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Hoping someone can give me some advice. Took my cat to the vet because he was losing hair and had some really bad breath (Bunky is 17 years, male and had been in excellent health). First time vet thinks the hair loss is from fleas. Flea med does nothing. Then get bloodwork to check different glands. Normal except allergy test is high number. Vet gives me steroids. Seems to help for a short time. Breath issue - vet told me to get teeth cleaned since they never had been and said odor was from that. 3 weeks after cleaning breath is bad again. Not just bad breath, but a really offensive odor. After teeth cleaning hair seemed to be growing back again (I think the 2 problems are related).
Called vet to find out what else it could be and he just said to bring him in. Also, Bunky will be walking around and just let out these blood curdling meows. Sometimes he wants a drink of water (drinks out of the faucet) and other times we just don't know. Vet tried to tell me that he's going deaf and that's why he meow's so loud to hear the echo of his meow. I don't think I buy that idea.

Getting tired of spending money with this vet and getting nothing resolved.
FYI on the vet - found a cat this summer and took in for a check-up to make sure he was heatlhy and had nothing Bunky could catch. Got clean bill of health and got all the shots. 3 weeks later took cat back for booster shots and had to have cat put to sleep because he had a herniated diaphram and his internal organs were pushing up into his stomach. First visit doc didn't check both sides of his chest for heartbeat - this visit he did and discovered no heart beat on other side. Nice doctoring.

Bunky eats and drinks good. Sleeps normal and purrs.

Thanks for any ideas. New here and hoping for a miracle!

Laurie
 

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Sounds like it's time for a second opinion!

Not sure what you mean by "allergy test." An allergy test is not routine bloodwork by any means. Doesn't seem likely it would be done on a 17-year old cat, since at that age new allergies are extremely rare. It sounds a little odd, although without seeing the test results it's hard to really assess.

I am a little concerned that a few weeks after anesthesia Bunky's breath became worse. Is there an ammonia odor? If an older cat is not properly supported with fluids etc. during surgery, it can harm the kidneys, and this is about the time frame where that would show up. This would take another blood test and urinalysis to determine, however.

An older cat needs special care and handling; please try to find a vet who actually likes cats (most are *dog* people!) and is willing to provide the quality of care Bunky deserves.

Cheers,
Dr. Jean
 

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Dr. Jean:

Thank you for your reply. Bunky's breath was like this before he had his teeth cleaned. That's why I was surprised that it came back after the cleaning. The vet did not do specific allergy tests but did say that one of the tests he ran showed the number was high with regard to some type of allergy. I don't know if that's it or not.

Do you have any "guesses" on what else it could be? He's pretty healthy, eats good, drinks, his fur is growing back and he is at a good weight. Also, do you know why he would be making those blood curdling meows? He doesn't seem in pain or anything and usually does it when he wants a drink out of the bathroom faucet.

Thanks for your opinion and yes, I agree, it's time for a new vet. FYI-learned through a friend that this guy originally went to Med School but was kicked out over a cadaver joke incident. Tells you something about the guy huh?!!!

Laurie
 

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Ah, I wonder if he was talking about eosinophils. These are white blood cells that can be elevated in the case of allergies or parasites. Without seeing the cat and the records it's hard to speculate, but one frequent cause of breath odor is stomatitis, inflammation of the lining of the mouth including gums. Maybe he was thinking it was eosinophilic stomatitis, hence the steroids. Since steroids suppress the immune system, any bacteria or viruses in the mouth could really go to town. Can you look in his mouth to see if the gums are red? Severe stomatitis usually occurs around the opening of the throat, so you might check that, too.

Did he test for thyroid disease? That's a common cause of old cats howling. These old guys can sometimes get a little "senile" too--I had one who would go into the kitchen and seemingly get "lost", and start howling until I called her and she could follow my voice back out. Not an uncommon thing. Not much to be done about that, but dietary antioxidants might help.

Cheers,
Dr. Jean
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Dr. Jean:

Gosh - this is a great forum and you are so nice to respond to our inquiries.
My vet gave Bunky steroids for his hair loss; did not indicate they were for the breath.
I will check his gums tonight and throat for redness.

Your story had me laughing. Bunky does those really odd yelps and after I call him about 3 or 4 times he comes to me and stops.

Thanks again for your advice.

Laurie
 

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My cat had really offensive breath when I first got him and it was so bad it was starting to make his coat smell from when he cleaned himself. Took him to the vet and he said that my cat had gingivitis. Gave him pills for a couple of weeks and that seemed to clear up the problem. He's still got bad breath, but not nearly as offensive as possible.
 

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Time for a new vet and also maybe you can get a running water fountain for him so he doesn't have to beg for the faucet water...alot of cats like it! Good luck :D
 
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