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Old 01-03-2009, 10:59 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Chronic Drooling in Elderly Cat

Our 15 year old male cat started drooling excessively several months ago. We didn't notice at first because it was a very gradual onset and he's always been a "happy cat" drooler. About the time we became concerned he also had stopped eating his dry chow (still would eat canned food eagerly and also would nosh on the dog's kibble daily). Drool is not smelly and is clear but it's constant and there is a ton of it. Stopped grooming himself at the same time and the constant drool mats his fur everywhere (long-haired domestic). Because he isn't grooming, he always has a rim of left over wet food around his mouth which he drools onto all our furniture. No overt signs of pain or discomfort. No fever. Active for his age.

I whisked him off to the vet where the diagnosis was
- general mildly poor dental health due to age
- bacterial gum infection
- lesions on the tongue due to viral causes

Nothing to be done about the teeth.
Put him on a 2 week regimen of antbiotics for the gum infection
Put him on Meloxicam (anti-inflammatory and pain killer)
Put him on a food supplement with lysein to boost his immune system to fight the virus

The opinion was that he would either get better, stay the same or decline to the inevitable ending.

The change was almost immediate. He didn't stop drooling completely but almost and he never did go back to eating his own dry food. At the end of the 2 weeks he started to decline again, so the vet decided to keep him on the medication for another 2 weeks. Same result when he came off the meds.

This time the vet said it was pointless to continue with the antibiotics (I'm wondering about that), but to keep him on the Meloxicam and food supplement (Viralys) for 2 months.

In the course of the last few weeks of the 2 months of treatment he has gradually declined to where he is not eating very much at all some days and the drooling is back (not quite as severe, but it's fairly bad). His activity level is way down from what it used to be as well (but that might be because it's winter and he doesn't want to go out).

He goes back to the vet next week. I'm afraid that the options the vet will give me are not any of them going to be good ones. Likely, a) put him to sleep, b) do nothing and wait for the end slowly and c) ship him off to a specialist in the nearest big city for tests which the vet has already quite frankly advised are unlikely to be able to determine a definite cause. It will be a "try this, try that" approach in all probability. I've been down that road before with a senior cat and probable cancer and I swore "Never Again".

We are really at our wits end over the poor old guy. Any ideas or suggestions out there......please?
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Old 01-15-2009, 07:04 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Chronic Drooling in Elderly Cat

I don't have the answer yet... but I'm dealing with the same thing for my 20 year old. She started with the drooling a couple years ago, on and off and then gradually it got worse. Now, she looks like a St. Bernard, with the really stringy drool that holds its shape when you wipe it off her face. She too has been on lysine, which is an amino acid that takes the place of the other amino acid that the virus herpes uses to replicate, so the lysine makes the herpes unable to reproduce. The problem is that the herpes virus doesn't ever go away, so the lysine has to be used forever, but it's not supposed to be harmful. I'm a little curious about the pain killer, maybe that is making your guy feel sick? If you said he's not showing signs of pain, then why keep up the meloxicam? Anyway, in my cat's case she did have quite bad teeth, and although I thought it was a big risk to have her put under to clean the teeth, I did it anyway and that helped, for like 2 weeks. Then the drooling was back, but prior to the dental, she had bad odor in the mouth, and now she doesn't. She still drools. Something else she does, is smack her mouth open and closed, which seems to get better and worse with the drooling. Some days it's not too much drool/smacking, and some days there's lots. So I'm searching everywhere, and I will get back to the forum if I eventually find someone who has found a cure for this. Good luck to you. Please, if you find something out, I'd appreciate it if you could post an update. Thanks! I'm tired of waking up with kitty drool all over my bed!
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Old 01-15-2009, 11:49 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Chronic Drooling in Elderly Cat

Did your vet do any bloodwork to check your cats kidney function before putting him on the meloxicam? Did your vet inform you that oral meloxicam has NOT been approved for use in cats and in fact has been shown to cause acute renal failure with prolonged use. Metcam kills cats, if your cat isn't hurting, I would discontinue that med and find a better vet.
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