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Jenny was a co-founder of Feline Outreach, and served on the board of directors as Vice President from 2006 to 2009.

Jenny shares her home with two cats: Mr Mistoffles and Chippie. Her first diabetic cat was Mrs Hippy. She met Lynette and Trina when researching feline diabetes after Mrs Hippy was diagnosed.

Mrs Hippy

Mrs Hippy was a beautiful flame-point Siamese mix. She was rescued from a rooftop in southern Illinois in 1993, when the Mississippi River flooded and left over seventeen thousand square miles underwater in Illinois. A local humane society assisted in the rescue efforts, and brought her and several other cats to a vet clinic where I worked at the time. While they were considered a no-kill shelter, they would not admit animals that had any major medical problems. She was severely malnourished and had a terrible upper respiratory infection, and was also nursing a tiny newborn kitten. When the vet found that she also had a severe heart murmur, the humane society said to euthanize her. I said I would adopt her myself, despite the vet only giving her about a year to live. I started her on supplemental taurine and (what I believed at the time!) was the best nutrition possible. Her URI cleared up, she started gaining some weight, and within about a year the severe life-threatening murmur was completely gone! She continued to gain weight- unfortunately too much weight- and soon joined the ranks of the thousands of obese cats in this country.

She did have several other ongoing medical problems that she struggled her whole life with along with the obesity: respiratory problems, possibly related to the initial URI, possibly environmental allergies; gastrointestinal problems such as chronic vomiting and diarrhea, diagnosed as probable IBS or IBD; and chronic urinary tract infections. She never really liked the occasional wet food I would give my cats "for a treat" and seemed to do best eating dry prescription W/D. It seemed to lessen the IBS/IBD symptoms, but frequent diarrhea and vomiting were a common occurance.

At about midnight on March 3 2004, a week after we had moved, I saw her going in and out of the litter box, straining and crying out. A trip to the emergency vet resulted in a diagnoses of yet another urinary tract infection... and diabetes! I was worried as I was familiar with feline diabetes from my previous jobs at veterinary clinics years ago, but I remembered that the diabetics never seemed to do really well.

We're lucky that we have a wonderful housecall vet, so we made an appointment for that weekend to do an initial glucose curve and start her on insulin. I researched online and discovered some great websites and forums on feline diabetes- and people were home-testing their cats blood glucose (aka BG). Fantastic, I could do that! I talked to her vet who thought it was a great idea. So that Saturday her vet did her initial BG test, we started her on 1u twice daily of Humilin U insulin, and I did the rest of the BG tests for her curve. It was NOT easy to test her at first, as she was not the most cooperative cat, but she quickly got used to the testing. With the help of positive reinforcement in the form of freeze-dried chicken treats, not only did she not mind the testing, but she started jumping up on the table to her "testing spot" right on schedule, and she would let me know if I was running late! She usually purred right through the test until she heard me say "Good Girl!", meaning she was done and was about to get her chicken treat. Even though she was cooperative with testing, her BG numbers were consistently in the 400s. We gradually increased the dose, but saw little change in BG readings, even with as much at 7u twice a day. We tried dry M/D, and then added low-carb high protein canned food. After 5 months and still no improvement, we switched to PZI insulin, 1 unit twice daily, gradually increasing the dose as well. After over four months of terrible IBD flare ups- no solid stool at all- in October '04 I followed advice given to me by Dr Lisa Pierson and on her website, www.catinfo.org. We took away the dry food and started her on a homemade and freeze dried raw diet. Se was very resistant to it at first, but we kept with it and eventually she was eating it better. And soon her IBD symptoms were gone! Her BG readings came down a little bit, although were still much higher than I wanted them to be.

After almost an entire year on PZI she was still not well regulated. After many hours of research, I talked to Lynette about the protocol she used that worked so well for getting Meow Meow off insulin. She directed me to read Dr. Hodgkins’ protocol, and in July '05 I decided to try a "sliding scale" insulin dosing based on her pre-shot BG readings. Within just a few weeks, her BG readings starting coming down- FINALLY coming down! I was thrilled. Based on preshot BG readings we started skipping shots, and on November 11, 2005, Mrs Hippy received her last shot of insulin. I would occasionally test her blood glucose after she was off insulin "just in case", and she would always give me normal readings.

Mrs Hippy was diagnosed as hyperthyroid in September '05, and had radioactive iodine treatment in October '05. She was also diagnosed with kidney insufficiency in November '06, which was maintained well on daily sub-q fluid therapy, benazepril and calcitriol, as well as a custom modified low-phosphorus raw diet from Dr Lisa Pierson. Her bloodwork showed her kidney values were stabilized, and almost back to normal ranges.

Mrs Hippy developed a cough in December 2006, and a mass was discovered on her left lung upon xray. She was referred to one of the top veterinary respiratory specialists in the country, Dr Phillip Padrid at Family Pet Animal Hospital in Chicago. Pathology from a broncoscopy only showed a "mixed inflammatory response", so we tried heavy doses of antibiotics and inhaled steroids to treat a possible lung abcess or sterile granuloma, and continued to monitor the mass by xray. She seemed to show a little improvement, but when the mass increased slightly in size after three months, we had the mass removed via lung lobectomy surgery at the University of Wisconsin Madison Veterinary Hospital. The pathology came back as squamous adenocarcinoma, an aggressive form of lung cancer. She did amazingly well following her surgery, she was recovering well, and was about to start chemotherapy with her oncologist. Unfortunately she had complications before we could start the chemotherapy, and our angel went to the bridge on April 20, 2007.

We miss her very much- but we know that because of three amazing cats - Mrs Hippy, Meow Meow and Cheech - there are many other cats that we are able to help through Feline Outreach!

All content and images © 2009 Feline Outreach, Inc.