Tilly blood tests

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fjm
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Tilly blood tests

Post by fjm » Mon Apr 15, 2019 12:37 pm

It has seemed to me that Tilly has been drinking more than usual recently, although she seems very well for her 16 years apart from that, so I booked her in for blood tests this morning. I did remind them that she does best with minimal restraint - this is Tilly, Empress of the Known Universe, after all! Convince her that whatever is being done is homage by her human admirers and she will accept it graciously; try to force her and she turns into a wriggling, writhing octopus with claws and teeth. Seems today she was feeling gracious, and we were in and out in under 10 minutes. Weight good - down very slightly on a few years ago but not significantly; heart good; condition good; teeth good - so now we wait for the test results. I am hoping I have been worrying unnecessarily, but if there is a problem with her kidneys much better to discover and address it early, I feel.

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Re: Tilly blood tests

Post by Lilith » Mon Apr 15, 2019 1:26 pm

Oh good luck and paws crossed!

I'm thinking myself I may need to get Mousey to the vet's for blood tests ... she's great in herself but just looking that little bit moth eaten ... better to know.

All power to Tilly and the rest of your gang and hope the tests come back clear x

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Re: Tilly blood tests

Post by fjm » Mon Apr 15, 2019 8:20 pm

Thanks Lilith - yes, these days I reckon it is better to know and act early than to hide my head in the sand and hope for the best. If there is nothing wrong I will be delighted to pay for peace of mind; if it is the start of something unpleasant early action usually helps. We are all getting older here - cats 16, dogs 9 and 10, me losing count - and unfortunately the health issues do tend to pile up a bit!

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Re: Tilly blood tests

Post by Mayday21 » Tue Apr 16, 2019 1:04 am

Hope results in Tilly’s favour.

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Re: Tilly blood tests

Post by alanc » Tue Apr 16, 2019 6:29 am

My Tilly hopes your Tilly has good news on her kidneys

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Re: Tilly blood tests

Post by Ruth B » Tue Apr 16, 2019 7:43 am

All fingers and paws crossed it is good news and there is nothing really wrong.

They do find ways to worry us don't they.

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Re: Tilly blood tests

Post by fjm » Tue Apr 16, 2019 9:13 am

They certainly do, Ruth! Sophy (papillon) slipped a disk some years ago, and my vet really emphasised the importance of complete rest to avoid the risk of paralysis. Fortunately she made a full recovery, bar occasional bouts of sciatica-like trapped nerve, for which I have found an excellent osteopath. Pippin-cat has severe arthritis after a major accident when he was a year old, and has been on metacam for years, so I worried about his kidneys - he was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism about 18 months ago, cured by radio iodine. Last year Poppy (toy poodle) was found to have a slight heart murmur at her annual check up in May, and in September I found a mammary lump (fortunately benign). I suppose it is Tilly's turn, but she has always been so radiantly healthy I was hoping she would have a few more problem free years.

Off to research low phosphate diets, protein levels, high blood pressure, etc, etc. We all know how it goes - a niggling anxiety grows to major worry, horrible sinking feeling on diagnosis, then gradually it becomes the new normal and life goes on as best it may.

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Re: Tilly blood tests

Post by booktigger » Tue Apr 16, 2019 12:12 pm

As much as I’m a fan of doing annual bloods to pick up on things early, I’m actually a bit on the fence about knowing about kidney issues early – Lucy’s were picked up on the new test that picks up when 30% is lost rather than the 70% that the normal bloods pick up on, and while on one hand it is great to know about it early and change her diet to keep her levels within normal limits, I do find that 2 years on, I’ve just spent more time worrying when she drinks slightly more than normal one day or if she is sick, rather than being happy about the fact that her levels are stable.

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Re: Tilly blood tests

Post by Mollycat » Tue Apr 16, 2019 1:38 pm

If it does turn out to be kidneys, you can't do better than this site for guidance https://www.felinecrf.org/

The only renal formula food I have used for 2 cats now is Hills, my first cat was on it when there was only dry available and she had 8 good healthy years. She was diagnosed just from increased urination, very early stage, aged 8, and when I asked how strict we should be with her diet the vet said - "Don't make her life a misery" which I took to heart, it's sound advice for pets. Easy to get lost in the science and what's "best" for their physical health and forget that actually their emotional and psychological well-being are important. In my humble opinion, way more important.

Fingers crossed for you but honestly, if it is what you fear, it's very manageable and there's no reason Tilly shouldn't have an excellent quality of life.

Also love what Booktigger says, you do have to remember Tilly is still Tilly even if she has a health condition.

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Re: Tilly blood tests

Post by fjm » Tue Apr 16, 2019 3:56 pm

Thanks all - just what I need to hear. At 16 if it is not one thing it will be another, and CFD is far from the worst that could happen. The difficulty will be managing different diets for the two cats, unless I can find something that works for both. I'll talk to my vet, but I think I can adapt the home made food they get at the moment to be low phosphate by replacing the ground bone with eggshell, and reduce the protein level by adding a little cooked rice. Salmon oil seems to be highly recommended, and is easy. I wish there was as much research information available on cat nutrition as there is for dogs...

Excellent website - I have been scouring it all day!

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Re: Tilly blood tests

Post by Mollycat » Tue Apr 16, 2019 4:55 pm

If you need different diets in a multi-cat household I can thoroughly recommend the microchip feeders. They are well designed to allow for teaching and have enabled my two to have renal food for one and low calorie for the other, to give meds, and to keep wet food fresh the whole day as well as keeping the dog out of both.

Protein is a tricky balance. Yes it puts strain on kidneys but some research now suggests elderly cats need more, not less, to limit muscle wastage. They go so far as to say an old cat's needs are closer to a kitten's needs than those of an adult cat.

I am currently juggling the diet needs of cat that is overweight, needs to rebuild muscle, and has low level renal failure - impossible!

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Re: Tilly blood tests

Post by fjm » Tue Apr 16, 2019 6:15 pm

That's good to know, Mollycat - I may well need to invest in microchip bowls. I have been reading up on how the research into protein needs relates to CKD - definitely a balancing act. Pip's hyperthyroidism was rather easier - it was rather a case of the more the better.

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Re: Tilly blood tests

Post by fjm » Wed Apr 17, 2019 11:59 am

Just had the results of Tilly’s blood tests. Most results (liver, thyroid, etc, etc) were spot on normal. The kidney function tests, including SDMA, were a little high/at the high end of normal - so watch, but not worry too much yet awhile. Glucose was a tad high, but that is probably down to stress. Gerard agreed that reducing phosphorus in both cats’ food would be sensible - may help, won’t harm - and said we should monitor her weight and test everything again in a few months time. So it is all much better than I feared, and a great relief! I will ask him to email me the numbers, so I have more exact information.

So there are indications of very early kidney disease brewing, especially given the excessive thirst (vet does not think the glucose is high enough to indicate diabetes, but will watch it), but it is at a very early stage and with luck can be held at bay for a long time to come.

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Re: Tilly blood tests

Post by booktigger » Wed Apr 17, 2019 12:31 pm

Glad that they are normal-ish, re-testing in a few months sounds sensible, especially with the high glucose - you wouldn't expect kidney values at the high end of a normal SDMA to cause excessive drinking, as that is the test that picks up at 30% loss, Lucy had practically no symptoms when hers was picked up on it, mind you, the highest hers got to was 16 and she was still showing very little symptoms.

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Re: Tilly blood tests

Post by fjm » Wed Apr 17, 2019 12:48 pm

SDMA was 15, which is over the 14 considered normal, but not by much. Watchful waiting and a sensible diet are the order of the day, with regular blood tests. I didn't manage to fast her on Monday, which can also throw the results a little - must take more precautions next time.

I suspect that she always has drunk quite a lot, but it becomes much more noticeable in dry weather when the outdoor options are more limited and she has to rely on water bowls. But it is certainly unusual for her to appear in the hand basin practically every time I turn the tap on - and very disconcerting when using the bathroom in the night without turning the lights on!

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Re: Tilly blood tests

Post by booktigger » Wed Apr 17, 2019 12:54 pm

Am sure that's what Lucy's were when she was diagnosed as early stage CKD. We initially just changed her dry food, because she isn't keen on wet food and that was enough to make hers go down to 12, although her second test was done at a random time due to her developing another health issue. I thought the new test didn't require fasting?

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Re: Tilly blood tests

Post by Ruth B » Wed Apr 17, 2019 12:58 pm

Brilliant news, lets hope everything stays normal as long as possible.

I do wonder if 'excessive' drinking is just caused by them deciding they like a bowl where we can see them drink, two of mine have suddenly decided the bowl on the landing is the preferred option so I've been wondering if they are drinking more, but then noticed that the other bowls aren't going down as much and I'm not seeing them at the pond as often. Hopefully it is a similar case with Tilly. If you find her head first in a half drunk pint glass of blackcurrant squash, then it is time to get concerned.

Diabetes and Kidney problems are two of the worst options to get together in a cat. A diabetic cat needs as high a protein diet as possible, with kidney problems you need to try and keep the proteins as low as you can. I think that then is a time when the quality of the proteins and things like Phosphorous become far more important.

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Re: Tilly blood tests

Post by fjm » Wed Apr 17, 2019 2:19 pm

Detailed results:
weight 3.5 kilos
creatinine 143 (after food - could be lower fasting)
urea 15.2
SMDA 15
glucose 10

everything else spot on normal.

Diabetes is always a possibility, but she has never been overweight which is the biggest risk factor, I believe.

So just out of normal range, and indicative of kidney function loss, but not as dire as I feared. Next steps are urine testing, perhaps taking her blood pressure, adjusting diet to lower phosphates while maintaining protein, and monitoring her weight, with another blood test in 3-6 months. I shall also be more regular with the fish oils, which all the animals need. And keep all the water bowls and hand basins topped up!

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Re: Tilly blood tests

Post by Mollycat » Wed Apr 17, 2019 5:17 pm

"and hand basins" lol

Good news, I think glucose does have to be tested on an empty stomach so as you say not a reliable result. However all very positive and realistically there can't be many 16 year old cats out there that don't have some degree of kidney function loss. Sounds like a very healthy kitty.

Diabetes has been linked to commercial cat foods with cheap carb fillers and lack of activity particularly in indoor cats I believe? But just like us, increased risk factors are only on average. I knew someone who was a lifelong non-smoking teetotal vegetarian, keen walker and slim, and died of a massive heart attack aged 40. Averages are only statistics, anything is possible.

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Re: Tilly blood tests

Post by fjm » Wed Apr 17, 2019 5:56 pm

Both cats have been eating home cooked for years - mostly meat (muscle, offal, ground bone) with a little veg, occasional fish, and high quality kibble as a rare treat, so I am fairly sure it isn't that. I worry there may be some other nutritional factor I have missed, but then I look at how healthy they are at 16 and reckon it is still the best food for them at the moment. I will reduce the ground bone with eggshell, though, which will bring the phosphorus down to a safe level for CKD. If/When it progresses I will need to think about protein levels, too, or shift her to a commercial food, but at the moment I am keen to keep her lean body mass up - she has always been a tiny, slender cat, so cannot afford to drop any weight.

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Re: Tilly blood tests

Post by Mollycat » Wed Apr 17, 2019 8:16 pm

Having looked into home cooking in the past I have nothing but admiration for you for doing it. Even if I wasn't terrified of getting it wrong or didn't know I just wouldn't find the time to research it properly, mine are and have been adult rescues with entrenched toddler tastes, and the one who was raw fed when I got him refused point blank to touch raw the moment he stepped in through my door. They won't touch bone or offal in any form and Felini (oh yes I tried) made him sick. Besides, my girl has severe food anxiety issues and a slow metabolism ... :roll:

Out of interest, won't cutting down the eggshell also reduce calcium? Or would you make that up elsewhere?

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Re: Tilly blood tests

Post by fjm » Wed Apr 17, 2019 8:42 pm

Should have said replace, not reduce! The meat I buy at the moment has 10-15% ground bone, which provides calcium but also a lot of phosphorus. I plan on using meat only, plus some offal, and eggshell for the calcium in place of bone. I got into it because Sophy, my papillon, would not eat kibble if the bag had been open for more than a few days, and I started researching alternatives. I had always fed the cats wet food, and the more research I did the easier it seemed just to transition all of them onto home cooked. I do add taurine for the cats, just to be on the safe side, but for the most part it is just varied meats, a very little offal, a tiny bit of vegetable (the dogs get rather more), and a calcium source.

My cats do consider kibble to be a huge treat - I use it for medicines and other emergencies.

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Re: Tilly blood tests

Post by Mollycat » Thu Apr 18, 2019 11:43 am

So you give it to them minced? Mine will eat some meats raw and some meats cooked but only as meat, except minced beef which Molly only eats raw (she considers I have ruined it by cooking it) and other than that it changes daily ... anyway bone or any kind of offal they will not touch, and Molly can't regulate her intake to match her calorie needs as it is so the high nutritional value of real food is disastrous for her. If I ever have a kitten again so much will be different!

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Re: Tilly blood tests

Post by Lilith » Thu Apr 18, 2019 10:55 pm

Oh that's encouraging, long may the girl keep going, far better than you worrying too. :)

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