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Old 09-05-2010, 05:14 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Please help! Cat not eating, lethargic...

First off, we head to the emergency vet's in 50 minutes. The vet's on a call right now.

Sickey hasn't eaten anything, less one or two temptation treats in at least 24 hours. He's turned to skin and bones overnight. He's fed a canned diet that he simply licks the moisture out of. His favourite treats that he'll do anything for, yucky Temptation treats still hold interest (he hears the bag and comes running, conditioned behaviour no doubt) but he can't eat them, or like just now, simply has no interest once they're in front of him.

He's still drinking.

He's been hiding in a back bedroom in one of our dog's beds, which is not a usual behaviour for him.

After some reading I'm praying that this is not kidney failure. He's only 3 years old. He has the herpes virus and recently was on antibiotics for another type of virus that causes mouth ulcers?

What could this be? What type of testing should the vet be doing?

Please, any type of advice or information is greatly appreciated!
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Old 09-05-2010, 05:42 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Give us an update of vet visit. Hope he can pull through this, whatever it is.
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Old 09-05-2010, 06:41 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Just got back from the vet, Sickey is staying the night with IV fluids.

Bloodwork was done, nothing is wrong with his kidneys, his pancreas levels (I don't know what) are a tad-bit high. Not too big of deal the vet said though. He's not on any kind of high fat diet (at least I don't think so, he eats Merricks, EVO, Natural Balance, BG canned foods).

No symptoms of a tumour, at least in his throat. No drooling, she can't see anything. He is severely dehydrated though (which is odd because in the past day that's all he's been doing is drinking).

She said it's possible he's just gotten himself dehydrated and now doesn't feel well to eat. He might just magically "get better" with IV fluids and that's all it was.

The other possibility is he has a stomach tumour, of which he'll be x-rayed tomorrow if he doesn't perk up with fluids.

I'm glad that it's not kidney failure or insufficiency, but at the same time, what the heck could be wrong with him? He's lost 1lb in the past 3 days. I weighed him myself and he was 10.5, just now at the vets he was 9.2. That's a significant amount of weight loss in that amount of time and it's very noticeable.

I'll definitely update with what happens tonight and tomorrow, at the least in case someone ever goes through this with their cat.

Thanks catloverami!
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Old 09-05-2010, 07:50 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I'm sorry you and Sickey are going through this. You must be worried sick. Possibly since he is dehydrated some of the weight loss could be water?
I hope you get good news and the IV fluids help him a lot.
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Old 09-06-2010, 10:16 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Pancreas levels test for diabetes in the cat. Your vet probably tested for that since some of the symptoms are weight lost and thirsty. I hope your kitty gets better soon.
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Old 09-06-2010, 07:28 PM   #6 (permalink)
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The more I'm reading the more I'm wondering how thoroughly she tested for diabetes.

He came home early this morning. They couldn't get an iv in him, well they got it in and taped, then he freaked out until he ripped it out. He got sub-q fluids a few times through the night at the office, he ate a bit of wet and dry food, than came home. She gave me the dry food he was eating but he hasn't eaten one piece yet today.

He's gone straight back to just wanting to lie away from everyone. I just took him outside for a quick look around with his brother in the yard and he perked up. I was hoping that would build up his appetite but nothing. He's only peed in the past 24 hours.

I'm at a loss at what to do here. He'll probably be going back to the vet tomorrow, but I don't know what they'll do either. Maybe it's a virus? He's on clavamox just in case it's some type of infection or virus.
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Old 09-06-2010, 07:53 PM   #7 (permalink)
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It's important to get him to eat. Have you tried tempting him with tasty things like tuna maybe? I've used plain meat gerber baby food to get sick cats to eat.
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Old 09-06-2010, 09:42 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Clavamox can be very hard on the stomach and make many cats nauseous, esp. if it's given on an empty stomach. When you speak to your vet tomorrow, ask if you can switch him to amoxicillin, which generally has fewer gastric side effects for most cats.

It is very important that he eat, so you may need to assist feed him if he won't take food on his own. The following links will help with assist feeding:

http://www.felinecrf.org/persuading_cat_to_eat.htm
http://www.assistfeed.com/

It sounds like he may be adequately hydrated at the moment, but if he doesn't start drinking tomorrow, you should ask your vet to teach you how to administer subQ fluids at home to prevent him from becoming dehydrated again. I can provide you with links to online tutorials for administering subQ fluids if you'd like to acquaint yourself with the procedure. It's really not difficult, and it can definitely be life-saving.

There are appetite stimulants that can be given to try to help get him eating again. Cyproheptadine worked well for my Billy at a dose of 1/8 pill once or twice daily. Mirtazapine is another drug used for appetite stimulation in cats, though it's important to start it at a low dose of 1/8 pill once every 3 days (in spite of the fact that most vets prescribe it at a higher dose). Higher doses cause some extremely unpleasant side effects in some cats, so it's always safer to start at the lower dose and increase slightly only if the lower dose is not effective.

If Sickey's blood glucose was elevated in his bloodwork, it'd be advisable to request a fructosamine test to check for diabetes. If his blood glucose was in normal range, then you needn't worry about diabetes.

Rapid weight loss and excessive thirst are also symptoms of hyperthyroidism, though that is typically (but not always) accompanied by ravenous appetite. It's not common for such a young cat to develop hyperT, but it's not unheard of, either. It wouldn't hurt to run a Total T4 to check his thyroid function, just to rule it out.

Laurie
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Old 09-07-2010, 12:16 AM   #9 (permalink)
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I'll check those links out once I'm done here Thanks for all the info.

I have tried feeding him everything I have. His absolutely favourite canned food in the world is Natural Balance's Tuna and Shrimp. He won't touch it. I've tried 3 or 4 other canned favourites he wants nothing to do with them. The dry food (no doubt Science Diet) that he ate at the vet's last night, he won't touch. I tried feeding him Temptations, he picks them up in his mouth, but when he goes to "huck it" into the back of his throat to bite it, it just falls out. I tried Mighty Lion treats, a bit more sucessful but he only ate one than lost interest. Lastly I tried feeding him hot dogs, absolutely nothing.

From the way he's having trouble eating the Temptation treats, I thought maybe there was something wrong with his teeth, but the vet said she checked his mouth and throat thoroughly last night and there was nothing to indicate there was a problem.

Right now, he still hasn't eaten, but he's at least wanting to lie around us like normal. I've been doing the pinch test regularly and he's still hydrated so I guess that's good news.

Thank you so much laurief for the info to ask my vet tomorrow. I'm definitely going to insist on some more bloodwork, possibly x-rays and to see if they have appetite stimulants available.

I'm going to read those links now. It's been over 12 hours since he's eaten last. Thanks again!

ETA - I've done everything I can mentioned on the page other than "assisted feeding". (some things I can't do because it's 12:30am here and I would have to go to the store). So I'm going to mix up some of his favourite canned and try to force it down. How much should I be trying to squirt down there? A tablespoon to start? More?

Last edited by RescueKitties; 09-07-2010 at 12:25 AM.
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Old 09-07-2010, 01:27 AM   #10 (permalink)
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First, don't squirt or force anything down his throat. When assist feeding, it is very important to slowly dribble food across his tongue rather than aiming it toward the back of his throat. By administering food across his tongue from the side, you give him time to properly position the food for swallowing. This is important because you don't want him to accidentally aspirate the food into his lungs.

The amount of food you give him depends on his cooperation and on how often you can feed him during the day. The goal is to get about 6 oz of canned food into him daily (or however much he usually eats), so just split that total amount into as many feedings as you can handle during the day.

You can use either an eyedropper or a needleless syringe for assist feeding. You can feed pretty much any kind of pate-style canned food through the dropper or syringe, though you'll probably have to puree it with a little water in your kitchen blender first to make it smooth enough to go through a syringe. Don't use too much water, though. It's a lot easier to syringe feed a thicker gruel than a really soupy one that your cat will be able to drool out easily. Also, your cat will be less likely to aspirate a thicker gruel. Keep it as thick as possible that will still go through the syringe.

From your description, and since the vet found nothing wrong inside his mouth, it sounds like he's feeling really nauseous. Poor baby. I hope he can hold the food down. If he can't, x-rays would be a good idea to check for signs of intestinal blockage.

Laurie
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