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This fundraiser ended on 02/29/12

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Help fund Itty Bitty's medical expenses

Updates are below...
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Itty Bitty is the smallest little cat you ever did see. He's three years old and weighs just under 4 lbs. He also has a life-threatening medical problem.

No one ever accused Itty Bitty of being perfect. He’s always been the one naughty kitty that gets into everything – he jumps on counters, knocks over garbage cans, steals your salmon piroshky that someone brought special from Seattle... One time this little 4 lbs. cat grabbed a 2 lbs. T-bone steak from the kitchen counter and tried to run off with it. His ornery nature has earned him loving nicknames like "Itty Angry," and we're pretty sure he's part canine - perhaps a labrador. But one look in his big puss-in-boots eyes will turn anyone's heart to pure putty.

Itty Bitty has always had problems keeping food down and gaining weight, ever since the day he was born, which is part of the reason why he's so small. But now we've discovered that his trouble eating may be due to a hiatal hernia that is obstructing his esophagus. Recently his condition has been so bad that he has not been able to keep any food down. His weight is dangerously low and without medical intervention we fear the worst.

We've consulted with multiple veterinarians and run multiple diagnostic tests to determine what is wrong with him. Our next step is to take Itty Bitty to the Oregon State University veterinary school for an endoscopy. Depending on the results of the exam, the doctors may recommend abdominal surgery.

We've reached the expensive part of Itty Bitty's medical treatment. We don't want him to suffer needlessly through invasive medical treatments that will not help him, but there is still hope that we may be able to treat him. The results of the endoscopy will give us a better picture of his prognosis.

We'd like to ask your help in funding some of Itty Bitty's treatment. We anticipate that the endoscopy may cost up to $700, and the abdominal surgery may cost around $2000.

In the end, for a cat so young and so small, we want to care for him the best we can. Any amount you can offer to help us would be greatly appreciated.

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Itty Bitty had his endoscopy on Thursday. His lower esophagus is severely distended, and they also found inflammation and evidence of fibrosis. Furthermore, he is becoming increasingly malnourished and his weight has continued to decline to just over 3 lbs.

The doctors offered us two options. We could either do an exploratory surgery, or we could give him a permanent feeding tube.

If we chose the exploratory surgery, they may be able to assess and treat some of the structural damage to his esophagus. However, it is unknown how effective this approach would be. Furthermore, Andrew and I are concerned about going forward with such an invasive procedure given how weak he currently is.

The other option is a permanent feeding tube which would bypass his esophagus entirely and would provide him with adequate nutrition long term. There are still risks with this option, and it would require continual maintenance. However, at this point we feel that it is the safer of the two options. The initial quote for the feeding tube was approximately $1,000-$1,500.

We plan to call OSU on Monday to schedule the procedure and will keep you posted as things develop.

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Monday, 1/30

We just dropped Itty Bitty off at OSU to put in his gastric feeding tube. If all goes well, the surgery will be done tomorrow and we should get him back a few days after that.

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Tuesday, 1/31

The surgery appears to be a success. According to the vets at OSU, he's awake and already back up to his old antics - getting into things he's not supposed to! We should be able to bring him home in the next day or two.

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Saturday, 2/4

Itty Bitty passed away this afternoon. The doctors did all they could, but after everything he'd been through, he just didn't make it.

We just wanted to thank everyone who has been so supportive through all this. When a pet is sick like Bitty was, sometimes it's hard to know how much is too much and how far you should go. Your support has really helped ease our minds during some of the difficult decisions we've had to face.

The site for Itty Bitty will remain up until the end of the month. Again, thank you for everything. We will miss our little guy.

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