Re: Old cat vomiting daily--pancreatitis?
Thanks for the warm welcome and comments. Up until yesterday, the only test that had been run was a basic blood chemistry panel at my primary vet's practice. After wondering if I was sliding down a slippery slope of medical bills for an old, sick cat, I bit the bullet and authorized an internal medicine specialist, who is affiliated with a larger hospital with more diagnostic tools at their disposal, to do a series of additional tests, including an ultrasound. (Total cost: $490). After looking over the test results and telling me that her blood looked pretty good, he said he suspects the problem is IBD or lymphoma. If money were no object, he said he'd recommend a biopsy to diagnose it conclusively, but a $2,500 surgery on a 15-year-old cat just isn't in the cards.
What we're going to try to do is give her a week with prednisolone (I think that's the name; I still haven't picked it up from the pharmacy). Since last night, she's eaten a couple of spoons of canned ID food and actually kept it down, which is good news. ID doesn't seem to have such a good reputation here, but I'm glad she's (so far) been able to keep it down. Are there other foods people recommend for cats with IBD/lymphoma?
If she doesn't show signs of improvement in a week, we'll have to decide what to do next. It's difficult to have to think about the option of euthanizing her, but my wife and I really don't want to break our budget just to keep her alive with such a greatly reduced quality of life. Spending all day sleeping in a closet or suffering from nausea, vomiting or diarrhea is not much of a life for a cat.
Edited to add: On the issue of fasting the cat, my primary care vet gave her two subcutaneous glucose injections during the week that he said would provide her with the necessary nutrients and electrolytes. She did perk up a bit after each shot. He did say there was a danger to withhold solid food from her for too long and he seemed to think a week was the absolute limit. I'll ask the internal medicine specialist next time I talk to him whether or not that fasting was a good idea.