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