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I have a two year old male kitty, Cowboy. He is about two years old and the biggest love bug. Cowboy came to my farm with his litter mate, Mako. Mako is the picture perfect kitty and has never had any health problems. Cowboy, on the other hand is a walking meowing mystery.

Everything started about a year ago. Cowboy starting losing hair and getting sores. We did a skin scrape and found out he had a very rare type of ringworm that usually only effects birds. We treated and it went away. Then he started getting abcesses. We treated those as they came up and they eventually stopped (so far at least, fingers crossed). He has always looked a little sickly and is very different from his brother. Poor coat condition, very lean ect. Then in December he got REALLY ill, and we never could find the cause. He has a fever of over 106, wasnt eating or drinking. He developed some serious jaundice, was very anemic with a grade 3 murmer that is otherwise not there, and was producing a high amount of immature red and white blood cells. He has been tested for flv and fiv twice, both times negative. Leukemia just in the bone marrow, FIP and lymphoma were thrown around as ideas but we never got a definitive diagnosis. After force feeding, at home sub-q fluids and a round of doxycycline he got better (clavamox didnt help, we still arent sure why he got better since we dont know for sure what was wrong)

Poor baby is sick again. His fur is gone again, he has sores, a nasty ear infection and all of his lymph nodes are EXTREMELY enlarged. He is vomitting and has a fever of 103.5. We had an aspiration of the lymph nodes done and it came back with no cancer cells but still couldnt tell us 100% it wasnt Lymphoma, but the vet was encouraged. Today we went to a specialist and had an abdominal ultrasound. His spleen, and his Kidneys are both enlarged a bit but was otherwise unremarkable. His blood panel came back 100% normal. The vet did not seem too concerned about the Spleen as that is not abnormal for a cat fighting off an infection, but he couldnt give us a reason for the Kidneys being enlarged. He said in all his years (this is a huge internal medicine/er hospital) he has never seen Lymphoma present with all the lymph nodes enlarged AND the Kidneys and spleen enlarged, but again we couldnt 100% rule it out. We were able to rule Leukemia out today, and for that I am grateful. He is due to get a a lymph node removed and biopsied this week which will give us a 100% answer on if its Lymphoma or what type of infection he may have, but it seems clear to everyone that this cat is immuno-deficiant in some way.

The vet is throwing around everything from lymphoma, to FIP, to the plague (yes really, the freakin plague!)

I guess my questions are, has anyone ever dealt with anything like this before? All I want is for my little man to be ok. I have zilch support on the homefront as Hubby cannot understand the 4 figure vet bills for a former barn cat (hes inside now to minimize exposure to other viruses and such). I will be completely devastated if we have to put him down. I told my vet that I will not do it unless there is absolutely nothing to be done for him. Im just hoping for some answers :(
 

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It sounds like you have a very good thorough vet. Just wondering if a second opinion would be of benefit, or preferably if you have access to a veterinary college that would take a look at him. Honestly, I don't have any idea of what cause his problem(s). I've never had a cat that had that kind of illness, whatever it is. Poor guy, he's been through a lot already. I commend you for trying to get to the bottom of his mysterious ailments and hope someone has come clues as to what it might be. All the best to you and Cowboy! Do keep us updated.
 

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I agree, I would suggest a second opinion. It's always good to have fresh eyes that might see something the other vet didn't or have experience in something the current vet doesn't.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
That is what we did with the ultrasound. We went to a different (much larger) vet who specializes in internal medicine to do the ultrasound and he also did an exam and ran blood work ect. He was able to rule out Leukemia but that was about it.I believe the nearest vet college is in CO. He seems to be feeling a bit better today, I just wish we could find out why he gets so sick, so often.
 

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Did the vets consider Pancreatitis?

I'm assuming he was or still is an outdoor cat. I'm wondering if he was stung by a scorpion or some type of poisonous spider?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
He was an outdoor cat, but is now strictly indoor. It's very possible he has been stung by a scorpion at some point given our location. I'm assuming the abdominal ultrasound would have shown inflammation in the pancreas but I will definitely ask my vet about this.

His current illness seems to be improving but whatever issue is causing all this still remains illusive. If he pulls through this I'm going to try him on a raw diet and see if it helps.
 

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I don't really have anything to offer, but interesting that the plague (bubonic I'm assuming) was mentioned. I did a study on the bubonic plague and this is exactly how it presents in humans. I've never heard of a cat getting it though. Will offer my thoughts and prayers and get well wishes, do keep us posted!
 

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sounds like his immunity is very low first of all. Could it be some form of dermatitis of the auto-immune type (auto-immune reaction caused by something in the food, they normally come and go like you describe and they are very hard to diagnose. Change the diet for a start.
 

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If he pulls through this I'm going to try him on a raw diet and see if it helps.
Hi Again MellyMel,

With the immune system issues you may want to do some checking about doing a raw diet with the vets. I know they don't seem to have straight up answers so far, and I know most are woefully undereducated regarding feeding a raw diet but if his immune system is already this taxed and reacting poorly you may need to be 'extra' careful with what you feed raw and where you source it from.

Based on the limited info I was able to track in terms of sourcing for pet feeding it seemed that frozen whole prey items sold/shipped by companies such as rodentpro were less likely to carry salmonella. Then there is E. Coli, Listeria...so many bacteria that a normal healthy immune system can fight off in quantities that are considered 'routine' can take down those with immune issues in the blink of any eye. That's the big reason I'm not feeding raw - too many not healthy immune systems at my place.

There's an entire forum full of experts on that here though, maybe they know of ways to lessen any dangers for Cowboy if you decide to go that route....:daisy
 

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Oh geez, you have a kitty down on his luck? I wish you luck! And also, I've never heard of any raw-feeders having any issues with bacteria/contamination, BUT that was in the case of healthy cats with normal immune systems. Well, assuming that's the problem. I would definitely get in touched with an experienced raw feeder.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
For now the vet has decided we should hold off on raw and just try a low grain and gluten wet food, so that is what we will do.

Cowboy seems a little better maybe, definitely no worse. I was encouraged but after speaking with my vet today he still seems very concerned. He thinks Cowboy has Valley Fever, and underlying Lymphoma. Im waiting for him to call me back about getting this lymph node biopsy done so we will have a definitive answer. In the mean time we are starting a new medication to treat the Valley Fever.
 

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Never heard of valley fever but at least there's some inkling of what's going on.

Yes I would agree that the diet should be as simple as possible. No grains or gluten. He could also be allergic to other things like chicken etc. but that seems secondary compared to what he may have.

Good luck and hope things turn out well.
 
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