Monday, March 25, 2013

What's Up With Wylla

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Finally (and thankfully), we have a diagnosis for dear Wylla.  She has Megaesophagus, which is a pretty rare condition to find in a cat.   It's not the greatest news ever, but things could have been much worse.

With this condition, which is most likely congenital,  her esophagus isn't functioning properly and it's unable to move the food into her stomach at a quick enough pace.  This often causes vomiting and can lead to more complicated things like Aspiration Pneumonia. 



There's not really a cure for Mega-E, although sometimes kittens can grow out of it, we just have to learn how to manage it.   We've been doing that with medications and by controlling her food intake.

She has to eat five to six small meals each day.  To help with digestion, we have her eat standing up - this way,  gravity can help pull the food into her stomach.   I've rigged a little dining table for her using a few stacked books and a box.  Her plate is placed on top of the stack, and she's able to stand up, stretch out, and easily eat from it.   This works for now, but I'll build something that functions better soon. 

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After each meal, she must be held upright for 10 - 15 minutes to help the food pass.  I set the timer on the kitchen stove, pick up Wylla and hold her vertically  against my chest and we go for a little stroll around the house.  Surprisingly, she's not wiggly and is happy being held.  She knows already that when the timer starts beeping, our stroll is over, and she will squirm a little until her feet touch the ground.  She seems to have some sense that it's for her own good and is always patient. 

Since we started with the the upright eating, things have improved, and vomiting which was daily before, is infrequent now.  

You can tell she's feeling much better - she's playing more and playing harder.  Before she would shy away from wrestling matches with her sister, and now she's instigating them. 

Audrey has crossed over the two-pound mark, and is scheduled for spay surgery this week.  She has found her family, and will be leaving this weekend.  

I had hopes of adopting out the girls together, but most likely it will be awhile before Wylla will be ready to go and then, she's going to need a very, very special home.   I didn't want Audrey to have to wait to start her life, so I chose to separate the pair.  She's found herself a great family, and I know she'll be very happy with them.

Wylla has been such a trooper through all of this.  She's been subjected to many pokes, prods, needles, meds, x-rays, tests, rides in the car, hours at the vet and many days of not feeling well.   

It's such a relief to have a diagnosis now. I know there's a very long road ahead, but I am grateful for all that we have behind us now. 

105 comments:

  1. What a lucky little girl to have found a foster mom who works so hard to give her the good start in life she needs.

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  2. Not that I would ever want Wylla to have a medical problem, but I am so glad she has a diagnosis and a management plan. When I saw the title of your post, I was afraid that there was very bad news coming; now, I am relieved. I know you've had kittens before who have been ill and haven't made it, so I should be prepared for the worst, but this kitty is so special, I just couldn't face it if the news was bad.

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  3. What a beautiful girl - so happy we finally have a diagnosis!
    (Also, I received "I Could Pee On This" for Valentines Day... HI-LAR-IOUS. A must read! :))

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  4. So glad that you know what's going on! As the mommy to a kitty with various "issues", there's nothing worse than not knowing what's wrong. I hope she's able to find a family who is willing to deal with a special needs kitty and give her the love and attention that she so well deserves.

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  5. I am so touched by the love, attention, and care that you give to your fosters. When I feel hopeless and frustrated, I know it won't be long before another IBKC post. Thank you for the contributions you make to the well being of so many kitties like Miss Wylla (what a sweet girl she is!). And thank you for providing a ray of light on murky days.

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    1. I want to echo what madhatcher said. Thank you for everything you do, including bringing joy into my (and countless other) lives with this blog.

      And I agree with everyone who's already said that it's good to finally have a diagnosis. While the news could have been better, I am so happy to hear that Miss Wylla's condition is not fatal.

      I love the little eating stand you made for her, and it looks like she appreciates it, too!

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  6. Laurie, you are so creative to come up with a 'stand-up dining table' for Wylla!

    Given that both Wylla and Filbert had stubby tails, and both have/had gut anatomy problems, I can't help but wonder if the stubby tails were related to their anatomy issues (not the cause, but an indication of some developmental abnormalities).

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  7. WOW! Nice to have the dx so you know how to plan for her and have her taken care of by her forever home. I bet she thinks she is special being able to stand and eat... ;-). May she grow out of this problem! She is looking awfully cute....

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  8. As a kitty rescuer myself, I know someone wonderful and special will come along for Wylla. I don't doubt it for a second. Also, I'm happy for little Audrey. She's a little "devil girl" (in the nicest way possible!) and needs another kitty that will help her get her hijinks out of her system. :)

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  9. Those pictures of her standing upright to eat -- adorable!!! It's too bad she has to do it, but at least she looks cute doing it!

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  10. Aw, I'm glad you've figured Wylla out. She's such a cutie-pie. I'm sure the perfect family is being prepared for her right now. And Audrey will enjoy her new family. You're such a wonderful kitty foster mom! <3

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  11. Aw, I'm glad you figured out the troubles with Wylla. I'm sure a special, perfect family is out there just waiting for her. I'm also glad Audrey will be going to her family soon. You are such a wonderful, special kitty foster mom! <3

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  12. So happy that this beautiful little one has been diagnosed and can be treated. We are purring that she will be lucky and grow out of it. In the meantime , how lucky she is to have you look after her so well. Thank you.
    Wishing Audrey love and luck in her new home. xx

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  13. Its good news to now know what is wrong and how to deal with the problem and help Wylla. You are a very special person to deal with the extra work and worry of this beautiful kitten. Thank you for the up dates and pictures. Audrey will be missed, but a good home is worth its weight in gold . Thank you again

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  14. For all that, it's good news! Somewhere out there is Wylla's forever home with person/people who will help her manage her condition. This isn't a deal breaker for the right person.

    Laurie is just heroic. Everything you do for the kittens - they knew they are blessed.

    Also, LOOK at that stubby tail!

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  15. better to know than not to know..... love the feeding station - and so very glad she has you in her corner!!

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  16. Perhaps Wylla has found her forever home already???

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    1. I haven't had the nerve to suggest this myself yet, but +1.

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  17. I agree with Anonymous -- never happy to have a medical problem, but thank goodness to have it diagnosed and have a plan! I have been SO nervous and worried about Wylla. As a foster myself, I've lost kittens and I thought we might be going there, and she's such a beautiful, darling little thing! Yes, they all are. Bless you, Laurie, for helping her through all this! What a fantastic kitten wrangler you are! I know you'll find her the perfect family. And THANK YOU for telling us what is going on, that was hard to wait for too, but we do understand!

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  18. She is so lucky to have you & all your care for her! Poor lil thing! I hope all the differences you have made will make a great difference for sweetie pie Wylla!

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  19. Poor babe! But what a lucky girl to have found herself in your hands. And since she isn't contagious, she can hang out with Charlene while she grows.

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  20. You win kitty foster mommy award of the year for your patience with this baby! She is SO lucky. I'm thinking happy thoughts and hopes that she outgrows these issues over time. She is such a gorgeous baby!

    I hope Audrey's new family has a play buddy for her and her crazy pants! :)

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  21. Poor babe! But a very lucky girl to have found herself in your hands. I'm happy she isn't contagious, so she can hang out with Charlene while she grows, too!

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  22. How dear she is, standing up eating her food. I'm so happy to hear all of this news...not that she has anything wrong with her but that you know what it is now. Thank you for letting us know. I'm happy for Audrey, though I am sorry the girls won't be together. But of course, you made the right choice. xoxo

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  23. Once we have knowledge, we can deal with most ANYthing. Having a bad esophagus myself, I sympathize. Please give Wylla an extra tickle from me!

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  24. So glad you have a diagnosis AND a workaround! Sweet baby Wylla will enjoy life much better now.

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  25. So glad to hear she has a diagnosis and that it's at least manageable. Many fingers crossed for her outgrowing it, too.

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  26. I'm so glad she is with you and will get the care she needs. She will miss Audrey, though. :(

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  27. Wylla is going to find a fabulous home with someone who is happy to help her with her special needs. Until then, she is SO lucky to have been brought your way. The god of kittens sent her to you, Laurie! Bless you for all you do for them.

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  28. Thank you for putting so much love and care into sweet Wylla! <3 I wonder, would it maybe help to put her food through the food processor before she eats it? I got a tiny food processor when my kitty was going through the final stages of gastrointestinal small cell lymphoma, and it helped her a bit.

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    1. Hi Lauren, I have a foster who's got GI small cell lymphoma and I find the day to day progress quite puzzling. Maybe could you leave a comment at Catonsville Cats on my last Foster Friday post so I can email you? Thanks!

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    2. Sure! I'd be happy to help ^_^ It's definitely a confusing, often bewildering illness.

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  29. I'm so glad Wylla has a diagnosis.

    Our Cindy had similar troubles and we overcame them similarly. She had a little dining platform that was just lower than chin height when she was seated, and tilted a little towards her.

    I have an additional suggestion. I always made her meals liquid and drinkable. She ate only canned food, but any lumps in the food would stick in her throat, so I pushed it through a little sieve with a spoon to get the smoothest texture possible. A 10 oz Corelle dessert bowl was the most suitable dish to serve it in.

    She managed alright, and when she was finished eating we didn't need to hold her vertically at all. She normally burped five minutes after eating, signalling that the meal had gone down correctly.

    I imagine not all cats would take to drinking diluted food, but it's a regime perhaps Wylla should start when she's young and open to new ideas?

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    1. I can just imagine Wylla, the cutest little truckdriver kitten.

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  30. thank you for sharing so much with us! I smiled at the picture you painted for us of your apres-dining stroll...

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  31. So many options for a stand-up food dish. There are already elevated (and even adjustable elevated) dog dishes. But how about a small plant stand? Or inverted flower pot? Flour canister? I'll look forward to seeing what you come up with!

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  32. I have two dogs that have Megaesphagous. I am a long time volunteer at the Spokane Humane Society & I work in rescue too. I have a German Shepherd named Logan grew out of it when he was 9 months (He is now 7yr old) and has been fine and the other is a 11 month old Goldendoodle that I started fostering when he was 9 weeks old. The breeder brought him in to be euthanized because she couldn't sell him and luckly SHS was able to get her to owner surrender him and he has been with me ever since. He will most likely have it for the rest of his life and eats "slush" and has the occassional "Erp" but he is a growing happy puppy all the same and I ended up adopting him in December. If I can help in any way please don't hesitate to ask!

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  33. Oh wow, I've only heard of that one other time. On the blog Elephants Upstairs. They adopted one of their fosters who had that, his name is Bosley. He grew very slowly, at 6 months he finally reached 3 pounds. They didn't expect him to live very long, but he was diagnosed in January 2010 and he's still going strong! So Wylla is in good company, with the right family, she will do just fine!
    If you're interested, here's the link to their site: http://elephantsupstairs.blogspot.com/search?updated-max=2010-02-06T20:45:00-08:00&max-results=7&start=69&by-date=false
    Look in the archives for January 2010 or the end of 2009 for the start of his story. January is when they got the diagnosis.

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    1. I was going to mention Bosley if nobody else did, so I'm glad you did! I think he's around 5 pounds (iirc) and is still going strong... and this is a cat whose Mega-E was so bad the vet recommended euthanasia!

      So, there is hope in addition to relief at having a diagnosis at last!

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    2. Upon reflection, I might be wrong about the euthanasia part, but the rest is correct.

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    3. I should probably just give up, but I just remembered that Ted and Martha over at 50 Kittens had a Mega-E kitten, Molina. She ended up doing well and was adopted out with her sister.

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    4. Doodle Bean, you remember well. Molina had megaesophagus and a heart murmur (unrelated). We found regular doses of Pepcid to be very helpful for Molina. Happily, she eventually outgrew it accordingly to her adopter. And yes, Bosley is our neighbor and he's doing great!

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  34. poor baby :( if i lived nearby i'd take her in a heartbeat - hope she finds a family that will love her for her quirks x

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  35. It's such a relief to know that Wylla's condition can be managed. I'm sure there's someone who'll be more than willing to take care of her needs... including taking her for little walks after meals!

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  36. thankful to hear you know what's up with ms. wylla, and have a plan to help her get the best out of life. :)

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  37. This is the cutest thing I think I've seen all year.

    Many purrs to Wylla

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  38. Are you funding all this treatment out of pocket or are you getting support. Any chance the IBKC community can chip in to help Wylla?

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    1. So far, nothing out of my pocket. thanks for asking.

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  39. I know this little darling will find a special family for her special needs. And you are the best foster mom EVAH!

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  40. oh she is sooo cute! Love the dining table! You are truly the best foster mom for doing all this! :)

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  41. I'm glad to hear that Wylla is doing well! I have a kitty that requires a "table" and her own room at dinner time (not for the same reason - my kitty eats too fast with the plate on the floor, and occasionally gets sick if we let her eat outside of the bathroom - her brother chases her around and it shakes up her tummy). I'd love to have Wylla - my husband could build her a little table, and I'd be happy to snuggle her for 10 - 15 minutes every time. :)
    I'm sure she'll find a closer home though!

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  42. god bless wylla and god bless you laurie.

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  43. Oh My! I am happy there is a name to attach to her illness but what a big diagnosis for such a tiny girl. Let's hope and pray that she grows out of it, but if not I can't think of a better start in life than with you. And when she's ready, I know the right family will come along.
    The photos of her eating standing up are just precious. And truly, what an angel she is. And you are just as much an angel to be there for her.

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    1. Eating with the little podium is so sweet. Followed by being carried around must be wonderful.
      She so reminds me of my beloved longhair calico Maine Coon Allison. If I had the time I would so love to watch after Wylla.

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  44. If I were nearby, I'd scoop her up happily! So glad she's feeling better!

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  45. Thank you so much for the update. I can only imagine how challenging everything's been. You're a great foster mom and Wylla's in wonderful hands as everything gets sorted out. Thank you for all that you do.

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  46. I can't think of a single original thought to add to what everyone else has said! Praying for sweet Wylla, many thanks to you and all you do, happy for little Audrey and her new family, and Wylla looks adorable standing and eating. That first picture of her makes my heart melt. I hope she finds the perfect loving home and family!

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  47. So glad to hear that something can be done for her. Many prayers that she can find a good home!

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  48. May that precious little ball of fluff outgrow her disability and live a long, healthy, and happy life!

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  49. It's so cool when kitties actively participate in their treatment. They're pretty smart about it, I think. My cat Bob was on large volumes of subcutaneous fluids for about two weeks. He was also confined to a pile of towels in his carrier because of the constant passing of fluids, and thus he was miserable. So I cut a hole in a disposable diaper for his tail and put the diaper on him. I anticipated a lot of contrariness, because, who wants to wear a diaper? No cat I know. But by the second time I did it he was totally cooperative. He knew he'd be comfy and dry, and could nap where he wanted without worrying about the leaking. Which, at that point, was far more important than his dignity.

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  50. Poor little thing.

    So will you just have her for a while, or take another litter of kittens alongside her?

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  51. Wylla is so blessed to have you as a foster mom, nurse and advocate, Laurie!

    I pray that she will grow out of the need for the stand up feedings and walks, but even if not, she is getting a magnificent start in life, and will be a wonderful companion for someone very special.

    Hugs to you for caring and loving this beautiful little girl as you do and for creating this community of care!

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  52. Lynn, India and ZoubisouMarch 25, 2013 at 3:15 PM

    Teensy hugs from all of us for little Wylla- and a big hug for her foster care mom! The pictures are so touching. We all hope for a long and wonderful life for little Wylla.

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  53. As someone who's had more than my share of health problems that took a while to diagnose, I know what a relief it is when you finally find out what's wrong. It's reassuring to know that the condition is something other people have identified and dealt with, and to be absolutely sure that you didn't do anything wrong to cause it. (I know you wouldn't, but I also know that many people in your or my situation wonder whether they have.) I'm very glad that now you finally know what the problem is, and know how to deal with it.

    I'm sure you will be able to find someone who doesn't mind cuddling a delightful little bundle of fluff like Wylla several times a day. It's lucky, in a way, that she's so beautiful and fluffy and sweet, because it means that for someone whose schedule allows it, holding her after meals will be too enjoyable to be much of a burden. She's a truly beautiful, lovable kitten, and I'm very glad she has the potential for a long life ahead of her.

    Thank you for trying so hard to help Wylla. I'm really glad things seem to be getting better now.

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  54. I'm glad you know what the problem is now and she is such a lucky little kitty to have you as her foster mom. Thank you for taking such great care of each and every kitty that is lucky to have you as a foster mom!

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  55. If there was any way I could, I would. (out of the area and out of room at the inn! (my 'gang' just reached 10 cats and a dog due to family dynamics!) plus this pesky day job that allows me to take in my mom's three cats and sister's dog (all family alive and well, just some changes!) I would love to be able to have the time (and kitty) to stroll around for 10-15 minutes after meals. Laurie, we know she will find her home and in the mean time, is in a very loving home. Thank you for giving us the info about her condition and caring for her as only you and your gang can. I suspect we will have Wylla and the Bean posts for quite a while, unless your inn is not closed??? and yes, as many have said before - clever girl, coming up with the dining situation. Take care!

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  56. I was thinking that maybe you could take her in since she's doing so well with you and knows her routine.

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  57. Thank you for taking such great care of little Wylla. She is so special and so are you.

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  58. Precious little girl at her custom dining table! I'm so glad to hear that things are looking up and that she enjoys her post-dinner kitten cuddle.

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  59. Willa at that little stand-up dinner table is the cutest thing ever.

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  60. What a relief to find out what is causing her problems, and at least there is some treatment for it. She sounds like she is such a little trooper. She will need a special family, but she is a very special little girl.

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  61. Laurie, I am so touched by the dedication this post shows. Your longtime readers already know how much you put into fostering these kittens, but this goes above and beyond the effort a litter normally takes. You persevered until you found Wylla's diagnosis, and you've made the necessary changes to make things better for her. Thanks for being a ray of light in a mass of humanity.

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  62. I'm so glad you at least know what the problem is and that the eating changes are helping! Wylla is exactly where she needs to be right now, with the best family to tend to her special needs! Thank you for taking care of this sweet girl!!!

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  63. That's an awfully big word for such a small kitty. Although it is serious, I'm glad it isn't something worse. She's so adorable, and I know she will find that very special person who will take the best care of her.

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  64. I don't know why, but I half expected to see Wylla at an Itty Bitty Kitty Diner counter...a la Dog-a-Thon days.

    I am thrilled that Wylla has a diagnosis and hope she grows out of the worst of it.

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  65. Laurie - you are amazing! And Wylla is the cutest! I hope she grows out of this. However, I know that you will only let her go to the best of homes, where she will be cherished & properly cared for whether it's a permanent issue or not. I'm also thrilled that Audrey "Crazy Pants" Stout has found her forever home. Looking forward to hearing that story in the near future.

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  66. You rock Laurie.

    Melissa

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  67. Muted yippees! Yay, you have a diagnosis, and yay, it's something that can be managed, with care. And woo-hoo, she might even grow out of it!

    But with all that, what a shame that this little trouper will likely have to struggle with this condition for years to come. Laurie, you deserve so many thank-you purrs for your efforts!

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  68. Ditto to everything said above, Laurie you are the BEST-EST!! The pics of Wylla standing and eating are uber-cute :) I wish the girls could go together but I know universe is coming through in the way it's supposed to...Audrey will be a blessing to her new family and Wylla will get better and better.

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  69. I know how great a diagnosis is. It's hard to come up with a strategy if you don't know what you're fighting. I agree with letting Audrey go to her home. If Wylla goes as a single, she will get all the attention she needs. Thank you, Laurie for keeping us informed. Mary A

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  70. So glad to hear that Wylla has a diagnosis and a treatment plan. Love the photos of her eating. Such a darling, floofy girl. Thank you so much for doing what you do for all your fosters, Laurie!

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  71. Glad to hear you have a diagnosis and a treatment plan, she is such an adorable kitty.

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  72. Wow! I have never heard of that before. So glad she is getting stronger, and thank you for providing care for her, and education for the rest of us.

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  73. What a relief to know what is up with Willa, and a bigger relief that it is something you can manage while hoping she grows out of it. The photos of her standing at her little dining table are the sweetest thing I have seen in a while. Willa has a huge virtual cheering section wishing her well!

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  74. Laurie, please forgive me if this is prodding too deeply - but do you pay for all of these medical visits? I believe that you do pay for the kitten food and litter (and toys)... but the medical care? If so, can we please help you? I know that each of those little trips and tests and radiologies can add up very, very quickly. I promise we won't go overboard (think = saving it for the dogathon!) but I think I speak for the community when I say we want to help you carry this burden. It is the very least we can do for you and Craig (and Miss Bean, of course). Love, Darin

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  75. p.s. Okay, I'm a dork. I missed the comment above in which you explained "nothing out of pocket yet". Sorry about that. I'm trusting you to keep us informed, though - if it does go to into the pocket, let us know. We're here for you.

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    1. I second that! Never be too shy to ask for help -- we love you and want to do what we can!

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  76. Once again, Laurie, your dedication to your fosters floors me. To have a reason for Wylla's distress is wonderful. To have a mangable plan is wonderful. To see your home made feeding station is delightful. Wylla's family is out there, you know it, we know it, Wylla knows it. So thank you for your time and love for these babies and sharing with us.

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  77. It is great that you have a diagnosis and can help Wylla. Thank you so much for all that you do, Laurie. Wylla couldn't have asked for a better foster home.

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  78. Laurie, I want to thank you for sharing Wylla's diagnosis with us. I had never heard of this condition before so, yet again, I've learned something while enjoying your blog.

    Your fostering in itself is a huge & selfless contribution but so is maintaining this site. Not only do you make peoples' days happier & get the word out about the needs of the animals & the shelters that support them, but you also provide information that may some day help someone else.

    You, Robyn (of Love & Hisses: http://www.love-and-hisses.com/) & Kelly (of Whiskers in the Window: http://whiskersinthewindow.blogspot.ca/) are my heroes.

    I also tip my hat to all the other foster mommies out there that I know are working hard to save kitty lives & find forever homes. You all make my heart happy.

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  79. Laurie, I want to thank you for sharing Wylla's diagnosis with us. I had never heard of this condition before so, yet again, I've learned something while enjoying your blog.

    Your fostering in itself is a huge & selfless contribution but so is maintaining this site. Not only do you make peoples' days happier & get the word out about the needs of the animals & the shelters that support them, but you also provide information that may some day help someone else.

    You, Robyn (of Love & Hisses: http://www.love-and-hisses.com/) & Kelly (of Whiskers in the Window: http://whiskersinthewindow.blogspot.ca/) are my heroes.

    I also tip my hat to all the other foster mommies out there that I know are working hard to save kitty lives & find forever homes. You all make my heart happy.

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  80. I am so thankful to hear that you now know what was causing Dear Wylla's issues, and that there is something that can be done. What a relief! I don't know how she does it, but she manages to get cuter and cuter with every picture you take of her, Laurie! And I am very happy to hear that Audrey has found her furever home!

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  81. Oh thank goodness that we know what it is and that it is manageable. I have been thinking about that little mite and hoping for the best for you all.

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  82. Oh wow! My sister has 2 chocolate labs with this same problem. Just imagine having to hold a 40 lb puppy up for 10 minutes after eating!

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  83. Hurrah for manageable conditions, for Wylla, and for Laurie & co.!

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  84. So glad to hear you have a diagnosis and that it is at least manageable. Thank you for all you do for the kittens, especially for the more fragile ones like Wylla. She is such a beauty and such a love and I'm sure you will find her the right, loving home. This litter has been one of my favourites, really touching my heart.

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  85. Bless you, Laurie, for pursuing and getting a diagnosis. Training her to eat upright and be held from a very young age will make things much easier for her adoptive family. And as the "mom" of a megaesophagus dog, I can tell you that yes, it's a little more work but so worth it! There are also medications that can help with symptoms.

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  86. wonderful that you finally have a diagnosis!
    i was *so* worried we'd never get to read miss wylla's adoption story...

    and also: can we donate money towards a bailey chair (the things i learn thanks to your website... *lol*) for wylla and her forever home?

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  87. There is a pup over at Noah's Ark with the same condition. They made him a little chair (like a highchair) that allows him to eat upright. His chair will go with him to his new family. Wylla will be just fine and will have a wonderful life with a wonderful family.

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  88. Thankful that you found a diagnosis for little Wylla. As one who has made several different medical conditions a part of the family with several different cats over the years, I can say that they are the ones that touch your heart the most. No matter what, they seem to sense that you are trying to help, not harm, them. Hopefully with meds and love Wylla will live a long and happy life.

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  89. Oh sweet Wylla. I hope she grows out of it! At any rate, her beautifulness will probably help her get adopted despite her health. Thinking the best thoughts for her, for Audrey, and for YOU!

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  90. Aww, poor little thing. I'm glad there's a diagnosis, and it sounds as though she's doing better already. Purrs for Wylla!

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  91. Baby girl's gonna enjoy her one-on-one Beantime, I'm sure! Glad you have some company for her.

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  92. Hey Laurie,

    Do we know anything about Mama Stout? Did she have any problems, or were the babies just found? Just curious, since Wylla and Filbert both seem to have knotty little insides. I'm glad there is a diagnosis :)

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