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I met these 2 babies on 9/7/18. When I arrived at the shelter, their foster mom opened their cage and Lily was the first to climb out & flopped right into my arms, belly up, where she slept soundly for the 3 hours I was there. Jack was playing with his brothers but once he saw his sister in my arms, he jumped onto my shoulder, licked my nose & flopped into my arms right beside her. I knew at that moment that I'd been adopted by them. In the following weeks, aside from being the runts of their litter, they were perfectly happy, healthy kittens. I work from home & they were glued to me 24/7. Lily had to be cradled in my arm at all times, belly up, sleeping ever so contently. Jack preferred to lay across my chest, with his tail wrapped around his sister. Whenever I had to get up for anything, Lily would follow & climb up my leg & torso. Jack would run toward me, leap, and stick a landing anywhere he could, then climb the rest of the way to my shoulder. Jack would even jump into the shower with me if I was away from him for too long.
On 10/8/18, both kittens went to the vet for their weekly well-kitten exam & were given a clean bill of health. My vet was pleased that Lily was catching up to her age-appropriate weight of 3 lbs.
The next day, Lily was asleep in my arms & her breathing sounded slightly congested. We went back to my vet, who suspected FIP and referred us to a 24/7 emergency hospital. We were at the ER for 3 hours undergoing diagnostics, during which time her tiny body filled up with so much fluid that it was crushing her heart and lungs. By the time the test results came back on the effusion, she was going into heart failure and gasping for air. It was confirmed that she had wet FIP and the emergency doctor said their was nothing they could do for her. After calling my regular vet and the shelter I'd adopted her from, everyone concurred that euthanasia was the only option. At only 12.5 weeks old, I had to say a quick good-bye and thank this beautiful little soul for the 4 short weeks we had together. She was euthanized in my arms, belly up, getting the last belly rub we'd ever get to share.
After Lily's death, I read everything I could find about FIP and learned that Jack was at a higher than average risk since they were biological litter mates. I started him on vitamins and made some food changes that were recommended to promote optimal gut health. He had a couple weeks of severe diarrhea, but it resolved after putting him back on his regular food. He continued to do great for several months & every day that passed seemed like we were that much further out of the woods.
On 2/27/19, Jack was acting like his normal clingy, lovable self but he was not interested in his breakfast or lunch. Normally a voracious eater, something was wrong. His third eyelids were more pronounced than normal also. My regular vet saw him that day & given the family history, was concerned about dry FIP. His blood work also had markers of FIP but that alone is inconclusive. He was transferred to the inpatient hospital for IV fluids & an ultrasound, which showed lesions and enlarged organs with a trace amount of fluid. He was discharged the next day with antiviral meds, an anti nausea pill & an appetite stimulant. We ordered Polyprenyl, which arrived the next business day. He also got B12 injections starting shortly thereafter. At his follow up exam, his anemia had resolved and his temp was back down to normal. On paper, he seemed to be improving, yet his physical condition was deteriorating.
By day 6, he was having head tremors & ataxia in his hind legs, which progressed to all paws by day 8. We saw a new specialist who determined that he had seratonin syndrome from the appetite stimulant (Mirtazapine) that he'd been prescribed at the E/R. He was taken off of it & given IV fluids to flush his system. The head tremors resolved within 24 hours, but the ataxia was not improving. He started laser treatments on his spine & paws & after 2 sessions, he was bearing weight on his front paws again and starting to move his hind legs.
On the morning of day 15, his stirring woke me up and I opened my eyes to see him walking on all 4 paws, albeit clumsily, toward his food bowl. Not only was this the most independent he'd moved in 9 days, but he devoured a whole can of food and a small bowl of goat's milk & still wanted more. I thought for certain that he was going to be one of the survivors!
Then at 4pm, he had a seizure in my arms. It only lasted 2-3 seconds & he bounced right back. From 6-7pm, he had 3 more & they were getting more severe. He had a massive one while en route to the ER & after 90 minutes, he was still non-responsive. The virus had got to his brain & his prognosis was grim. Once again had to make that awful decision to let him go before another seizure struck. He was 8 mo old. A piece of my heart died with him that night.
RIP my little love nuggets. F#@k FIP!