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. 

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