Piper - Update 6

This is an update on the story of the gorgeous little Piper as we try our utmost to unravel her medical mysteries. See her story here: Piper - Fundraiser

Piper's condition is still proving to be a mystery. She has been on medication for FIP and while she has been more alert and her recent blood work shows the majority of her levels are now normal, it unfortunately has not had any impact on her physical condition.

Another downside is that her liver readings are now higher than they have ever been. After seeing one of our partner vets, it was suggested we stop using GS and keep her only on Molnupiravir.

Piper has been attending weekly physiotherapy and hydrotherapy sessions at Melbourne Animal Physiotherapy in Kensington. She has her ups and downs but overall, she is doing well... and needless to say, she has captured the hearts of everyone there. We will continue with her physiotherapy and hydrotherapy in clinic and also physiotherapy at home.

Her new specialist wants to do metabolic testing which requires a urine sample from Piper and two other healthy cats close in age though it is proving much more difficult than anticipated to get a urine sample at home with the special urine sampling cat litter from the other two participants.

A visit may need to be arranged so samples can be physically taken from the two other cats. If it is not a metabolic disorder, the standout diagnosis could be a storage disorder for which there is no cure, but according to printed publications, she should have passed away by now if that were the case.

We will be having a discussion with her veterinary team to see if there are any further non-invasive tests of diagnostic relevance we can do regarding her liver.

She is still fighting, as are we and though some days are better than others, she is always bright and happy, meowing at her foster carer for food and loving cuddles. She has suffered a lot of muscle wastage over the past few months but her movements are still intentional. If she can get the strength back in her legs, she will be unstoppable but that will take time and therapy. Piper's treatment costs still continue to grow each and every week so again we are asking, if you are able to at all, to make a small donation to Helping Hands Animal Rescue for Piper.

All donations over $2 are tax deductible and every little bit helps.


Direct Deposit

Bendigo Bank

BSB: 633 000
ACC: 180 952 418

This is an update on the story of the gorgeous little Piper as we try our utmost to unravel her medical mysteries. See her story here: Piper - Fundraiser

Hello to all of you. It has been a long time between posts and though things have been quiet online, a lot has been happening behind the scenes with Piper.

Piper has had her ups and downs throughout this time and quite a few avenues have been taken.

She did do very well with her acupressure and started acupuncture in late January. She was (and still is) having intention tremors and has been quite unstable when walking and falling to the left.

After three sessions of each, her carer could see some improvement though unfortunately the amount of sessions needed with Piper's current state to have a measurable effect was far too expensive.

During this time, Piper also had her 6 week follow-up blood test after starting the medication for her liver. The results sadly showed no improvement in any of her readings and it was thus decided to take her off the medication as it was serving no purpose other than stress as she hated taking it, to combine acupuncture with hydrotherapy and take her to a medication specialist referred to us by another rescue group.

Piper and hydrotherapy unfortunately were not a great match. Though initially she was doing okay with the vest, once she was taken into the bath she started to get stressed even without water in it and would not walk on the treadmill. After a discussion with staff, it was decided that Piper would commence physiotherapy instead.

In late February, Piper was seen at Melbourne Cat Vets and after her numerous results and reports from both her vet and the previous specialist were reviewed, it was decided to start Piper on treatment for FIP (feline intraperitoneal peritonitis). FIP is a fatal disease unless treated and though we had initially been lead to believe that FIP had all but been ruled out, there is actually no truely definitive way to exclude it other than to treat for it.

"When in doubt, treat the cat" - FIP Cats Australia.

Piper is such a frail girl that ruling out what we can with medication rather than putting her under more general anaesthesic, through further diagnostic testing and/or turning to more invasive procedures, is the wiser option.

Piper is doing well taking her new medication and though we have not seen a vast improvement in her, it will be a few weeks before we know if it is having any impact. As a support, Piper started physiotherapy fortnightly with the addition of daily home exercises and although there were improvements while she was having acupuncture, that has been put on hold until there has been a significant improvement in her mobility.

Her first physiotherapy session went better than her second, though she did get extremely frustrated at times.

The improvement from her first session was wonderful, but like with all of her treatments, it wasn't long before she started to show signs of struggle again. Piper had not been doing great with her daily exercises (some she absolutely loves, others result in her getting grumpy and biting her carer) and while both Piper and her carer have persevered, Piper is still struggling with her mobility. She was fitted for a wheelchair at her second session but that did not go well as the ones designed for cats are far too fiddly resulting in her squirming out of it so she may be fitted for one for a dog if they make one small enough at her next session. She has been given a new exercise plan with some new equipment and will now be having physiotherapy twice a week with a senior therapist.

There are many signs of the old Piper shining through, from being willing to chew her food again (her food was having to be pureed for a few weeks), drinking while standing and even playing with toys again. All of this, no matter how small it seems, is progress and her carer believes that once she gets some strength back to her little body, she will be unstoppable. Though very much a mystery case, Piper is determined, a bright and alert girl, curious about everything, it is just her little body that is letting her down and the frustration shows in her. It is now and remains a waiting game, but hopefully, we will start to see some wonderful progress in the coming weeks.

Piper has a follow-up appointment with Melbourne Cat Vets on Tuesday where her medication is discussed again.

Helping Hands Animal Rescue is once again asking that if you are able to help with the cost of Piper's medical treatments, that you please make a tax-deductible donation.

The cost of acupuncture is $150 a session, physiotherapy $126 a session and the FIP medication (84-day course) comes in at $808.17 every 25ml (dosage 1ml per day) as it is a compounded medication.

We sadly have no more funds to put toward Piper and have had no further donations since our last post leaving the donated total at $1855. Piper deserves every chance at a wonderful life and has shown she has a lot of fight in her. Please, help us continue to help her. If you can't donate, please share.

Direct Deposit

Bendigo Bank

BSB: 633 000
ACC: 180 952 418

This is an update on the story of the gorgeous little Piper as we try our utmost to unravel her medical mysteries. See her story here: Piper - Fundraiser

We would like to thank everyone who has so far donated toward Piper's fundraiser. We are currently at $1855!

Her last blood analysis unfortunately again showed no significant change in any of her readings so we are still no closer to a diagnosis.

With Piper's medical bills still being so large even after the generous donations of many, the ongoing costs from vet check ups, medications, treatments and testing mean we simply cannot afford to spend $4000 on a liver biopsy at this point in time.

We have decided to treat her conservatively with another diet change, vitamin B12 and a liver supplement tablet.

She is also having acupressure and acupuncture treatments to help build muscle strength as there is muscle wastage in her hips and hind legs.

She is still extremely ataxic and her head wobbles a lot suggesting cerebellar hypoplasia so her foster carer needs to assist her while eating, feeding her with a spoon when she decides she doesn't want to eat from her usual bowl or her elevated bowl and supporting Piper while she is in the litter box so she is more stable.

Piper has started her new medication and since starting that and with her diet change, there are glimpses of the old Piper showing through again.

Some days are worse than others, but on her good days she has been quite active, even walking up (albeit very wonkily) her ramp to get on the couch on her own and pulling her foster carers' hand in for face scrubs. She is even chirping again and absolutely loving her Christmas lobster toy.

Her frequent urinations have become less frequent but her wobbles are preventing her from doing a lot.

We will treat Piper with this liver supplement for six weeks before getting another blood analysis done and if all goes well, keep her on it for as long as it takes to get her readings back to a normal level.

Piper responded very well to her first acupressure treatment and will be having those weekly. We are also excited to see how she responds to acupuncture with her first acupuncture session booked for the 29th.

Upcoming treatments and tests over the next six weeks and medication costs come in at just over $800, so please, if you are able to donate, every little bit helps.

Piper is a little fighter and we will continue to stand by her side during this battle.

Again, we ask you to please share Piper's story and updates and if you can spare anything to contribute towards her medical bills, no matter how big or small, every donation is greatly appreciated.

Direct Deposit

Bendigo Bank

BSB: 633 000
ACC: 180 952 418

This is an update on the story of the gorgeous little Piper as we try our utmost to unravel her medical mysteries. See her story here: Piper - Fundraiser

Piper has had her bile acid test and her full blood analysis.

The bile acid test showed everything to be within normal limits which shows her liver function to be good. Her Albumin levels have dropped a little and her white cell count has slightly increased. She is also showing slight signs of anemia but the specialist said that these values are nothing to be too concerned about.

The rest of her liver values are much the same though there has been a drop in her ALT which is good.

Further Options including Liver Biopsy

We now have several options to consider in progressing further.

The suggested and most invasive test is a liver biopsy, where they would open Piper to take samples of her liver. This option would also give them a chance to be able to physically look at her liver and the surgeon has also suggested taking samples from other organs as she appears to be a mystery case. This is a very big step and worrisome, especially with all that Piper has already been through and has been quoted at approximately $4,000.

They could do a punch biopsy of her liver which is much less invasive, though they would not be able to get as clear of a picture from that as they would a liver biopsy.

Risks Associated with Medications - Possible Adverse Reactions

Otherwise, we could trial her on medications (including broad-spectrum antibiotics) and hope that she does not suffer any adverse reactions to them to try and treat her liver.

We are a little worried about her and medications since her seizures and her deterioration since being on them and other antibiotics for cat flu earlier in the year. Though we don't know for sure if her last antibiotic treatment caused her seizures, they did appear to have an impact as she stopped having seizures within four days of coming off them.

We could take this path and monitor her progress or we could simply give her a break, make a change to her diet, put her on a liver support supplement and re-evaluate in the new year after having blood tests performed.

Piper is very frail and ataxic and she is showing signs consistent with cerebellar hypoplasia though her MRI brain did not show any abnormalities and her cerebellum appeared normal.

She sometimes struggles to get in and out of the litter box, loses her balance or will fall over, but otherwise she is eating well, cleaning herself and requesting lots of couch snuggles.

Her liver could be contributing to these symptoms and it is frustrating that we have not been able to get a diagnosis yet.

Current and Expected Costs

We are really struggling and need all the financial help we can get.

Again, we ask you to please share Piper's story and updates and if you can spare anything to contribute towards her medical bills, no matter how big or small, every donation is greatly appreciated.

Direct Deposit

Bendigo Bank

BSB: 633 000
ACC: 180 952 418

This is an update on the story of the gorgeous little Piper as we try our utmost to unravel her medical mysteries. See her story here: Piper - Fundraiser.

She was in good spirits on her long journey to Glen Waverley, chirping away and rubbing her little face on her foster carer's hand through the carrier door. Big cuddles were given and she was taken by staff. Her MRI went well and her recovery from her very long anaesthesia was relatively quick. Thankfully, it came in a little cheaper than originally quoted too at $5,153.50 (current total for all tests now being over $8,000).

MRI and Cerebrospinal Fluid Tap (CSF) Results

The MRI of her brain revealed everything was within normal limits. No signs of stroke, cysts or anything sinister. A veterinary radiologist has also reviewed these films and found nothing of note. Her CSF (cerebrospinal fluid) tap was completed without incident. The initial results of her CSF tap came back showing her cells as normal. Though that was good news, it also raised more questions. The full analysis of her CSF (including a DNA test) which would give us a definitive diagnosis of FIP, toxoplasmosis and cryptococcus came back 72 hours later and all tests were again negative.

The specialist has held a round table meeting to discuss Piper as now that infectious and fungal diseases have been ruled out and her brain appears normal, the focus will be on her liver as clearly something is not right and so many of the obvious contributory factors to this have not been able to be diagnosed.

Next Step - Bile Acid Tests

The next step is a bile acid test which consists of two blood tests, one taken fasted, then she will be fed a small meal and the second taken two hours after to see how her liver is functioning and another full blood analysis to see how her readings have changed over the past few weeks. This test comes in at $535.

We are hoping that we finally get a diagnosis from this test, whatever that diagnosis may be as not only does poor little Piper need a break, but these bills are a very heavy burden. We are hoping that it can be a condition treated with medications and diet changes rather than invasive procedures (liver biopsy) or surgery (biliary shunt).

Request for Donations

So far we have received just over $500 in donations for Piper's medical costs and we thank everyone who has donated so far, but we are still so far from our goal. We are a very small rescue compared to many others out there so please, share Piper's story with as many as you can. If we could get even as few as 100 people to donate $10, that would be an extra $1000 which would make such a difference. We will continue to keep you updated on her progress. Once again, thank you to everyone from all of us for all of your support!

Direct Deposit

Bendigo Bank

BSB: 633 000
ACC: 180 952 418

Piper Initially Seemed in Good Health

When Piper came into care at six weeks old on Christmas Eve 2022 with her six siblings, she seemed to be in good health, gaining weight at a normal rate, her motor skills at the same level as her litter mates. They were the perfect little litter who played together, got into mischief and were the cutest bundles of fur who always kept their foster carer entertained, but slowly it was noticed that Piper was no longer developing like her siblings.

Though not the runt of the litter, once Piper got to a certain weight, she simply stopped growing. Her hind legs became hunched and she started to move like a bunny rabbit, hopping rather than walking when moving quickly.

None of the other siblings had shown any signs the same as Piper and all but one eventually found their forever homes leaving only Piper and her brother Maley in care.

Concerned, we sent Piper for x-rays but there were no abnormalities with her bones or joints and she was still behaving like a normal kitten.

Over the coming months, everything remained stable and Piper was playing, interacting with the other cats and kittens in care, following her foster carer all over the house and "helping" her while she worked, but then she got cat flu and everything changed.

She stopped eating which was the last thing she needed at a mere 2kg and none of the usual medications were working. She was placed on a different antibiotic and within 8 hours she was eating again, but after she had recovered, she started to sleep a lot more and her front legs appeared to be weaker and rather unstable. 

Possibility of a Neurological Disorder

That was when the question was raised if it were possible that she was suffering from a neurological disorder.

Though she had still been travelling okay, her usual energy had faded, her kitten-like nature had disappeared and she started to shut off from the other cats, preferring to cling to her foster carer. It was then decided to do some blood tests to try and get a general idea of what was wrong.

X-Rays - Ultrasound - Blood Tests - Liver Tests

Her blood tests came back relatively normal, apart from her liver which had very high readings. It was suggested she have an ultrasound of her liver which we had performed and they also took fine needle aspirates while she was sedated.

Apart from her liver being enlarged, all again seemed normal on her scans. The pathologist mentioned that she may need a liver shunt based on the results but so many of her symptoms did not marry up to such a diagnosis so it was decided that Piper would be booked in to see a specialist so we could get a better picture of what was happening as she seemed to have a little from all columns.

Cat Flu and Seizures

While waiting for the appointment date to come, unfortunately, Piper started to show signs of cat flu again. She was once again taken to the vet where extra care was taken in choosing an antibiotic for her due to the issues with her liver, and though one was found and her symptoms started to clear, Piper unfortunately suddenly started having seizures. The call was made to take her off the medication as her now minor flu symptoms were not as severe as her seizures and to see if we could bring the specialist appointment forward, which thankfully we were able to do.  

Since coming off the antibiotics, Piper is much more alert and has only had two seizures in a week so it does appear that the antibiotics were a contributor to them, but so much remains unknown.

Specialist Appointment - More Tests

At the specialist, they made a list of all the possible ailments from those thought highly likely to those less likely and Piper was sent to have another ultrasound, blood samples, urinalysis and a PCR test in the hope it is something infective or fungal that can be easily treated.

As we await these results, Piper is getting by though she is quite wobbly and ataxic (lacking coordination). She occasionally plays, but her eyes are not focussed, her pupils dilated, she is walking very slowly, sleeping the majority of the day and night and looks very frail. She is getting all the love in the world from her foster carer and is carefully being monitored for any changes.

Deserves Every Chance We Can Give Her

Piper is such a sweet little girl with the cutest little meow, she has a wonderful temperament and touches the heart of anyone who meets her... she deserves a chance at a normal life, for however long that will be but we are a relatively small rescue with all of our animals in care at their foster carers' houses and these bills are hitting us very hard.

Over $3000 in Vet Bills So Far

We have never asked for help specifically for a particular animal before, but so far Piper's medical bills have exceeded $3000 and we can only hope that something comes from these pathology tests otherwise further testing will need to be performed.

To be able to get a diagnosis for Piper and to continue doing what we do and being able to save more vulnerable babies, we need your help.

Please Donate to Help Cover Vet Expenses (Only if you can.)

If you would like to help with the mounting medical bills for Piper or simply to help us continue our work, you can donate via https://www.givenow.com.au/piper and please keep in mind that Helping Hands Animal Rescue do have DGR status, therefore all donations made to us that are over $2 are tax deductible.  

We will continue to provide updates as we receive them.

Thank you so much, from all of us and especially little Piper.

Direct Deposit

Bendigo Bank

BSB: 633 000
ACC: 180 952 418

We acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the land where we work and live, the people of the nation and pay our respects to Elders past and present. We celebrate the stories, culture and traditions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders of all communities who also work and live on this land.

This website has been built using Oxygen and donated by Anne Logan
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