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10 year old cat not eating - tooth related issue

13663 Views 16 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  dweamgoil
I have a cat who will be 10 years old in July.

She has never been sick a day in her life.

The past few weeks she has dropped a large amount of weight (went from 9lbs to 7lbs).

She has stopped eating and drinking and because of this has not had any waste for the past few days.

I have noticed a grinding sound when she did eat.

Brought her to the vet, ran a thyroid test, full blood panel and everything came back in the normal range.

As I was feeding her the lunchmeat to distract her at the vet, he too noticed the grinding noise.

At closer inspection it looks like she has a infected tooth that needs to come out.

The vet didn't get the greatest view but is 99% sure that is what it is.

The plan from here is to sedate her, pull the infected tooth, inspect the others and pull what needs to be pulled.

The only issue is the only date for the extraction is Friday.

I have been syringe feeding her since last night.

6 ounces of canned wet food (Natural Planet Organics, Instinct, and Homestyle) mixed with a bit of water to make it soupy enough to go through the syringe per day.

She is done her antibiotics, she was only on it for a day or so because the vet felt like it wouldn't do much if the infection site wasn't drained first.

My main concern is her weight at this point. She is VERY skinny and I KNOW she is hungry because she keeps pawing at me for food, going to her food I have out (just in case) and sniffing and licking it. She keeps putting the pieces of chicken I offer her in her mouth and then spitting it out and repeating. Chicken is her utmost favorite food.

I am looking for advice as to what to do with her until her surgery date. I am going to call around Monday to see if someone can get her in sooner, but I don't know if it will be possible at this point.

So, any and all advice is welcomed.

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i'm sure someone else on here has syringe-fed before because i haven't. the best i can do is suggest meat baby food, but i don't think you should feed her only that until friday. that's an awfully long time.

don't you have a food processor where you can grind her food up into gravy? if she'll lick and not chew, that should be good. i hope she's drinking.

your cat can have serious health complications from not eating, like fatty liver syndrome and that kills cats, so you should be pretty concerned about this. i'm not saying you aren't, but it sounds pretty dire to me. not to scare you, but i'm sure you don't want anything bad to happen.

if you can get her to eat baby food, gerbers without onion is the one i use. i had a cat who had to have all of his teeth pulled and that's all he could eat for two weeks. this was 20 years ago and i didn't know i needed to supplement taurine and the vet didn't say anything, but i think you might.

i would seriously try to find a vet who can take care of her loooong before friday.
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Wouldn't the food I am feeding be better for her than the baby food?

I can't see how baby food would be better than what I am feeding now? I am giving her canned soft food diluted with a bit of water... ? I also have been adding a bit of pumpkin to it.

I am looking for a vet who will do the surgery before Friday, most around here are booked until Thursday or Friday.. not many choices unfortunately. :(

What food would I be grinding? The raw? I am supplementing with the canned food and I believe feeding her the appropriate amounts?

I understand that not eating is more serious than it sounds, which is why I am syringe feeding at this time.

Sorry, just a little confused as to your post..
Keep syringe feeding her as much and as often as possible. Get at least 6 oz of canned food into her daily - more, if possible. Also, offer her canned food gruel to lap up. Serve it slightly warmed. You can make a nice, thick, lappable gruel by pureeing canned cat food with a little hot water in a kitchen blender. Canned cat food is a better nutritional choice than baby food, esp. if you puree the canned cat food in a kitchen blender.

You can give her a nice caloric boost if you mix some Nutrical or Nutristat into her syringe food, but I wouldn't recommend mixing it into her free-fed gruel. If she isn't crazy about the taste of Nutrical (many cats aren't), it'll likely just make her reject any gruel you offer her to eat on her own.

Make sure that the vet runs fluids into your cat both during and after the dental procedure to keep her blood pressure up and protect her kidneys. Also, tell the vet NOT to give your cat Metacam (painkiller). If your girl needs a pain med, request Tramadol or Buprenex.

BTW, you should DEFINITELY continue to administer antibiotics up until the procedure and for at least a week afterwards. Antibiotics won't cure her tooth infection, but they will kill any bacteria that enters her bloodstream before the bad tooth is removed, and that's VERY important! If you need more antibiotics from your vet, request Clindamycin. That's the antibiotic of choice for dental infections. Clindamycin comes in liquid and pill forms. The liquid is extremely foul-tasting, so it can be nearly impossible to get your cat to swallow (they usually drool and foam it right back out). Pills are easier, but you have to be very careful to syringe at least 5 ml of water into your cat's mouth immediately after pilling to make sure the pill gets swallowed all the way down. If Clindamycin gets stuck in the cat's throat, it can cause damage to the throat.

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Laurie, thank you.

That is how we are proceeding right now. I thought I was on the right track, the last post threw me a bit. ;)

Good to know about the fluids and pain killer, never had dealt with this before so great information - THANK YOU.
It sounds like you're doing everything you can and Laurie gave you great advice. I would also like to add that even if you're stuck waiting till Friday, I would be looking for a new vet going forward. Your vet doesn't seem to be very concerned about your cat (or you) know that this cat has been losing weight, needs to be syringe fed, is in pain and then make her wait a week for the surgery is just cold imo. I can understand why a new vet might not squeeze you in, but if this is someone you've been going to for a while there's no excuse for not doing it sooner.
I agree, and will be looking for a new vet.

The thing is, this vet that I am using I do not use on a regular basis.

I was a student until last summer and always brought my animals home to my parents vet when needed. I never needed an e-vet until this year and our e-vet here where I am living does only emergency cases.

So in reality, "my" vet does not know me very well anyways, and I would say does not agree with how I raise my animals (minimal vaccines and raw fed and holistically treated as much as possible) and likes to give me the lecture every time we go in. I know it probably has nothing to do with waiting or what-not but there is that factor as well. Put on top of it that I am a young female, I think HE thinks I am just being "silly" with this way of raising my animals.
With all of those additional factors, for sure a new vet. There are good ones out there...
As someone who is trying to get their cat to gain weight, I can say I'm where you are now. Although we don't know why our 11 yr old gal has gotten so thin(could be stress from losing her companion in November or it could be old age), we knew we had to intervene and get her extra calories. Right now, our regimine is syringe feeding her turkey or chicken baby food with ground up cat food in it. It adds bulk and much-needed nutrients. Since we started doing it, she seems to have gained a little bit back, although she has a long way to go. I feed her two tsps of the baby/cat food up to six times a day. On top of that, I feed her tunafish twice a day and we have the dry food out all the time. When she's not being chased around by the kitten we also have, she munches a bit here and there.

What I would suggest is maybe grinding up her favorite food and mixing it with gravy. It would probably make it a little easier for her to eat.
Thanks a bunch, I have tried that and it is available for her at all times - no luck. She isn't even smelling it at this point.

She drank some water this morning when I offered her it, and then proceeded to throw up some of the food from last night.

I have her crated (all of my cats/dogs are crate trained) in a 48" wire crate with her litter box, three types of food, water, chicken broth and her carrier with the door off and a bed inside. She has basically been sleeping in the carrier the whole time.

I called the e-vet again this morning as I was going to bring her in after she vomited and was told that since it is a dental issue, they would give her something for the nausea and then refer me back to my vet!

I am beyond frustrated at this point. I literally ended up yelling at the e-vet when she came onto the phone after I got done with the tech first.

I also called my regular vet and left a message about what had happened and that I felt it was NECESSARY she get in first thing when they open.

I am scared for her, extremely angry and frustrated with the vets in this area and beyond stressed out. I also haven't been sleeping due to this and laid by her crate all night just in case she needed me.

Thanks for the support .. I understand no one "knows" me here, but it is much appreciated.
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I have her crated (all of my cats/dogs are crate trained) in a 48" wire crate with her litter box, three types of food, water, chicken broth and her carrier with the door off and a bed inside.
OK, I've read back through your posts, and I have a few insights to offer. First, refusing to even sniff food AND teeth grinding may indicate nausea. She may very well also have dental problems, but teeth grinding alone doesn't necessarily indicate that.

If I were you, I would remove ALL of the food and the chicken broth from her crate. If she is nauseous, all of that food is probably only exacerbating the situation. About the worst thing you can do to a nauseous cat is overwhelm her with food smells. Instead, offer her very small meals every 3-4 hrs. If she has no interest in eating on her own, remove the food and syringe feed her on that same schedule, instead. Don't leave food sitting in front of her for more than a few minutes at a time.

I don't know why you have her crated, but I would be inclined to open the crate and let her choose whether or not she wants to be in there. The idea is to allow her to choose her environment (as long as you can maintain easy access to her) so that she can feel as comfortable as possible while she's ailing.

If you have copies of all of her recent lab results, please post them to this thread, including the lab's reference ranges, so that we can take a look. I can't tell you how many times a vet has told me that test results were "normal", only to discover that they absolutely were NOT normal once I was able to review them myself. It's alarming how many vets seem to ignore or overlook critical clues in bloodwork. It's also important to understand that values in the "normal" range don't necessarily mean that they are "normal" for your specific cat. Some values will be higher or lower in younger cats than they are in older cats. That age variation needs to be taken into account. And some "normal" values really aren't "normal" at all. For instance, a cat's kidney values won't elevate above the "normal" range until at least 2/3 of kidney function has already been lost. So if your cat's renal values are at the upper end of the "normal" range, there's almost certainly already significant loss of renal function. Bottom line here - you should ALWAYS obtain copies of ALL lab results to keep at home so that you can go over them, reference them in queries like this thread, and use them when researching your cat's condition online.

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^^^ this. especially about getting test results, familiarizing yourself with the results and double-checking them. otherwise you're going to be blaming the vet after the fact but it will be too late. i'd rather offend a vet a little (although a good one won't be offended, (s)he will be glad you're taking a proactive stance with your cat) than have a pet die because i just took his word for something. i know a lot of people wait until they have a badly infected tooth to go to the emergency room or get it pulled but humans don't go months with the pain until they start losing weight because we know it hurts. animals can't tell us and cats especially tend to hide pain. it's a protective mechanism so they don't look weak to predators, not a stoic issue. i'm not lecturing you in a harsh way, i'm just stressing that it's more important to have a vet you trust than it probably is to have a gp you can rely on.

i don't know if it works for some people, but i would NEVER use an e-vet. that seems like using an e-doctor. how are they even supposed to know without seeing the animal? so what are you paying for, them to tell you if you should take the animal in? it's been my experience that if i "thought" a cat needed to go to the vet, they did. i've called a 24-hr. vet before and they were extremely helpful in telling me what to do and how to tell if i needed to get in immediately (and i didn't need to, thank god) and i didn't have to pay for anything.

also, the antibiotic thing is important. just because it isn't a cure, it will often keep an infection at a manageable level until surgery, and that's important. i've had to have surgery for infections and also had to wait a week and antibiotics at least kept my temp below 105 so i didn't cook my brain. (which is debatable some times lol).

let us know after she gets surgery, hopefully. finally.
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Sorry I haven't updated this thread.. it was just too difficult to come here and read this.. Monkey did not make it.. she was rushed to the vet shortly after my last post because she seemed 'off' and it was there were we did more test (blood, snap, ultrasound, etc.) and gave more fluids that it was apparent something else was going on due to her levels.

I took her home and then had to return a day later because she turned yellow... she went into liver failure... we are not sure why it happened so quickly, even the vets are stumped over this.

I contacted a vet that I have worked closely with for many years and read off her results.. it was conclusive that she would/could not recover from this..

I sent her to the bridge shortly after... it was the single most difficult thing I have ever done in my life.. I have sent one other of my pets to the bridge a few years ago, but she was quite old and it was her time.. I feel Monkey's life was cut short...

I am having a difficult time dealing with this..

Thank you for all your information and support during this..
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I'm so sorry. I know how hard it is, and the shock of having everything happen so quickly.
So sorry for your loss. Run free, Monkey.
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