24 December 2008

A Christmas without our ReinDear...

Gimli... our little precious, sweet, and very irritated reindeer. What a face, and how we miss him!

Gimli loved any events that involved a chance for him to show-off. Christmas and Thanksgiving were major events for our Gims.

This year we had new little friends in our lives -- Junipurr Lily and Rosie Rosebud (Rose of Sharron), and of course our darling Bilbo.
The girls enjoyed every single aspect of the holidays and gave us so many laughs as they experienced one "first" after another.

But through it all there was one missing and one that was missed.

After "the curtain fell" in late October I will admit to having a need for a time-out. A time to regroup and reaffirm. That's OK. I know my resolve will return.

What isn't known by some is how much resolve I actually have.
I'll not forget, Gimli, and I will not allow your death to be in vain.

We love you! Mom & Dad, Bilbo, Lily, and Rose.
Our seasonal card - FRONT

Our seasonal card - INSIDE

Message on Gimmie's photo reads:
In memory of Godz Gimli-GilGalad who was defeated in life by Ketamine and HCM.
Please support the Winn Feline Foundation.

01 November 2008

And the curtain fell to no applause...

After a moment of joyous rapture in locating Dr. Houard (after a six-month effort), the curtain came crashing down.

I had located him. I prepared a letter of introduction and explanation of why I was reaching out to him. My friend, Mary Perfitt-Nelson, of Enchanted Lair & GoNaked Sphynx, offered to lend me the help of her brother-in-law, Laurent (a Frenchman), who kindly translated my documents into French.

I bundled my two airmail packages up and sent them International Express to both Dr. Houard, in Paris, and his former assistant (now living in Canada), Aline Noel. Mme. Noel took my letter on her next trip to Paris -- the day AFTER my letter arrived -- and personally sat down with Dr. Houard to go over it with him and explain my interest in Ketamine.

How kind and generous people can be... even those whom I have never met.

The last week in October my husband and I, and our Sphynx kids, Bilbo, Lily, and Rose, went RV camping for a week. The day we left and only a few short days after sending my letter to Dr. Houard I received a reply back, via email, from him.

He wrote:

Dear Mme.

I attentively read your mail. I believe that it is necessary to distinguish two phenomena at the time of the first usage of the Kétamine.
Which you eventually observed can relate itself to an intolerance to the dissociative anesthetic, of which the leader is the Kétamine, cats Rex Devon and Sphynx that I evoked in the magazine "Cat Interests Me".

I did not publish this phenomenon in other reviews for I did not succeed explaining the pathégonie of this disturbance.
The death of your cat at the time of the second anesthésie is classical when it exists a cardiomypathie, all anesthetic other probably would have provoked the same consequence. I hope qu these precisions will be useful for you.

Sincere greetings.

Dr Michel HOUARD

I wrote back immediately, that morning, but have not yet received a reply. It is my belief that this kind doctor opened a new email account just to reply to me directly. I am guessing that he has not checked it since.
Dear Dr. Houard,
I wish to thank you for your response to my letter. I am curious of the phenomenon that you talked about in your e-mail and I would like to ask if I can continue to communicate questions that I have in consideration of Ketamine and the cats in the exotic types, notably the Sphynx. You said that it is necessary to distinguish two phenomena when Ketamine is used for the first time. What are the two distinctive identifying phenomena? Is it your opinion that there is a strong connection between the usage of Ketamine and the progression of a myopathy (cardio or hereditary myopathy) in Sphynx and Devons? Pardon me for misunderstanding; but, in your opinion, would any type of anethesia given to a cat with HCM have the same resulting death? Would that apply to HCM cats given isoflurane or sevoflurane or only cats in the exotics line? Other veterinary doctors have posted serious concerns in the matter of Ketamine used on cats with a common genetic link. I would like to provide a document that details a discussion of this subject by American veterinarian, Dr. Mike Richards. Dr. Richards provided answers to AOL members regarding pet-related questions. If doctors know about the potential dangers of Ketamine and other disassociative anesthesias is there not a need for this information to be more available to veterinarians and pet owners? I use a program of translation of language to communicate with you, so please forgive any errors in the syntax and grammar. I wish to again thank you, and Aline, for communicating with me. I am optimistic that a communication line can continue.

The very same day that his email came in to my account the postal service delievered a letter, from the insurance company representing the vet that killed Gimli, stating that they declined my request for replacement, necropsy, creamation, and mileage costs. A total lack of accountability even WITH a statement from the pathologist that the Ketamine caused his death.
Emotions that had subsided through my sense of purpose eroded into tears of frustration, anger, and immense sadness. It was, literally, all I could do to gather my bags and join my husband and our cat-kids in the RV for the trip.
Am I defeated? No... but I am temporarily behind the curtains.

03 October 2008

Humble Pie

Eating humble pie is not as bad as, say, eating a bug or walking into an unseen (and quite large) spider web (as I did today)... but it's, well, humbling.
My ranting last post still has some small measure of validity with an emphasis on *small*.

I just spoke to the vet that made the calls... yes, that's plural... to the number I provided to her for Dr. Michel Houard. No, she didn't update me on the fact that she had tried and was unsuccessful. Had she done that I would have been back on the trail enforce.
However, as a person who doesn't really believe in FATE but who likes to leave her options open on that subject (to some extent), I guess - as with many things - timing is everything.

My timing this past month was extraordinary. I was, shall we say, hell-bent on gaining some ground on my lost time. I posted to a group of Sphynx breeders - a Yahoo based group I help moderate - asking for any more assistance on finding a person willing to make a call to gay old Paree. By luck I was offered help from four kind breeders; one in Tennessee, one in Texas, one in the UK, and one in France.
Here's how it played out and why I am eating this tasty pie.

My UK contact and my Texas contact both put me in touch with the Project Manager International Marketing for Royal Canin Group in France. I contacted her - she is moving to Brazil. She gave me another vet's name that will be taking her place. Both of those outlets were a no-go.

Then I decided to phone the breeder in Texas. While we spoke she found not one, but two more possible French "connections" tucked away in her files. One, a TICA judge and the other, the president of FiFe (Federation Internationale Feline). I wrote first to FiFe president, Annette Sjödin. She responded back within thirty minutes to offer me two more contacts. I wrote to both.
Another scant few minutes passed and then an email came in to me at gimmiesfishes from one of the contacts. She was willing to help and she gave me another contact as well.
... you know what's coming next, I suppose... Yes, I wrote the new contact.
The first contact is a Sphynx breeder in France. She had a new document containing scientific information on a research study conducted by a team of researchers studying Ketamine use in felines. [ see document ]

The second contact took me back once again to the International TICA judge. Her email to me has had me on cloud nine for days. She stated:

"You found the right person. I know well Michel Houard. I worked with him as his vet tech for 22 years. I can translate things for you or bring him material because I go in France every month. Tell me what you need."

As tears streamed down my face I composed myself as well as an email reply to this kind person. Her advice to me was to draft a letter to Dr. Houard (who is apparently not a member of the virtual community) and outline my mission and my reasons for it. She also told me that the telephone number that I have for Dr. Houard was incorrect. One little number was off... umm, now are you following me?

So... that brings me to today and the meal upon which I now feast.
In my letter to Dr. Houard I am including the names of all of my contacts - people who have stated that they clearly want to help. I wanted to include the vet cardiologist who was trying to contact him as she is fluent in spoken and written French... so I phoned her this afternoon to ask if she would allow me to list her as an Alabama contact for Dr. Houard. In our conversation she mentioned to me that she had tried two or three times to phone him with no success -- umm -- no wonder. I told her about my recent streak of good fortune and that my latest contact corrected the incorrect telephone number. "AHHHHhhhhh, she said, so that's why I couldn't connect with him!".
Yes, indeed. *chomp-chomp*

As for being kind enough - and most importantly, interested enough to allow me to list her as a contact for him, she also offered to translate my letter to him from English to French. I most likely will accept that offer even though I have already arranged for the Tennessee breeder to "loan" me her native French brother-in-law.

Always have a backup plan. I've learned that about ten weeks too late but...

"To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance..."

Today I am dancing for Gimli.

A loving look to mom

Gimli looks back at Mom - taken two days before his death.

09 September 2008

One more reason why I prefer pets to people...

For the past ten weeks I have been patiently waiting word from a doctor of veterinary cardiology who agreed to phone Dr. Houard, in Paris, France (to try to validate his research, etc.).
I was asked to be patient and, despite my natural personality type (which includes an impatience gene), I have waited with hopeful expectation of an answer or in anticipation of a new direction to scope out.

I phoned the Drs. office late last month and was told I would get a return call. Didn't happen.
I phoned again the end of last week and was told that I could speak with the doctor on Monday. Monday the doctor was out, so I left a message asking if I could have ten minutes of her time today to discuss her efforts in speaking with Dr. Houard or his associates.
... an answering service called to tell me that the doctor had tried to phone Dr. Houard many weeks back, and did not get a reply.

Now.. one might ask; what is my gripe?
-- Did the doctor fulfil her promise to me? hmmmm... well, I suppose so, if pressed for an answer.

-- Did the doctor follow up with me so I would no longer be kept waiting and wondering? That one's easy. No.

-- Do I appreciate the effort, regardless of the lack of compassion shown to my inquiry and concern?
That's tough... well, tough, I should say, for me to be gracious.

Had I received a courteous (dare I say, even conscientious?) update from the doctor I would not be sitting here feeling like my efforts are unimportant, feeling irritated and anxious, and wondering why such a small courtesy could not have been extended. How long ago she tried to phone him? Was it only one, quick effort?
How many days and weeks have passed by that could have been used searching for someone fluent in French to make that call?

I don't have a clue as to the age of the researcher, Dr. Houard. For all I know he may be young and still very active in his field; but what if he is not? What if there is a window of opportunity to find out the questions I need to verify? These are the notions that so worry me.

Yesterday (08 September) marked the fifth month since Gimli was killed through the use of Ket/Val during a routine dental cleaning. Yes... feelings are still raw and, as the days, weeks, and MONTHS push onward I feel an urgency to press forward and make some progress.
In some ways I feel... haunted. I don't mean to imply that in a spiritual sense or a malicious sense... but rather in an obligatorial sense.
I feel indebted to Gimli for the love and joy he brought into our lives.
I feel indebted to him to make his death meaningful and helpful to others.

Therefore.. all of this is pretty important to me. Such are the things that drive people into action.

Do YOU, kind reader, know of someone who might be willing to help? I'm suffering from a locale problem as well... for, unfortunately, in my area French is not taught in our local schools or local community college, nor anywhere within my immediate vicinity.
If so, please contact me through this blog. I could use some good fortune about now.

So in my pondering and silent debate on Pets vs. People, Pets seem to be winning out.

Final thought today: I feel very much alone in this quest to help our breed.

25 August 2008

Written to a friend in a professional circle who lost their kitten by extreme violence. Her kitten was torn to shreds by a neighbors dog - in her own yard. The dog, known for its aggressive nature has harmed other animals and yet is still roaming free in the neighborhood.
A loss is a loss.

It angers me so much that people allow their aggressive pets to do such random acts of violence upon other animals == and if they are pets then that violence cascades down upon owners and their families.

Accountability is something I'm currently, personally, carrying a banner for in my own quest for justice over our Gilmi's unnecessary death at the hands of our trusted vet this past April. While our issue differs from the utterly violent nature of your loss of Moe, it's all the same thing... accountability - whether it be a vet who's too damned lazy to check the facts, or an idiotic animal owner who carelessly allows their dangerous pet to roam and harm at will.

My heart goes out to you for your loss... and to others on this list who have mentioned similar instances. Pets have SO little rights. It's shameful. Their only voice is ours. Don't forget to visit the Pet Loss website -- Gimmie's tribute is there; and it does help, somewhat.
Death is easier if not untimely and unnecessary; the parting and hurt, however, remains the same.


05 July 2008

Three months and standing still...

I've been thinking so much about the progress I've made and *not* made on this journey that's been forced upon me. To be honest, I've felt guilty for not posting since the 22nd of June. The reason is... I've needed some time away.
I cry at the drop of a hat when I think about Gimli and why he died. I'm still reeling and I feel depressed.

One might think that because Gimli was a "pet" that his life is over and we, I, should now move on. We have two new kittens to "take his place" and Bilbo's trying hard to adjust... we should be OK, right?
Oh how I wish it were so easy.

The girls, Junipurr Lily and Rose, are delightful. They've adjusted well, Bilbo loves them, we adore them, and I'm grateful for them being in our home and our lives... but they are not Gimli. They can't take his place in our hearts and they don't make the hurt and anger go away. I often think how unfair it is to them that I can't be overjoyed that they are with us as I was when we first got the boys. I'm simply not capable of feeling that sort of joy now.

So.. I've taken a break. I have people I need to nudge who have promised to be proactive for me -- or for the cause (Ketamine deaths in our breed). I have people who have reached out to me that I've yet to contact... to my shame. I have let the ball drop these past three weeks; but I've needed a break from the constant sadness, the constant anger, the constant drive and late-nights of research.

I have a new business that's getting off the ground next week... it's a business that I've been trying to grow since 2004 and, for the first time, it really has a chance of being successful. I should be plunging myself head-first into this project with no other thoughts in my head but its groundbreaking debut. I'm trying to do that. I owe it to myself and to my partner who is not an animal lover and can not understand (but, to his credit, has tried).

I'll get past this month and continue anew. My committments include not only my work and new project, but necessary time and trips to doctors with my dad and with our Sphynx kids. The little girls are now five months old and ready to be spayed and microchipped. That process is scheduled for 22 July, and they'll use an Isoflurane box during the process. Still.. I'm dreading it. I dread it for our girls and I dread the way I know I will feel during the process... scared, anxious, and memory-filled. Wish us luck, please.

As for our Gimmie -- I kiss his urn each night and tell him good morning the next day. We miss him, and want his legacy to be filled with potential life-saving information for other Sphynx owners.
Our attorney has been approached by the vet who is responsible for his death. She phoned him to clear her character. I can't imagine her motive in phoning him. Our case is now in the hands of her insurance company, and if things don't work out well there I have full intention of seeing it through in court. She will be held accountable.

I appreciate those who read this blog. I encourage you to view the posts from May which detail the Ketamine findings. Please don't leave this blog without viewing the information there.

PHOTO: Our sweet boy, Gimli, riding in his "going home" spot in our motorhome. We've not camped since we lost our boy.

On the road again - end of Easter weekend camp trip - 2

19 June 2008

Gimmie's short life has touched many

I still hear from people - some I know well, some I know alittle, some I've met online - who have written, phoned, or emailed with sentimental and heartfelt messages about our little boy.

This came in today...

19 June
Smilebox greeting - from "Aunt Missy"
[I'm not sure how to get this online greeting to appear inline, if anyone knows, please comment.]

14 June 2008

When the heart gets discouraged Fate often intervenes

I've been in what's typically called a "funk" today. As I told a friend of mine, I believe it's a combination of things that includes my sadness for Gimli's loss - and yes, we still miss him terribly - my being behind in my job due to this constant and never-ending distraction, and what seems like a wanning of interest (it's been two months, time to move on, right?).

Not that simple - can't move on; I'm stuck, you see. Even with the enrichment of our two new little Sphynx girls - Lily and Rose - there is a pervasive need (compulsion) to push on in this quest for validation of the Ketamine (or Ket/Val) link with deaths in our breed. I can't stand to think of another family going through the misery we are due to vets being unaware or, uncaring.

and then...

Later this evening I had an email that came in from our breeder (grandmother to our kittens, Bilbo and Gimli) that she kindly forwarded to me. A vet she knows from somewhere in the world (I don't know specifics yet) wrote to her about finding this blog (I'm glad you did!).

She wrote, in part:

"Would you please let his owners know that I am so sorry and that there are veterinary professionals out there who know about the risks involved with ketamine in cats. Our clinic does not give ketamine (or drugs like Telazol with tiletamine) in cats for induction of anesthesia, period. Any breeds. I also read their frustration about not being able to get access to VIN (Veterinary Information Network). I am a member and I cannot give out my login information but I am more than happy to save and send them copies of all the info I can find on the subject.
I spoke to Dr. _____, our medical director & practice owner, about Gimli and she asked me to send her a link to the blog so she can formulate an informative and compassionate response. She wants to help spread the word and be an ally to the rex cat community. If Gimli's people would like to email me, let them know they can. I can't imagine the pain they feel right now but it might help to know there are some of us out there advocating for these little guys and who have adjusted their protocols to provide the very best possible care available. Because as they said, a cat is not just a cat and it's high time *some* vets (not all, because there are a lot of great ones out there) stop performing these 'cookbook' recipe sedations for *routine* procedures. No procedure is routine in the first place. There is always a risk and owners should be informed. It makes me sick they told them there was no alternative."

I can't adequately describe how uplifting this email was for me tonight. I cried when I read it - tears of gratitude for the kindness of strangers, and for the hope that this new "door" may open up more avenues to continue this quest for confirmation on Dr. Houard's article, and on the link between Ket/Val related deaths in our breeds. What this all may ultimately do is save countless felines from death or the advancement of HCM, and save countless pet owners the heartbreak of loss through ignorance or ethical research done on behalf of their patients.

One particular thing that struck me was that this vet's medical director wanted to send us condolences. Neither of these people know us or Gimmie - but they *care*.
We have NEVER YET received any personal note of sympathy or apology from the vet who caused Gimli's death - not one single, solitary word. Of course, we - and many who know us and our story - believe that act alone depicts guilt.

As an aside to this wonderful news I had another email yesterday from a Sphynx owner who had a scheduled dental cleaning for her Sphynx. She printed out the information here and presented it to her vet (who was planning on using Ketamine) and due to that they have opted for the Isoflurane gas as an option. News like that is so bittersweet (although that is selfish to admit). I can't help but wish that someone could have warned ME about it before Gimli had to die.
Really... he was just the most wonderful and marvelous little thing. I wish I could describe him better. He was special, and he is most sincerely missed.

09 June 2008

Hitting the two month mark...

A hard day yesterday in thoughts and memories. Two months since our Gimmie was ripped from our lives. We still receive sweet notes and remembrances from people who knew him, or have just heard about his fate. Earlier this week a Sphynx breeder / friend of mine from Georgia wrote and told me that she'd been thinking of Gimli just a day or two ago and that he touched a great many people. I guess my boys do have a lot of online, and real-life, friends. I've certainly shared them with many people through Flickr, Myspace, and list-mail groups.

One such instance happened this evening on myspace. A new "friend" added me to their friends list and I added her to mine. She's a Sphynx owner and she commented on Gimli and Bilbo's photographs. I told her Gimli's story and she wrote that she was grateful to learn about Ketamine as she was considering a dental cleaning for one of her Sphynx outcrosses.

That is exactly why I'm working on this project, thinking about the research, and trying to confirm and solidify all information. If Gimli's death can save someone else the sorrow we've gone through it helps. I'll never be able to say that it makes his death OK.. nothing will; but it may save another Sphynx and their parents the devastation of a needless death.

My new friend on myspace left a beautiful personally created "card", I'd like to share it here tonight.

Gimli Sympathy

Thank you, Karrie!

04 June 2008

These video's would have been longer had we known his life would be cut short

Some videos of Gimli taken in February.

If this boy *did* have HCM there were, absolutely, no signs. Especially telling since his heart - at death - weighed 28 grams. Even yet, the pathologist agreed that Ketamine ended his life on 08 April, not a "possible" disease. Was Gimmie's heart tested unequivocally for HCM... No.

The only thing certain was that Gimli went into CHF after being given Ketamine. Everything else is speculative.

I hate the last video is sideways. I'm primarily a still photographer and took these videos from my digital camera. I'd flipped the camera sideways - as I normally to - and completely forgot that I'd have trouble with it later. Just turn your heads for now...

I did just order a Canon PIXIA high definition camcorder. My husband and I do not want to miss anything with Bilbo and the girls. I have real regrets over not having more video of Gimmie... I just never expected his life would be over before we made this planned purchase for our anniversary gift. Twelve years on 18 June. :-)

02 June 2008

News from the WINN Foundations HCM / DNA research

Posted to Sphynx Breeders list:

Molecular evaluation of the feline myosin heavy chain gene in Ragdoll, Norwegian Forest and Sphynx cats with familial hypertrophic cardiomyopathy

12 Month Progress Report - 2007
Principal Investigator: Kathryn M. Meurs, DVM, Ph.D.
Diplomate ACVIM (Cardiology)
Professor - Dept of Veterinary Clinical Sciences
Washington State University-College of VeterinaryMedicine
Pullman, WA 99164
Phone: 509-335-0817

Email: meurs@vetmed.wsu.edu

Hypothesis: A mutation in the exonic or splice siteregion of the myosin heavy chain gene is responsible for familial hypertrophic cardiomyopathy in the Ragdoll, Sphynx or Norwegian Forest cat.

Objective of the Study: To evaluate the exonic andexonic/intronic splice site regions of the myosin heavy chain gene in Ragdoll, Sphynx and NorwegianForest cats with familial hypertrophic cardiomyopathyby PCR based sequencing.

Results: Although myosin heavy chain gene is the most commonly mutated gene in human beings, we did not find a causative mutation for hypertrophic cardiomyopathy in any of these breeds. We did identify several single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) that are base pair changes that are shown NOT to be responsible for the disease since they do not segregate only with the affected cats, do not change the amino acid or do not appear to change the protein produced.

Although the MYH7 gene does not appear to be causative for hypertrophic cardiomyopathy in these breeds, we have continued the study by starting to evaluate additionalgenes known to cause the disease in people.

Additionally, we have submitted an abstract for presentation on this work at the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine meeting in San Antonio,Texas in June 2008 and we have started a publication on this work that should be submitted within the next 4-8 weeks.

Read more & Visit the WINN Foundation website

28 May 2008

Either you're VIN or you're OUT

I'm Out... and can't get VIN.

Ok, so for those who don't know, VIN is the Veterinary Information Network. It's been around since 1991 to service the vet industry and their support personnel. It's a database jammed packed with information, chat logs, educational and clinical information... and has a searchable dB of documents.

I have a vet within my family. I've asked if they would log in and search for articles on Ketamine, or if they'd allow me to do a search. When I explained why I wanted access my request was ignored. That's been several weeks ago and I am still steaming over it. It feels a bit like a conspiracy of sorts. There is a definite unwillingness to go against the grain, go against other vets, go against typical, usual protocol.

I asked a vet recently if they had any idea why the vet we used with Gimli - or their vet techs that they relied on to talk to owners - did not, in any way, suggest an alternative to Ketamine. I asked the clinic we used about an alternative fifty different ways and was met with the same answer. There wasn't an alternative... which is a falsehood. As many readers or "owners" of pets may also do, I had a list of questions that I asked prior to committing to the dental procedure.

Here are the questions I asked:
  • What is the process, and are there any risks?
  • Is there other alternative to sedation? And is your sedation considered safe?
  • Can you use a constraining blanket rather than “twilight” sedation?
  • Are there other options to a sedated dental that can be done at home?
  • Has your clinic EVER lost a patient during a dental?
  • Will a blood test and light physical be done prior to the procedure?
And, here are the answers I received (yes, I logged my phone call with the vet tech):
  • the risks were low
  • no other alternative was available or suggested in regards to the anesthesia
  • a constraining apparatus could not be used
  • “twilight” sedation meant that the patient would “barely be under”
  • the clinic had NEVER lost a patient.
Why was Isoflurane or Sevoflurane not suggested? (By the way, readers, Haloflurane is a Ketamine derivative, so steer clear).
Vets know and use gas as an alternative to injectible anesthesia, it's not uncommon or odd to ask for alternate induction agents. Here's what one vet said - and I'm paraphrasing:

"...Most vet clinics have a standard protocol that they follow for surgical procedures. The staff, vet tech, and doctors all know the standard protocol extrememly well. When something outside this standard is used it causes the vet, vet techs, and staff more time and energy because they are not as familiar with it..."

Therefore, this vet concluded that an alternative was not offered to me because it would have caused that particular vet and clinic to go outside their "norm".

That... is NOT acceptable.

26 May 2008

Why it's important to learn and empower ourselves

Rosie Rosebud
Rose relaxes

Junipurr Lily
Lily loves BG (Granddaddy)

Bilbo Bombadil

And for our sweet lost boy, Gimmie. who so loved his life:
Where's the cat in the water, Mommie?

Ketamine References: the buzz is out, isn't it?

There are many articles available via the Internet, written by vets or scientists, which raise serious concerns over the use of the very common and very cheap induction agent, Ketamine. Research substantiating this was conducted in the early 1990’s by Dr. Michel Houard, of Chambourcy, France, and specifically states if Ketamine is used on Devons, Cornish, Germans, Selkirks, and Sphynx, it will cause death.

What's important to note for Devon and Sphynx owners is that within THESE breeds this drug can do one of three things:

1. Cause non-diagnosed cardiomyopathy (HCM) in a cat to progress
2. Due to the drug lowering the *heart rate, it can cause a cat to go into congestive heart failure (CHF)
3. Advance an undiagnosed HCM so that another dose of Ketamine may cause death

What is Ketamine?
Ketamine is a widely used dissociative drug. It has a noted history of causing an increase in blood pressure, a rough recovery, and, as is referenced in numerous resources, can cause cardiac arrest leading to congestive heart failure in breeds – particularly those that may have the spasticity gene.
Ketamine is commonly used as an induction agent for children and the elderly, and is noted on the US Drug Enforcement Agency.

What does "dissociative" mean?

A dissociative is a drug which reduces (or blocks) signals to the conscious mind from other parts of the brain, typically, but not necessarily, limited to the senses.

Ketamine as a street drug - vet clinics beware: -- resourced from DEA (US Drug Enforcement Agency)

Street terms for Ketamine: jet, super acid, Special "K", green, K, cat Valium.
Ketamine comes in a clear liquid and a white or off-white powder form.
Ketamine is a tranquilizer most commonly used on animals. The liquid form can be injected, consumed in drinks, or added to smokable materials. The powder form can be used for injection when dissolved.

In certain areas, Ketamine is being injected intramuscularly.
Ketamine, along with the other "club drugs," has become popular among teens and young adults at dance clubs and "raves."

It is marketed as a dissociative general anesthetic for human and veterinary use, the only known source of Ketamine is via diversion of pharmaceutical products.
Recent press reports indicate that a significant number of veterinary clinics are being robbed specifically for their Ketamine stock.
DEA reporting indicates that a major source of Ketamine in the United States is product diverted from pharmacies in Mexico. Prices average $20 to $25 per dosage unit.
Higher doses produce an effect referred to as "K-Hole," an "out of body," or "near-death" experience.
Use of the drug can cause delirium, amnesia, depression, and long-term memory and cognitive difficulties. Due to its dissociative effect, it is reportedly used as a date-rape drug.

Scientific/Medical: -- resourced from Wikipedia
Ketamine is a drug for use in human and veterinary medicine developed by Parke-Davis (today a part of Pfizer) in 1962. Its hydrochloride salt is sold as Ketanest, Ketaset, and Ketalar. Pharmacologically, ketamine is classified as an NMDA receptor antagonist, and at high, fully anesthetic level doses, ketamine has also been found to bind to opioid μ receptors and sigma receptors. Like other drugs of this class such as tiletamine and phencyclidine (PCP), it induces a state referred to as "dissociative anesthesia" and is used as a recreational drug.

Ketamine Death


There are numerous other anesthesias that your vet should be aware of, and suggest as an alternative if that question is raised. Many of these are non-dissociative and do not cause an increase in blood pressure and do not have the rough recovery that is noted over and again with Ketamine, or Ketamine derivitives such as Telazol and the gas Haloflurane.

Isoflurane or Sevoflurane are extremely common examples of gases that can be used instead of Ketamine or like agents.

Please note: Anesthetics agents increasing the risk for death in Rex and Sphynx are:
- Dissociative: Ketamine (Imalgene®, Clorketam®, Zoletil®)
- Volatile: Halothane

Dr. Mike Richards, DVM – Cobbs Creek, VA Matthews Veterinary Clinic

“Ketamine causes hypertension during anesthetic recovery and it is possible that the detrimental effects attributed to Ketamine may be due primarily to cases of undiagnosed cardiomyopathy in cats undergoing anesthetic procedures. These cats would be especially sensitive to hypertension and the increase in blood pressure induced by Ketamine is supposed to be pretty significant in some cats.”

Additionally he wrote:
“For a long time I have heard reports of episodes of pulmonary edema and/or heart failure following anesthesia in cats. There has been some concern among veterinarians over the potential for Ketamine, a commonly used anesthetic agent, to cause episodes of pulmonary edema. Ketamine appears to cause hypertension during the recovery period in many cats. If the cat has pre-existing cardiomyopathy this could lead to a sudden worsening of the cardiomyopathy leading to pulmonary edema and death, if the cardiomyopathy cannot be brought under control with medications. There is some possibility that this effect could occur even without cardiomyopathy being present. I have only seen reports of this condition in association with Ketamine but it may occur with other anesthetic agents".

NOTE: I located Dr. Richards at his vet clinic in Cobbs Creek, Virginia, and phoned his office. He suggested that I read over available articles on this subject at PubMed.org for citable references.



http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/pagerender.fcgi?artid=1255390&pageindex=1#page http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/pagerender.fcgi?artid=1255390&pageindex=2#page http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/pagerender.fcgi?artid=1255390&pageindex=3#page


On the risks of anesthesia - even when your vet tells you that it's safe:

Feline Anesthesia in the New Millennium—SOTAL

State of the Art Lecture
Dr. Jan Ilkiw
Diplomat, ACVIM (Anethesiology)
Professor, Department of Surgical and Radiological Sciences, University of California, Davis.

EXCERPT – full lecture at this link

The last and most recent study included all species and reported techniques and concerns, rather than complications and morbidity. While castration and ovariohysterectomy were the most commonly performed procedures requiring anesthesia in cats (together 54%), dentistry accounted for 22% of cats requiring anesthesia. Intubation was carried out in cats by 76% of practitioners and all small animal practitioners used inhalants for maintenance.
These studies indicate the significant risks and mortality associated with anesthesia in cats, especially if they are ASA category 3-5. The use of inhalants for maintenance of anesthesia in veterinary practice is frequent and the most commonly reported complications relate to intubation and respiratory arrest. While halothane was the mainstay of inhalant anesthesia in these studies, Isoflourane is now probably the most commonly administered inhalant. In veterinary practice, the use of monitoring equipment that is likely to warn of impending complications is rare. In those patients that were monitored appropriately, hypotension was the most frequent complication.

Information will be added to this post as gathered and verified. The goal is to encourage the drug companies that produce Ketamine for veterinary use to include a warning on the label for exotics breeds.

The smaller picture is to have breeders, owners, and vets be provided legitimate, verifed information regarding Ketamine and potential deaths of felines in the exotics breed.

22 May 2008

The quest to contact Dr. Houard... are we closing in?

I contacted the vet cardiologist that kindly translated the French article on Ketamine and asked if she would consider phoning Paris and speaking directly to Dr. Houard. She has agreed to do that. Thankful am I for the kindness of true animal lovers like Dr. Straeter-Knowlen.

UPDATE: In what I felt was a rather polite but political reply, I received a stiff "NO" from the Association of American Wives of Europeans regarding my email to them asking if someone would kindly give my contact information and inquiry to Dr. Houard - whose street address is near to their association office. Votre manque de bienveillance décevait.

20 May 2008

Another milestone

Thanks again to Britt Swartz for coming through with an address and telephone for Dr. Houard.

Like most treasure hunts - finding and communicating with Dr. Houard being the prize in this instance - the hunt is fraught with excitement and frustration.

I need to find the following:

--- an email address for Dr. Houard
--- the name of his business or practice (hopefully he's still working with animals)
--- someone willing to speak to him on my behalf that is fluent in French

My next step will be in recontacting some of the people I've relied on recently. The problem with asking for favors of busy people is that one runs the risk of losing a connection. I'm hoping that won't be the case. I have been slightly pushy in regards to getting and gathering up information. It's a compulsion for me and my rush to find information often doesn't play into other people's time schedules.
So far, though, everyone has been very kind and patient with me. (thank you patient people)

It's early yet this morning and too soon to try to call my contacts who might help with this *new* request.

I located an association on the Internet that I have contacted for help; the
Association of American Wives of Europeans. This organization is located in Paris and, as the name implies, is American women married to Europeans and living long-term there. I've asked if someone at this association would be willing to track down the address and telephone number and send me back a business name, website address, or hopefully be willing to call the number and give my information to this office (or whatever type of facility it is).

It's a great start to the day. At least the good doctor is still living in France.

16 May 2008

Burning the Midnight Oil

I have sat here at the computer from 10 PM last evening until this very moment trying to track down Dr. Michel Houard, of France (or he WAS at some point). So far I'm hitting dead-ends.

I have his document translated into English - thanks to the efforts of kind people - but without validation it doesn't have the impact that it justly deserves.

I'm positive that this paper was published in some journal - maybe as a scientific research Abstract? I don't have access to online vet journals or scientific information... but there must be a way to find this veterinarian. Even if he is deceased he left a footprint somewhere.

Dr. Houard... where are you?

15 May 2008

Silver Ferns and Golden Friends

I've had so much support over the past month. Gimli's death was a crushing blow to me, inparticularly, and for my husband as well. It's been just like a person's death... to US... and I realize that some people may not understand that emotion.
Last evening... perhaps because I'm so wound up with this Ketamine quest... I had another emotional moment where tears wouldn't stop flowing. I miss that little boy so much. Channeling my feelings into trying to make his death meaningful has helped, but it doesn't stop the missing or doesn't fill the spot in our home.

Today, still feeling alittle blue, I had a set-back on my attempts to find an attorney to represent us with the vet. He wanted $800 to write a letter on our behalf - so back to the drawing board there.

But friends... what would we do without them?
Today an artist friend of mine, who knows how we feel about New Zealand (avidly wish to live there) and understands how it makes me feel (uplifted / hopeful) to *think* about someday making it to that Land of the Long White Cloud, gifted me with a sculptural piece she created of the silver fern - a symbol of Zed.

She told me that the piece started out as the base of a memorial Fine Art gourd I commissioned her to do of Bilbo and Gimli together. Then, it morphed into the Silver Fern. We talked alittle yesterday about Bilbo and Gimli's names. Why I named them after Lord of the Rings characters, and I talked about the Maori tribes, the Haka, and other NZ related chatter.
Her gift is not only timely as an uplifting gift of loving friendship, but it gives me a tangible symbol of a place I long to visit, or immigrate to... something for Hope, something for Dreams. Something positive on a blue day.
Her name is Missy Miles, and her art can be seen online at Organic Vessels.

14 May 2008

Mentality & Attitude - Status Upgrade

Late in the day yesterday I received a call-back from a vet at All Animal Vet Clinic, in Tupelo, MS. She called about 6:15 pm, after I'd given up my hunt for the day, and told me she wanted to be sure she had ample time for our introduction call.

I'm so happy to say that she met - over the phone - the criteria I was hoping for, which is:

-- an interest in learning about the Sphynx breed
-- an ability to allow me to participate and learn along with her
-- a willingness to allow me to make suggestions which she will follow-up on
-- an affable personality that reflects a joy in their profession
-- a high-tech facility with equipment for testing
-- knowledge of cardiac symptoms and processes (they're affiliated with a vet heart clinic in FL)
-- 24/7 emergency services with a multiple staff of vets
-- close enough for us to drive to w/in an hour

The vet I spoke with asked that we come by next week for a tour of the facility and a meet-n-greet with our cats. The response I liked the most during our conversation was when I lightheartedly, but seriously, told her that I would be "all in her business" with our cats. That I would not allow blind trust to cost this dear a price again. Her reply was that she wished more pet parents cared enough to be involved in the health maintenance of their animals, and that she welcomed it. Kudo's to her!

Mentality & Attitude Status: 7

13 May 2008

Mentality & Attitude

In looking for another vet for our Sphnyx I have slammed into stumbling block after stumbling block. The names on those blocks are Mentality & Attitude. The mentality and attitude I've run across in my area is that cats are cats. Vets, used to only using one type of anesthesia, seem unwilling to use anything else, or won't consider using something else because, "they've used it in their practice for years and years." The problem with that is that they are accepting that deaths are "normal". That's not always the case. With Gimli, his immediate death would have been avoided had the vet not used Ketamine. Even with a flurry of questions from me regarding the dental procedure / safety she still did not take the time to investigate or offer another form of anesthesia. Why? I don't suppose I'll ever know. This vet is not the kind to accept accountability ... on her own. With my help, she may have to.

What causes this way of thinking? Is it ego? Ignorance? Mediocratity? Believe me, in this area of the world...it's out there. It's prevalent. It's disturbing. It's frustrating.... BUT... it's surmountable. I'm not giving up hope that there's some vet within decent driving distance of us that will be willing to work with us, learn about our breed, and be a conscientious professional. I hope I'm not being naive.

Sadly we, as pet owners (who's really owned here, anyway?), don't have laws to protect us or our pets. Our pets only have one voice... ours. It's our duty to speak up for them and hold vets accountable for lack of basic professionalism and courtesy. The mentality and attitudes of many that I've interviewed these last several weeks has been eye-opening and distressing. Hopefully I can find the perfect vet and clinic for our family of Sphynx.

Here are some observations and suggestions if you find yourself in a similar situation.

-- Ask about the drugs they're using and don't settle for statements like, "We've used it for years", or "It's the industry standard."
-- Ask if it's the right drug for YOUR breed.
-- Ask them to verify or do a little research and then ask to see what they found.
-- Take and active part. Do some research, and don't make my mistake and trust your vet to follow through after you question them. Make sure.
-- If your vet refuses or balks at working with you, then fire them as your vet.

Wouldn't it be great if we had:
    • a protocol fact sheet or info packet with every Sphynx sold as a pet or show cat
    • an organized effort w/in the breed councils to promote and distribute these protocols both online and in print
    • better communication with the vets we use and a willingness to challenge them to up their knowledge of exotics, like Sphynx and Devons.
    • better laws to protect pets as living things, not property
    • advocacy information we can send to vets, and drug companies when dangers are found
    • a way to provide all SX health records to the breed council, or some other entity, so that information can be gathered to better maintain the health and lifespan of the SX breed.

At the most primal level I am referring to behaviour that allows us to be proactive rather than reactive in regards to the health and welfare of the Sphynx (and other similar) breed. Just thoughts I've had today as I have tried to find a vet.

Mentality & Attitude status: Zilch

2nd Houard translation come in. Thanks, Britt Swartz!

As was posted previously, I have been trying to get the Houard document translated (preferably by a native French vet) for about three weeks.

Today another translation came in from Sphynx owner / breeder (Talk About Sphynx), Britt Swartz. I've asked her to see if the vet that did the translation would allow me to place her name on the document as "translator". I'm also hoping that Britt, or the French vet, can help me locate Dr. Houard to further validate the document and find if it has been published in any vet journals.

French Houard document on Ketamine - translated by French vet

One thing I've found out during this research is that if you are not a vet you can't access vet information. Hopefully some of the very nice, caring vets I've been in contact with will access their vet libraries online and otherwise to help confirm information.
Unless confirmation is clear the information gathered is heresay.

If you feel so inclined to help with any of this process please jump aboard. Contact me through this forum.

12 May 2008

Houard's document translated into English

Thanks to Dr. Ingrid Staeter-Knowlen, DVM for translating Dr. Houard's article on Ketamine's effect on Sphynx, Devons, and other breeds in the exotics line, into English.

Dr. Houard's article on Ketamine

The Origin of Gimmie's Fishes

This blog's title and presence is in honour of our beloved Sphynx boy, Gimli.
We affectionately called him Gimmie, and Gimmie had a life-long fascination with his pet fishes. He helped his daddy feed them each night, and if asked how they were he would peer over at the tank to check on them. He took his pet fishes very seriously and I'm sure they miss him too.

We have Gimli's ashes on the table where the fishes live so he can watch over them forever.

My name is Kay, and I am the human-mom of GODZ Gimli Gil-Galad "Gimmie", and mommy to GODZ Bilbo Bombadil, and his new little Sphynx sisters, GODZ Junipurr Lilly "Liliper" and GODZ Rose of Sharron "Rosebud".

Our story and my quest began in April 2008.

At our vet's urging, we scheduled a dental cleaning for both Gimli and Bilbo on 8 April (the day after Gimli's 3rd birthday). Prior to the visit I asked every conceivable question I knew to ask... except what induction agent would be used and if it was safe for our boys. I didn't know. I didn't ask. I felt that our vet understood our concern and would take every precaution to make sure our boys were OK.
I asked them to do blood work and a quick physical check and then phone me before starting the dental. Forty-five minutes after leaving I still had not received a call. I phoned to find that Gimli was in cardiac arrest and was being coded. I never saw him alive again. When the vet brought his body to us she made a statement to us with crossed arms that caused instant suspicion, saying, "I can see you are upset. I want you to know that I have a million dollar insurance policy, so if you feel you need to sue please go ahead." We'd not said anything about suing. Her smug words still incite my rage and continues to fuel my determination to help others avoid this type of insane loss.

Gimli was taken to Mississippi State's vet lab for a necropsy and cremation. The report I received stated that Gimli had HCM and died as a result of that disease. While I do understand the properties of HCM (hypertrophic cardiomyopathy), how it can kill instantly, etc.; it didn't feel "right". A physican friend suggested that I look on their vet records for Ketamine.
Not only did this vet clinic use Ket/Val on Gimli on the 8th, but it was also used on him, without our knowledge or consent, during a trip to the emergency clinic in October 2007 for a slightly burned paw pad. I was told they would give him Valium and nothing else. During that visit Gimli had the casebook look and reaction of the disassociative behaviour of Ketamine (unable to close his eyes, jumpiness, extremely slow to come out of the drug).

With the tip on Ketamine I began to dig, search and scratch. I've called vets all over the US for more information on Ketamine used on Sphynx, deaths reported (and admitted (rare), and ciations on HCM including a French document by Dr. Michel Houard. Dr. Ingrid Straeter-Knowlen,DVM and a board eligible vet-cardiologist very graciously agreed to translate the French document by Dr. Michel Houard. Dr. Straeter-Knowlen stated that she would "never use Ketamine on these breeds."

Since Gimmie's death I have been trying to validate this French research paper, which was presented as an inclusion in an, apparently, out of press publication called CHAT M'INTEREX, Volume 1 / July 1992. I've talked and emailed with members of the science communities including Dr. Ir. Jan-Bas Prins of the FELASA in the Netherlands. He was kind enough to forward my request to locate Dr. Houard to the ECLAM scientific community in Europe and I'm still awaiting their response. I've also been corresponding with the Committee President of Rex United on joining forces - so to speak - to help our breeds steer clear of Ketamine, and she is hoping to bring on-board two French veterinarians who deal with SX and Devons in their practice.

I would like to try to find more information and links - if possible - that Ketamine, when used on our breed, MAY cause latent HCM to develop and advance. I felt so convinced that Gimli died due to the Ketamine that I phoned the pathologist back and we discussed the information I had dug up, including citations and references on Ket/Val deaths not only in SX but other breeds.
I asked that an addendum be placed on the necropsy report and, despite being one of our former vet's professors at Miss. State, he amended his report and faxed the copy to me the next day. It now states that although he found that Gimli had HCM, the use of Ketamine and the stress from the dental procedure cause his death on 8 April.

Based on the discussions I've read, on numerous Sphynx breed list, the Ketamine / HCM connection is a relevant concern for many breeders / owners. Perhaps, if we work together and share the information we have, we can help determine a link for Ketamine and HCM - enough to have a warning placed on the Ketamine / Telazol labels.
We know that it most certainly will cause death in HCM cats and even those with UNdiagnosed or latent HCM.

But what, if anything, caused Gimli's HCM condition? Was it the dosage given to Gimli last October or, quite possibly, the Ket/Val given to him during his neutering as a kitten that caused a possible latent case of HCM to began advancing? I do understand that he could have been the unlucky one amongst many in his line. It could have been his Fate; but I believe that it was due to cause and effect, and I believe that Ketamine was the cause. Proving it is the issue. I don't know if that's possible for my sweet Gims, but I hope the on-going shared information and research can help others.

I contend that if veterinarians accept all breeds as their patients then they need to sharpen up their breed information and fully grasp the concept that not each and every creature is the same just because they happen to share the same common name...in this case "cat". Ketamine - as I've also discovered - is the cheapest, most common induction agent available to vets. Owners and breeders should be given options...especially when they ask for them as I did... repeatedly. My concern was only for my boys. To prolong their life, not end it. It is a vet's obligation to not accept death as a possible "oh-well" side effect of anesthesia. As it has been said, "If a few deaths occurred in humans it would not be tolerated in the medical profession." But, with vets, and the laws that backup that mentality, it's often swept under the carpet. Pet's... to some.. are so much more than property.
Gimli's fate was sealed by two horrific convergences; his vet's ignorance and my trust. As I've told the new vet that was recommended to me by the MS State pathologist... if you take me as a client I will be all in your business. I will never again allow my ignorance to put my cats at risk.

[Photo above: Cards of support and a silver box are among many items sent to us. Over three-hundred emails came in from friends around the world, and as well as flowers and letters of encouragement. Thanks to all.]

Ketamine is the most common and the cheapest induction agent used today by vets. It's the standard issue but it is not for ALL breeds. I want to see Ketamine banned by vets for the breeds it can harm. We each have to demand that and not be bullies or cajoled into feeling that lower doses of Ketamine, Telazol or other derivatives are safe. Vet's may not want to take the additional time to consider that an option to Ket/Val might be necessary for certain breeds. In my book that is unethical and unprofessional. It's that mentality that must be challenged and overcome... and from what I can tell it will be a long row to hoe.

For us, we'll always have a hole in our hearts that only Gimmie could fill, and I so want to spare other owners the loss that we've suffered. Whatever the outcome determines the cause to have been, it's all for the good of the fabulous, incredible, and deserving Sphynx breed. Many people may have a Gimli in their lives. It's for them that we work to preserve and protect.

[Thank you to Gloria for her support and loving tribute box to Gimli. Silver box is engraved GIMMIE 04-07-2005-04-08-2008]

Thank you visiting this blog. Feel free to email or send what you feel would be valuable information for other SX or Devon owners... and thank you to all of you in this tight community of Sphynx lovers.


Gimli's tribute on PetLoss.com

Godz Gimli Gil-Galad Marshall, 04/07/05-04/08/08

Gimli Marshall, our special little boy, passed without warning during a routine dental cleaning at our vets, one day after his 3rd birthday. A hairless Sphynx, he was our youngest little boy. He has a surviving brother, Bilbo Bombadil Marshall, who is now lost without him.
Gimli touched every part of our lives. He was a mommy's boy, but loved his daddy and brother immensely. Gimmie had pets of his own as well. He loved his pet fish. He watched after them every day, and helped his daddy feed them every evening. He took his role in his fishes lives very seriously; they were important to him.

Gimli had a wide vocabulary of words and several unusual traits. He loved to fetch a spongy ball (40-50 times a go), and loved to help his mommy make the beds - although "help" is a bit misleading.
One of his favorite things to do was to go RV camping with us in the woods. He absolutely loved getting into his harness and sweater (or shirt, if warm), and would be antsy with excitement as we put on the leash for a tramp in the woods. Gimli knew all the trails at our favorite campground and would pull his daddy along with a snappy, hurry-I-can't-wait flair. He enjoyed these outings immensely and, as an indoor cat, he particularly loved these special times to smell and experience a wider world.

Another fun trick he insisted on doing each and every day (and night) was to stand in his mommy's hand. He loved to balance and have me lift him up, and he liked for me to undulate my hands so that he "danced" in the air. His trust was complete, which made him confident with this trick. Gimmie also loved to jump from the floor straight up and onto our shoulders... which on my husband was close to 6'. He never missed stepped and sometimes even caught us as we were walking by. He loved to run over and threaten to jump on my husband, who would then turn about and pretend to "put up his dukes". Gims never allowed that bluster to fool him for a second as the moment daddy's hands went down, or his head turned to laugh with me, up Gimli would go with a resounding thump on his shoulders. They had such fun with that game!
Gimli's special time each morning was with his mommy. After daddy fed he and brother, at 6 am, he would run back to our bedroom, push open the door and wake his mommy up. Plus or minus 10 minutes, he never allowed his mommy to sleep past 6:30 am! After some sweet kisses he would either follow or beat his mommy into the bath where he wanted to be picked up. He'd tuck his body close on one side, put his face in my hair, and purr and coo and nuzzle my face. He loved his mommy so! This sweetness is most dear in my heart. I'm so glad this boy loved me. He learned a new trick one month ago that involved the bathroom door. One day his brother wanted to come in the bath (to put his mousie in the toilet, most likely), and mommy was in the shower. Gimli jumped onto the vanity, walked to the door, pulled on the door handle and let Bilbo in. He then turned and walked back to watch the shower in progress. An amazing thing to witness. He continued to learn how to manipulate doors during these last few weeks and enjoyed showing me how he could now open the bath door any time he felt like it. He'd open it, peer both ways into the hall, then calmly go back to whatever he had been doing. The day before he died I came in from my office to find the door to our bedroom closed. This is a door that is always open. I walked in and opened the door and there on my 4' jewelry cabinet sat Gimli... a cabinet that is directly by the door; and on the bed, looking relieved, was Bilbo. My guess is that Gimli was showing off his new talent to Bilbo and instead of opening a closed door he closed an open door and their stuck-in-the-bedroom adventure began. Such a little minx.
He was all boy, though... no mistaking that. He was younger than his brother, Bilbo, by one month and Bilbo had him outweighed by a couple of pounds. Did that matter? Nope. Gims was the Alpha male and everyone else towed the line. He had his own electric blanket, and his own chair. He'd share them, but you knew quite well that he was doing it out of generosity. He and his brother were both very protective of one another and loved each other very much. They ate, slept, played, argued, loved on, fought with, and constantly were together. Our Bilbo will be lost without him.
Although as Lord of the Rings fans know... Bilbo's do not like adventure (but tolerated them), but Gimli travelled many places with his daddy, mommy and brother and was a wonderful traveler. His favorite spot during a drive was as "co-pilot" in his daddy's lap. He was an adventurer and loved his experiences in the woods, the mountains, and at the beach each year. Someplace new to go? Bring it on, he was game. He had a passion for watching birds and squirrels, and enjoyed viewing Animal Planet and his Cat Sitter DVD. When a bird was spied he would chatter especially to them in his birdie voice. Or, if mommy spied a bird and told him about it, he would run to the window for a look. He loved having his photograph taken and he and his brother have an album of over 600 photos on Flickr.com. He and his brother (and their mommy) were avid members of Sphynx Friends, and Sphynx Adventurers on Yahoo Groups and have made many dear, and supportive friends. Gimli was a CFA premiership winner but due to his lack of appreciation of the show cat life he opted, most graciously, to avoid those events (and his mommy agreed).

Gimli was a beautiful, young, and perfect boy in every possible way. Loving, faithful, and generous he gave his parents an enormous sense of pride and supreme joy. His passing was both bewildering and devastating and due, in part, to HCM which strikes without warning, symptoms, and even after a clean bill of health. We could not have been more stunned, and his dynamo presence is now a vast and deep void in our home. It is our hope, as his family, to help other vets and Sphynx owners who wish to know more about his death - and the cause - to better understand our unique breed. I encourage anyone wanting more information to contact me, or read more about HCM and the fundraising for research on this disease at the Winn Foundation website. We, as loving pet parents, would also like to encourage other to inquire first about the types of anesthesia used in sedation practices. For exotic breeds, like ours and many others, Ketamine should not be used.

We, my husband, his brother, Bilbo, my father, and several family and friends have loved Gimli and our lives have been enriched by him. He knew that he was unconditionally loved. He was a confident young boy because he knew we supported him and wanted only the best for him. He did his part by always trying to delight, please, amuse, and love and cherish us. He will forever be in our hearts as one joyful and too-short moment of unabashed love; and we shall always feel regret for what could have been years and years of his most enchanting companionship.

Our thoughts and love go out to all who have lost as we have.