Monday, August 5, 2013


Ok, where were we? Oh, yes, talking about Mr. Twitty and treating his EPI.. Ideally the way to treat EPI is to mix a powdered pig pancreas product called Pancreazyme into the food at each feeding. Unless you are dealing with a cat, of course. It's not that Twitty didn't like the taste, but it was the texture. You are supposed to wait about 15 minutes or so after mixing to let the enzymes start digesting the food which makes it a tad on the slimy side. Later studies say you don't have to wait, but most of the time he still won't eat it.

I searched and searched everything I could find online about Feline EPI. There isn't much. I finally found a couple of blogs that had suggestions from owners on how they got the Pancreazyme into their cats. One seems to be working for me. I take about a teaspoon of food and mix it with a generous 1/4 teaspoon of Pancreazyme and about a half teaspoon of water to make a gruel or slurry. I load that into a couple of 6 ml. syringes and let it set for 5 or 10 minutes. Then I put Twitty's food on a plate. Right now we are alternating between Natural Balance Duck and Green Pea and Fancy Feast Turkey and Giblets. After the first couple of bites I squirt one syringe of the slurry into his mouth so it will mix in with the food as he eats. About halfway thru the other syringe gets squirted in. It seems to be working fairly well as his stools have firmed up somewhat though not back to normal by any stretch of the imagination.

After a month or so with this routine, Twitty started gaining weight. Several weeks ago he was .4 oz short of 7 lbs. And then he got a bladder infection. The medicine dulled his appetite and down went the scales. He did complete his round of antibiotics and is now eating pretty well for most meals. There's always one he gets picky on. Sometimes I sprinkle some FortiFlora on top. Sometimes I squirt the contents of a couple of Vitamin E caplets on top. I try not to do that too often as I want him to eat the food straight out of the can. The interesting thing is that lately I've been successful a couple of times mixing the Pancreazyme directly into his Fancy Feast and he's eating it. But not always.

I also give Twitty 1/2 a famotidine tablet twice a day to keep the stomach acid from eating up the Pancreazyme before it can do it's job and it seems to be helping keep his stools firmer. You can get the generic version at any drug store at a very reasonable price. Of course check with your vet first. 

I am becoming very much an advocate of getting medications from the online pet pharmacies like 1-800-PETS and Doctors Foster & Smith. I was paying nearly $50 each for about 2 oz. of Pancreazyme from my vet. I found a 12 oz. bottle at Doctors Foster & Smith for about $139. I also order the FortiFlora on Amazon at a much cheaper price than I get at the vet. For those who aren't familiar with FortiFlora, it's a probiotic powder developed specifically for pets. It's great for treating diarrhea and my IBD cat, Barney, benefits from it greatly. And it seems to have a great taste.

Dealing with Feline EPI requires creative solutions. You have to try everything and then go with what works for as long as it works and then try something new. And keep researching. It's so rare among cats that few vets have even treated it before. 

Sunday, July 14, 2013


I guess it's best to start at the beginning. At least I think that's where it started. Last year around this time I took Twitty to the vet because he was losing weight while eating like a horse. He was down to about 7 pounds from something just over 8. After exams and blood work the diagnosis was hyperthyroidism. I was ok with that. I've dealt with it before. It's easily treated with medicine, Methimazole,  or thyroid radiation. Since money was tight, I opted for the meds. We would do the radiation when I had saved up some money. (Famous last words!)

About the same time, Twitty came down with an upper respiratory virus. He was also throwing up on a regular basis. I was tearing my hair out. We thought the vomiting was caused by the thyroid medicine so it was decided to try a compounded form of the medicine that gets rubbed on the ears twice a day. Sounded easy enough. It turns out that Twitty has sensitive ears and was just about tearing his ears up because they itched. So we found a hypoallergenic base for the compound and things settled down.

Twitty in earlier days

After a few months, Twitty started having voluminous and very, very stinky stools. Can you say cow patty? And he wasn't gaining weight like he should with his thyroid under control. In fact, he was losing more weight and was beginning to look like a skeleton with fur. He was down to 6 pounds. The vet put him on an antibiotic powder that mixes with his food each day. No change. We gave him Forti-Flora, probiotic powder, in his food. He loved it, but no change. 

Then a recheck of his thyroid levels showed they were low! The vet said it could be caused by GI issues. I said he's having GI issues. We lowered the dosage of his thyroid medicine and then had a recheck in a few weeks. During that time I did my online research and found EPI - Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency. It appears it's pretty rare in cats, but he hit every symptom on the nose! I voiced my suspicions to my vet and he was skeptical. Finally the blood tests were done and the diagnosis was - EPI! 

It seems that while we were dealing with Twitty's hypothyroidism, he had an underlying pancreatitis and it damaged his pancreas. Now it wasn't  producing the enzymes needed to digest his food so the nutrients could be absorbed. He was actually starving! Doesn't that make your blood run cold? 

Now, I was told, all we have to do is mix some Pancreazyme powder made from freeze-dried pork pancreas into his food every day and that will help him digest his food. Ah! Easier said than done I found out. 

In my next entry I'll chronicle the ins and outs of treating feline EPI for our Twitty. 

Wednesday, April 10, 2013


I wanted to announce that I'm trying a new product in my Etsy shop - fabric paper dolls. I remember fondly the many, many hours I spent as a child, playing with my paper dolls. The set I remember best were of  The Lennon Sisters. And I always cut out the Betsy McCall dolls and clothes from my mom's McCall's magazines. 

Well, recently I was browsing in Etsy and found someone who was offering these fabric paper dolls. They intrigued me so I did some research. I found that the fabric was designed by Sibling Arts Studio. The fabric line all started when the three sisters inherited a 1930's paper doll collection from their Great-Aunt Lindy. They are now used in a widely-known fabric collection offered by Windham, Blue Hill and Newcastle Fabrics.

I think the fabrics were originally intended to be used for quilts and wall hangings and such, but someone got the brilliant idea of cutting out the dolls and clothes, fusing them to Peltex and fusible fleece and selling the sets as a great "quiet" toy. I also found that this has been going on for several years, unbeknownst to me, but I'm jumping in now. 

I currently have listed a collection of dolls from around the world like Colleen, from Ireland, and Tamia, from Japan. Keep on the lookout for additional dolls.



I currently have 7 different dolls listed. Each comes with one or more native costumes plus dresses and accessories. The cost depends on the number of clothes. The dolls are fused to Peltex for stiffness and come with a stand. The clothes are fused to fleece and they cling very nicely to the doll.

To make it easy for a child to carry their paper dolls with them, I've designed a cute little messenger bag style tote with pockets on the outside flap as well as inside to keep everything safely stowed away. The bag has a velcro closure that's easy for little fingers to operate. The long strap is suitable for cross-body wear. I have one listed currently in sparkly pink with more on the way. I'll also be glad to work with customers on other colors.

tote - outside

tote - inside

I think these dolls are adorable and would make a great gift. They are perfect for when a quiet toy is needed like church, travel or waiting rooms. And everyone could benefit from a break from the world of cyber-electronic toys. 

Any input or feedback on these dolls would be appreciated. 

Sunday, February 17, 2013


Wow! January is long gone and February is over half gone, too. Time does fly when you're busy, doesn't it? What have I been doing? A lot!!!

First I rescued some kittens from the backyard who had upper respiratory infections and have nursed them back to health. Shawn and Belle along with their big brother, Squeaker, all had varying degrees of the infection with Shawn being the worst off. Shawn's infection had gotten into his left eye and he had to go to the eye vet for some medicine. It seems that things are healing well and the eye vet is very happy with the progress. 


Squeaker, about 6 months older than his sibs, has been like a second mother to the others and is very, very sweet. Our local Humane Society just had their annual "Fix Felix for Free" day this past Wednesday and I was able to get Squeaker in for a free neuter. The lines were long, but I think it was worth the waiting time to get him done for free with $5 for the rabies shot. And it seems it was done just in time as it appears that Belle has matured earlier and is now in heat! 


I've always thought that Shawn was a boy until lately when I realized he wasn't "developing" the proper equipment. After close inspection, it seems that Shawn is a girl as well. I'll have that confirmed by the vet this week. Either way, Shawn is so sweet and affectionate it's hard to believe he came from a feral mom. 


His mom is Callie, a cute little calico girl who I also was able to get spayed about a month ago. Her other daughter, Belle, is a calico, too with more white and it just as shy as her mom. 


In the sewing studio, I've been working on a new product - a wristlet. I wanted to make something that could be an accessory to the tote bags and finally settled on a pattern with some slight alterations and have listed a couple in my Etsy shop. There will be more with some tote/wristlet sets, too. I've also decided that in the future I'll make the wrist strap detachable for versatility.

L'il Cowpoke wristlet

I've also been working on the old family tree and I'll recount the new stuff in a later post. It's getting interesting again!

Well, it looks like spring is on it's way, but I wouldn't count out more cold weather in the meantime. I mean it is Houston after all and the trail rides and bar-b-que cookoff is coming up and it is almost always cold and rainy for that. 

I hope everyone is having a good late winter/early spring. 

Tuesday, January 1, 2013


Wow! I know I say it every year, but what happened to last year? It went by very fast. It's true that the older you get the faster time seems to go. I guess being busy with cats and sewing and just life in general makes the time go. 

This time last year I was running back and forth to the Emergency Vet Clinic to see Micha who was hospitalized after a severe crash due to kidney failure. We were able to keep Micha with us until he passed away May 22. We still miss they little guy a lot.

It was a year of dealing with various feline medical issues, but those have tapered off as the year progressed. I'm seriously praying for no medical crises this year. Please. Twitty is doing well, finally, on his thyroid medicine that's applied to his ears. Buddy is maintaining on his glaucoma treatment, though his vision is waning. Max, my medical standout for 2011, is doing quite well on his rather large insulin dosage. Everyone else seems to be hanging in there with minor issues only.Me? I can't afford to get sick so I don't.

Business in my Etsy shop was down a bit this year, but then everyone is trying to cut back, including me. I've had the chance to make some amazing baby clothes quilts and I'm so grateful for my loyal customers. I made a lot of tote bags this winter and will continue to include tote and diaper bags in my inventory. I learned to make some simple coasters and soon every one of my friends and family will have their very own set!! I love to make them and see what fabric combos I can come up with. 

I'm hoping to take a beginning quilting class this year. I took one in 1999 and the wall hanging I made then is among the few quilted items I have finished since. I'm also hoping to branch out into more traditional quilting style in some of my totes and things. I'm also looking into matching accessory sets to go with the totes. 

My big wish for this year is a new sewing machine. I have two Brother machines, the newer computerized one has stitch regulation problems and needs to go to the shop and the other older and simpler one probably needs a tune up. They have both been great machines even though I probably  haven't taken the best care of them as far as maintenance is concerned. I guess I'll see how much it costs to get the newer one in running order and then decide what to do. I have so many other things I want to tackle and I need a good machine to take that next step.

My family is doing well. My son still likes his job which is a blessing in itself. So many people go to work each day just dreading it. That's no fun, I know from experience. The grandkids are doing well in school and granddaughter will graduate from high school this spring. Och! That make me feel old!

I know that 2012 was a learning year for me and I'm hoping I can carry over those lessons to make 2013 the best year ever. I wish that for everyone who reads my blog. I know that if we put our minds to it, we can make this world a better place this year. Are you with me?

Happy New Year, y'all!!