Casey needs some serious vibes

Discussion in 'Cat and Pet Forum' started by *blackrose, Sep 8, 2010.

  1. *blackrose

    *blackrose "I'm kupo for kupo nuts!"

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    Just got back from the vets office.

    Not good news. :(

    She tested low and high in a variety of different things. I can't remember what all of them were. She most definitally has insulinoma. Her glucose level was way too low. I'm taking her in tomorrow late afternoon to have her insulin levels checked, which for some reason didn't get done the first time. If her insulin levels are high, we're going to start her on medication. I really don't think surgery would be the way to go - I'd rather just manage with the Prednizone.

    Her red blood cell count is way too low - she is basically anemic. Her white blood cell count is way too high. (This screams cancer to me, but I am praying I'm wrong.) She had a few other wonky readings as well, but I don't remember what they are. The vet made a call over to Purdue to see what they think about the readings and if something is going on besides just the insulinoma. When I dropped by they were still waiting to hear back, but they'll know what is up with the rest of the readings later this evening, or at latest tomorrow morning. Once we know what all we are up against we're going to go from there.

    Keep Casey in your thoughts and prayers, please. :(
     
  2. JessLough

    JessLough Love My Mutt

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    Oh no, so sorry to hear :( <<<<vibes>>>>> for Casey, and ((((hugs)))) for you. I will be keeping you guys in my thoughts.

    Honestly, I fully agree with the against surgery. For an older ferret, where the surgery just prolongs the need of meds (it WILL come back, there is no stopping it), the risks just are not worth it. MAYBE if Rascal was under 2 when he was diagnosed, I would have done surgery (did not have him until his 2nd birthday, anyways), but for an older ferret I just do not feel that it is worth it.

    Again, please keep us updated. Also, know you can PM me ANY time, if you have any questions, or if you just want to talk/rant. (((((hugs))))
     
  3. Taqroy

    Taqroy Active Member

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    ***Vibes*** for Casey and ((((hugs)))) for you. I'm sorry. :(
     
  4. *blackrose

    *blackrose "I'm kupo for kupo nuts!"

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    Thanks guys. Right now I'm just crossing my fingers and hoping for the best. She went in for her insulin levels to be checked this afternoon. She is such a trooper and the staff loves her. We'll get that bloodwork back tomorrow. Purdue still hasn't gotten back to the vet about her other messed up readings, so we still don't know what is going on there. Hopefully by tomorrow or at the very latest Saturday we'll know what is going on!

    Casey's doing fine. She has no energy whatsoever, but she's responsive and perky. I'm just trying to keep her comfortable. I've been trying to keep Dameon entertained when he wants to play so he doesn't pester her and it seems to be working fairly well. I think it helps that Dameon is a lazy bum. LOL
     
  5. Taqroy

    Taqroy Active Member

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    Any news? How is she doing?
     
  6. JessLough

    JessLough Love My Mutt

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    ^Any news?

    ETA: I should add, that insulinoma, IS cancer. So I am not surprised she has a high WBC count. It is cancer of the pancreas, the most common cancer ferrets get.
     
  7. *blackrose

    *blackrose "I'm kupo for kupo nuts!"

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    I'm getting the results of the insulin test tomorrow when I go in to work, and hopefully we'll be able to get everything figured out then. If not I am going to be pitching a fit because if we are going to be doing anything it needs to be done NOW.

    She's doing about the same. She had a really bad episode today, though. She couldn't walk and her hind legs kept giving out on her so she'd fall over - and of course, not being able to walk was panicking her so she'd just try harder and end up flopping around even more. Luckly I was in the room and just scooped her up, wrapped her in a blanket, crammed some honey in her mouth to up her bloodsugar, held her for a bit, and then put her up in her cage so she'd settle down and sleep. She took a nap and when she woke up she was fine and has been fine all evening.

    I can tell already this is going to be hard. I had to watch my Lab struggle with what we believe was cancer (we never bioposied the tumour) and we just lost him in March. Granted his problem had nothing to do with insolinoma, but it's just hard having yet another one of your furkids develop a problem that you can't do anything about. First Rush, then Blackie, now Casey. We're three for three. :(
     
  8. *blackrose

    *blackrose "I'm kupo for kupo nuts!"

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    Spoke with the vet today. They are still waiting on her insulin check to come back, but we went ahead and started her on meds anyway.

    Prednisone, and something else. Can't remember what it is called.

    After consulting with the vet over at Purdue, this is what they think is going on: She has insulinoma whose tumors have spread out of the pancreas and into other organs, or she has a combination of insulinoma and lymphoma. Either way, not so good. :(

    The only way they could tell for sure is if they sedate her and perform an ultrasound to find the tumors. The next step would be to surgically remove them and hope that gets it all. Or we can just supplement with meds and hope for the best.

    I decided to start with the meds and see what they do, and then worry about the ultrasound/surgery later.

    Does anyone have any idea what would be the best treatment plan? I really don't want to put her through any more stress than she needs to be put through. At this point in time I just want to make her comfortable and help her live out the rest of her life. From my understanding the success rate of treatment for the lymphoma is slim to none, so it would be pointless to do surgery/chemo for that.

    Also, are there any side effects of the meds that I should be looking out for?
     
  9. JessLough

    JessLough Love My Mutt

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    Can you find out what the other med is called for me? Is it Diazoxide? Metronidazole?

    With prednisone, ferrets get what we call a pred belly. In other words... it causes them to get fat.
    Also, prednisone kills the immune system. So I would be very careful around her if/when you are sick, and limit pets she is around (other than Damion, of course).

    Best treatment plan, IMHO, is to continue with meds, and to not put her under any more tests. It got to that point with Rogue, I COULD have done more tests to possibly figure more things out, but what kind of life is that? Also, you really need to think about quality vs quantity of life. Not saying she is ready to go now, but she will let you know when it is time, I say as long as the quantity is still there, keep her on the meds. But yah, at this point, if I were in your shoes, I would say enough with the testing, just keep her on meds until her days are lived out. ((((hugs)))
     
  10. *blackrose

    *blackrose "I'm kupo for kupo nuts!"

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    Can't remember the name of the other drug and I don't feel like walking downstairs to get the perscription. lol It is a drug for stomach acid/digestion, I do know that. Neither of the two drugs you mentioned. I'm not entirely sure why it was perscribed. My dad said something about it offsetting some side effect of the Pred (he's a Pharmacist, so I had asked him about it), but I really don't know.

    I was reading the side effects of the Prenisone today (picked some up this afternoon, will start her on it this evening) and it mentioned that it would lower the immune system. So now I have a question. I am sick at the moment - it started off as a cold yesterday, but I've been running a fever and feeling like sh*t all day today. Should I start her on the meds since I'm feeling so under the weather? I really don't want to give her whatever it is I have on top of what she is going through. She's never had a cold before, so I'm not sure how suspectible she'd be, but I don't want to take the chance. My dad's home so I guess I can ask him how likely it would be that she'd catch something from me if I'm just starting her on the drug.

    And not to seem morbid, or anything, but how much longer do you think I can expect her to live? She's doing fine right now - besides having a much lower activity level, she's great and seems to be carrying on as business as usual. I'm going to be keeping a very close eye on her and I think when it gets to that point, I'll know it. I just wondered how long I most likely have left with her.
     
  11. JessLough

    JessLough Love My Mutt

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    Yah I have no idea what drug you are talking about.. and really am curious why it would be prescribed. Never had another med prescribed with Prednisone, to be honest.

    You should be fine to start her on the pred, it will not take effect that fast for the immune system. Short term, it has no bad effects, it is just in the long term. She really does need to be started on the pred, though. How often are you giving it to her, and how much each time?

    Honestly, for how much longer to expect to have her... I am not sure. It really depends on what is going on. It sounds that it has spread.. honestly, I would say you probably have up to 6 months. Of course, the pred could totally turn her around, but with how she is acting now... does not sound too good :(

    I should probably add, I am in no way an expert, or a veterinarian. I just have a guy with Insulinoma, and have done way too much research in the last 4 years I have owned ferrets.
     
  12. *blackrose

    *blackrose "I'm kupo for kupo nuts!"

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    They told me to give it to her every 24 hours, so once a day. She's only just over a pound (I have to weigh her again to be sure, but they did the calculations with the assumption she was 1.5 pounds which sounds about right) so she is getting .07mLs once a day.

    And, I just looked at the perscription. The other drug - which I do not have currently because Walgreens doesn't carry it - is Famotidine Powder (for Oral Suspension). Basically, Pepcid. I'm assuming it would be so an ulcer won't develop due to the Prednisone dosage...:confused: (Which would be what my dad ment when he said it can off set some side effects of the Pred.) Either way, I'm not getting bent out of shape to find a place that carries it. I know of one place that will, but it is a good 35-40 minute drive from our house.

    And, just because, here are some pictures I took of her this evening. She wasn't too thrilled about the way the Pred tasted (I did get it raspberry flavored LOL) and she was rubbing her face on the carpet.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2010
  13. JessLough

    JessLough Love My Mutt

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    Assuming you mean 0.7, not .07? FWIW, that seems like a really low amount for (what sounds like) aggressive cancer. Also, usually it is suggested to give Prednisone 2 times a day, 12 hours apart to better control glucose levels and keep them as stable as possible.

    Assuming the vet has told you to feed her at least every 12 hours, if not more? To make sure she is eating, and to feed her before giving the Prednisone? Prednisone, when given on an empty stomach, will cause stomach ulcers (although, that may also be why she is getting given another med --Amoxi? (I think the full name is Amoxicillan, or something lol) ). It is so important to make sure that she is eating, I would make a batch of duck soup and syringe feed her it if she will not eat it willingly. Either that, or ask the vet for Carnivore Care.

    Are you going to a vet who regularly deals with ferrets? It just seems really.. weird the way they are going about. Of course, I am not doubting your ownership or anything, and if you feel comfortable with the care she is getting, of course just ignore me :p Obviously your vet knows better than I if they deal with ferrets regularly (I do NOT go to a ferret/exotic specific vet, and I know that she consults with her book and my knowledge when dealing with my ferrets). I am also speaking from first hand experience, so I like to think that I know at least something about what I am saying :rofl1:
     
  14. JessLough

    JessLough Love My Mutt

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    Oops, just saw your edited post. I would not be too worried about finding that stuff, as long as you can make sure to feed her before giving her the pred. She is such a cutie, that is for sure!
    I know it can all be overwhelming, taking care of a sick ferret takes alot of time and work, that is for sure.
     
  15. *blackrose

    *blackrose "I'm kupo for kupo nuts!"

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    The vet I took her to is my own personal vet that I use with my cats/dogs - they have no experience with exotics. But, that being said, all of the information they gave me was parroted straight from the mouth of the vet over at Purdue who regularly sees ferrets. *shrugs* I'm most definitally not claiming to be an expert, and neither are the vets. LOL We're just going by what the Purdue vet said, who is an expert.

    As for her dosage, I thought it was a bit small of an amount, too. The Pred is in liquid form, with the concentration being 5mg/5mL. I have a 1mL syringe (looks like an insulin needle, sort of) and what they told me to give her was .07mLs every 24 hours. But, that figure came straight out of the dose per pound booklet and wasn't mentioned by the Purdue vet. I guess I'll just up the dosage a bit? I saw on a website somewhere that the reccomended dosage is .5mL twice a day, but looking at the syringe that seems like an awful lot.

    They did ask me if she is eating well, and she is. I had read that you needed to feed them in addition to the prednisone to avoid the ulcers (it is on the bottle :p), so when I gave it to her last night I gave her a treat to go along with it, and then she went up into her cage and ate a little bit of food. I'm going to switch her back to Blue Buffalo Wilderness as her staple diet, just because I'm happier with the amount of meat in it and she loves it, so I'm sure that will increase her appetite a bit.
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2010
  16. JessLough

    JessLough Love My Mutt

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    If you are comfortable with it, I would definitely up her dosage to 0.5mL twice a day. Glad she is eating well, though, means that there is no need to worry about her eating :)
     
  17. *blackrose

    *blackrose "I'm kupo for kupo nuts!"

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    I asked the vet tonight about the dosage and they are going to double check with the Purdue vet. They rechecked the correct dosaging and it did say .5mLs a day, but the vet at Purdue said she starts them off at .1 mLs a day. Or, the conversation went something like this anyway:

    My vet: What dosage do you reccomend?
    Purdue vet: I normally start ferrets off on the normal amount: .5 mLs a day. Or, no, wait a minute...actually, I don't think I do...I think I start them off at .1 mLs a day and then go from there.

    So they are going to call her back tomorrow and see if she really ment what she said about the .1 mL per day dosage. As my vet said, "Maybe she was just having a crazy moment." *rolls eyes*

    And we still don't have her insulin levels back yet. :/ They should be in tomorrow, and they're going to give me a call about the dosage and insulin levels once they know something.
     
  18. *blackrose

    *blackrose "I'm kupo for kupo nuts!"

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    I'm not sure if Casey is going to make it through the night. :(

    I've done everything I know to do for her besides rushing her into the emergancy vet, which at this point in time I think would be useless. She isn't in any pain that I can tell, her body is just failing her. I held her a bit, but she was never one for constant cuddling so I put her in her cage with her favorite blanket and Dameon.

    God dammit. She was so happy this morning.

    Thoughts and prayers are appreciated.

    *** Thank God for the curative powers of honey. Right before I posted this I had crammed some honey into her mouth to try to raise her blood sugar. I think she was having mild seizures (drooling/twitching, but still alert). She is now grooming herself to get off the sticky honey I spilt on her and she also felt well enough to eat a treat I offered.

    Holy. Freaking. Crap. I never want to have to go through that ever again. What can I do for her besides what I am already doing?
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2010
  19. JessLough

    JessLough Love My Mutt

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    Oops just saw this now. Glad that you thought quick enough to jam some honey into her. You need to make sure the vet knows this happens, the Pred should have prevented this at the right dosage. They really need to up the dosage, other than that, there is not much more that you *can* do, unfortunately :(
     
  20. Labyrinth

    Labyrinth New Member

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    I've gone through insulinoma twice, and I can't even describe how much I hate that disease. Sasha lasted 9 months with it, Munky lasted about 10 months. Sasha has been gone the longest, and I said goodbye to Munky this past March. He crashed about 3 or 4 times, and thankfully my vet was able to pull him out of it each time (I was able to pull him out of it once by myself). The first time it happened he was comatose and drooling. He locked his jaws and wouldn't take anything I tried to give him. I was in a panic because I was sure I couldn't save him (as this is how Sasha died). But I was able to pull myself together and raced him to the vet. They gave him SubQ fluids, I believe a glucose injection, and then some canned A/D (have to follow up the sweets with protein), and he was fine. Both of my ferrets were on Dexamethasone (it does the same thing as Pred), and that was supplemented with Ferretvite (alot of people don't agree with giving ferretvite to a ferret with insulinoma, but if measured properly it can be done to reduce the amount of Pred/Dex you have to give them). They received their meds every 12 hours followed by duck soup, with a high protein grain free kibble available 24/7. Sasha died because I panicked, and didn't rush her to the vet. At the end Munky was up to 2.5 ML twice a day, but he was put down because he was no longer able to urinate (complication from adrenal, he was 6 years old and he wouldn't fare well from surgery at that point).

    If it's at all possible, I would try to find a vet that sees ferrets on a regular basis. Even this vet in Purdue sounds a little off to me. Whenever I had blood drawn to check glucose levels I got the results before I left the office, and the dosage they told you to give definitely sounds too low. Plus giving it only once a day instead of twice risks a spike in glucose levels. I'm sorry to sound so down on your vet, but I'd hate to see Casey's life shortened because your vet doesn't have the right experience.

    Insulinoma sucks. I'm so sorry you have to deal with it :(
     

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