Stanley spent the day with his specialist yesterday for some additional testing, radiographs and another abdominal ultrasound as we try to figure out the cause of his stunted growth and GI abnormalities.
If you would like to donate toward Stanley’s mounting medical bills, you may do so with our extreme gratitude at http://TinyKittens.com/donate – He’s SO worth it!
The good news is that he is clearly feeling better, is playing, has a great appetite, has gained weight, and his coat looks great. It’s also great that we’ve been able to rule out a number of possible causes for his stunted growth and abnormal GI system. We know it’s not a metabolic disorder, hypothyroidism, or insufficient growth hormone. We have gotten negative results on parasite/viral/bacterial/organism tests. We have ruled out kidney and liver abnormalities. His skeletal structures don’t show any indication of malnutrition. And Stanley is happy to have stopped having to take any meds for the time being.
The perplexing news is that we would have expected to see significant improvement in his GI system since his last ultrasound, and the thickening and layering of his intestinal walls had only a very slight improvement. Having ruled out all of the usual and less usual causes, Stanley’s specialist is researching and considering more rare causes.
A new and quite unexpected complication was revealed yesterday when the radiology specialist reviewed Stanley’s thoracic radiographs. It appears his heart is enlarged. This came as a surprise to everyone, since Stanley has had numerous vets, techs and specialists listen carefully to his heart, and there is no audible murmur or any indication that there is anything different about his heart.
The vet team doesn’t know yet what the significance of Stanley’s heart is, how/if it may be related to his GI issues, or what the actual defect is. In order to find the answers to those questions, Stanley will need an echocardiogram (an ultrasound of the heart performed by a specialist). This will need to happen before he has any procedures involving anesthesia, so we can determine whether there would be additional risk.
So. The new plan is to give Stanley another month and see if his immune system begins to rally and if his GI system improves. We have a few more test results that should come back next week. After the month, we will need to do another abdominal ultrasound and an echocardiogram in order to assess his progress at that time.
At that point, we will have done all of the minimally invasive testing we can possibly do, so if there is still little or no improvement, we will need to consider whether it makes sense to do abdominal surgery to get biopsies of his intestines. This will be an invasive procedure, and we will make sure we consider risks, benefits, and the advice of our medical team so we can make the best possible decision for Stanley’s well being and quality of life.
As many of you know, a big part of our mission is to demonstrate that every cat has value so we can start to address the global compassion deficit at the root of the global cat overpopulation crisis. Providing exceptional medical care is one of the best ways we can change perceptions about the value of cats.
Another important part of our mission is to push for answers so the medical, rescue and cat owner communities can gain greater understanding of medical mysteries like Stanley. Every answer we get, or possibility we rule out, makes it easier to help future cats and kittens reach a diagnosis or treatment plan faster.
Follow Stanley’s journey on our 24/7 rescue livestream at http://TinyKittens.com/live