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Discussion Starter #1
So, background... my kitten Bear has had intermittent diarrhea since I got him in July. First it was horrible, incessant and scalding his butt. He had roundworms and coccidia, though, so we figured that was the cause. My regular vet mentioned that there are protozoa that are hard to find in a fecal smear as well, but that we'd see how treatment went for the first two lovely parasites. Of course, even after Bear's stool tested negative for both the roundworms and coccidia, he continued to have diarrhea on and off, so my vet said that he thought Bear had tritrichomonas foetus and that it is not abnormal for them to not have seen it in Bear's stool tests. He said that if that was the case, Bear could continue having diarrhea on and off for 5-9 months or longer. As the diarrhea has continued sporadically, I believe his diagnosis.

However, Bear has now had diarrhea for four days straight, and it is currently squirting out at the consistency of thin broth. Worried that he might be dehydrated, I called the vet's office to get an opinion as to whether or not I needed to bring him in, or if the vet had something he would send home for Bear, etc. Unfortunately, as it figures, my vet is on vacation for the next week. The receptionist said she'd ask one of the other vets at the practice for her opinion. Of course, she ends up asking the one that I was already unsure about, as she'd seen Bear the day before he almost died and had not noticed much of anything wrong. Now I feel like she's completely incompetent.

She decided that since we didn't have an affirmative test for tritrichomonas that Bear must have a digestive issue instead, completely disregarding the opinion of the vet that has seen Bear almost every visit through his illness. She has only seen Bear twice, once that I mentioned earlier, and another time just to recheck him and his stool for parasites. She didn't want to see Bear, disregarded my concerns about dehydration, and tried to make me buy canned i/d food (prescription food for digestive issues) and Tylan powder (an antibiotic) for Bear.

I looked up the i/d food, and the ridiculous stuff is about 29% carbs dry weight... if cats have trouble digesting carbs, why on earth would I give him more of them when he's having digestive troubles?! The food I currently have him on is only 6% carbs and is grain free. Additionally, how is it a good idea to be killing off bacteria in Bear's gut? The antibiotic will kill both the bad AND the good bacteria and she did not give me any probiotics to replace the good bacteria. I flat out refused the i/d food and took the powder, as she was not offering anything else. I tried feeding the powder mixed into Bears food as directed and he hates it... it took him 2 hours to eat what was in the bowl.

So, now I'm sitting here ticked off, thinking that this vet is an idiot and that my poor cat still has no help. I'm planning on scheduling a visit with the third vet in the practice tomorrow if Bear still has diarrhea, and am going to tell the office that I no longer want any visits or advice from today's vet. Am I being self righteous and sticking my opinion where it does not belong, or am I being reasonable? I don't want to cause a big stink if she's being sensible, but it really feels to me like she is not. Opinions? Advice?
 

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Discussion Starter #2
I forgot to mention, I think Bear has thrown up twice in the past two days but I'm not sure. The first time I heard it I was in bed and by the time I got up and put the light on, I couldn't tell whether it was Bear or Yoshi that did it, and Yoshi was nearer to the puke, so I figured it was him. Then early this morning I heard hacking again, turned on the light, and saw Bear in the litter box making the hacking noise. He then covered something in the box, but he covered it, and when I got up I could not find anything that was definitely not pee or poo, so I'm not sure if he got up anything or not. Since he did that, though, I figure he was the "puker" the first time as well. Tritrichomonas does not cause vomiting but that also does not mean he has digestive problems. Of course, she didn't want to see him to test for anything else.
 

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I would strongly consider trying a different vet group - for a second opinion.
Even better a feline vet group.
 

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I know a lot of people may not agree with me, but if it were my kitten, I would at least TRY the I/D food. I know it's not grain free, but some times the grain free stuff is just too rich for kittens. If it doesn't work, it doesn't work, but if it does, then you can go from there, and at LEAST he's not having such horrible diarrhea. If it continues much longer, I would think that Bear is at risk of severe dehydration and death. :( The second he starts acting lethargic, I'd be taking him to an emergency vet.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Mom of 4 unfortunately I live in the country and there are no specific feline vets around, but if Bear gets sicker before my regular vet gets back then I may take him to the other veterinary office in the area. BrnTabbyLvr, dehydration is how Bear almost died the day after this new vet saw him, so I was concerned, but apparently she's not worried about seeing him for it now... 0_o Luckily he's drinking and I've been monitoring his capillary refill rate and skin elasticity and neither are very slow yet. As for the i/d food, I'm not as worried about the grain free aspect of it as I am about the overall carb content that is 3 times the recommended maximum level, as well as the fact that changing a cat's diet can cause digestive upset in and of itself.
 

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I would go to a different vet clinic for a second opinion. You should be able to request a copy of all of the records regarding your kitten. If they ask why, tell them you're seeking a second opinion.

Have you thought about asking the clinic to call your regular vet? Even if he's on vacation, he should be willing to take a quick phone call.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I thought about asking them to call him but I don't want to harass him during his rare personal time... the poor man already sees me about once a week between Bear being sick all the time, and Yoshi and Tugs needing vaccinations/boosters... I look like a vet stalker / hypochondriac (thought I can't help that Bear really is sick) and I don't want to tick him off and make him refuse to see my cats because I think he's one of the more enlightened, up-to-date vets in my rather rural, behind-the-times area. If I'm not satisfied with what the third vet has to say or what she does, I'll either ask them to call him or go to the other vet clinic for a second opinion. Boo for incompetent vets, making life unnecessarily complicated :p if you're not good at something or your heart isn't in it, don't do it... you don't see me trying to be a brain surgeon!
 

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Hmmm... this is tricky. I know how it is to live in a rural area and have limited options for vet care. Rather than tell the vet office that you don't want to talk to the second vet anymore (which will certainly create some tension), I'd just go to the other vet practice and have them request the kitten's records if they need them. Who knows, they may not even need them if you can tell them everything that's been done so far and what has been tried. Even if they do need the records, chances are, a receptionist will get the request for records and I highly doubt he/she will take the time to inform the vet(s) that you've gone to another vet.

It's good that you know what to watch for as far as dehydration... sounds like Bear is in good hands. :)
 

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I could write volumes on my burning hatred for all Science Diet prescription diet products.

And how could grain free food possibly be "too rich" for kittens? Kittens don't graze on grains during the first few months of their lives. Once they're on solid food, they eat what Mom eats or what they can catch. There are no prey animals running around labeled "Kitten Food".

::takes a breath::

Minikin, you are totally being reasonable! Bear is your little kitty, a LIVING CREATURE, and that second vet is acting as if he's a toy that just needs a battery change. I'm constantly amazed and horrified at how *some* vets act as though our pets are on a conveyor belt, and barely spend a moment "diagnosing" them. I'd have thought that most vets become vets because they LOVE animals - not because they want to ignore the owner's concerns and bulldoze forward with what THEY want to do.

Basically, screw the prescription diet food. Science Diet is absolute crap, even besides the 5+ grain ingredients. It's incredibly low quality and, as you said, Minikin, it goes AGAINST every logical nutritional do-and-don't for cats. Like I said before, I could go on for days about how horrible SD is, but I'll restrain myself ;p

I think it's probably okay to give Bear the antibiotic (you might as well), but you might want to look into picking up a probiotic supplement as well.

FortiFlora® Cat Nutritional Supplements | Purina Veterinary Diets
Probiotics: A Dietary Powerhouse for Your Cat | Little Big Cat
"Choose a probiotic supplement that contains at least Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria."

Although the first one (FortiFlora) is for cats specifically, I do believe you can even use "human" probiotics on kitties for a beneficial effect.

The probiotics might help his digestion in general.

I have a box of FortiFlora for my cat - there's no way she could finish the whole box herself since I only give her a part of a packet per day, so I could always send half the box your way if you wanted to try it without investing in a full box.

Has your normal vet considered that Bear might have IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) or maybe even food allergies? IBS can be easily treated with prednisone, and if he has food allergies, it's just a matter of switching foods around. (I'm wondering about the allergies and IBS since he already HAS been treated for the parasites.)

You may want to go see that third vet even if Bear's diarrhea staves off a bit, as he might be dehydrated by now. They might want to give him a quick IV of fluids just to keep him safe. I've also heard you can give unflavored Pedialyte to cats :}

Keep us updated on Bear! He's got a special place in my heart, being a graybrother to Win ;}
 

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I went through something similar with my cat Anna. Since I got we from the rescue she had chronic loose stool but it got worse and became water with mucas dripping out. She would leave poo/mucas marks everywhere. Took her to the idiot vet who treated her for giardia before she even tabs fecal. Tested her for every parasite under the sun, etc. all came back normal. Said it could be digestive and recommend to put her on medical gastro intestinal dry and wet (prescription diet made by royal canin. No meat it's all grain). Obviously that didn't work and my other cat started eating it and that made her ill too. So took the food back and the vet told me I must be sneaking them treats because if she ate nothing but that then it would cure her bowl issues. I laughed. She gave me prednisone to try on her and it did nothing.

So I went back and she said all she could tell me is to put her back on that gross food. I never went back again . She kept having diarreah and I was experimenting with foods and put her on a grain free fish free wet only diet. That seemed to do it. No more stinky gas, no more mucas, no more loose stool and now she poos once a day vs 3-4.

Sounds like your cat has an actual illness though. I'd try and hold off until he returns unless its really bad. Just monitor his food and water intake and litter box habits
 

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If your original vet is suspecting T. Foetus...has he sent out the stool sample for that specific test (it's not something they're going to find in the normal testing they do in house). And why hasn't he treated for it? There are meds for it.

You don't mention what you're currently feeding and how much? Kittens can get diarrhea from overeating, so I'm wondering if that can be a factor here.

I would not be inclined to feed the i/d. I would try a course of metronidazole (Flagyl)...yes it's an antibiotic, but it will often clear up unexplained diarrhea very quickly. Just supplement with a probiotic and digestive enzymes while he's on it. I wouldn't use Fortiflora, one of the primary ingredients is animal digest (google it if you're not familiar). There are lots of good quality probiotic supplements for pets or use human product.

As a side note...Holly had on and off diarrhea as a kitten. Turned out she has a sensitivity to fish. Since I was rotating canned foods, some days she would get fish, others she wouldn't...so the diarrhea would come and go. If you rotate foods you might want to look for an ingredient that varies and corresponds to the problem.
 

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Mom of 4 unfortunately I live in the country and there are no specific feline vets around, but if Bear gets sicker before my regular vet gets back then I may take him to the other veterinary office in the area. BrnTabbyLvr, dehydration is how Bear almost died the day after this new vet saw him, so I was concerned, but apparently she's not worried about seeing him for it now... 0_o Luckily he's drinking and I've been monitoring his capillary refill rate and skin elasticity and neither are very slow yet. As for the i/d food, I'm not as worried about the grain free aspect of it as I am about the overall carb content that is 3 times the recommended maximum level, as well as the fact that changing a cat's diet can cause digestive upset in and of itself.
Poor Bear!

I would def. ry taking him to a completely different office.
 

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I would be cautious about using Flagyl, esp. in a kitten. There have been a lot of adverse event reports re: its use. It's not a very safe drug.
Long term use definitely, haven't seen anything major for short term use. I'd be interested in your sources...
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I'll have to go through his papers and see but I'm pretty sure he's taken flagyl before, along with a few other anti-parasitics and antibiotics. Bear is still having diarrhea but the consistency is starting to improve and he's not showing greater signs of dehydration than yesterday, so I'm waiting another day to see what happens. I really wish my regular vet was not on vacation. :( At least Bear has not vomited today! :)
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Bear's food

If your original vet is suspecting T. Foetus...has he sent out the stool sample for that specific test (it's not something they're going to find in the normal testing they do in house). And why hasn't he treated for it? There are meds for it.

You don't mention what you're currently feeding and how much? Kittens can get diarrhea from overeating, so I'm wondering if that can be a factor here.

I would not be inclined to feed the i/d. I would try a course of metronidazole (Flagyl)...yes it's an antibiotic, but it will often clear up unexplained diarrhea very quickly. Just supplement with a probiotic and digestive enzymes while he's on it. I wouldn't use Fortiflora, one of the primary ingredients is animal digest (google it if you're not familiar). There are lots of good quality probiotic supplements for pets or use human product.

As a side note...Holly had on and off diarrhea as a kitten. Turned out she has a sensitivity to fish. Since I was rotating canned foods, some days she would get fish, others she wouldn't...so the diarrhea would come and go. If you rotate foods you might want to look for an ingredient that varies and corresponds to the problem.
My vet has not sent away the test for tritrich because he says it doesn't respond well to treatment. That being said, I know from my own research that ronidazole has been shown to be effective but that it is not yet FDA approved to treat tritrich in cats, so I'm assuming that means my vet is not willing to use it. I guess I'll have to specifically bring it up if Bear's symptoms get worse again. What meds were you referring to?

I'm currently feeding Bear Wellness CORE Grain Free Kitten Formula (I know the kitten part is not really necessary but it had better nutritional values than the adult formulas). I let him eat as much as he wants 4 times a day, but lately his appetite has not been as large lately as it was when he was having a growth spurt. I suspect it's in part because his digestive system is upset and in part because he's not growing as much this particular moment.

I'm going to go to the store and look for some human probiotic stuff... I figure I can use whatever he doesn't myself.

I haven't been rotating foods but the food I'm feeding him does contain Herring and fish oil and he was on a different food a couple weeks ago, so it could be a fish allergy. I'll have to try something without fish and see if that makes a difference. Of course, I'm still worried about making his diarrhea worse from switching foods on him again. It's kind-of a catch-22.
 

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American Association of Feline Practitioners Cat Health Improve the health and well-being of cats.

GotoAID - Your Online First Aid Kit

I use these two when I have health questions. It is the dosage of meds that is the tricky part. Finding a Vet around here is next to impossble as well.
I may get blasted but i use fish antibotics when I am dealing with a infection. Stomach infections as well. I sprinkle just a small amount in their water, less than if you were salting it. They have to want to drink it. I do that for a week then let us see if that cured them. Usually it does. Amoxicillin, Metronidazole
I would find out what it is first with your kitten. He is so small
 

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If his diarrhea doesn't improve there is something you can do that will sort of 'reset' his digestive system. Most vets will suggest this at some point, but I know it works for all of my cats and many other pets I've met.

My cats eat raw, but when Jitzu's really sick and can't keep anything down...this does the trick. Buy ground turkey, and cook it up. Cook some white rice just in water. Mix them about 1/2 and 1/2 and feed that for a few days. Jitzu likes it best heated up a little bit, but I have also had to use a blender and add water to make it into a sort of baby food.

It's basically guaranteed to not upset their system. White rice will absorb stomach acids, and it'll give his system a rest. After a few days you can switch to another type of food and you'll be more likely to get a good result.

Worth a shot, I think.

Also the pro biotic you want is acidophilus. Jitzu gets it daily, the others get it once a week...and I take it whenever I'm on antibiotics :)
 

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I'm sorry you and your little kit are dealing with this. You are certainly not being unfair. I don't really have any advise, but I can imagine how frustrating this must me. Hope your little kit starts feeling better soon, asap...and hope this vet hurries up from vacation. Good luck.
 

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Thank you everyone! Bear and I appreciate the help/support. CowboysGirl I have added both of those links to my bookmarks to use in the future. :) Right now I'm trying adding spoonful of pumpkin and extra water to his food to try to firm it up and keep him hydrated. If that does not work, I'll definitely try the turkey and rice as librarychick has suggested. I'm really trying to hold out until Monday because his regular vet should be back by then. I'm also watching his eyes now, as they're really weepy, but he had the same reaction to the FVRCP intranasal vaccine last time he got it, so I think it's the same thing. Poor little Bear Bear... it's always something. He's a trooper though, and thankfully he's continuing to thrive otherwise. :)
 
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