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I hope everyone has had a fun Valentine's Day. Mine has been awful. It appears as though two of my cats have been poisoned, and all indicators point to antifreeze, though conclusive tests have not yet confirmed.

Lady came in Saturday at noon, stumbling and walking funny. She pulled herself up into a chair. I rushed her to the Vet's office within 30 minutes but I'm thinking now I should have taken to the emergency clinic because her labs didn't come back till today. He asked me a lot of questions regarding possible exposure to poisons, but there was nothing I could pinpoint. Her heart was beating fast, and she was having tremors. He took a complete lab panel and sent us home with some Valium, telling me to get her to the emergency clinic if her gums became pale. Well, her gums never really got pale but I was sure she was going to die Saturday night, passed the point of needing medical help other than help leaving more quickly. So I didn't take her because I didn't want to face that decision just then. But Sunday morning she was much better. She was up and walking, drinking water on her own and she even ate.

Monday morning before I had the chance to call the Vet's office to ask about Lady's labs, Nellie woke throwing up a little. Afterward, she seemed a little dazed and when she got down off the chair, she wobbled and fell over on her side. I put her back on her feet and she stumbled over to the water bowl. She was acting just like Lady did on Saturday. I was about to flip out but managed to get my act together enough to put her in her cat carrier and get her to the Vet's office. That's where she's at now, but he doesn't expect her to live. Lab's show kidney problems in both, Nellie more than Lady, and high (or was it low?) glucose levels suggesting antifreeze poisoning. Waiting for further testing to confirm it.

But something just doesn't seem right about this being antifreeze poisoning. From my understanding, symptoms of antifreeze poisoning show up within a few hours of ingestion. Nellie came into eat Sunday night after playing with a spider and showed no signs that anything was wrong. Symptoms came on suddenly Monday morning. It would have been at least twelve hours since exposure with no symptoms. I also read that with antifreeze poisoning, after the initial symptoms present, they appear to recover for a day or so and then go down again. I hope that's not the case with Lady.

Other cats are at risk here, and I am a nervous wreck. I'm afraid to let them outside, but they've been used to coming in and out all their lives and they are making me more miserable than I already am. Try eleven annoyed cats all in the same house, plus one that is recovering from poisoning, two ferals that just come home from being S/N and have to recover indoors...Well, you can imagine how much fun I'm having.

We have searched the entire property, plus the neighbors for clues and found none. Gone up and down the street asking people if they were working on their cars or possibly had antifreeze sitting around open. Negative.

Does this sound like it could be something other than antifreeze?
 

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I am thinking rat poison... is there a possibility they could have gotten into that?

Rat Poisoning in Cats
Bromethalin Rodenticide Poisoning in Cats

Bromethalin rodenticide toxicity, more commonly referred to as rat poisoning, occurs when an animal is exposed to the chemical bromethalin, a toxic substance that is found in a variety of rat and mice poisons. Ingestion of bromethalin can lead to cerebral edema (the accumulation of excess water in the brain), and an increase in pressure of cerebrospinal fluid - the liquid within the membrane of the skull that the brain essentially floats in. A variety of neurological-based symptoms can result from this, including muscle tremors, seizures, and impaired movement.

While other species may be affected by the accidental ingestion of rat poison, cats are most frequently prone to this condition.

Symptoms and Types

Common symptoms of toxicosis in cats include anorexia (loss of appetite), impaired movement, paralysis of the animal’s hind limbs, slight muscle tremors, generalized seizures, and a depression of the central nervous system. Ingestion of extremely high doses may cause a sudden onset of muscle tremors, and even seizures.

Clinical signs usually develop within two to seven days of bromethalin ingestion, however it is possible that signs will not develop for up to two weeks following ingestion. If poisoning is mild, with minimal bromethalin ingestion, symptoms may resolve within one to two weeks of onset, although some animals may continue to show signs for four to six weeks.

Causes

Bromethalin rodenticide toxicity occurs with the ingestion of rodenticides containing the chemical bromethalin. Cats may also be targets of secondary poisoning if they eat rats or mice that have ingested the poison themselves.
http://www.petmd.com/cat/conditions/toxicity/c_ct_bromethalin_rodenticide_toxicity
 

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First, I am sorry for what you and your much-loved cats are going through. I am glad the first cat is recovering and I hope Nellie will rebound.

I don't know anything about the climate in Modesto, but was there any chemical spraying of lawns or fields at this time of year? What about that spider Nellie was playing with? There are poisonous spiders throughout the U.S. For instance, there could have been a recent hatch, and both cats could have been bitten by something fairly exotic but not unheard of.

If the labs point conclusively to anti-freeze, consider that it may have been accidental in nature, something that happened on your street by a random car breaking down, etc., since none of your neighbors seem to be involved.

It is really tough to figure out all the places your cats may have visited and what they may have been exposed to that has caused such harm.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
We don't use rat poison, neither does my nearest neighbor but I won't rule out anything. Could they be poisoned from eating a poisoned rodent? Symptoms sound similar to antifreeze. The timing between exposure and symptoms fits better, but then I just read on Petplace that depending on how much antifreeze they ingested, it could take up to twelve hours for symptoms to show up, contrary to what I had read elsewhere.

The spider...I mentioned that to the Vet because I remember reading about how toxic some normal everyday spiders are to cats if they eat them. It scared the life out of me. I called her into the house as soon as I saw her playing with it. I don't know about the odds of them both eating a spider, but then I wouldn't have bet on them both getting antifreeze poisoning either.

This weekend was abnormally warm for Modesto in February. At this point I guess anything is possible. I guess I'm not going to hear anything more tonight. I wish I had gone to see Nellie before the Vet closed. Hope she makes it through the night. If she doesn't, should I have a necropsy done? I'm so worried about the rest of my bratz.
 

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I'm so so sorry to hear that, she was so young. What dreadful news, I hope you find out what caused it if only for a warning for other cat owners in your area. You did everything you did for her, and loved her very much. x
 

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I am so sorry! How is lady doing? What a horrible week you and your kitties are having.

I am sorry about Nellie. I can tell that you very much cared about her. Relax and feel peace sweet Nellie.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Still nothing conclusive, but Vet is sending her kidneys out to be analyzed. I really had myself believing she would pull through because Lady has. I had them both into the Vet within 30 minutes of showing symptoms. Nellie was treated much more aggressively than Lady, and she's the one that didn't make it. Yes, I need to know exactly what this was for my other babies.

Lady continues to recover. I'm taking her for a follow up today. My main concern for her is that her body is so cool to the touch. I'm keeping her warm on an electric blanket.

Thank you all for your comforting words.
 

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I'm so sorry to hear about Nellie. That's such a tragedy, especially given how young she was. I too hope you're able to get some answers and that Lady is back to good health soon.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Just got Lady's second set of labs back and they look worse than they did last Saturday. Today she hasn't been nearly as active and she wouldn't eat. I'm going to lose her too and there's nothing to do. The Vet said at this point treatment was pointless. It might prolong her life a little but the result will be the same. I know I asked him what to expect but for the life of me I can't remember what he said.

I'm wiped out. Physically and emotinally, not to mention financially but if he had offered me any hope, I would have gone with it, but there's not.

Lady was one of the feral mothers of my nine bratz. Two years ago you would never believe how tame and sweet Lady has become. Nellie was so much like her, so sweet, shy and mellow. I don't recall Nellie so much as hissing at her siblings or anyone else. She was the perfect little lady, just like her mother. I lost one of my nine lives when Nellie died Monday. I'm so sick at heart I don't know what to do with myself.
 

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I am so sorry! I don't understand why the Vet can't figure out the problem with Lady. This is just terrible. I'm also sorry about the loss of Nellie. Surely there is a way to find out what happened or you may lose more!!
 

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This is tragic... I'm so sorry, they're both so young, too. And when you take the time to tame a cat I think it feels even worse to lose them. I hope the vet is able to find out exactly what happened to your poor babies, I don't think I'd ever be able to let a cat out in the same area again without knowing...
 

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I am so sorry. I know how hard this must be. We lost our 6 y/o cat to kidney failure last year (she got into a flower arrangement), and it was the worst experience of my life. I can only imagine going through it with 2 of your babies in such a short period. (((hugs)))
 
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