|First Entry: January 25, 2009
Merlin has been through exploratory surgery, diagnosed with moderate to severe inflammatory bowel disease.
His lymph nodes, liver, bile duct and intestines were all inflamed, no sign of cancer. His symptoms were yelping
in pain, bad gas, explosive diarrhea, and green poop. The specialist put him on prednisolone 5mg. twice daily.
Said to try duck and pea, and venison and pea Royal Canin canned diet, single protein source. We tried this and
he would not eat it. We had tried similar diet in the past and it did not work. Had him tested for pancreas enzyme
deficiency, low B12 and all came back negative. Spent a lot of money on surgery, tests, ultrasound, medicine,
and food. Told to put him on leukeran, a cancer drug that is used for other things. We didn't want to do this
unless all else failed. Nothing helped until I tried the raw diet. I wasn't about to stay with the status quo, as we
recently lost his sister to the same disease, and we were given the same course of treatment for Merlin, which
didn't work for her.
We transitioned Merlin from commercial canned to a completely raw diet, which my husband and I make
ourselves. We started transitioning him on Dec. 18th, giving very small amounts of raw, then giving regular
canned, continued to increase raw, and lessen canned. The final transition to complete raw diet was on Jan. 2,
2009. Two days later so very excited to see for the first time in 12 YEARS, A NORMAL STOOL AND NO
DIARRHEA! No more yelping in pain, bad gas, explosive diarrhea and numerous trips to the litter box.
It has been a week now on complete raw, and Merlin's weight has gone from 14 lb. 11 oz. to 15 lb. 2.5 oz. This is
working, he is healing, and he looks like he is feeling much better. We are amazed. He used to weigh 19 lbs. Still
no diarrhea or pain or gas, just normal stools.
I urge anyone with an IBD cat who is not responding to commercial diets, including prescription diets, to consider
raw. I think it just might have saved Merlin's life.
We use InstinctsTC, that is a powder mix and has all the necessary nutrients your cat needs, all you have to do
is add the raw meat to the mixture. We then freeze the mixture in ice cube trays, and put into a large zip lock
baggy. When you need to feed, just take cubes from baggy, thaw and serve. We only leave down for 30 minutes
since this is raw food, and take it up if not eaten, it disappears pretty fast though. Time will tell if this is our
answer, but I have read numerous testimonials of other cat owners that have had similar success with this diet.
Will keep you posted.
It has been one month now on the raw food diet. Merlin is doing great!
Update: March 6th, 2009
It has been 3 months now that Merlin has been on a completely raw food diet. I am happy to report his health is
still very good, and he is maintaining a weight around 15.2 - 15.3 lbs. He recently had his annual exam, and I
think my vet expected to see a very sick cat from his diagnosis after surgery. She was pleasantly surprised to
see a bright, alert and responsive healthy cat. We told her how the transition to a raw diet made all the difference
for him and his IBD symptoms, which have all disappeared. His stools run soft to firm, but no diarrhea. Merlin is
also a CRF cat, and his numbers here were improved, along with normal glucose, liver and bile readings.
BUN: 48 MG/DL (although high, my vet said this was good, they are elevated because he is on a very high
protein diet and no cause for alarm).
CREATININE: 1.7 MG/DL - NORMAL (It was 2.4 last reading, which is high normal. This is the more sensitive
reading and indicator for kidney function).
PHOSPHORUS: 3.8 MG/DL - NORMAL (It was 4.8 last reading, a range between 2-8 is best, and he is right in
the middle. Phosphorus should be kept in check for cats with kidney problems).
We still maintain him on prednisolone, down from 10 mg/day to 7.5 mg/day. We hope in the near future this can
be further reduced. We never had to put him on the leukeran drug that was suggested, since the raw diet worked
so well for him.
My vet was very interested in reviewing the diet we have Merlin on, as she has other cats with similar symptoms
as Merlin. The web site where anyone else can find this information is www.felinefuture.com. One note I would
like to add regarding feeding raw, it wasn't until after being on a complete raw diet, without any other foods
included, that we had a remission in all his symptoms of IBD, and it was within a matter of days. I can't stress
more to anyone who wants to try this diet, how important it is, if possible, to feed complete raw, no other foods,
including treats, in order for symptoms to disappear. At least that has been our experience. The best thing to do
is read all about it on the feline future website. It's not hard to do and your cat will thank you for it!
Here is Merlin's food recipe:
We use a product called InstinctsTC, a powdered premix for making homemade cat food. This mix contains all
the vitamins and nutrients needed, making it much easier to prepare a homemade raw diet. You can read all
about it at www.felinefuture.com website.
This is how we do it. So far we have only used chicken, but you can use any human grade meat choice.
Recipe (1 batch):
1 lb. raw boneless skinless chicken breast
1 lb. raw boneless skinless chicken thighs
3.5 oz. raw chicken liver
Premix - InstinctsTC (1-1/2 cups water mixed with 1/2 cup mix)
You will need a meat grinder, we bought one from Northern Tools online. After grinding breasts, thighs, and
chicken liver, (we double grind the batch, which gives it the consistency of canned cat food) then add instincts to
the mix, stir until blended. Using a teaspoon, add mix to ice cube trays, cover ice cube tray with saran wrap,
stack trays and freeze. After freezing, empty cubes into freezer bags. Take out a days worth of food, store in
containers and defrost in refrigerator overnight. We usually serve anywhere from 1/2 to 1-1/2 cubes per feeding,
depending on time of day and Merlin's appetite. We leave food down for 30 minutes only, since this is raw food.
Usually it is gone almost immediately, although sometimes it is good to set a timer, as Merlin likes to graze, and
will go back and finish later. If not, we pitch it. Serve fresh next time. I feed Merlin several times throughout the
day, as this seems to work best for him.
A few notes. This process takes a little time a first, but the more you do it the easier it gets. We make a few
batches up on the weekend, it takes us about an hour to do three batches, including clean up. You will have to
determine how many calories your cat needs for his/her size. We calculated a cube of food was approximately 40
calories. We keep a running list of what Merlin eats to make sure he is getting enough to eat. There are days
when his appetite isn't as great as the day before, i.e. he will only consume around 5-7 cubes some days, and 8-
We also bought a baby scale to monitor his weight, otherwise it was hard for us to tell if he is getting enough
calories to maintain a good weight, plus the convenience of not having to run him to the vets just for a weigh in is
worth it. Making your own food may seem like a lot of work at first, but it does get to be second nature, and the
extra time is worth it to see the health of your cat return. You will be feeding only the finest protein, no additives,
no grains, no vegetables included, which our cats do not require or need. You don't have to add individual
supplements or bones, all the nutrients are included in the premix, in the lean protein meat and added liver. This
is what our cats should be eating, commercial pet food makers just don't get it. They try and sell us what sounds
good to us, not what is good for our cats.
One word about buying pre-ground meats, you can, but the only problem is it is always a little more of a risk as
pre-ground meats tend to carry more bacteria, so we decided to grind our own, and always use human grade
meat. You must use good hygiene practices when handling raw meat, and clean thoroughly after you are done.
We use food handling gloves, and Clorox clean up on counters and sinks, and wash all implements in the
dishwasher. If you follow these rules, there is little or no risk of contamination to your self or your cat.
Update: May 5, 2009
Minor set back. A little weight loss, decreased appetite and some diarrhea, first time since transitioned to raw.
Not sure what the cause. On my vets advise, increased the prednisolone back to 5 mg. 2 x day. Merlin recovered
as quickly as it had come upon him, and only lasted about a week.
Update: June 30, 2009
Merlin is doing great, eating very well and still loving his raw chicken meal we make for him. He has gained
weight, up to 16 pounds 1 ounce! That is up from 14 lbs. 11 oz. prior to his surgery in mid November. His stools
are normal and not a sign of any diarrhea. Seems to be a very happy cat, walks around with his tail up in the air,
and is very vocal. That was gone when he was so sick, tail between his legs, and very quiet. We are so happy,
and hope his good health continues. Feeding raw has given him a healthy life, which he seems to be thriving
Update: March 6, 2010
Merlin is weighing in at 17 lbs. 6.5 ozs. A good weight for him. He looks good, his coat is long and shiny, and he
seems healthy and has a good appetite, eating between 10-12 oz. of raw food a day.
BUN: 52 (14-36 mg/dl) This is high, but again will see this with a high protein diet.
Creatinine: 1.5 (0.6-2.4 mg/dl) important indicator of kidney function
Phosphorus: 4.2 (2.4-8.2 mg/dl) right where it should be
Merlin had some high levels on cholesterol, tryglycerides & amylase And low levels on Lymphocytes
Triglycerides: elevation most likely due to not being fasted.
Amylase: Not a very specific enzyme for checking the pancreas in cats particularly if no symptoms of vomiting etc
is difficult to make a conclusion. If vomiting and having problems then we would have to check the pancreas a
little more carefully.
Lymphocytes: the low lymph count is most likely a stress induced response. Not because of the steroid use.
In general the vet stated, "I was very pleased with his blood work and his overall condition." So all good news!
Update: October 24, 2010
Merlin had his 9/22/10 semi annual vet visit on Sept. 22nd, and all went well. His current weight is 17lbs.10 ozs.
He seems to have no symptoms of IBD, and he still has normal stools, no pain, gas or diarrhea. Merlin turns 14
years old this December. His appetite is good and he still is enjoying his raw food. We added some turkey to his
raw diet for variety and he really liked it. As you will see below, I don’t like some elevations I am seeing in his
blood work, but my vet does not seemed concerned since he shows no other symptoms. Here are the results on
some of his numbers.
Merlin’s labs: BUN: 44, creatinine: 1.5, phosphorus: 4.2
Tryglycerides down from March, was 1019, now 718. (Still high, but Dr. not concerned)
Amylase was high, was 1363, now 1420. (range 100-1200 U/L)
Lymphocytes were low, 1062 last time, now 610. (range 1200-8000)
Here are my questions and Dr. G’s response regarding some elevations:
Are you at all concerned about the lowered lymphocyte count? 610 now, 1062 last time in March. Do you still feel
this is a stress induced response, not due to steroid use?
No I am not too concerned about this at this time. His overall WBC count is normal at this time. This can be
stress induced. (Merlin is on a low dose of prednisolone for his size - 7.5 mg alternating to 5 mg., every other
Also, what about the higher elevation in amylase? 1420 now, 1363 last result in March? Any concern about the
pancreas, kidney or liver function?
This is a pancreatic enzyme that can go up in cases of inflammation, or pancreatic problems. It can also go up
with kidney disease. Usually it is difficult to make conclusions if this one goes up and the patient is clinically
normal. We can monitor this one in 3 months to make sure there are no other elevations.
Dr. G. said he looked good, heart sounded fine, and no concerns. We are blessed with another year with our
Merlin the Magnificent!
Update: August 18, 2011
Merlin is doing great, has a good appetite on his raw diet, weight about 17.9 lbs., and loves to go outside in his
backyard (supervised, of course!). We found a new treat he can have that doesn't bother his digestion. It is
smoked dried fish flakes (Bonito to be exact). It comes by the half ounce bag, or 1 oz., and it is too expensive
when marketed as a pet treat. We found the same thing at an asian market for a third of the cost. He absolutely
loves it, and it has no additives. Also a good source of Omega-3's.
Update: November 13, 2012
Merlin had a setback in May, 2012. He became diabetic, most likely from being on the prednisolone for so many
years, as this drug can tip them into diabetes. I was devastated, but lucky to find Dr. Hodgkins website:
yourdiabeticcat.com. She has a Tight Regulation Protocol that brought Merlin into remission. It works well, your
not blind dosing as most vets will have you do. You get a glucose monitor and strips (just like people use) and do
home monitoring by pricking the ear for a blood sample, and dose accordingly. They have a wonderful forum
with moderators who guide you through the process and answer any questions. The one condition for starting
the protocol is absolutely no grains or dry food before beginning. Luckily Merlin was on a high protein all raw diet
that was perfect for the treatment.
Here is what happened:
Noticed Merlin not wanting to eat much, sluggish, urinating frequently, drinking a lot of water. Had a blood test
ran and his sugar was high, around 400.
DX diabetic: 5/31/12
Started Dr. Hodgkins TR protocol 5/31/12 - ProZinc insulin. 7/6/12 last insulin dose: Officially OTJ (off the juice).
During insulin treatment we gradually reduced the prednisolone from 7.5 mg per day to 2.5 mg per day. This
dose keeps his blood glucose numbers down 100 or below. On the occasion he has an episode of diarrhea for
more than one day, up dose back to 5 mg. Unfortunately left on this dose raised his BG again. On October 12,
Merlin not feeling good, lethargic. Tested his BG, was 198. Started insulin protocol again. Began lowering pred
again. October 17, last dose of insulin. Merlin's pancreas kicked in and is keeping his BG down on his own
without any more insulin. Currently he is on 2.5 mg. of pred per day. Holding steady, OTJ again.
Other than that he has been in pretty good health, especially for his age. Some arthritis, but that is about it.
|Merlin Sucech - Plymouth, Michigan
Male, Brown Mackerel Tabby Maine Coon
Born December 4, 1996
Diagnosed with chronic renal failure in 2003
Diagnosed with moderate to severe IBD in November 2008
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|Living With IBD - Merlin S.