By FieldHaven Feline Center
Izzy arrived from Bradshaw Animal Shelter when her brother, Riley, was found to have FIP and needed someone to give him a chance. When she got to FieldHaven, she was seemingly healthy and was just a package deal with her brother. As time went on, her foster mom started having some suspicions of her health status. Izzy was always small, with a round belly, and pretty severe diarrhea. We treated her for every parasite and worm, tried prescriptions diets, and tried multiple diarrhea medications. Nothing seemed to work.
On a hunch, her foster asked their FIP administrators what their thoughts were. They suggested bloodwork. Well, it turns out Izzy’s bloodwork had some markers for FIP as well. Luckily, she wasn’t as severe as her brother was when he came in! She began her injections and within a week she was having normal stools! Izzy and her brother Riley are the cutest little babies. They are funny, playful, and extremely cuddly (except when they receive their injection). They are extremely bonded and you will rarely see them apart! Izzy still has a ways to go but her brother who been going through this treatment for a long time now is there to help her through it!
Update: Izzy has been walking the line between life and death for what seems like eternity now. Izzy has had to have a multitude of medications, has seen a number of veterinarians, has gone through hell and back all while fighting her little heart out. When we first took Izzy in from Bradshaw Animal Shelter back in July of 2021, we thought she was simply a healthy sister to her brother, Riley, who had FIP (Feline infectious peritonitis). A package deal. Months later she had subtle symptoms of FIP that we were trying to manage. Eventually we decided to run her bloodwork and got a positive FIP diagnosis. Izzy was not like most kittens you see with FIP. She was not actively dying. She wasn’t having neurological symptoms and didn’t have any obvious fluid build up. She was what most people looking in with a naked eye would consider a normal kitten. It was all very subtle.
We began her 84 day treatment. Daily injections once a day for 3 months with routine bloodwork. Besides being the worst kitten of all time to give injections to, she seemed to respond. Her 30 day bloodwork improved. Her small symptoms subsided. We were on the right track. We were on the right track until we weren’t.
In December, Izzy developed a slight issue with her breathing. It wasn’t obvious but was definitely there. Her chest X-rays showed a minor problem with her lungs. We tried some antibiotics but they didn’t seem to help. After discussion, we added a second FIP medication. A twice a day injection in addition to her once a day injection. She hated every single second. A week went by, then two, and her breathing seemed to get worse. More X-rays showed her lungs progressively getting worse. We upped her doses. More time went by. Then late one night it all got to be too much and I had to rush her to the shelter to get her on oxygen to keep her alive. She seemed to have built up a resistance, maybe even an allergy to the FIP injections. They were no longer working.
Starting on January 27, Izzy had to be placed in an oxygen cage to support her breathing. We changed her to a full oral FIP medication schedule which included a third, last option FIP medication. Saturday, January 29 her vet pulled 18mL of fluid from her chest. Which helped a lot. But by Tuesday February 1 her vet needed to pull another 18mL of fluid from her chest. Her new FIP medication either wasn’t working or it wasn’t going to have time to work because her lungs were failing her. Friday, February 4, Izzy’s vet took more X-rays and was able to see that her heart was far too large and she was in heart failure. They held her for the day pushing heart meds hourly to see if they could stabilize her enough to come home on oral medications and oxygen therapy. By that evening she was able to be sent home with me with a very guarded prognosis.
Since Friday, February 4, Izzy has begun to come back to life. Her breathing has slowly gotten back to a normal rate. Her appetite is back in full force. She drinks her water like a little champ. She is grooming like she has a hot date. She’s playing with toys, using the litter box, and meowing and purring like she’s never done before. I’ll be honest, in nearly any other situation I would have made the heart breaking decision to let her cross over a long time ago. I used to work at a county shelter and I am very familiar with making that decision. But something about her, something in her eyes, was asking me to keep fighting for her. To give her just a little more time. And each time I have given her a little more, she has shown me she has just a little more fight left in her.
Izzy’s fight is very far from over. There is a high chance that she may very well lose this battle with a horrific disease we call FIP. My wife and I are physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausted.. but just like I have been telling our little warrior Izzy; “If you want to keep fighting, I’ll keep fighting for you. But if/when you’re ready to let go, I’ll help you.” For now Izzy, wants to fight, and I can promise you, she would be the first to tell you that herself 💜