Norman Mitchum – Bridgeport, Texas
Male, Domestic Shorthair
Born August 7, 2001 – September 28, 2013
Diagnosed with chronic and ongoing lymphocytic cholangiohepatitis,
bridging fibrosis and bile duct-hyperplasia & IBD on April 26, 2011
Diagnosed with anemia on June 7, 2013
Diagnosed with liver cancer August 15, 2013
First Entry, July 13, 2011: Back in the fall of 2010, Norman had a terrible reaction to his vaccines. He was very sick for close to a week and lost some weight. He was recovering well and gaining weight up until February when I noticed he was starting to look thin again. He had also stopped sleeping in bed with me leading me to believe he was hiding something. I took him back to the vet On the 25th, where they weighed and examined him. He told me he didn’t think there was anything wrong with Norman and to come back in two weeks for a recheck. Norman weighed in at 8.7 pounds, which my vet thinks is a good healthy weight, but his usual weight is closer to 9.5 pounds. Norman has always been pretty healthy. He’s only taken Clavamox on occasion, maybe a couple of times a year for allergies. His allergies were mainly just sniffles now and then, except for the two instances of bad reactions to vaccines, once in 2005 and again in 2010. We think it was the leukemia vaccine but we’re not positive as he had that one and the rabies shot at the same time. He never really acted sick at all, the vet didn’t even think he was too thin. He has always felt like I was too paranoid over the cats, but really there has never been a time when they did not have something going on.
When we went back in March, he’d lost another three tenths of a pound, so they took some blood (which took 3 of them to do). Most of his numbers were good, except for the liver values. He was put on Denamarin and Orbax for two weeks. At his recheck with the vet he was still losing weight but only a tenth of a pound so the vet was going to just send us home, but I insisted on a sonogram. That didn’t show anything at the time, probably due to Norman squirming so much. I was still upset and unsatisfied with the results so we went back the next week and they did another blood test. When the blood test came in, his numbers were even worse, even with taking Denamarin and Orbax for the entire month. So the vet did another sonogram on April 15th and this time with another vet watching. They found his gall bladder to be stopped up and he was down to 8.3 pounds by then. We were happy because we thought we had found a fixable problem so we scheduled Norman for surgery to remove his gall bladder. The surgery on April 20th went better than planned. The vet was able to leave his gall bladder and just make a hole in it attached to a hole he cut in Norman’s intestine for drainage. While he was in there he spotted nodules on his liver, which he took out along with a biopsy from his intestines because they looked thick.
His final diagnosis after surgery was chronic and ongoing lymphocytic cholangiohepatitis with bridging fibrosis and bile duct-hyperplasia. Accompanied by inflammatory bowel disease, his prognosis was very guarded. The vet prescribed another month of Orbax and an ongoing prescription of Denamarin and prednisone. Norman has always eaten Fancy Feast along with tuna, some boiled chicken and raw hamburger. And occasionally a few nibbles of Purina Kit and Kaboodle, he really is not fond of dry food. He was given Hill Science Diet prescription food; we tried several of them, the AD and the CD and he would not eat them. I really don’t like forcing a food on a pet that they don’t like, especially if they refuse to eat. We then changed his diet to the grain and gluten free flavors of Fancy Feast and he’s getting monthly B12 shots. The prednisone is being slowly reduced in the hope that he may eventually be taken off of it. He feels good, he is slowly gaining his weight back and his muscle tone is good. He’s currently taking one Denamarin every day and one half prednisone every third day. He does try to spit them out but I use the technique of slightly blowing in his face afterwards. He ends up swallowing them usually on the first attempt. I’ve been spoiling him rotten, which of course he does deserve for everything he’s been through. He gets to eat some white meat chicken, Tuna, and some raw ground beef (about 4 oz) each week.
He had a week or so recently where he was vomiting but the vet said it was probably hairballs, because they found a huge one when he had surgery. So he takes just a bit of laxatone once a week. I don’t think it was hairballs because I never saw any hair when he got sick, but he’s gone quite a few days without being sick so maybe for now that has passed. He’s only seeing the vet once a month now which suits me just fine! He is a super nice guy and Norman even got to spend the night at his house after his surgery and was sent home with me the next night. The vet still considers him in guarded condition. Norman has had no symptoms other than the weight loss and the few vomiting spells. If it had not been for the weight loss and change in sleeping habits, I would not have had a clue he was even sick. Norman had another sonogram done on June 7th and the vet says his liver is still inflamed but the gall bladder has returned to almost normal shape and size. Norman went back to the vet today, July 13th and he weighed 8.7, which is .2 less than a month ago. The vet did not do much of an exam; he listened to him, looked in his mouth and said his color was good, his muscle tone is still good. He is dropping the prednisone for three weeks and then he will see him again. He is still quite concerned over the liver problem, that’s why he still considers his condition to be guarded. He’s due for another B12 shot so may take him back within the next week. Norman is my little momma’s boy. We are just enjoying being together right now and hoping for the best. He’ll be 10 this August 2011 and I hope he’ll be around for many years to come.
July 26, 2011: Norman went to the vet today for a recheck. His weight is holding at 8 lbs. 8 ozs. The vet and his assistant alone could not hold Norman, I had to help. The vet says he looks better than he has in a long time and that his muscles have very good density, he has good color and is still the most stubborn little butt head he has ever met! LOL. He got his B12 shot, .50 ml I believe, the vet will only do them once a month. He’s still taking the Denamarin daily but nothing else. He goes back in a month to be weighed. I asked the vet about blood test, he still says they will serve no purpose because he would not have any other options as far as liver treatments anyway and Norman looks great.
August 8, 2011: Last Tuesday I called the vet because Norman was having the sniffles. He did not want to put him on the usual Clavamox, instead he told me to just give him some Benadryl. He was concerned about giving him too many antibiotics. Norman was not eating much since he could not smell and the Benadryl was not helping. Thursday I took him to the vet, my vet was not in and the sub was hesitant to do much but she did give him cyproheptadine, it seemed to help. His weight was down again to 8.3 so we decided he should come back on Friday when the vet would be there. Blood test were done and the results showed his liver values are bad again. Not as bad as they were before but enough to show that his liver is irritated and his white cell count is up also. He is now back on the daily Denamarin and 1/2 of a 5mg prednisone daily. I am disappointed, he was doing so well. The vet had previously decided to let him run out of the Denamarin to see how he did, he was only off of it for about five days and the prednisone had been discontinued on the 26th. I think some of the weight loss is due to him not eating, but probably not all of it. He was last weighed on the 26th at either 8.8 or 8.9. He is eating better since his sniffles are gone, but he still seems to be resting a lot, although that could be my imagination, I probably hover over him too much. He is still getting around great and is not really having any visible symptoms, makes it hard to tell when he is starting to feel bad. The vet did not really say much about his white blood count other than it was a little high, he did not put him on any antibiotics though so maybe he is thinking it is just the inflammation around his liver causing it. He did have a slight fever but he said that is not unusual this time of year and it wasn’t much. Norman has never had what you would call a strong immune system. He was really expecting to find cancer or feline aids when we first started with all of this. I think Norman just has a weak immune system, he has always had allergies; to what all we don’t know for sure. I am still hoping for the best, it is all I can do without going nuts.
August 24, 2011: On Friday the 19th I had to take Norman back to the vet. He had labs done and the vet was really expecting to find his liver values very high. He thought by examining him that his liver was shutting down. Norman is down to 7.2 pounds and he is jaundiced. The labs came back Saturday and while the liver values were off they did not indicate a shut down. The bilirubin was very high though. His numbers were actually a little better than the last labs that were done on the 4th I think. He is now taking Pepcid AC every day, the vet is hoping excess acid is causing his latest problems. He is not wanting to eat and his urine is bright yellow, almost orange. He is drinking a lot of water, not like him at all. I can’t take him to the ER if he gets worse, the closest ER/24hr vet is fifty miles away. Our vet and his staff are only in the office from 8 to 5, no one is there at night and there are no scheduled checks on the animals left there during the closed hours. That is a lot of time for them to be alone with no one to see if they get in to trouble and need help. At least with Norman at home I can keep an eye on him and if he needs help they will make an emergency trip into the office.
I am scared for Norman, but feel better with him at home rather than locked up in a vets office with no one there. He has started eating a few bites at a time, so I am feeding him dozens of times a day, have done some syringe feeding over the weekend even though the vet said it wasn’t necessary. Also I am giving him the spare Clavamox since Friday. The vet still thinks that it is excess acid backing up in his system causing his jaundice and medicine causing the bright pee color, which he also had before when he first went on the prednisone and Denamarin in March. Brought him back to the vet on the 23rd for a re-check. He does seem to be less yellow than he was, the vet thought so too. He had a sonogram today. The vet is saying his liver, gall bladder and kidneys are all looking pretty good, but he had a lot of air/gas in his stomach. I baked chicken tonight and Norman ate more than he has is many days, a couple of tablespoons worth! He is still hiding for the most part and very tired of being messed with. He hissed at the vet today and tried to scratch him but he had two assistants holding me so he didn’t get in any good kicks or scratches today. But at least he still feels good enough to put up a fight.
August 31, 2011: After syringe feeding Norman for awhile, he is normal colored again and eating! In fact he is eating a lot. The only thing is that his taste buds seemed to have totally changed from just before this last bad spell. He won’t touch Fancy Feast, none of the flavors, and he has eaten that for ten years! He won’t touch canned chicken, also another of his “old” favorites. He wants tuna and salmon. But he’s eating and no longer yellow!
September 23, 2011: Norman is now feeling good, eating good, etc. I took him for a weigh in Tuesday, I had to take some in for vaccines, he is up to 8.9 #s. The vet didn’t take him out of the carrier, just did the others shots. Norman is still on the same meds, they have not been reduced, I don’t think they should have taken him off all of them when they did in July. But he is now much better and more like his old self.
November 15, 2011: Norman has been doing pretty well, seems to be in a holding pattern now. We did a round of labs yesterday and a B12 shot, he is at 8.7 pounds, he weighed 8.9 on October 14th so not bad. The lab results were in today, the numbers that reflect inflammation are still up, but with a small improvement over the August test. His liver values are a small bit better and his white blood count was normal for the first time since all of this started. Still on 1/2 tab of prednisone and denamarin every day and doing the pepcid more on a as needed basis. He is feeling good and eating good. He kicked the vet tech as soon as she got him out of his carrier, but was a little easier on the vet and techs once they got him on the exam table, he did not hurt anyone this time anyway. He is still eating the sensitive stomach food from the vet and Friskies brand canned foods, have cut back on his chicken and giving him more tuna and salmon. Of course he loves the Friskies packaged treats too.
February 17, 2012: Norman has had a lot of ups and downs the last two months, mainly allergy related. He was at the vets the first week of February, he weighed 8.2, so his weight is holding fairly steady. He was sniffling again, he got a ketophen shot and some albon. Our vet has pretty much stopped using the clavamox with Norman because he had taken so much in the past he felt like it was no longer working. He started having throw up spells the middle of January, it was pretty much every day and we determined it was the Denamarin doing it so he is no longer taking it. I am going to try and get lab work done next month when our finances will be a little better. Norman has not had hardly any throw ups since being off of the Denamarin. We are still doing the Lysine gel every day, I can’t really tell it is helping much, he is still having allergy problems. We ordered some vitamins from the vet, I got them today. They are made by the same company that makes Nutrical, they are like treats. He liked the first one this morning, but turned his nose up at the evening dose. He has been a very picky eater the last few weeks and I have been having to feed him a lot of chicken and salmon, human food, so I was worried about him getting enough vitamins. He will still nibble the sensitive stomach dry food from the vet, but most cat food he does not want.
I am keeping a close watch on his gums and ears, worried about jaundice with him being off of the Denamarin. The vet suggested we take him off of it for a while and then try it again later at a lower dose. He was throwing up every time he took it and of course being sick at his stomach he was not eating. I wish we knew what he was allergic to, the vet seems to think it is probably lots of things rather than just one thing. Unfortunately Norman does not think he should have to use the litter box and he doesn’t. He is very stubborn and thinks he is the boss here! He is going in for his B12 shot next week and Bill will give him a quick looking over then. Right now he is still having some sneezing, but it is off and on and he is still eating okay. I keep boiled chicken breast cooked for him and he does lick the gravy off of the canned cat food and nibble the vet food a little, probably not the best diet but he is difficult to change.
February 28, 2012: Norman went back to the vet last Monday for his B12 shot, he was sniffling a little but not bad. The vet did not want to give him any more antibiotics or ketophen, he wanted to wait and see if the B12 helped by itself. I took him off of the L-lysine gel last week also, it was not helping. He had a surprisingly good week last week. We are going to try doing the B12 more often than once a month for a while. His weight stayed the same, still 8.2. Norman is not taking much prednisone, only a half tablet every third day. His appetite has improved and he seems to be feeling better. He’s never tolerated medicine well and almost never had the results the vet expected from anything. He has been pretty active and seems to feel better than he has in a while. I am still going to try to have some blood test done toward the latter part of March, just to get some idea of how his liver values are.
April 6, 2012: Norman went for lab work and his bi-monthly B12 shot Tuesday and he’s feeling pretty good. His liver values have improved slightly and he is not on the Denamarin anymore. He was raised back up to every other day on the prednisone instead of the every third day we had been doing. He had gained 1/10 of a pound since the last vet visit two weeks prior for his B12. The vet seems fairly happy with everything and Norman has been feeling good, active and eating well. The vet did say he was borderline anemic which is typical for Norman, we are going to keep an eye on that.
May 3, 2012: Norman is getting the B12 twice a month and holding steady at 8.4 pounds. He has been getting the sniffles about three or four days before he is due the B12 and I mentioned it to the vet and asked if we could do every ten days. He says there really is no science behind B12 relieving his allergies, but then no reason why an antibiotic would help them either, but it does. So we are going to play it by ear and I am going to keep a close eye on him close to the ten days after the shot, the vet said we could easily do three times a month instead of two. Poor Bill, Norman does not respond to anything the way he expects him to!
June 1, 2012: Norman is doing pretty good. He’s still getting the B12 shots and holding at 8.4 pounds. He still has bad days occasionally with his allergies, he takes Albon for that and while the vet says there is no reason that should help, it does. He said they do use it for other things than infection and while the science don’t back up why it should work he is happy it does.
July 30, 2012: He went to the vet on the 17th of this month and he had lost a two tenths of a pound. He goes back tomorrow for a recheck and B12. The vet did give him the “spot on” type worm medication and he is eating well so hoping he gained back the weight. Will know tomorrow. He has been kinda varying on weight between 8.2 and 8.4 , but I don’t guess that is much to worry about as long as it doesn’t start to drop. He still seems to feel good with the exception of very occasional throw up and that is usually hairballs seems like.
July 31, 2012: Norman continues to feel good, still has the “cattitude”! His weight was back up to 8.5 today, so a nice improvement in the last two weeks. The vet was happy with his appearance, bright eyes, muscle tone, etc.
November 8, 2012: There has not been a lot of change. Norman is doing well, still getting the B12 shots every two weeks. His weight has gone up to 8.9 lbs, that was on the 29th I think. We are going to try and do another round of blood test this month to check his anemia and liver.
November 16, 2012: Norman had blood work on Wednesday, it was a nightmare of course! The vet, two techs, a towel and lots of screaming (Norman), took nearly ten minutes and three sticks, because he kept getting away. But anyway, that was the norm for us. The vet called yesterday, Norman is still slightly anemic, not enough for concern and the rest of the numbers were the best they have been since his first test in February of 2011. So Norman is doing good, still just doing the prednisone (half tablet) three times a week, was using pill pockets until Norman figured out he could eat the pill pocket without eating the pill.
March 7, 2013: The vet says Norman is doing great! Still at 9 pounds taking very little prednisone, one fourth tab every third day!
June 7, 2013: Norman had a anemia test today, it was not good. His anemia has gotten worse than it was a month ago when tested. The vet is going to do a bone marrow test in about a week or so, he has to order the needle and get with the lab to see how they want the samples sent. He is fearing lymphoma. We are going to time the test for a time when my vet is on call so if Norman has any issues with the anesthetic he will be available. I am so upset. We do not have an oncologist here, closet one is fifty miles away and the vet says Norman would probably have to stay at least one night. His weight is still good, so this was a shock. He is not having any other symptoms at all. Still eating good and his energy level is normal. Norman does not have a lot of body fat but he is not skin and bones, still weighed in at 8.9 pounds today. Norman’s last full lab was one month ago and his liver values were not perfect, but within a good range. He does not feel cold anywhere. The vet mentioned this medicine…Erythropoeitine. I think he really feels like Norman has cancer somewhere.
July 1, 2013: They did Norman’s bone marrow test Friday. They had to drill into both shoulder bones as the first one clotted. The test came back normal. He is making red blood cells and they did not find any cancerous cells. They also did a sonogram, blood clotting test and took some blood for a prc test. The sonogram and clotting test were good. The anemia is still bad enough for concern and they are hoping the pcr test will reveal what is destroying his red blood cells. The vet mentioned mycoplasma as a possibility.
July 14, 2013: The vet has done a CBC, pcr, sonogram and bone marrow test, all are negative for anything. His anemia however persist.
June 30 – bone marrow negative
July 1 – pcr sent off
July 5 – pcr negative
July 5 – Norman started two bottles worth of Orbax
July 6-8 – he is sneezing and will not eat, possible he had a allergic reaction to the meds or maybe Mike mowing stirred up dust and pollen, we have over two acres. He refused food all three days, I had to force feed him. July 10-B12 shot and weigh in, loss in weight of .5 pounds, but he is now eating good. The vet does not know what to do next, none of the test are showing a problem. The Orbax is just in case there is a secondary infection causing the anemia. We will be re-testing the anemia levels one week after he finishes the meds, if it is still high we will be increasing his prednisone. I have ordered some petinic (sp) and I am going to start him on some of that as soon as it comes in. Bill is fearing his IBD is worsening to the point not much will help. Norman seems to be feeling good, no extra laying around, he is as active as ever. No throw-ups or any other problems.
August 15, 2013: Norman has been tested for everything possible and still nothing coming up positive. The vet is positive he has cancer, the displaced form, not the mass kind. The only way to know for sure is exploratory surgery and I just can’t do that, it would not change anything. His anemia continues to get a bit worse at every test, even though to look at him you would not know it. He is still acting his usually self and eating good. Friday before last Norman had to go in for a upset tummy. He was bloated and not eating, guessing it was a bacterial infection because he got some albon and woke up Saturday starving. While we were there the vet did another anemia test, Norman’s anemia # was 21, 35 is normal so he is still anemic. They also did another sonogram and think they have found the cancer. The vet saw something, like a mass inside of Norman’s liver. There really is no way to treat it without damaging the liver and Norman is already at about only two thirds of his liver working. Vet said that those types of tumors are usually slow growing and he did not give me any guess on time. Norman seems to still feel good, he is eating and active with very few throw-ups, about once every ten days or so. So we are just hoping he feels good for a long time. I am still not dealing with this very well, I kept hoping Bill was wrong about the cancer when he could not find it.
September 13, 2013: As I think I told you the vet saw a small mass inside of Norman’s liver mid August. He was not eating today so I took him in. Vet was not there but I did get to see the other vet that I like. He did another sonogram because he felt a mass near Norman’s liver. It is just smaller than golf ball size, but it is a hard mass, a tumor. They gave him fluids today, more as a precautionary than anything and some albon for his stomach.
September 17, 2013: Last friday I took Norman to see the vet because he was not eating and felt lousy. The vet was not there but we saw one of his partners. He found a golf ball sized mass in him, I felt it and saw it on the sonogram. We went back today to see his regular vet because I wanted his opinion on what we should do and guess what! The lump is gone! The vet does not have any explanation for it. Was it a miracle? We will never know for sure. I actually thought that the tumor had grown so much since Friday that it now just felt like part of his body – if that makes sense. I was simply speechless when the vet said it was gone completely. He could not feel anything at all abnormal! He of course still has the tumor inside of his liver, at least we think he does, it is hard to see even with a sonogram which we did not do today. It’s small and barely growing, so he is out of immediate danger.
September 27, 2013: Norman was doing very badly today so I took him to the vet. He didn’t want to eat and he seemed so tired. It’s very bad news. Norman’s anemia levels are down to 8, normal is 35. The vet does not expect him to be with us more than another day or so. I am not ready to say good-bye. I am so devastated.
September 28, 2013: Norman did not make it. We had to let him go.