Vincent’s updates (exploring new ways)

Much has happened lately. I’ve been so, so busy that I haven’t even had time to update on Vincent’s news.

About two days ago, Vincent wet his bed (the Rosie Blanket). So of course, I had to change all the sheets and I replaced it with the Carebears blanket.

I don’t know if he felt bad or maybe the Carebears blanket still has Ginger’s scent (it’s been washed clean, but a cat’s sense of smell is 40 times more powerful than that of the human’s), Vincent refused to sit on it and migrated downstairs….to dustpan at the patio.

Yes, I found him sitting, looking very miserable INSIDE the dustpan (should have taken a photo but didn’t have my phone with me at the time).

That was terrible, of course. Sitting inside the dustpan was clearly a sign of protest.

So, I carried him up back to his room (which is Ming-Yi’s room) and put him onto the Carebears blanket, told him it’s okay, he can use it and sat with him.

Still he meatloafed on it for one day (looking miserable) but settled in the next day and now, he is totally comfortable on the blanket. No more sitting inside the dustpan.

As for his medication, I found out from a vet that the antacid that he had been prescribed contains aluminium and this is toxic to the liver and kidneys. I guess it was prescribed earlier to address the urgent mouth ulcers (which was in just a bad state) and it also doubled-up as a phosphate binder. Now that it has done its job, it’s time to look for a safer alternative. I asked and Epakitin is the safer phosphate binder, but it is no longer available in Malaysia due to registration problems (it’s one of those Malaysia Boleh issues).

Also, I remember that I asked about Epakitin and the vet had said that I would have to buy an entire tub and at that time, to be honest, Vincent was in such a bad state, the vet, out of the kindness of her heart, felt it might not be justified for me to purchase it online as she said we might not be able to finish the tub. THAT was how bad Vincent as at that time (a month ago). I certainly do not blame the vet for doing what she did. She was trying to help, so she prescribed the antacid, which did the job too.

I also asked if we should give Semintra, which is known to be the more effective medication to address protein leakage. For the same reason, the vet said it would be better to try Fortekor to see if it would work first. Then, we could consider Semintra. Fortekor would cost me RM3 per day, but Semintra – RM10 per day. Yes, it is THAT expensive.

Granted, Vincent’s kidneys were in such dire straits at the time, so the vet did her best to prescribe what she thought was best and truly, I am very grateful for all she had done as it did turn Vincent around from a state of “waiting to die” to “maintaining”.  Actually, it was more than just “maintaining” because in the short time under her medication, Vincent is definitely happier, more comfortable and is living his life to the fullest.

What more could I have asked for, really.

Now, it is time to do a bit more.

So, two days ago, I ordered Epakitin online but was informed that there was no stock and there could be a delay in shipment. As the antacid (as in all antacids) contain aluminium, I don’t want to continue giving that for the longer term. I didn’t know that it contained aluminium. Since Epakitin could not be bought now, I remember a friend sharing that Chitosan could work. Her vet told her, but the vet wasn’t sure of the dosage. However, there is this website:

If you looked at the ingredients of Epakitin, there is chitosan in it too.

So my friend’s dog is on chitosan and it works for her dog, based on blood test results. The phosphate level came down.

I consulted a vet to ask if it could be used for cats and he said “yes, it should be”. I totally understand that vets are not able to say for certain unless there is journaled evidence based on adequate research.

Note: The above is just a sharing, so please do consult your vet if your pet has a similar condition and it is strongly advised not to self-medicate.

Anyway, I bought the chitosan two days ago. It comes in the form of a large tablet and the dosage is 1/2 tablet per day (1g per 5kg of body weight). So I pounded the tablet using pestle and mortar until it was fine powder. Then, I sneaked in the powder, bit by bit into Vincent’s food. So far, it’s been fairly successful. I have not reached the full dosage of 1/2 tablet per day yet, though.

I also had a good chat with two vets over the Deepavali holidays and I learnt that in kidney patients, it’s all about doing what works. For some, it was just a change to purely renal diet (yes, prescription diets) and the cat is totally fine (for years). For some, it’s purely hydration (subcut fluids) and that is all that was needed. For some, it’s medication.

So, what works depends on the animal, actually.

There is no strict and fast rules. It’s all about trying out and getting to “what works”.

I’m at that “trying out” stage with Vincent now.

So, for the phosphate binder, I’m going with chitosan for now, but also exploring Renate (another fairly new medication, but it’s from the UK so it’s going to cost a bomb – no thanks to Malaysia Boleh currency – sorry for the cynicism, but Malaysia Boleh Ke Tak Boleh, I really don’t know and might not live long enough to find out). So, boleh ke tak boleh, I have to do what’s best for Vincent. He is my responsibility and I live in the present moment.

As for Fortekor in its function to reduce the protein leakage, based on the earlier urine test results, it had not worked. But that’s just based on one month. So I’m exploring Semintra now and have ordered a bottle. Waiting for it to arrive. I figured I might not even send Vincent for another urine test (the stress and hassle of carting him to the vet and having needles poked into him). I could actually use his weight gain (if any) as a gauge of protein leakage. Right now, he is eating like a horse but not gaining any weight. He has maintained his weight at 3.8kg, which is, of course, better than weight loss.

I know Vincent is doing his best to stay alive by eating constantly and as much as he can. He’s doing his best, so I have to do my best for him too. I shall try Semintra and pray that it lives up to its reputation of being the better option for preventing protein loss.

So, that’s what I am doing for Vincent now.

As for the fish oil, that “bonus” only happened for one day. On the next day, he refused to lick it up and walked away. Heidi “sapu”-ed it clean. I shall try with a smaller amount for Vincent then.

And more and more, I am convinced Vincent can read my mind. When I was chatting with the vets that day, they told me in some cases, renal diet alone works.

I know holistic vets totally disagree with renal diets. They say it’s hogwash ingredients and some even say that prescription diets alone will kill your animal faster.

Allopathic vets disagree and say that prescription diets are formulated through research, based on scientific findings.

To this, holistic vets counter and say, “Sure, it’s the petfood companies that sponsor your studies and in the first place, do you even learn about nutrition in your vet course?”

And then the allopathic vets say: What about the numerous cases where the prescription diet has worked? There was actually the case of the cat with renal problems, diagnosed at 8 years old, and the cat was put solely on renal diet and she lived up to 21 years. So, there you go.

And the holistic vets say: That’s just anecdotal. It’s just a few cases that happened to work.

And so the battle continues and at the end of the day, who wins?

I don’t know.

I don’t like to belong to camps, you know. It gets so political and I’m done with politics (especially in Bolehland). To hell with self-serving politicians.

Sorry, I digressed.

So for me, it’s “what works”. It’s individual differences. It’s “there are more things in heaven and earth than is dreamt of in your philosophy” (Hamlet to Horatio, 1599). It’s “I’m not an expert in cat nutrition and I don’t know, but I’m doing my best for my cat.”

So after I heard the numerous anecdotal cases where the prescription diet alone had worked, I did wonder…what IF that’s what Vincent needs? It played on in my mind.

But I wasn’t about to switch Vincent totally to prescription diet, of course. No, no, no. He’s doing well on his daily cuisine of 7 types of foods (raw, homecooked and canned), so I’m maintaining that. In any case, Vincent refused to eat the wet renal food and also also does not eat any kibble at all.

But yesterday, something very strange happened. During dinner time, none of the 7 foods worked. I was so worried. Vincent kept staring at me as I put a spoonful of each type of food. He didn’t want to eat any of them.

Gosh…what is happening, Vincent?

I still had a wee bit of the RC renal kibble (from a sample pack given by the vet). So, what’s there to lose, right? I know he HAS to eat and he cannot afford to skip a meal. So I tried….

Guess what? Vincent went for the renal kibble like he hadn’t eaten for days. He vacuumed it up and asked for more.

Really, Vincent? Kibble?

Yes, that’s all he wanted.

So he ate renal kibble last night and was quite satisfied.

This morning, I started him on Cindy’s Tender Chicken (his favourite food) laced with chitosan. Then, Coco&Joe’s, and he still wanted more, so I tried the remaining renal kibble again – swept clean. He loved it.

The “trouble” with giving renal kibble is that Ginger will try to snatch it from Vincent. I guess it’s because it’s just so, so fragrant.

Tabs wants renal kibble as well.

As it stands now, I have no intention of switching Vincent to the renal diet but if he likes it so much, I will give it to him as a snack. Furthermore, kibble might be able to bulk him up a bit.

Whatever works, right?

Every day that Vincent is happy and well is a bonus. And it’s so heartwarming seeing him trot down the stairs today, so happy.









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