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Help support Kafka's medical bills

€811 of €3,000 goal

Raised by 31 people in 8 months
!! This page is for friends in the USA, Europe and ALL other countries, even though it only says euros. Our goal amount is currently set at €3000 that is $3403.56 US dollars. It is possible to donate in your currency. GoFundMe will convert your donation for you.

PAYPAL Pool link: https://www.paypal.com/pools/c/86OtMgImW6

We, Kafka from @kafka.the.kat on Instagram and his humom Amber-Helena Reisig need your help. Kafka is suffering from chronic diarrhea most likely caused by a complex case of food allergies. The hypoallergenic diets no longer work, nor do rare mono protein diets. This means additional and extensive testing by gastrointestinal specialists at the Universiteitskliniek voor Gezelschapsdieren also known as UKG (Academic Clinic for Pets)  in Utrecht, The Netherlands is necessary. However, this is very costly.


WHAT DO WE NEED YOUR DONATION FOR?
[Please note that prizes are an estimation by the clinic at this point. I will provide you with verified proof in the form of billings as soon as I receive an invoice and estimate from the clinic.]

- Consultations at the gastrointestinal policlinic of UKG, the largest academic animal clinic in Europe. Each consultation starts at €100,00/$113.45
- A gastroscopy/endoscopy and biopsies. The prizes can range from €500,00 to €800,00 euros/$567.26 to $907.62 USD, depending on how much "ground" needs te be covered.
- Laparotomy to take cell samples for further testing. This is an invasive operation with lots of risks we won’t be willing to take at this point. Price: €1193,37/$1353.90
- Ultrasounds of the parts of the small and large intestines that are unable to reach with a gastro/endoscopy - €160+/$181.52+
- Consultations at a veterinary nutritionist specialised in feline food allergies: €110,00/$124.80 per visit.
- Additional testing like blood-, urine- and stool samples.
- Advanced blood testing: vitamins, organ function, blood cell count, protein level count...
- Travel expenses to the clinic in Utrecht. The distance from our home in Heerlen, NL to the clinic is 180 kilometers/111,85 miles. I don't have a car nor a driving license. My father estimates gas money for a round trip will be about €60,00/$68.07. So that'll be €60/$68 for each trip. I will publish gas station receipts as proof.

Important: We have pet/veterinary insurance at the Dutch insurance company OHRA . Unfortunately they won't cover any treatments related to Kafka's gastrointestinal issues, e.a. diarrhea and allergy related issues, because he already had these issues at the time I adopted him and during the first month, which is considered a waiting period. This is all in the fine print of the insurance and there's no way around it. We will provide you with our communication on this matter.

OUR STORY
In August 2017 I lost my rescue cat Lodewijk to kidney failure after a year of intensive care to give us some more time. I was devastated. Then, I found Kafka's ad on the website Ik Zoek Baas (I'm looking for an owner) by the Dutch Animal Protection Services. A male, neutered British Longhair (born 2/27/2011) who ended up in the animal shelter (Dierenopvangcentrum Enschede ) after suffering from serious neglect.


AT THE SHELTER
I called straight away to adopt him and went to visit him cross country the next day. It turned out he still needed dental surgery, so I wasn't allowed to take him home straight away. They ended up pulling all his molars because his jaw, teeth and gums were so infected. They also had to partly shave him and cut his fur, because his coat was matted. They also mentioned that he ate very little, something they connected to his dental issues. I ask to have additional blood work done - because I wanted to make sure he was completely checked out, which I offered to pay for, but they refused. I decided to pick him up as soon as they allowed me to and bring him to my own vet.

FOREVER HOME
As soon as Kafka arrived at his forever home on September 20th 2017 it became apparent that something else was wrong. He would barely eat and had terrible diarrhea. The vet ran blood, urine and stool tests. They suspected he had giardia, a parasitic worm and he received treatment for it. But the diarrhea persisted. I decided to change vets, since the vet we went to, only did walk-ins and no appointments.

OUR QUEST
Our new vet, Dierenkliniek Leuven in Heerlen, NL, seemed more hands-on to find out what was wrong with Kafka. Kafka kept losing weight, barely ate and when he ate, he immediately had to run to the litter box. We ran more tests and the vet suggested he might have food intolerance or allergies. (For the sake of clarity, I will call them food allergies from this point on.) This was a huge breakthrough and we went looking for hypoallergenic diets his body wouldn't reject. Unfortunately the standard diets prescribed Hills Z/D, Royal Canin hypoallergenic) weren't received well. He would vomit and the diarrhea didn't get better either. 

At this time I have tried over 30 different diets - I will upload my logbook in an update. So far 3 have been successful. (Please note that Kafka doesn't receive any other food than his current diet to eliminate other influences.) The vets has always warned us that it seemed like Kafka's body would eventually start forming antigens for every type of food. This has happened with the 3 only successful diets we have found so far. 


NOW
Kafka's diarrhea is back and it seems to be back to stay. We switched from Trovet Hypoallergenic quail to venison (made it worse) to horse. Horse is what he's currently been on for the past 6-8 weeks. The vets and I hoped his body would respond well to a single rare protein source he had never had before. Unfortunately this was not the case. Kafka's diarrhea has been getting worse and worse. On top of that he now regularly vomits.

CURRENT CAUSE 
This is why the vet has referred us to an internist, a specialised veterinarian. Together we did some research and decided on the UKG clinic. This is a highly specialised academic animal hospital in Utrecht, The Netherlands. They have a food allergies policlinic, gastrointestinal specialists, an anaesthetist and the foremost medical equipment. They are connected to the University of Utrecht.

On Monday the 13th of August at 10.00 am GMT+1 we are meeting with the gastrointestinal internist. He will look at Kafka's medical history, run some additional tests and decide when and if an endoscopy and/or a gastroscopy and a biopsy should take place. First we need to rule out any other conditions that may be causing the chronic diarrhea. When we are 100% confident it is food allergies, Kafka will be referred to see their nutritionist who will make a custom dietary plan with supplements for us to try.

WHY WE NEED YOUR HELP
The clinic that will treat and test Kafka from now on is at a much higher pricepoint than a regular veterinary clinic. For good reason: it is much more similar to an academic hospital for humans. We need answers and this is the place to go to.

I am a full time Arts and Culture bachelor student at Maastricht University. I spend all my savings (thousands of euros) on the kidney failure treatments of my deceased cat Lodewijk.  All the money I had left went to Kafka's tests, medication, vet consultations, treatments and veterinary diets during the past 10 months. I work part time at restaurant Lumière and I'm doing photography and writing commissions. Kafka's pet insurance won't cover anything related to his chronic diarrhea.

I need to ensure Kafka is getting the best help possible. He is everything to me. He is not just a pet. He's my best friend, the person I come home to, who comforts me and makes me laugh. He's my snuggle buddy and my companion. He helps me grief, he calms me down when I have anxiety attacks, he makes me want to get up in the mornings. Kafka is bright, calm, chatty, funny, beautiful and sweet. He changed my life and I want to do everything in my power to make him healthy and keep him happy for many years to come.

This is why I feel like I feel like I have no other choice than to ask for your help to make sure Kafka gets a proper diagnosis and a proper treatment.


MEDICAL BILLS
The clinic lets me pay his medical bills in monthly instalments for a maximum period of 12 months. I will provide you with regular updates and every medical bill I receive. Every penny will go towards paying off the medical bills and Kafka's treatment. The internist, surgeon and administration will send me an invoice of the first consultations and tests (probably about €400+) and a price estimate of future testing (an endoscopy for instance can be about €700 without any additional care). This will put us at at least €3000/$3500. This is why I’ve currently set the goal of this crowdfunding at that amount. This might change over time, considering treatments, testing, diets, supplements, medicine and gas money.

PAYPAL AND BANK TRANSFER
You can also donate via PayPal. CLICK HERE FOR OUR PAYPAL FUND. For Dutch/EU citizens. It's also possible to donate via bank transfer. If you send an email to kafka.the.kat@gmail.com I will gladly provide you of my bank account details.


ADDITIONAL MEDICAL INFORMATION

An overview of the tests run so far
- An echocardiagram of all organs:
Result: no abnormalities. His intestines seemed irritated.
- Three extensive blood tests:
Results: the first time it looked like he had diabetes but this has been ruled out after regular testing. The second time his SDMA values (connected to kidney function) showed a decrease in function, but when we ran the same tests a few months later, the SDMA values looked perfect. The blood tests did show an increase in white blood cells. The vets think this is due to inflamed intestines and his body producing allergens.
- Blood pressure measurements
Results: Kafka was diagnosed with hypertension and is currently getting one quarter tablet of amlodipine every day. Since we started the medication his blood pressure is normal.
- Urine and stool tests
Results: no crystals, no parasites or other abnormalities.
- Biweekly consultations and vet check ups.

UPDATE --> see my update of August 14
- Abdominal ultrasound:
The muscularis propria, the muscle layer deep inside the wall of the small intestine that helps the intestines knead the food, showed a white lining. This means that connective tissue has formed/is forming.
- Bloodwork:
Awaiting full results. Right now we know that Kafka’s blood cell count was good, as were his liver functions. The FIV/FelV tests were negative. His glucose was slightly heightened but this could be due to stress. However, his protein levels were very high. This is atypical and the internist decide to investigate this further and run some additional tests. This could again indicate an infection.
- Stool tests:
Awaiting results.


Succesful diets
1. Royal Canin Sensitivity Control (wet food): the first diet we found that made his diarrhea disappear over night. The curious thing about this diet is that the sole protein source is chicken. A protein most cats with allergies are allergic too. Unfortunately a few weeks in, Kafka's stool got very dry and hard and he refused to eat anything anymore.

2. Royal Canin Anallergenic (dry food): after trying any hypoallergenic or monoprotein diet I could find, the vets and I finally ended on Anallergenic. Kafka had lost significant weight by then (3,7 kg/8,15 lbs vs his current 4 kg/8,81 lbs) and every food we tried made him sick immediately after eating. So he refused food all together. I started hand feeding him the kibble, one by one. And he recovered. His diarrhea stopped; his stool looked better than ever and he gained weight. Sadly, after several months his problems gradually returned. His stool got softer and softer until it was just slime and watery substance.

3. Trovet Hypoallergenic quail (wet food): Finally, the miracle worker. This diet seemed to change everything. All his symptoms were gone and most of all: he LOVED this diet. He started eating like crazy and constantly begged for more. Something I thought I'd never see.

Other things we have tried
- Medication against nausea and diarrhea
- Deworming and defleaing 
- Probiotics
- Herbal drops
- Getting rid of any plants
- Malt paste: vitamins, taurine, hairball clearance


NEW DOCUMENTS 08/17/2018

Appointment confirmation of Monday August 13 2018

TEST RESULTS BLOOD AND STOOL TEST 08/13/18
This test showed some abnormalities in regards to the protein levels. That's why the clinic has decided to retest with a new blood sample.

LETTER SEND TO OUR REGULAR VET BY THE GASTROENTEROLOGIST

COST ESTIMATES
These are the cost estimates of the laparotomy and endoscopy/gastroscopy. This may change in the future, if we get closer to a diagnosis.


INVOICES
I am still awaiting the invoice of Monday the 13th of August's visit. Kafka needs to get weekly injections of B12, which needs to be done at the vet, so I will add those bills as well.
+ Read More
Health update ⁣
Today we finally got some news from the gastroenterologist. Kafka’s high B12 levels aren’t normal, even post injections. This could indicate liver conditions (however, his blood stats don’t point towards that) or tumors. There is some new research going on to link it to chronic gastrointestinal infection. To rule out cancer, we need to get an X-ray and another echocardiogram done.⁣

Secondly, there’s more extensive bloodwork needed to compare and contrast the results of last month. We will also do a urine concentration test to see if he’s really dehydrated. I’ve been managing his water intake carefully. If not, we have to find out why his red blood cell count is so high. We will also look at his kidney values again. ⁣

I’ve been managing his gastrointestinal issues with a combination of two diets. We had a bit of a set back this week but it’s manageable. His gums are very red at the moment. I’m keeping a close eye on that as well.⁣

Thank you for being there for us and loving Kafka so much. The left picture was taken yesterday. It might be my favorite picture of Kafka. Not because it’s artistically great but because it shows the progress he has made. This is how I want to see him: happy and thriving. The second photo was taken at the same spot when he had just moved from the animal rescue shelter to his forever home.⁣

We have come a long way as you can see. For now, I try to not be too worried and focus on figuring this thing out. Kafka has some bad days but overal he’s happy, chatty and cuddly. Today he initiated play time and ran around for an hour.⁣

I would really appreciate it if you’d contribute to our crowdfunding as further testing will be expensive. You can message me on Instagram @kafka.the.kat if you have any questions ❤️⁣
+ Read More
Health update Kafka

Today we didn’t get the most positive news and we are back in limbo on the diagnosis front for Kafka. Unfortunately I’m running out of resources again, since Kafka’s regular vet visits, the lab tests and diets are very expensive.

Last Monday I took Kafka to the vet again. He had been vomiting daily for over a week. Besides that, I wanted to test his kidney values again. Exactly one year ago his SDMA (which can indicate kidney function loss as early as 20%) was lightly heightened, but later on last year it was okay again, after we had started with daily meds for Kafka’s hypertension. Besides that I had the annoying gut feeling something wasn’t quite right.

Kafka has been on a kangaroo monoprotein diet for several months now and his stool is acceptable. No constant diarrhea, but still soft. The vet told me in Kafka’s case it was as good as we could hope for after having tried over 30 different diets over the past year and a half.

The vet decided to do a full blood profile of his organs, blood cell count and so on, while we were at it. Today the results were in from the lab. His SDMA is slightly raised again, indicating that there is indeed function loss of his kidneys.

Then the rest of the results were very strange according to the vet. To give a short version of it: Kafka’s red blood cell count is very high, which seldom happens and could indicate dehydration. One of the two other kidney values is also raised, which could point to dehydration as well. (We already have two drinking fountains and I just ordered two more.)

His vitamin B12 is extremely high (1172 instead of 300-800). In October we did a trial of B12 shots because his B12 was very low back then. It could be that his B12 is this high because of the shots, but it could also indicate other things.

Lastly some other values in his blood were off, like some immune cell counts.

Our vet has contacted our internist at the veterinary university clinic who has seen Kafka for his gastrointestinal issues last year for her consultation. I’ll be hearing from them on Tuesday.

We don’t know yet what this all means, so I hope I haven’t confused you with this information. To be honest, I’m quite puzzled myself and so seem the vets. At the moment I’m quite upset and worried.

I will of course keep you updated and will share any news as soon as the specialists contact me again. In the mean time I will open our crowdfunding again, since we can use any help we can get. More testing will be necessary and it’s realistic that we have to visit the very costly academic veterinary clinic again.

Thank you so much for your relentless support and love.

Love,
Amber, Kafka and Anakin

P.s. I’ve added the test results (in English) to this update. GoFundMe only allows for three photos. For full test results you can send me a message.
+ Read More
Hi furriends! Time for a long overdue health update ⁣

The reason I haven’t posted about Kafka’s health for a while is that we were waiting to see how his treatments were or weren’t working. It’s simply something you can’t tell straight away and I didn’t want to get my hopes up too soon. ⁣⁣

So here goes: together with the team of specialists and our vet we’ve decided to go down the least invasive route. At the clinic they found out Kafka’s vitamin B12 level was really low. If your intestines don’t work too well, it’s harder to subtract the right vitamins from your food while processing it. If you have too little vitamin B12 it will affect how well your intestines work. So it’s a vicious circle. So before we decide to do a gastro- and endoscopy/biopsy we wanted to see if weekly B12 injections would improve Kafka’s condition.⁣

For 6 weeks, I took Kafka to the vet every Tuesday for a checkup and a B12 injection. We hoped that this would kickstart his body to subtract B12 without any help. To see if this is the case, the treatment goes as follows: 6x weekly injections, 30 days without injections, then another round of injections and then blood work to see what his B12 levels look like. ⁣

During those first 6 weeks Kafka was doing really well! No more diarrhea, his dandruff went away and he seemed happier overall. (He did suffer from an allergic reaction to his toothpaste, for which he was treated.) The most interesting part was to see how he’d do during the 30 days without injections. Unfortunately, over the past 14 days his stool got gradually worse. ⁣

This Thursday I found blood in his stool and took him back to the vet. The vet decided to give him a B12 injection again and I have antibiotics at home in case it gets worse - we don’t want to keep giving him antibiotics over and over. ⁣

We are now awaiting Kafka’s blood results to see if his relapse is due to not getting any injections. From there on, we have to adjust our strategy again. We’re also trying a different home cooked diet.⁣

Thank you for reading and your support
+ Read More
Dear friends,

Here's an update on the Kafka's latest test results; the gastroenterologist called me yesterday to give me the complete blood and stool test results.

I will put this in bullet points for clarity:

Blood test results
- Vitamins: B12 deficiency (hypocobalaminemia). This means that Kafka's intestines have trouble getting all of the nutrients while processing the food. This is a vicious circle: when there's a B12 shortage it can also hurt the intestinal function.
- Heightened protein levels: e.g. too much albumine. The internist has asked the lab to look into this further. The results have been conflicting. That is why a new blood sample needs to be tested. High protein levels can indicate a (chronic) infection.

Stool test results
- Negative on all types of parasites e.g.

Ultrasound
- Abnormality in the jejunum (section of small intestine). This could potentially indicate fibrosis (formation of excess fibrous connective tissue in an organ or tissue in a reparative or reactive process) of the lamina mucosa (muscle layer of the small intestine). Or this could be lymphatic vessels showing. The only way to find this out is by taking a biopsy of one layer of the jejunum, which can only be done via laparotomy (abdominal surgery). This is too invasive at this point.

Temporary conclusion
Chronic enteropathy is fitting for the current symptoms and test results. That means a chronic disease of the intestines. The cause and specific diagnosis are still UNCLEAR. Food allergies/intolerance seem to be a component. An autoimmune inflammation can be a possible diagnosis. Fibrosis or feline sclerosing are other possible diagnosis. Cancer is not likely due to the long term status of Kafka's symptoms.

First treatments
- Kafka will get weekly B12 injections at our regular vet, starting next Tuesday, for the next 6 weeks, repeated after a month. Then his B12 level will be retested.
- A new elimination diet: a home cooked diet. This will be put together by a veterinary nutritionist.
- Retesting of the protein levels in the blood.
- If there isn't any short term improvement, an endoscopy/gastroscopy with biopsy will take place.
- Prednisone is something we could try after doing the biopsy, since this will interfere with the results if given beforehand.

Phew. That is a lot to take in. Thanks for reading. I know it's a lot of information and I hope I have formulated this in a clear manner. I had to look up a lot of the medical jargon.

To sum it all up: we don't know what's going on with Kafka yet. We will go down the least invasive route first and hope this will work. Thank you so much for your generous donations so far.

Love, Amber and Kafka

P.s. I have added all official documents from UKG (the clinic we are visiting) + Kafka's food log onto the main page of our GoFundMe.
+ Read More
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