit a month. He says the stress from the daily visits itself was killing Blackie

As well, while the first doctor was ready to stop prescribing a blood thinner, the new doctor not only decided it was essential, but switched to a more efficient one.

Blackie's life expectancy has not changed, It still hovers somewhere between 6 months to a year. But the quality of life has taken a huge upturn. Blackie is now more playful, has a great appetite and once again is licking my head as he first did a year ago in the picture here.

Thank all of you for donating and sharing. Blackie sends you all his love.
a big appetite again
blackie and his sisters
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Blackie continues to be stable thanks to a new doctor (cardiologist) and a change in medicines. The trouble is the medicines do not taste all that good-or at least one-Plavix. Giving the pills one-by-one became harder, and occasionally he foamed at the mouth. So we hit upon size 4 capsules, which are still a little too big.

Kyoko spends her free hours trimming the capsules. Too much and all the meds will not fit, too little and it is hard to swallow.

Blackie's breathing rate is still faster than it should be, but half of what it was 6 weeks ago. On the other hand, his heart bet is now within normal range. None of this will lengthen his life expectancy (up to a year) but it has given him better quality of life.

Thank you all!!!
Cutting capsules & putting in the meds
AM: 2 types, PM: 3 types
Compare breathing rate to first day
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$1,225 of $3,000 goal

Raised by 24 people in 7 months
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