7/26/05: Chester hasn’t been eating well and is taken to UW Vet School for blood panel. Very high liver values. He can receive treatment at home. Please pray that he will be able to eat as the antibiotics greatly upset his appetite last summer.
7/27/05: Chester returns to vet school for liver biopsy and other tests. He keeps his humor up by complaining to staff about his haircut. (Stomach shaved for tests like last summer.) Test results to come late next day.
7/29/05: The results from Chester’s liver biopsy confirm the same diagnosis as last summer’s episode: Chronic Active Hepatitis. He does not appear to have an infection, so will not continue on antibiotics. He is on several meds which support liver function. He is eating pretty well, for which we are grateful.
8/1/05: Chester gets progress checkup at vet school. Blood work results to come within a few days. More detailed biopsy results confirm that the liver disease has progressed since last summer. Chester’s immune system targets the liver as foreign and attacks it. Efforts will be made to slow the disease as much as possible with medication and perhaps a special diet.
Chester has not been able to take his arthritis medicine and is experiencing some pain in the leg where he had surgery to remove bone chips in May. Please pray that his liver will heal enough that he will be able to take his medicine soon.
8/4/05: Chester’s liver values are improving! He is eating well and will hopefully be stable soon.
8/11/05: Chester’s liver values are almost normal! He can return to his regular diet and is also able to take his arthritis medicine again. (His leg has gotten quite swollen.) He will remain on certain meds that support his liver for life (SAMe, Ursidiol). In addition, he may be put on steroids, which would suppress his immune system and perhaps keep further damage from occurring.
9/28/05: Chester’s ALT remains slightly elevated, which indicates that some inflammation is still present in the liver. He will add a steroid to his medication lineup and will continue to be on that and three other meds for life (Ursidiol, SAMe, Pepcid). The dose will be high at first and then gradually tapered down over the next several months to the smallest effective dose.
Please pray for him as he begins this new medication since he will most likely experience some unpleasant side effects while on the higher dosage (increased appetite, thirst, urination, panting, muscle weakness).
10/25/05: The latest blood work reveals that Chester’s liver values are elevated in a way unexpected by doctors. His steroid dosage is continuing to be reduced. He has experienced most of the expected side effects of the prednisone (increased thirst, urination, panting, muscle weakness). He is pretty lethargic overall and is quite uncomfortable much of the time with stomach upset and gas. His stomach is bloated, which can be a side effect of the steroids, but can also turn into a more serious condition.
At this point, we are uncertain whether there is a slight decline or whether he is merely experiencing temporary discomforts from the prednisone. We expect to obtain a more complete assessment at his recheck next week.
10/28/05: Chester is taken to vet school with labored breathing and weakness. He is diagnosed with pneumonia and given antibiotics. Side effects of the steroids appear to be easing somewhat. His dosage is being reduced a little more quickly to account for the unexpected elevation in one liver value. The slight decline we observed appears now to be the pneumonia.
11/03/05: Chester returns to vet school for recheck on 11/1. He does not appear to be responding to the antibiotics. He returns the following day for a tracheal wash, a procedure to collect a sample from the infection in his lung so that it can be determined the exact type of bacteria that is causing it. An additional antibiotic is added to to his pill regimen. He is having problems with eating and is put back on canned food and his special diet of other tempting food. His breathing remains labored, and he continues to cough quite a bit. Please pray that he will be able to eat throughout his many weeks on antibiotics and that the pneumonia will begin to heal.
11/06/05: Chester is doing MUCH better! His breathing and cough are both improved. He is more energetic and alert. His tail is wagging again, and he is playing a little with his toys. His appetite is still pretty fussy, eating warmed, wet food with coaxing and certain select treats. His puddy-cat friends, Mocha & Muffin, have done a good job nursing him!
12/05/05: GREAT NEWS!!! Chester’s liver values are almost normal. His ALT is the lowest it has been since his relapse last summer. He is eating his dry food again. His energy and spirits are high! He has another week of antibiotics and then another recheck in a few weeks. The pneumonia appears to be well on the run. This is the best news we had in months. Thanks for all your prayers and good wishes!