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Puss has Fungus Infection

Puss'FavPerson
September 5th, 2007, 10:45 AM
Puss is a black, spayed, DSH, approximately 9-10 yrs old. She's an indoor cat who likes to travel, and goes out on a leash on vacation, sometimes outside at home without a leash.

In May of this yr., she began limping and was grumpy. My son noticed a lump on her back, and so off to the vet we went. Our vet (new one to us, small town) has been excellent, I think, very supportive. So, Puss had a general health check-up, an x-ray, a full round of blood screening and a sample from the lump(s) removed and "bloomed". All this took place over a month's time, and the number of lumps increased to six ... all along her spine and asymetrical in placement.

The vet has diagnosed that this is a Fungus infection, although it doesn't appear to be either of the classic cat versions. It is attacking her spinal column, and her links between vertibrae appear fuzzy on the xray. The bloodwork supported there is fungus and bacteria in her, and also she has slightly wonky kidney function. Otherwise, she's the picture of health - beautiful coat, etc.

She has been on Metacam since mid-June, every other day. She was put on an Anti-fungal (1/day)and Anti-biotics (2/day), however, 10 days into treatment she was miserable and stopped eating, so we dropped the Anti-biotic and reduced the Anti-fungal to every other day. We have been injecting her with Longisil (anti-biotic) now since August, every third day.

The lumps remain. She vomits daily - but she's a fussy groomer and has always had hairballs, so I'm not sure how much is due to meds???? She has no problem taking her Metacam, but go near her with the Ketaconazole (Anti-fungal) and she hides ... she does everything she can to try not to swallow it and manages to foam as much as possible of it back out of her face! The injections of the Anti-biotic are okay, although she did hae a problem a while back with chewing at the site of the injection.

The prognosis we were given is not very good. Essentially, a 50% chance of curing her, and long-term to get results.

Has anyone else faced this kind of thing? I'm worried about the impact of all these medications of her, and if there's anything better out there to help her?

Any feedback would be greatly appreciated!

mummummum
September 5th, 2007, 12:16 PM
I'm so sorry to hear Puss is so unwell, from your intro she sounds like an absolutely delightful cat.

The Metacam can be hard on her organs over time but hopefully she won't be on it for much longer. Is there any way to can blend the anti-fungal in something she likes to eat which is strong enough in taste and smell that it it will disguise the anti-fungal? Pureed liver? Canned green tripe ?

badger
September 5th, 2007, 01:02 PM
From what I've read - quickly - here:
http://www.peteducation.com/category_summary.cfm?cls=1&cat=1317, treatment for fungal infections is long-term, if it is to have any effect. Does the vet think every three days is sufficient?
I think you need to see if there is a different anti-fungal that she would tolerate better or another way of administering it that wouldn't stress her out so much.
What is she bringing up? Food? Bile? Vomiting every day is not normal and indicates that she is in discomfort. Slippery elm is excellent for stomach problems, I doubt if your vet would be keen but if you google 'slippery elm cat', you'll see that it is non-toxic and widely used. It comes in a powder (you must get it at a good herb or health food store, only the pure form will do) which you sprinkle on her food or boil in 1/2 cup of water, let cool thoroughly and syringe down her throat. The taste isn't bad at all.
The vet also has remedies for touchy stomachs.
What is she eating? Changing her food might help.

I'm a bit med-shy as well but this sounds serious enough to require full confidence in your vet. If you wanted to go further, you could consult a specialist but I guess that means travel and not all animals (or humans) are up for it.

Puss'FavPerson
September 5th, 2007, 01:08 PM
She won't touch soft food or tuna or salmon. What the heck is green tripe???

Her meds are in liquid suspension - chicken flavoured! Except for the needle.

We're off to the vet this aft, just to discuss the vomitting issue. I usually do some research before I go in, and so I'm ready to talk to her today about the stuff I've been reading about the affects the Metacam esp. can have.

I forgot to mention in my orig post that this is apparently a fungus contracted from bird &/or bat feces. We live on a lake with a significant population of breeding ducks, loons, seagulls, and of course, bats to eat the Canadian Monster-Mosquitos! So, on one of her rare trips out side I guess she stepped in or inhaled some of the spores to become infected.

hazelrunpack
September 5th, 2007, 01:11 PM
Sorry to hear that Puss is ill. I have no advice to give, being a dog person with little cat experience, but I do know that fungal infections can be quite tricky to treat. Having a competent vet you trust implicitly is a good first step in getting Puss cured! :grouphug:

:fingerscr that all turns out well!

Puss'FavPerson
September 5th, 2007, 01:16 PM
She eats Health Diet, Sr Hairball ... we had her on what the vet calls the Atkins' of pets, Orijen. When she stopped eating on us she had been sucessfully switched to the Orijen ... However, when we finally got her interested in food again she was having no part of that brand.

We tried to outwait her to force her back to Orijen, but in the end she won and we put down the Science Diet again.

Did I mention she has HUGE personality and is very manipulative?

The vet has actually recommended Papaya enzyme to try to help her pass the hairballs, so she is open to natural options.

sugarcatmom
September 5th, 2007, 01:24 PM
I know nothing about fungal infections, but I did find this info on ketoconazole: http://www.marvistavet.com/html/body_ketoconazole.html

The most common side effects are nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. These may be reduced by giving ketoconazole with food or by dividing the dose into several smaller doses. If nausea is severe, it should resolve with discontinuation of the medication.

If Puss continues to have issues with vomiting, you might want to talk to your vet about alternatives. The above article mentions another anti-fungal called itraconazole that is not as likely to cause nausea.

I also want to mention something about pilling cats. It's very important (and unfortunately not enough vets bring this up), to make sure you follow the pill with a syringe of water to prevent it from getting stuck in the throat and resulting in erosive esophagitis. Please read this website for more details: http://www.catinfo.org/pillingcats.htm It might also prevent Puss from foaming at the mouth.

And welcome to pets.ca! Sorry that your cat has a fungus problem, here's hoping that it clears up sooner rather than later.

sugarcatmom
September 5th, 2007, 01:28 PM
Her meds are in liquid suspension - chicken flavoured! Except for the needle.


Oh good, well ignore my post on pilling cats then. Although syringing some plain meat baby food into her after the anti-fungal might still help with the foaming.

sugarcatmom
September 5th, 2007, 01:33 PM
She eats Health Diet, Sr Hairball ... we had her on what the vet calls the Atkins' of pets, Orijen. When she stopped eating on us she had been sucessfully switched to the Orijen ... However, when we finally got her interested in food again she was having no part of that brand.

Can you find Innova EVO or Wellness CORE anywhere? Science Diet is seriously one of the worst foods out there, probably responsible for creating more diabetic cats than just about anything else. I personally think cats should only eat wet food, but you have enough to deal with right now without having to fight her over a diet change. Evo and Core are both grain-free, low carb dry foods that many cats seem to really like. They are very high calorie though, so if excess weight is a problem you may have to limit portions.

Good luck at the vets!

Puss'FavPerson
September 5th, 2007, 05:10 PM
Not a very encouraging visit to the vet. We've been treating her for 13 weeks now, and we don't seem to be winning the war of the fungus.

We're going to cut back on the Ketoconazole, and try to use the least Metacam possible while still controlling the cat's pain. Taking her completely off the pain med isn't an option, as her spine is being degenerated, and she would suffer.

Switching to the Itraconazole is an option, but the vet feels that we would be better to take a lump out first and have it sent to a pathologist to determine exactly what fungus we have here and then get whatever anti-fungal is best to target that strain. Seems to make sense, that if we use a med specific for this problem it should have a better chance of working.

Poor Puss has been through a LOT in the past 3 months, and she's such a good girl. I hate the thought of leaving her at the vets for the day again ...
the whole procedure really did a number on her last time. She wasn't herself for 2 days afterward.

It's a personal dilemma ... I don't want her to be suffering just because we can't let go. I hate the idea of endless testing and procedures ... if she won't get better, I'd rather keep her home, love her up and make her comfortable for whatever time she has left. But I find it hard to believe that there's really no other possible outcome. She's so happy, such a shiny coat, how can she be so sick?

Sorry, now I'm just on a rant.

The vet is to call us in the next couple of days with more info about the pathologist.

Puss'FavPerson
September 5th, 2007, 05:52 PM
The link you gave to peteducation.com was informative. I didn't get a chance to see it before I went to the vet today, but I think when I talk to her I'll point her to it ... There's a blerb there that seems to fit Puss' scenario, Diskospondylitis.

It mentions plant origins which could be contracted during a tooth extraction - weird - but Puss' DID have a tooth pulled at the vets about a month before this illness began. Does that say something not good about my vets practice???

TeriM
September 6th, 2007, 01:18 AM
I don't have any advice for you but wanted to send some hugs of support for you and Puss :grouphug: :grouphug: :goodvibes: :grouphug: :grouphug: .

Love4himies
September 6th, 2007, 06:33 AM
Poor Puss, poor you :grouphug: to both of you!

chico2
September 6th, 2007, 07:10 AM
From one cat-lover to another,I :pray: for a solution for Puss's problem:pray:

Puss'FavPerson
September 6th, 2007, 08:15 AM
for the good vibes!

My son tells me he prays 2x daily for Puss to be better. They were so small when our previous cat died that I'm not sure they really "know" how it feels to lose a really beloved animal.

This morning I faxed over the info on the Disko-fungus to my vet. I'm not sure if professionals appreciate the "help" of the unschooled, but I figure, she has many pets to concern herself with while I have only one. The problem is we know its fungus and bacterial, but we need to know exactly what strain it is.

As I said, Puss vomits daily ... someone asked what the vomit consisted of. There's no blood; mostly it appears to just be liquified cat food, but if she throws up shortly after her meds, there is like a white foamy layer. At least 2x per week there is also hairball content. I don't know what bile would look like???

We have begun covering up the fabric furniture and closing doors to any rooms with carpet every night. It's as if she thinks anything fabric or carpet
is easier for us to clean up after - we have tons of bare floor, but NOOO, she seems to prefer a softer spot!

If my hubby behaved this way ... you can bet I wouldn't be following him around, cleaning up after him!

Puss'FavPerson
September 22nd, 2007, 06:39 PM
We're off to the vet on Tuesday for surgery.

2 lumps to be removed and cultures done on the material.

Hoping desperately they'll find something we can treat in there!

Winston
September 22nd, 2007, 06:44 PM
Sending good vibes for Puss...hope all goes well and you finally get a diagnosis....

Cindy

rainbow
September 22nd, 2007, 06:56 PM
I somehow missed your original post. :o Poor Puss. :grouphug: I hope the cultures find an antibiotic/fungal that will be the answer. :fingerscr :goodvibes: :goodvibes:

Puss'FavPerson
September 22nd, 2007, 07:11 PM
To see there are so many people who care about the critters.

Thnx for all the good vibes.

hazelrunpack
September 22nd, 2007, 08:14 PM
:pray: :goodvibes: that they find something! How long does it take to culture something like that out? Maybe they'll see something under the microscope that they can identify right away! :fingerscr

Best wishes to you and especially to Puss from me and the Pack! They've got all their :pawprint:s crossed for luck!

:grouphug:

Love4himies
September 22nd, 2007, 08:39 PM
:pray: and :fingerscr for some good news. Did the vet say when you would get the results back.

I know this must be very stressful on you, how are you doing?

Puss'FavPerson
September 24th, 2007, 06:29 PM
surgery is tomorrow.

Vet is sending samples for biopsies and cultures of some other "stuff". She says we'll get the first preliminary reports within a week or so. Should have detailed reports by the 2nd week.

We're second guessing ourselves like crazy! Very worried about the stress on poor Puss, and her recovery just from the incisions & stitches.

I'm going to be feeling pretty rotten when I have to leave her at the vet's in the morning.

Poor baby puss!

growler~GateKeeper
September 25th, 2007, 12:19 AM
:goodvibes::fingerscr:grouphug: good luck tomorrow

Puss'FavPerson
September 26th, 2007, 09:38 AM
The doc removed 3 of her largest lumps yesterday and sent them off the pathology lab. She did a new set of xrays, and showed us that her spine is not continuing to deteriorate. And, her kidney and liver are not swollen anymore.
So, all in all she looks pretty good ... except for the damn lumps. Best case scenario, we get positive id on what the lumps are and cure them, then we just have to treat her for arthritis (glucosamine?).

We should get the first test results Friday or early next week.

Meantime, my poor baby is very distressed by the surgery. We brought her home at supper time last night and she was too groggy to even walk a few steps. Her eyes were a mess, I guess from the goo they use to protect their eyes during surgery.

I'm sure she resents not looking her usual beautiful self. She must feel rotten 'cause she let me wash her face and bathe her eyes and under her chin with a warm damp cloth!

I had to leave for a couple hours last night and the men of the house were in charge (hubby & 2 sons). She was resting calmly when I left ... but I had to come back early because the guys said she was gone nuts. I gather she must have "woken up" and been freaked out by the pain and bandages and stuff. They said she was growling and snarling and howling and running around and trying to bite herself. And they were told to keep her calm & quiet - so, they were in all kinds of fits themselves!

I got her to have a bit to eat when I got in, and I slept on the couch with her last night. She never moved.

She doesn't look well this morning, either. She won't eat or drink. I had to eye dropper some water into her, and I gave her her pain meds. I tried tempting her with *microwaved* soft food (YUCK!) and her usual crunchies.
But she's not in the least interested. Should I be worried?

Love4himies
September 26th, 2007, 10:41 AM
I would not be so worried about her yet, cats can often stop eating and drinking when they are stressed or in pain. I would however, force feed her watered down canned cat food to ensure she is getting proper nutrients so she can heal and not get dehydrated. I do this with my cats by using a plastic syringe from the vet office. The cat food must be smooth, no little lumps in it because they will get stuck in the narrow part of the syringe.

Fancy Feast salmon (has no grains but does have by-products) is a favourite with cats and is very smooth. The important thing is she eats something.

sugarcatmom
September 26th, 2007, 10:45 AM
Oh no, poor baby! Do you know what kind of pain meds she's on? Sometimes vets underestimate the amount of pain a cat will be in and proper pain mangement is crucial to recovery. I would definitely talk to the vet about Puss's reaction, that was not normal.

As for getting her to eat, you could try some plain meat baby food (chicken is a good stinky one). Make sure it's just plain, no onions or other veggies. Try getting her to eat it off your finger. Canned tuna or salmon (no-salt-added) might also help entice her, and the water from the can would be good for hydration. But for sure call the vet!

Puss'FavPerson
September 26th, 2007, 01:40 PM
She's still got zero interest in food or water. She's got herself downstairs, squashed up in a corner of our old couch, with her face buried in the corner.

I called the vet and she said try to get corn syrup into her mouth, and if I can't that I should bring her in for 3pm. I hate to drag her in, 'cause she has to go tomorrow morning too, and I did get a little corn syrup in her ... but, geez, she's so sad!

How much food/water do I need to get into her to keep her til morning?

hazelrunpack
September 26th, 2007, 09:34 PM
Did you end up bringing her in this afternoon? Poor Puss. Poor mom! :grouphug: :fingerscr that they were able to make her more comfy and that her path results are good!

Puss'FavPerson
September 27th, 2007, 07:46 AM
Took Puss to the vet yesterday afternoon. They checked her over and ended up giving her a different pain med (Nubain).

Within an hour she was in much better shape! She ate - no soft food or baby food, she went straight for her "crunchies". And, wonder of wonders ... she PURRED! We had to keep her quiet, so she stayed all afternoon and the night in the guest room. The family took turns visiting her so she wouldn't be lonely or overwhelmed. I stayed with her through the night, just in case.

Today they're going to take the bandage off and remove the drains she had to have after surgery.

And, yesterday afternoon the vet said the material she took from Puss and tried to grow in-house, did NOT show any fungal or bacterial growth! Which is a big improvement on it's own! Now, we just have to pray the lumps aren't something horrible.

badger
September 27th, 2007, 08:17 AM
Sometimes vets underestimate the amount of pain a cat will be in and proper pain mangement is crucial to recovery

I completely agree.

:fingerscr that those lumps are just...lumps.