I wonder if this is a war we may not win. We have certainly lost a few battles and the things did not turn out as I expected.
I had to mix the first batch of medicine against TF with a protection mask on my face and put in the cats’ mouth. It took about 2 hours every day to medicate them all. They of course did not like that. Sometimes they drooled. It did not taste that well, perhaps. But maybe it was not THAT bad, since the most were not drooling or spitting it out. The medicine we got was ‘produced’ in Sweden, but actually it is just a cheap powder for birds, 10% Ronidazole that they imported from Germany, repacked it, and sold it to us about 70 times the commercial price in Germany. But what were our options? Ronidazole is obtained only via license in Sweden.
The powder made for birds was not the appropriate form to give to cats; it is the very formulation that scientist and one of the world’s most famous researcher on TF in cats, Jody Gookin is against, since you cannot guarantee the dose that cats get is exact every time. Some cats get cured from it, some don’t. I read about cases on German discussion boards where cats died. Ours did not have any side effects, and I am happy for that, although they did not get cured.
We tested the cats as a part of the study we are in 2 weeks after the finished treatment and only Claire and Miii were negative. All six kittens were still positive and also four of our big cats. So, only 2 out of 12 cats were negative after a 2200 EUR treatment (20 000 SEK) and a lot of time and effort from our side! That felt like a disaster.
I saw no pattern there. Claire and Jossan were isolated with the kittens, and Claire licked the small bottoms all the time, so she should have been positive. But, she was not. (It could have been a one-time thing, but she was tested a month later, and she was still negative.)
Also, Maven, who is not a Siamese, has her own toilet box (she likes Pee-Wee, Siamese hate it), got really bad and she was alone in one room, since poor thing had watery diarrhoea.
Two-three kittens got a bit better at start of the treatment, but after a week they started having soft smelly stool and blood in it. I tested them immediately after the finished treatment (that test was not a part of the study) and they were positive. 😦 Ronidazole just did not seem to work. I wondered if TF our cats had was resistant to the medication, but then, Claire and Miii got negative. They could have gotten TF-negative on their own, though, that is not impossible. They got it 5-6 months before the time they got retested, and sometimes cats can get rid of TF on their own during that time (9 months in average).
But no kittens could move to their new homes, since their owners-to-be already had other (TF-free) cats and I also wanted to cure the small and big ones.
To cut the story shorter, and omit many details – the new medicines were ordered, our veterinary found the new company that could get it for us, this time in capsules, from England, good form (100% Ronidazole). Surprisingly enough, they were cheaper, and although kittens got up in weight (the dose is proportional to the weight, the dose is 30mg/kg, so if your cats weigh more, you pay more), we paid about 75% of the price for the first batch. And the form of the medicine was good, and capsules are so much easier (and less risky for my health) to give.
Our veterinary suggested that the kittens should move to their new homes and be medicated there, to minimise the risk for re-infection at home, since we had so many cats. At the same time, it is not a good way to bond with your kitten you’ve just got with putting the pills every day for two weeks in its mouth. I proposed to the future owners of the kittens who had homes who waited for them to get them immediately after the treatment was done. There were risks, but also, it was better for many reasons – if someone else at home still had TF and its quantities grew again, the cured ones could get it back. The cats were isolated, but not one and one, we found that pretty much impossible.
One owner to be took her kitten 4 days before the medicating was done, and finished it at home. Another couple took their kitten home immediately when the treatment was done. One decided to wait. One was travelling abroad, and could not pick her kitten. One kitten’s future owner changed her mind (not because of TF, but because of a beauty fault that the kitten developed; she was supposed to go into her breeding program). Dexter we did not have heart to sell.
As I write this, I am still waiting for the results of the tests after the second Ronidazole treatment. The cats at home had an occasional diarrhoea after the treatment, but right now they seem fine. The two kittens that moved are well in their tummies, and no foul smell, and the cats that they live with are also well in their tummies. No matter what the results of the tests are, I would have made the same decision as the ones who took the kittens did, but I did not want to decide for others. There was not right or wrong here, only “risky in this way”, or “risky in that way”. My other option was to find new homes to the kittens where there were no other cats, but their future families opted against it. And that was not the option I would be happy about either. The homes that were waiting for the small ones were the perfect homes.
It is a very hard situation, emotionally, and in many other ways, both for us and the owners to be; they waited for their kittens for so long, and then I did not have good news for them after the first treatment, and we had to wait for a long time for the medicines to arrive, just to go through all of it again. Our veterinary was fast to obtain all the licences, and to help us, but that is the procedure – it takes time. So bad. I did not think this will be such a nightmare. I thought we were prepared.
The kittens who moved are very loved and happy in their new homes, Tsuki and Ender (called Ozzy now) moved. The kittens that stayed are also loved here, but they will need to move to their new forever homes soon. Our big cats are okay with the small ones still being here (they are six months now!), except for Jossan that occasionally hisses at them, saying that it is time they move, and Claire that became angry recently and thinks they should move. It is normal reaction, they are moms, and in the nature they should push out their small ones out of the nest at some point. Albert and Leroy think that it is good that they are here, we should have 200 cats, they love cats! Maven and Miii are okay with them, they play and run around gladly with the small ones.
The kittens are big and beautiful, you would never think that they had (and maybe still have) that parasite. We love them so much, and we hope that this nightmare will be over soon.