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Ryder was less than a year old when we found out he had FIP in June 2021. I lost two soul cats in 2014 and 2016, Toby at 14 years old, and Radar at 10 months respectively.
I have a number of cats and adopted Ryder and his brother Maverick together. I couldn't bear to separate them because they were found as the only survivors in their litter with their Mama, who was deceased. They only had each other. So, losing Ryder would just be tragedy upon tragedy for everyone.
I had given up and spent a few days crying and depressed. I called the vet, who referred us to the University of Minnesota. They let me know there was nothing they could do. As they took Ryder back to exam, my son, who is autistic, said something he'd never said before, but 'Bye, Ryder WE LOVE YOU.' and my heart shattered. They ran tests and we headed home with palliative care instructions.
I don't know why, but I searched on a whim and found a Facebook group. Then I visited Zen by Cat and the UC Davis website to find out if there really was a chance to save HIM. I saw Smokey and all the research that gave them a chance. It was so much information all at once. I knew I had to move fast, but it was the end of the week.
Immediately, I found through mentor on the Facebook group that I had to use a very high dose of the medicine because Ryder's FIP was neurological. He had seizures, incurable diarrhea, and was on so many drugs. I got the medicine on Monday.
Giving the injection was scary at first. But... There was nothing to lose. Zero percent can only get better. Ryder was off of all the drugs in less than a week. At first I thought I was imagining the small but almost instant change to his behavior from lethargy to coming back upstairs to cuddle again, which he'd stopped as he got weaker. I kept a spreadsheet to track dosage and weight and in December 2021 Ryder completed treatment.
The final week, Ryders A/G ratio, the best marker for the disease, tested normal. The vet said she had never personally seen a cat survive FIP. The University of MN called to check in, fully expecting that he had passed away. I understand the average survival after diagnosis is 30 days or less. They were also amazed and told me the story of a vet years back who lost her license by treating her own cat for FIP with the medicine. I got the internal medicine tech to want to take down Zen by Cat info so that she could refer other FIP patients instead of telling them there is no hope.
This needs to stop. Even if it was only a 25% chance, the survival rate with FIP is considered to be ZERO. My understanding is that with treatment like Smokey's the odds are actually quite good.
I'm so grateful that Ryder survived and still think of Toby and Radar, my soul kitties that I lost to FIP often. Ryder is the most outgoing cat in my house and everyone who visits adores him. He loves to shoulder surf and has such a personality. My 5 year old didn't have to experience losing the kitty that first taught him to say 'I love you '. It's all thanks to Smokey and the work being done to save cats with FIP.