|Purred: Thu Mar 21, '13 11:09am PST |
|I just added Whoops http://www.catster.com/cats/1289144 to the group, the daughter of Lily who went to the Rainbow Bridge 11-10-11 after being ravaged by the absolutely awful & deadly autoimmune disease generalized pemphigus vulgaris. I decided I should put up her profile to educate people a little about her disease, to show how minor her early symptoms were-I never would have guessed by her early symptoms that she had a disease that would kill her within only 4 months time, & to possibly help anybody else who has a cat with pemphigus.
Whoops was born with a tear duct defect that made her tears run down her face. Early on she learned to come to me at least twice a day to wipe her eyes & face, sometimes more often than that if the tears started to dry into that dark crusty stuff. Occasionally her constant tearing would make her face by her eye corners sore, a thin smear of Vaseline would protect her skin & clear up the irritation.
Other than her tear duct defect, Whoops was totally healthy until July 2011. Then she started losing a bit of hair around her eyes & her coat was thinning on her back. It appeared to be just an ordinary case of flea allergy dermatitis with the exception of the loss of hair & a slight crusty looking appearance to the skin around her eyes. However she had been rubbing at the area around her eyes for a couple of days before that, which could account for both the loss of hair around the eyes & the crusty appearance.
In Whoops profile, the bottom photo shows how these early symptoms looked. Whoops problem clearly wasn't contagious since no other cat had any hair loss & flea comb checks came up clean on Whoops & several other of the cats I checked. I suspected an autoimmune problem, Whoops saw the vet, biopsies were taken, tests were run, etc.
Whoops had generalized pemphigus vulgaris, one of the worse forms of a group of autoimmune diseases called pemphigus. Pemphigus is considered to be uncommon but it almost always ends up being fatal in cats. She was put on high doses of steroids to try to control the disease & cover antibiotics to prevent infection.
A few days later Whoops' problem had worsened. The last photo in her Plus Photo Book shows a closeup of her face & head where you can see a large patch of hair has fallen out between her ears. From the areas around her eyes, around her ears, along the edges & the backs of the ears, on the back of her neck, down her back, & along the topside of her tail, the hair loss began to spread outward & downward. Her skin began to change to a dark dry thick crusty consistency that would break in pieces & fall off in pieces varying from the size of crumbs up to chunks the size of a nickel. As advised, I started applying Vaseline to Whoops skin in all the affected areas every day, to try to moisturize it, soften the crusts, & give protection to small areas that would ulcerate when skin fell off them. I moved Whoops to the bathroom for ease in caring for her.
The disease progressed rapidly. Throughout Whoops war with this horrible nasty autoimmune disease of generalized pemphigus vulgaris, she surprisingly seemed to feel fairly good until right up to the last. Right up to her last two days of life, she ate well, had decent weight, etc & her friendly affectionate personality remained so. Different steroids & different strengths of steroids were tried to no avail, the disease continued its deadly assault on Whoops skin. On the next to last day of Whoops life, she spent more of her time than usual curled up in her bed. For the first time since the pemphigus had attacked her, Whoops became slightly dehydrated & had to have fluid therapy.
By the time Whoops crossed the Rainbow Bridge on November 10, 2011, she only had a little hair left on her body, on her lower hindlegs, her lower forelegs, a tuft on her chin that looked like a goatee & some other patches on lower areas of her body. The rest of her skin was affected by the pemphigus. I have one photo I took of Whoops on the day she passed, in case it's ever needed for educational purposes or show people just how innocuous the early symptoms of the disease were & how totally generalized pemphigus vulgaris ravaged Whoops & took her from healthy to dead in only 4 months time. I did not post that photo on Whoops profile because I feel it's too graphic to post publicly, yes generalized pemphigus vulgaris made her look that bad.
Whoops is the first & only cat I've ever had with pemphigus. I had never heard of it until Whoops was diagnosed. It's the nastiest wickedest cat disease I personally have ever had to deal with in any cat I've ever owned. It's a disease I hope I never have to see ever again. Once was too much!
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