August 15, 2004 - May 18, 2007
Leo will remain deep within my heart forever. He was my best friend. I loved him more then I have ever loved anything or anyone. May Spirit allow us to keep shining his loving bright light so that I may help heal the health of other cats.
Leo first got ill in February 2007. I took him to an emergency clinic and was told he was dying. I didn’t believe it. From there we went to a specialty hospital where he was put on IV for several days. More in depth tests were done. No good news. I got an emergency call from the head vet at that hospital advising me to transport him to UC Davis hemodialysis unit in San Diego ASAP. I picked Leo up at 4:30 am and headed for San Diego. The two doctors at UCD, Dr Julie Fischer and Dr Sheri Ross explained to me that he would require dialysis at least twice a week for an unknown period of time to try and recover some kidney function. If he could recover some function he might survive. The plan was to do some minor tests that day and put Leo on the machine the next day.
At approximately 8pm I got a call from Dr Fischer telling me that Leo had crashed. They couldn't wait until the next day to get him on the machine. She would call when he was off the machine. At 12:15 am Dr. Fischer called to say that Leo was off the machine and resting well. He had been over hydrated which caused his heart to fill with fluid. They had removed an unbelievable amount of fluid. His heart went back to normal size and he was doing great
For the next 3 months I took him twice a week for dialysis. A 160 mile round trip. He did not recover any kidney function. He had a feeding tube inserted in an effort to get his weight back up and get him stabilized for the next step in this journey. A kidney transplant
An echo cardiogram was done to clear him for surgery. He passed it. Now a surgeon and donor needed to be found. A surgeon was located. The search for a compatible donor was to begin. During this whole time, Leo continued to twice weekly dialysis. The last several times weird things started happening. New twitches and unexplained near seizures. All can be side effects of long term dialysis
About two weeks out from surgery, I went, on a Thursday afternoon after work, to pick up my beautiful boy. About half way home his breathing got shallow and fast. I called and talked to Dr Ross. The next morning Leo was back at UC Davis. X-rays were taken and meds given to ease his breathing. It didn't help him. Dr Ross came back to the exam room with tears streaming down her face. The x-ray showed the left side of Leo's heart was enlarged. Congestive heart failure. He was disqualified from surgery. He would not survive it even if we got the heart back to normal again
Leo the Lion Grrrr (Dr Ross's pet name for him) was allowed to go to his favorite spot. The laundry basket in the corner of the dialysis lab. He curled up there with his head in the palm of my hand. His purrs filled the room to spite the fact that he could barely breath. The shot was given and the room fell absolutely silent. My boy, my beautiful Leo man, passed from this life on the wings of a thousand angels. The sound was deafening. He took the biggest part of my heart with him. I will never forget that commercial cat food killed the love of my life. I promised him that somehow I would make things different. It is because of that, that Leo Feline Foundation has come to be.
No one should be murdered by the food they eat.