Cat won't eat; first visit to vet was not helpful - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
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post #1 of 44 (permalink) Old 09-01-2011, 09:40 AM Thread Starter
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Cat won't eat; first visit to vet was not helpful

One of my cats has stopped eating. She ate very little on Sunday, and nothing at all on Monday.

I took her to the vet on Tuesday morning. He gave her some fluids, and also an injection to stimulate her appetite. On Tuesday evening, she eat a tiny bit of wet food. Since the vet visit, and until now, she has at least been drinking water.

However, she has gone back to not eating at all.

She sleeps for almost 24 hours a day. Sometimes she will sit up and in the same place for 30 minutes or more with her eyes closed like she is drowsy and falling asleep whilst sitting up. This is behaviour that she never did while she was healthy.

She never plays since becoming ill.

Since she has become ill, I have occasionally heard her take strong a noticeable breaths, as if she had trouble breathing. I told that to the vet on Tuesday, and he dismissed it as not a serious issue. He said something about checking her mouth to see if she gets air, but he talked too fast, so that I couldn't follow exactly what he said.

I think she may have a lung issue but the vet is being too dismissive of that possibility? What do you think?

The vet told me on Tuesday that if she does not get better, I'll have to bring her in again and have blood work done on her.

Is blood work the best way to determine what the problem is?

I do not have an unlimited amount of money, hence I am trying to minimize the costs of vet treatment. I'd prefer not to pay for blood work if after the blood work is done, the vet is going to say: "her blood is normal." That's what happened the last time the vet did blood work on her due to another illness; I wasted ~$250 on that blood work. I don't have piles of $250s to throw around like they are water.

Don't get me wrong, I am willing to pay to get my cat better. I just want to make sure the services I'm paying for are absolutely necessary and helpful towards solving the problem, and hopefully not to bankrupt myself in the process of paying to get her better.

My cats are both indoor cats, and never go outside, ever.

She 100% does not have FIV, because both the breeder and my vet tested her for that previously (which is part of what wasted my $250 last time), and she has never been exposed to any way of getting that.

Can you guys please advise me:

1. What do you think the possible causes might be for my cat having stopped eating?

2. What are the possible solutions to this problem?

3. Is blood work the best way to identify and solve the problem, or are there better tests instead? I.e. would blood work determine if it's a worm or lung problem with my cat?

4. What should I advise my vet to do in order so that I can minimize my costs in getting this problem fixed?
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post #2 of 44 (permalink) Old 09-01-2011, 10:40 AM
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How old is your cat and what breed is it? Are there any health problems that your breeder knows about with your breed of cat? e.g. hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.
Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy in Cats on MedicineNet

Do the strong breaths happen after minor exertion? Did your vet check for any heart problem? If you aren't happy with the vet, I would consider a second opinion from another vet. Not eating is worrisome. Can you tempt her to eat with Fancy Feast? or plain chicken baby food? Even a gel supplement like Nutripet (from your vet) may give her energy to feel like eating. Another possibility is an intestinal blockage, though usually there is vomiting with that. I would opt for an X-ray. I certainly hope your vet (or another one) can find out what's wrong, and you'll give us an update. All the best for you and your cat.

Last edited by catloverami; 09-01-2011 at 10:43 AM.
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post #3 of 44 (permalink) Old 09-01-2011, 10:50 AM Thread Starter
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My cat is a few days under 12 months old. She is a maine coon.

I am not aware of any health problems that she might have due to breed.

The breath problems occur while she is laying down and stretched out, as if she is about to go to sleep. Although she was awake during the times when I noticed the breath problems.

The problem with getting a second opinion is that most of the vets in my area are a lot more expensive than the one I go to; they would bankrupt me even faster.

What I would like to do is to go back to the same vet office and insist that they identify the problem right on that visit. I could use some help on how to make sure that the vet does that.

I suspect what will happen when I go back is: the vet will do blood work, charge me $250, then call me the next day and say that her blood is normal.

Any advice on how I can force my vet to identify the problem and not charge me for irrelevant services would be much appreciated.

Is the problem likely to be solved by an x-ray moreso than blood work?

What is the most likely way to identify the problem in one attempt?

Tempting her with food won't work. Normally she goes crazy to eat dry food whenever I mention it with my voice, and even moreso when she sees it in front of her (even though I do not feed her dry food often). Since she has become ill, she has zero interest in that same food.

The vet did not check for any heart problem. He just checked her weight, asked me if she has experienced a stressful event recently (she hasn't), asked me if she fights with my other cat (she doesn't), and asked me if she ate anything strange (as far as I know, she did not).

Then he charged me $50 for an office visit and $45 for injections.

Last edited by coonconnoisseur; 09-01-2011 at 10:55 AM.
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post #4 of 44 (permalink) Old 09-01-2011, 10:57 AM
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There are no guarantees of diagnosis with any tests that may be run on your cat. That's why they're diagnostic tests - because the vet doesn't know what's wrong and is trying to find out. If the vet knew what was wrong, testing wouldn't be necessary.

Blood testing can answer a lot of questions, but it may or may not provide a diagnosis of your cat's problem. Since your cat has eaten very little for more than 4 days, hepatic lipidosis is a significant concern, and that can be diagnosed through bloodwork. Still, even if your cat has developed HL, that may only be a secondary (and potentially lethal) condition to the original problem.

Your description of occasional heavy breathing and "sleeping" sitting up sounds to me like your cat may be experiencing pain. I wouldn't be surprised if your vet also recommends abdominal x-rays and/or ultrasound to check for obstructions or other abdominal abnormalities, and I don't think those tests would be out of line if bloodwork doesn't definitively diagnose the problem. Of course, there's a chance that they won't be able to diagnose the problem, either.

From your description, it sounds to me like your cat is in very serious condition and requires immediate veterinary care and diagnostic testing if you want to save your cat. I can certainly understand and relate to your financial concerns, but the longer you delay, the worse your cat's prognosis for recovery. At the very least, you should have spent much of the last four days assist feeding her to try to protect her liver from HL. She's certainly not going to recover if she's starving herself, and it's up to you to get food into her if she won't eat on her own.

It's also your responsibility to find a vet who will treat this problem with the seriousness it deserves and who will not blow off your concerns as you seem to think your current vet has done. Of course without being there to hear what the vet said, I'm making that judgement based solely on your post. If your vet spoke too quickly for you to understand, it's your responsibility to ask questions until you DO understand what the vet is telling you.

Your cat needs a diagnosis and appropriate treatment, and that's going to cost money. There's a possibility that you won't get a diagnosis or effective treatment even after spending a lot of money. Unfortunately, the only guarantee here is that if your cat continues to not take in food, she will die.

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post #5 of 44 (permalink) Old 09-01-2011, 11:14 AM
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I can understand the stress you are having with your cat being sick.

My first bit of advice would be to get a second opinion. Call around to the other vets in the area and explain the situation. They may have some payment options. I know a few vets that offer "Care Credit", it is a credit card for medical expenses.

When my little Lila was sick they didn't know what the cause was and me being neurotic made them test to r/o anything serious. Blood work should only be around 100 and x-rays are also around 100. You would be probably looking at 250-300 for the diagnostic testing and vet visit + medication. Altought this is a lot of is ease of mind.
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post #6 of 44 (permalink) Old 09-01-2011, 11:17 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks your posts.

My vet didn't recommend for me to force feed my cat. Should he have?

I certainly will do everything I can to save my cat.

I'll take her back to the vet today.

What do I need to do while I am at the vet?

Should I demand that the vet gives me force feeding instructions and equipment so that I can force feed her today?

If the vet says to do blood work and wait for the results (which will come in tomorrow if the blood work is done today), should I just accept that and then go home?

Or, do I have to do more things while I'm at the vet today?
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post #7 of 44 (permalink) Old 09-01-2011, 12:14 PM
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Your cat is very ill and needs to see a vet more waiting. HCM is very prevalent amongst Maine Coons and breathing issues are a symptom. There are no guarantees when you have diagnostic tests done. You have a cat with a serious problem that you need to get resolved. Stop quibbling or it's quite possible you will lose this cat. Sorry if I sound harsh, but you need to get moving...

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post #8 of 44 (permalink) Old 09-01-2011, 12:26 PM
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I would not force feed the cat- it is only going to stress the cat out more. I would ask your vet about recommendations for providing nutrition for your cat since it is not eating. Maybe they could give the cat some fluids? This is inexpensive and usually makes the kitty feel alot better.

I think the blood work is a good idea.
Just make sure you ask questions and how you should be taking care of your cat when its sick. I know sometimes it is hard because we feel so helpless.

Best of Luck and let us know how it goes.
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post #9 of 44 (permalink) Old 09-01-2011, 12:33 PM
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You should definitely have your cat's heart checked....that is why I gave you that link. I hope it's not heart but as Doodlebug also mentioned I know that this is a problem with some Maine Coones.
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post #10 of 44 (permalink) Old 09-01-2011, 01:10 PM Thread Starter
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I called my vet's office at 8 a.m. this morning, when they opened, and asked to talk to the vet. I was told the vet who examined my cat on Tuesday was off until Monday. I asked to speak to another vet there, and was told one would call me back by 10 a.m. No one did. I made a subsequent call and said I'd like to just come in with my cat, but then they said the doctor was leaving at noon today and they aren't sure what they can do for me in terms of bringing my cat in (even though their business card list their hours from 8 a.m. - 7 p.m. today). They still said the doctor would call me back at noon, which he didn't.

I did some quick research and made an appointment with another vet today, who I've never been to before. I'll do my best to discuss HCM and all the issues with her, and do all the tests she recommends. I'm leaving for that appointment shortly after I make this post.

Although I asked the receptionist at the new vet if they could test for HCM there, and she said "You can definitely discuss that with the doctor, but there isn't a single test for that."

What did she mean that there isn't a single test for that?
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