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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
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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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.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
My cat is a few days under 12 months old. She is a maine ****.

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.
 

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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.

Laurie
 

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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 money.....it is ease of mind.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
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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Your cat is very ill and needs to see a vet immediately....today...no more waiting. HCM is very prevalent amongst Maine ***** 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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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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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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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
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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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?
The key word is receptionist. She may not know what tests the vet may run if she hasn't done a little studying on veterinarian procedures. I'm lucky in the sense that my vet has a receptionist and a vet tech/receptionist (in addition to the vet) who answers the phone. If the receptionist isn't sure, she puts me on hold and will ask the vet tech. If the vet tech isn't sure, she asks either of the two vets that work in the office.
 

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This article discusses how HCM is diagnosed. There are a number of factors, but the most telling test is echocardiogram. The likelihood is that the average vet does not have an echo machine and unless you request a referral to a heart specialist will diagnose by looking at several factors and diagnose by elimination.

Feline Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM) - Diagnosis
 

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Most private practice vets don't even have the equipment necessary to take feline blood pressure, for pete's sake! Your best bet for a diagnosis is to get your cat to a university vet school clinic, if you have one within reasonable driving distance. That is where you will find all of the diagnostic equipment and veterinary specialists to determine the cause of your cat's illness. That may also be a reasonably economical option, since a teaching hospital may be cheaper than a private practice vet (or not). Any vet school clinic should have the diagnostic equipment and a veterinary cardiologist to diagnose HCM, I would think.

Whenever a young cat like yours suddenly stops eating, my first thought is GI obstruction. Young cats tend to swallow parts of toys and other things that ought not to be swallowed. A Maine **** could also develop a whopper of a hairball that could cause an obstruction that may not be able to pass on its own. Sometimes such obstructions can escape x-rays and ultrasounds, and are only found through exploratory surgery. But of course, that would be a last diagnostic resort for a suspected obstruction.

As far as force-feeding is concerned, your cat MUST take in adequate nutrition or risk developing potentially fatal hepatic lipidosis. If you force feed and your cat vomits up everything you manage to get into her, that would add credibility to the likelihood of a GI obstruction of some sort. It's common sense that a living organism needs food to survive. Your cat is a living organism. She needs food. The following links will provide you with a great deal of information on feeding an inappetant cat:

Tanya's Comprehensive Guideto Feline Chronic Renal Failure - Persuading Your Cat to Eat
AssistFeed.com: Advice to help a sick cat who will not eat
Feline-Assisted-Feeding : Feline-Assisted-Feeding

Laurie
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 · (Edited)
I just got home from the new vet. Today's vet visit cost me $575. I don't begrudge the money I had to pay to keep my cat alive, but, if bills like that keep coming, pretty soon I will be unable to pay them.

Thank you all for encouraging me to get to the vet today. I didn't realize the problem was so serious, because the vet didn't make it seem like it was on Tuesday. And also, the first time my cat was ill about 7 months ago and stopped eating, the $30 injection to stimulate her appetite was all she really needed to go back to normal.

I am also very glad that my first vet shafted me and my cat today, because it turned out for the best. If I had gone to my first vet, chances are I wouldn't have gotten as clear of a picture as I have gotten from the new vet. The new vet gave me outstanding service, and spent at least 2 hours talking to me, explaining everything to me in technical detail, and answering all my questions. My first vet spends 10 minutes talking to me as fast as he can, barely gives me time to get a word in, then rushes me out the door.

The new vet noticed that my cat is very underweight for her breed and age. The first vet noticed she was underweight too, but said it's probably not a problem.

The new vet also noticed that my cat is having trouble breathing. She initially suspected it is corona virus. She says that the reason my cat won't eat is because she has trouble breathing, and breathing is a more basic function than eating.

I may be mis-paraphrasing her with anything I say in this post, so take my paraphrasing with a grain of salt.

If I remember what she said correctly, she said something like almost all cats have corona virus but it's not a big deal in most of them. But in some cases, the cat's immune system tries to fight back against the virus, and that is what destroys the cats health. She that happens due to bad luck.

At first she suggested that we do some x-rays, and she expected to find fluid around my cat's heart. We did the x-rays, and then the vet said she was surprised that there was not fluid around my cat's heart. She said her heart looks normal albeit it is larger than usual. She said that based on the x-ray, it does not look like my cat has HCM. She told me that in her experience, cats with HCM normally have a good body weight, whereas mine does not.

She did see fluid in the lungs of my cat, which is causing her trouble with breathing. The fluid in the lungs leads her to continue suspecting corona virus.

The x-ray also revealed gas in my cat's stomach, which the vet said was there because she hadn't eaten anything. She said that the x-ray was too unclear to tell if fluid was in her stomach, which would be a sure sign of corona virus. She then put a needle into my cat's stomach to try and draw fluid out, but was unable too. She said that does not mean that fluid isn't there; it just means that there isn't enough fluid for her to withdraw any.

She then said blood work was needed in order to get a clear answer as to whether it is corona virus.

We did the blood work and should have the results tomorrow morning, when I'm going back with my cat.

She gave the cat an injection meant to "dry her out" in order to help with the fluid in her lungs. I asked if we should inject my cat with fluids to keep her healthy, and she said that would be unwise since it would counteract the idea of drying her out.

The bad news is that she offered me no advice on how to get my cat to eat. I asked her if I should force feed my cat, and made sure to get a clear answer as to why I should or shouldn't. The vet said that I can try to get my cat to eat, but if she doesn't eat on her own, I must not force her, because if I fight with her while she has trouble breathing, it might push her over the edge and cause her to die.

The vet also said that if my cat has corona virus, there is no treatment, and I will have to say goodbye to her this weekend, and euthanize her early next week.

Do you guys agree with that? Must a cat with corona virus be euthanized? Is there truly no treatment for a cat with corona virus?

Is there anything I should insist that the vet do on my visit to her tomorrow?
 

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Praying that your kitty doesn't have the corona virus.
On Friday May 13th 5 days after her 16th birthday my beloved Samantha was stricken with cancer.
I discovered her lying on the floor is great distress.
I rushed her to the vet but I feared for the worst and after scans and blood work it was determine she had tumors in her intestines and around her spleen.
The option extensive surgery with little hope for more then her remaining time racked with pain and discomfort.
I couldn't put my beautiful baby through that ordeal for a life not worth living so I made the only decision that love allowed and she passed away in my arms.
It was a nightmare and all I had to show for it was a dead best friend, a broken heart and a $1000 vet bill on my credit card.
I would have paid any price to make her better but all the money in the world couldn't buy her any life with quality.
She lived 16 great years and had only 1 really bad day.
 

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Found this...

Feline Corona Virus


summary...

"There is no cure for feline corona virus. Once a cat has the virus, she will have it for life. It may or may not lead to feline infectious peritonitis.
There is no cure for feline infectious peritonitis, and the disease is almost always fatal. The only treatment is supportive care, which may consist of corticosteroids, antibiotics, good nutrition, etc. in order to keep the cat as comfortable as possible."

Sorry to be so succinct. I'm almost in tears, and I don't even pick up my kitty for another 4 weeks
 

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Oh no! Corona Virus is generally a harmless virus that many cats are exposed to and exhibit minor flu like symptoms or no symptoms at all. But the virus remains in their system and for an unfortunate few, the virus mutates and becomes feline infectious peritonitis (FIP). There is no cure for FIP and it is nearly 100% fatal. Fingers crossed that this isn't what you are facing.
 

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I hope your cat gets better. Hopefully he doesn't have the corona virus.

My almost 7 moth old kitten was exposed to the corona virus at a very early (maybe even born with it). When I got him at 8 weeks he was very sick from it. My vet said most cats never exhibit any symptoms from the virus but some do. It can take months for them to get over it. Mine had upper respiratory infections, vomiting and diarrhea. He was given antibiotics and put on a prescription diet that was easy for him to digest. He is doing a lot better but still has some digestive issues. I don't know if he will eventually get FIP. It is just a waiting game. My understanding is by him being so sick at such a young age from the corona virus he will have a greater chance of it turning into FIP than a cat who was exposed to it but showed no symptoms. I am praying it doesn't turn to FIP.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Thanks for the support.

I've been crying all night. I cannot even look at or think about my sick kitty without crying.

I also have been praying that it's not corona.

If she does have the corona virus, then does that indicate that the breeder did something wrong by not testing her cats for it?

Would my kitten have gotten the virus at the breeder's cattery before I received her when she was 9 weeks old?

Or might she have gotten it whilst under my care, even though she's never been outside except in her carrier while going to vets' offices?

Does taking a cat to the vet put the cat at risk for being exposed to the corona virus?

My other cat is perfectly healthy. Does the sick kitty put her at risk of maybe getting a fatal corona virus too? If so, is that risk already past and it's too late to do anything about it now? Or do I have to quarantine my healthy cat from the sick one to protect my healthy one from the same outcome?
 
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