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Kenny's Cushing's Disease Battle
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An animal fund forKenny

$640 given of $1,500 goal

Kenny's Cushing's Disease Battle

Started by: Sara Fronius

24 shares

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Kenny, my big loveable Maine Coon of 13 years, was diagnosed with a rare case of Cushing’s Disease back on February 12th of this year. Due to all the testing required with this disease and to use his results to help other cats diagnosed with Cushing's, I am asking for any help to cover some of his veterinary bills. Cushing's is rare in felines, rarer in male cats, and even rarer in cats without diabetes. Kenny doesn’t have diabetes so his case is quite peculiar and there are few clinical feline cases documented. Kenny’s feline-only vet clinic has only seen 3 cases of this disease in the past 15 years, all of which were untreated by their owners due to lack of research, medication, or complications with other existing medical issues.

Kenny’s Story:

Back in the fall, Kenny was drinking and urinating a bit more than normal and started urinating on the carpet so he was brought in for an exam. The vet suggested doing a blood test, urinalysis, and a urine culture. His culture showed an E. Coli infection, likely due to inadequate grooming. He was a little overweight and had been diagnosed with arthritis, which makes it harder to clean himself properly. He started getting a few mats here and there so I would bring him in for a “sanitary trim”. After treating him with antibiotics, he had to have the same tests ran to make sure the infection cleared up and thankfully it did. I put him on a cranberry supplement recommended by the vet as a precaution. All clear!

Well not quite. I sent my vet a picture of Kenny’s stomach as I noticed his beautiful big belly with leopard-like spots was starting to become bare. I asked her if they had shaved his belly the last time he had a trim and they hadn’t. His fur was becoming a little greasier and thinner and he was passing gas as well, which is not normal for cats. He had been on probiotics earlier in the year because his abdomen was a little firm, which had helped but he didn’t have gas. He has a history of urinary crystals, allergies, asthma, and feline herpes (yes that's a thing). With these random issues going on, my vet suggested doing an ultrasound. She said an ultrasound would help look at everything in his abdomen, for diseases or concerns, and guide us towards an appropriate treatment plan. The vet wanted to look at his intestines, lymph nodes, pancreas, and adrenal glands. I let her know I was concerned about my kitty and that I would save up for the $600 ultrasound.

While saving up the next few months, his appetite became voracious, his drinking and urinating kept increasing, and his hind legs became weaker. He fell when trying to jump onto the bed and started having accidents again. So I scheduled him for the ultrasound. My vet called me afterwards and said both of his adrenal glands were enlarged; the only good explanation being Cushing’s disease from a pituitary tumor. She said in order to diagnose him and accurately treat the disease, he had to get a low dose dex suppression test so it was scheduled for the next day. My heart sunk. I picked up my baby and cried my eyes out after doing some research on Cushing’s disease, but had to keep my spirits up for Kenny and decided if there was any way to treat this disease I would do it as long as it didn't cause him pain.

The hard (but good) part about this disease is that it doesn’t cause pain, but affects their quality of life if left untreated. Since he wasn’t in pain I had two options: I could either try to treat the disease or rapidly watch his quality of life deteriorate and at some point make the difficult decision to euthanize him. I had already decided that the latter was not an option because he deserves a fighting chance. He came into my life back when I was a teenager and am now in my 30’s so he’s been through a lot with me. From breakups, my parents’ divorce and addictions, an ugly family divide, health issues, and being alongside me through many other ups and downs I owed him this chance and would not watch him lose his quality of life if there was anything I could do about it.

The vet called with the results and his Cushing’s diagnosis was confirmed. She had been in contact with some specialists and told me there was a newer drug called Trilostane and that it was his best option. Other drugs used for canines apparently aren’t as effective and the only other option would be a dangerous surgery to remove his pituitary gland. I opted for the Trilostane treatment. My vet cautioned me about the cost of the Trilostane and that after putting him on the medication, he would need to have ACTH testing done one week after starting it, two weeks out, a month out, and from there every 2-3 months to find and maintain the correct dosage. If his dosage is too high he could have an opposite reaction where no cortisol is produced, which is impossible to treat. Unfortunately after the first three tests his levels were not where they should be so an additional test was done after adjusting his dosage after each test. After the third test he was close to becoming diabetic because we had not found the right dosage, but thankfully the fourth test showed some positive improvement and showed his glucose levels were normal and the Trilostane was starting to help.

His next test was scheduled for June 28th but it had to be moved to June 11th as he is losing more weight than he should be (loss of appetite is a side effect of Trilostane). I am hoping and praying that this time he has some good results so that I get a little longer to spend with my best friend. However I’m anxiously worried I will no longer be able to afford his veterinary bills. Since these issues arose back in the fall I will have charged a little over $4,500 for his medical exams and medications and am running out of financial options. I am working two jobs to try and compensate, but any help would allow me to focus on spending quality time with him and provide resources for his further exams.

If you have made it this far, thank you for reading about Kenny’s story. Animals touch such a special place in our hearts and I will do my best to give him the best shot at a healthier life while dealing with this awful disease. He has seen the same vet (City Cat Clinic in Minneapolis) for most of his life and they have a thorough record of his medical history. I am hoping that when his time comes, his story and case can be used to give other cats diagnosed with this disease a better chance at survival. Your support, prayers, and any donations will allow me to continue to do so and will forever be appreciated.

Thank you,

Kenny and Sara

More information on Feline Cushing's Disease:

https://icatcare.org/advice/cat-health/hyperadrenocorticism-cushings-disease

http://veterinarymedicine.dvm360.com/feline-facets-cushings-disease

Latest Update

Kenny’s ACTH test came back great yesterday. He had a urine culture done and blood pressure test to rule out infection or hypertension, as he had a small heart murmur (which could be caused by stress or HBP). Thankfully he isn’t hypertensive. We had a bit of a scare yesterday as the vet said his glucose was higher than it’s ever been, so they ran a fructosamine test which would confirm if he’s diabetic. I was concerned after doing research on diabetes with Cushing’s cats, as usually they’re insulin resistant and if untreated would be deadly. The vet called back saying he’s not diabetic and admitted not expecting those results and had jumped up and down. Huge sigh of relief! We will have to keep an eye on it as he can still become diabetic. We are just waiting on the culture, but he’s doing okay for now despite a decreased appetite (he’s on an appetite stimulant). Thank you all for the emotional and financial support, it is truly appreciated.

Posted by Sara

June 13 at 10:54am

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6 Supporters

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  • Anonymous17 weeks ago
  • Anonymous19 weeks ago
  • Jina Penn-Tracy26 weeks ago In memory of our Schmitters, who passed of feline leukemia last year. May Kenny do better <3
  • Anonymous26 weeks ago
  • Anonymous26 weeks ago
  • Kelsey N Shulson26 weeks ago Wishing all the best for you and Kenny 😘