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Old 02-06-2013, 09:25 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Unhappy Abdominal Distension

My cat, Kiki, has abdominal distension with fluids in her tummy. A few days ago, all of the sudden, we noticed her stomach becoming big. We brought her to the vet and they drained some of her fluid from her (approx a cup) which looked yellowish with some blood in it. The vet could also feel something in her abdomen, but could not really say what it is, as there was too much fluid. Dr said that it could be a tumor, perhaps heart, liver or kidney failure.... She had no temperature, and only lost a pound since her last visit. They gave her a steroid shot.I could have had her x-rayed, and seen what it could be, only to know what it is, without being able to help her heal...

Kiki is 19 years old. I have had her since she was a 6 week old kitten. I am so heartbroken and helpless.

Now a few days later she looks like she is still gaining more fluid. The vet says that she could drain more from her if she feels uncomfortable. But she also said that it could come back just as quickly. I am so confused.
Kiki is still in great spirits, she eats, drinks and her stool looks normal. She does sleep a lot more, and walks around much slower with lots of sitting down in between. She is a small cat of only 7lbs... We have been cuddling a lot on the couch together these last few days.

I am hoping that perhaps someone out there has been through this, and can share their experience with me. Either way, thanks for listening.
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Old 02-07-2013, 12:23 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Vivid- I am so sorry to hear this. Two thoughts come to mind. First is cancer, as you have mentioned. The second is FIP, there are two stages, wet and dry. One of those stages involves fluid accumulation. I had a little kitten with FIP, dropped so much wait, then we thought we were seeing weight coming back on. He took a horrible turn for the worse and when he was rushed to the vet, she said that he had actually dropped weight and the thickness we'd seen was the fluid accumulating around his organs. Have you done blood tests? Sometimes they can determine things just from that. Did your vet test the fluid that was drained? I know x-rays can seem expensive, so blood work is usually a good option if you can't do x-rays. Sometimes, even if there is nothing that can be done, knowing helps the healing process. And if there is something that can be done, or at the very least, make her comfortable, that's always a benefit too. I'm so so sorry to hear this. Hurts the heart, I know. Good luck and keep us updated.
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Old 02-07-2013, 01:38 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Abdominal Distension

My first thought was FIP too. Older cats and kittens tend to be victims. But then the other symptoms aren't there. What does your vet believe it to be?


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Old 02-07-2013, 09:27 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Unfortunately the vet did no tests whatsoever. She seemed to have just given up on Kiki because of her age. I was not at the vet with her as I had to work, my husband went alone. The vet also seemed to think that Kiki looked frail, but Kiki is just herself and may have acted sluggish and slow at the vet as she hates getting in her carrier and stresses all the way there in the car. So of course she was all worn out by the time hubby got her to the vet. Perhaps I should go get another opinion?
This morning Kiki was up and about and greeted me loudly demanding food - I love my baby so much.
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Old 02-07-2013, 09:51 AM   #5 (permalink)
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If it was me, I'd get a 2nd opinion based only on what I've read here. But that has to be an individual decision.

In any case, continue with the "cuddling a lot on the couch together" treatment. That's a health care plan that's a winner regardless of what the diagnosis might be.
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Old 02-07-2013, 09:55 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I agree with Nebraska. I had the same problem with my vet, not treating me and my little FIP kitty with respect so I did some research and found an awesome vet. I truly believe that vet gave me extra time with my baby boy. But it is an individual decision. I also agree with the "Cuddling a lot on the couch together" therapy. It's the best therapy for both of you, whatever may happen in the future. Keep us updated!
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Old 02-08-2013, 03:39 AM   #7 (permalink)
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I'm really sorry about your kitty.

Ascites (fluid in the abdomen) can be infectious or not infectious. I'm not too sure about cats, but in humans its often caused by liver failure (you'll also see prolonged bleeding, yellowing of the white of the eyes/skin over time). Its true that when you drain the ascites it just comes back (and in the mean time it makes your cat SUPER dehydrated because it pulls off fluid from everywhere else and puts it into the belly) so in humans we try not to drain it often. An AST/ALT blood test (liver function tests) those would rule out that cause, however I'm not sure what a vet would do about it. In humans its managed with dietary changes (low-fat, low-protein, high-complex carbohydrate starch-based diet) and medication, but they still have the underlying problem of liver failure. Humans with ascites & liver failure do okay until their liver gets really bad - which could be years.

A tumor is also a possibility - but especially with the fluid - you won't be able to feel anything. I don't know how vets usually work that up. Your vet was likely thinking of a soft-tissue tumor, and an x-ray probably wouldn't show that unless that cat also had intestinal obstuction or something. Plus, with the fluid, it would be harder to see on xray. So it's good you avoided that. Heart failure is another story. If you have left heart failure - you mainly get fluid in the lungs & your cat would be short of breath & you could hear that the breathing doesn't sound clear if you put your ear next to their rib cage; right heart failure you could get ascites - but only because the blood backs up to the liver (kinda the same mechanism as liver failure).

If its infectious, the abdomen would be tender and the cat would likely have a fever (doesn't sound like she has this)

With regards to the weight - your kitty may have lost weight (actual mass) but regained it in fluid weight - making you think she didn't lose weight.

In any case, I agree with all of the above. "Cuddling a lot on the couch" therapy. Speaking of which, I'm going to go cuddle with my own sick kitty.

I hope yours pulls through.
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Old 02-08-2013, 03:52 AM   #8 (permalink)
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forgot to mention - you don't want them sticking needles in and draining it - not only for the dehydration part or the fact it will come right back, but #1 because it could introduce bacteria and that is BAD NEWS (humans ~30% mortality). So if you feel comfortable not doing it - I'd avoid it as long as possible.
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Old 02-08-2013, 12:34 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Thanks, everyone, for the replies and concerns. Kiki is still in good spirits and is breathing fine, I hear no rasping, although she is having difficulties carrying that weight around her tummy. I placed little step stools where she would normally be able to jump on to herself (like my bed) since I had to assist her getting on the bed in the middle of the night. Poor baby. But still, she shows no signs of being ill. Her tummy is huge and I am afraid she is going to burst...
I know I gave her a wonderful life, having her since she was 6 weeks old and now being over 19 years old. We went through a lot of adventures together. She is such a great companion, I am not sure I can ever find another cat like her.
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Old 02-08-2013, 05:36 PM   #10 (permalink)
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There wont be another Kiki, that's for sure. But there are many kitties that are great kitties looking for forever homes. It's up to you how you choose to proceed and it's completely respected (on my side). I wouldn't throw the towel in just yet since she is in good spirits, eating, drinking, etc. I would go to another vet and see if they can do a blood test and see what is going on, at the very least, if they say that this is the end, then you can make the decisions you need to make, make the preparations you need to make, spend that time with her and maybe even the vet can give you something that will help her with pain when that time comes, etc. My heart is with you and Kiki! Keep us posted on how she's doing.
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