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Old 03-23-2010, 05:51 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Sick elderly cat- not eating, drinking

Okay, let me start by saying the cat in question, Oreo, is a short hair female indoor only cat who will be 13 on May 5th, that is if she lives that long, which up until a few days ago, I had no doubt that she would. Now, I'm praying for a miracle.

We had her to the vet yesterday, spent well over $600 and learned nothing. Quite frankly, I'm somewhat tiffed at my vet, for trying to talk me into letting them do an ultra-sound, x-rays, and an endoscope since the initial exam found nothing. We moved about 2 1/2 weeks ago, and the first week she seemed fine. She was happy exploring every room, testing out all the chairs, getting in boxes, playing with toys, being her normal old self. Then she started eating less and less and this weekend she stopped eatting and drinking altogether.

Here's what the vet said:
Heart and lungs sounded perfect
Blood work ruled out most common things like diabetes, etc
Still waiting for the results of the thyroid blood work
Exam went fine. Felt no masses/problems with any organs
She is not jaundice (a few years ago she got pancreatitis, stopped eating, and got so sick she developed fatty liver. Her skin was literally this color Her skin color is perfectly normal but Oreo tipped the scale over 20 lbs most of her life and yesterday she was only 11 lbs 15 ozs. The vet said you can definitely feel her spine, which has only happened within the last week.

So, the vet gave her a shot of IV fluids, and sent us home with an appetite stimulate and two kinds of "vet approved" cat food which is supposed to be "amazing" for "cats that aren't eating but we don't really know why they aren't eating so we give them this and they love it! It's enriched to ..." blah blah blah whatever, and over 24 hours later Orie has yet to touch the canned food they gave us or the dry food. We've tried turkey, chicken flavored baby food, and regular canned food which she had been getting for about 2 months and up until recently, loved!

One last thing, she's doing this thing, the vet has no idea why, or what exactly it is, but I call it "the licky-lick" She started doing it a couple weeks ago (before we moved) but only right before she vommitted. Now she does it constantly, I even noticed her doing it while dozing!

Does anyone have any advice? We lost her "brother" Snickers October 17, 2007 at nearly 12 due to cancer, so I'm trying to prepare myself for the worst, but I'm hoping caring cat owners might have some suggestions!

Thanks
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Old 03-23-2010, 06:04 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Sick 12 year old- not eatting, drinking

Quote:
Originally Posted by luckyducky09
Quite frankly, I'm somewhat tiffed at my vet, for trying to talk me into letting them do an ultra-sound, x-rays, and an endoscope since the initial exam found nothing.
I don't understand why you are upset at this. If the problem has not been identified, then further diagnostic tests are needed. If you had severe stomach pain and went to the doctor's office and they failed to find anything with a physical exam, would you find it outlandish to get further tests done and go home, or undergo further tests to figure out what the problem was so you could treat it? She could be impacted or have a stomach tumour, in which case an X-ray and/or ultrasound would be exactly the steps needed to diagnose this.

I would take her back and get an X-ray immediately as this problem has gone on for long enough, but I cannot offer any specific advice. It does sound like a stomach problem, though, to me. The licking of the lips could be a sign of nausea. If she is impacted, delaying further diagnosis could result in waste building up inside her to the point where her intestines swell up like a balloon and ... well, you know where I'm going.

If Oreo has refused to eat, you need to syringe feed her. She already has had fatty liver disease, so you know how important this is. Take some of the wet food, mix it with warm water and force feed her using an eye dropper or syringe made for nursing kittens. This cannot wait.
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Old 03-23-2010, 06:20 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Sick 12 year old- not eatting, drinking

OK, so I'm confused...if you didn't do the xray, ultrasound etc, what did you spend $600 on? Exam, bloodwork and prescription food doesn't cost that much. If it did...a new vet should be considered. Holly had an exam, bloodwork, fecal, xray and sub-q fluids for $350 in December and while my vet isn't outrageously expensive, they're not cheap either.

If the only thing that was done was bloodwork, then additional tests definitely need to be done. There may be something going on that didn't impact the blood results like a tumor or obstruction.

I'm torn as to whether assist/force feeding would be appropriate at this point, I really think the additional tests need to be done immediately. Pushing food into her may just wind up being brought back up.

When you say lickey lick...I assume you mean she's licking her lips and possible drooling? I assume the vet checked her teeth and under her tongue well. Bad teeth will cause excessive salivation, as will something caught around her tongue. Both could cause her not to eat. Otherwise it's probably nausea which would have some sort of underlying cause.
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Old 03-23-2010, 06:38 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Sick 12 year old- not eatting, drinking

I'm sorry that your cat is ill. It does sound like she's quite nauseous (lip licking is a common sign of nausea in cats). I agree with the others that x-rays and/or ultrasound should be done to see if there are any obstructions in the GI tract. If she is obstructed, piling food behind the obstruction is only going to make matters worse. But if she doesn't get adequate nutrition very quickly, she may end up with hepatic lipidosis again. IOW, she needs additional diagnostics ASAP to rule out GI obstruction so that she can be safely assist fed.

Hyperthyroidism is a possibility with that sort of weight loss, though hyperT typically (but not always) involves ravenous appetite. Hopefully you'll have an answer on the hyperT tomorrow. Of course there could be more than one thing going on with your girl. That's why the rest of the diagnostics are so important.

Do you have copies of your cat's test results so far? If not, I strongly recommend you get them from your vet. I can't tell you how many times a vet has told me that everything looked "normal" in blood test results, only to have that not be the case at all once I reveiwed the results myself.

Which appetite stimulant did the vet prescribe? Did the vet discuss treating her for acid stomach (a common cause of nausea)?

Laurie
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Old 03-23-2010, 07:17 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Sick 12 year old- not eatting, drinking

Quote:
Originally Posted by doodlebug
OK, so I'm confused...if you didn't do the xray, ultrasound etc, what did you spend $600 on? Exam, bloodwork and prescription food doesn't cost that much. If it did...a new vet should be considered. Holly had an exam, bloodwork, fecal, xray and sub-q fluids for $350 in December and while my vet isn't outrageously expensive, they're not cheap either.

If the only thing that was done was bloodwork, then additional tests definitely need to be done. There may be something going on that didn't impact the blood results like a tumor or obstruction.

I'm torn as to whether assist/force feeding would be appropriate at this point, I really think the additional tests need to be done immediately. Pushing food into her may just wind up being brought back up.

When you say lickey lick...I assume you mean she's licking her lips and possible drooling? I assume the vet checked her teeth and under her tongue well. Bad teeth will cause excessive salivation, as will something caught around her tongue. Both could cause her not to eat. Otherwise it's probably nausea which would have some sort of underlying cause.
The $600 was for the exam, blood work ($470), two prescriptions, a UA, and the food. The estimate for ultrasound is at least 400, and the endoscope procedure would be several hundred has well. I was ticked at the vet because she said "well, we could try an x-ray" and I said "unless it's something plastic or metal the x-ray wouldn't show anything, right?" And then vet said "Yeah, that actually is correct."

I didn't mean to sound harsh in my first post, I'm worried sick, and frustrated because we can't pay for the tests she needs. We're waiting from a call back from the vet, I'll let everyone know what they say.
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Old 03-23-2010, 07:26 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Sick 12 year old- not eatting, drinking

$470 for a blood test!?!? What the heck!? I paid $125 for FULL blood work! Surely this is in pesos or something!

And your vet is WRONG about Xrays. You can see stool in the colon, kidney stones, and other foreign objects (string, etc) in the stomach.

I am flabbergasted by the incompetance of your vet. Please get a new one! I don't think I'm out of line in advising you to tell other people to stay away from this guy. Ugh!

An Xray should not cost more than $75 per "shot" (so $150 for a front and side view) and would be very informative. As far as I know and from my own experience, an ultrasound is usually reserved for when something is found in the xray that cannot be identified, or when an xray is inconclusive.
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Old 03-24-2010, 11:31 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Sick 12 year old- not eatting, drinking

Heard from the vet last night. She's calling in steriods to try because they got her eating when she was so sick a few years back. She still has not eaten, but last night she drank a fair amount of water from our sink, which is her thing. I think she saw the syringe of water I had and knew what was coming. Last night, she also rallyed for a bit. She got on my work desk and sat looking at the curtains so I opened them and she looked outside for a few minutes. Normally, she'd do that during the day when the sun is out for hours. She's also purring, so I don't think she is in any pain.

My vet is a VCA. Are they known for being pricey and/or idiots?
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Old 03-24-2010, 11:42 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Sick 12 year old- not eatting, drinking

Quote:
Originally Posted by laurief
Hyperthyroidism is a possibility with that sort of weight loss, though hyperT typically (but not always) involves ravenous appetite. Hopefully you'll have an answer on the hyperT tomorrow. Of course there could be more than one thing going on with your girl. That's why the rest of the diagnostics are so important.

Which appetite stimulant did the vet prescribe? Did the vet discuss treating her for acid stomach (a common cause of nausea)?

Laurie
I can't think of the appetite stimulant name at the moment. All I know is you apply it inside her ear every 3 days altering ears. Her thyroid results were "perfect" according to the vet. She told us to get 10mg of Pepcid to give to her. My mom bought them last night and we're going to try one tonight.

I'm thinking that the vet doesn't think this is life or death yet.
She hasn't told us to bring her back in yet, she wants to give the drugs a chance to work before tramatizing her again with an 30 minute car ride. Like I said they gave her fluids/nutrients under the skin on Monday afternoon, so it's really only been two days.
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Old 03-24-2010, 01:46 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Sick 12 year old- not eatting, drinking

Is she using the litterbox? You have not mentioned this at all and it is very important to know for her diagnosis. If not, I would get an Xray ASAP. Like, now.

Quote:
Like I said they gave her fluids/nutrients under the skin on Monday afternoon, so it's really only been two days.
Two days since she's eaten ANYTHING? YOU NEED TO FEED HER NOW. It doesn't matter how traumatized she is, she needs food. I don't understand how you let her go without food for more than 24 hours after we've warned you here and you've had previous experience with fatty liver disease. I'm sorry if I seem harsh, but this is so so so important. Water is not a substitute for food!
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Old 03-24-2010, 03:52 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Sick 12 year old- not eatting, drinking

Yes, she is using the litter box.

I heard from my Mom, she took the afternoon off from work to come home and give Ore the first dose of steriod. she gave her the steriod this afternoon, and she got another drink of water. She's had 5 or 6 pieces of dry food, and has licked wettened kitten food. She also had a lick or two of chicken flavored baby food. I won't be home for another three hours, but the second I walk in the door I'll make her eat something. The vet suggested we try chicken brooth so my mom went out to get some. I'm at school, there's nothing I can do for her right now.
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