While I reached out to veterinarians I knew in the area, Jason (my husband) did his own research online. We were primary concerned with Hoppy’s persistent URI and figured FIV had something to do with its longevity.
Jason found a drug called LTCI – Lymphocyte T-Cell Immunomodulator – it’s a shot that is supposed to boost an FIV cat’s immune system. It was experimental and (in my opinion) cost prohibitive. It required shots on a regular basis. With Hoppy’s aversion to travel I didn’t see how this was a viable option—but I asked the vet and rescue group I was talking to for their opinion.
To my surprise Bob Rude, from Rude Ranch Animal Rescue, had heard of it and had volunteers who had tried it without any luck. He recommended immunoregulin (a different shot) along with a course of Zithromax for tough URIs, with 250-500 mgs of l-lysine (which combats viruses—you can find it in any pharmacy vitamin aisle). Bob offered to arrange getting us the medication and said we could give Hoppy the shots ourselves at home intramuscularly. I was not looking forward to that. The only warning Bob gave was that immunoregulin should not be given if a cat has cancer—since there were no signs of cancer we went with it. Two bottles of Immunoregulin – $100, Zithromax – $45.
Another friend suggested a number of supplements for Hoppy. Jason took the suggestions with fervor. With the antibiotics and the supplements, feeding times were getting so confusing we had to make a chart.
RenAvast Kidney Support for Cats (60 Capsules) – $39.59
Purina Fortiflora Feline Nutritional Supplement Box, 30 gm – $26.98
Verti-Lysine Plus For Cats, 120 Bite-Sized Soft Chews – 5.29 oz. $18.98
The shots were every three days. I dreaded it (and Hoppy didn’t love it either). The antibiotic seemed to help. We started to notice less sneezing and coughing. It was gradual—one day we just noticed he didn’t seem to have the URI anymore. Which then brought new attention to a different persistent issue: his chin.
Medication – $145, Supplements – $85.55 = $230.55. Total vet bills to date = $674.55.
Elizabeth Putsché is the executive director of Photographers for Animals.
Recognizing the impact and influence imagery can have on an audience to
take action, she founded Photographers for Animals to promote animal
issues and to help organizations utilize opportunities for photography and film.