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Cat very sick with Intestinal Illness

November 2nd, 2008, 01:53 PM
My 7 year old cat has been having off and on diarrhea for about two months, as well as losing weight. She has always had an allergy to fish, but for years had been fine on the Science Diet Naturals chicken food. We wormed her and tried changing her food around, nothing worked. During this time she was also ravenously hungry, stopped using her litterbox, and generally wasn't herself. Last week she totally stopped eating, and was very lethargic and dehydrated. We took her to the vet, they did bloodwork, and the only thing abnormal was a low WBC count. No signs of any other disease. The vet did not know what the WBC count meant. They gave her fluids and told us the next step would be an ultrasound. I cannot afford an ultrasound, so that option is out. I brought her home, and have been doing research on IBS and other bowel diseases. I have changed her food to a wet food with only venison and peas in it, and started her on slippery elm bark and an acidophilis supplement. Anyone else experience something like this with their cat? Any suggestions, at this point it is a last ditch effort or I am going to have to put her down.

November 2nd, 2008, 04:27 PM
If it's truly last ditch, you might want to see if your vet would be willing to treat your cat for IBD without a definitive diagnosis. We had a dog with eosiniophilic inflammatory bowel disease and the symptoms in your cat seem quite similar. We had him on prednisolone (steroids) for a while to resolve the inflammation in the bowel, weaned him off slowly, and were eventually able to control his symptoms by diet alone. Pred is not that expensive.

Be aware, though, that it may not cure the underlying cause. For instance, if your cat has lymphoma, the pred might help for a while, but not cure her. Still, it might be worth discussing with your vet. Since you've already taken her in to be seen, your vet might actually discuss this with you over the phone at no additional cost (other than the meds if the vet thinks they're worth a try).

Good luck with your kitty, Ladybugg :goodvibes:

November 2nd, 2008, 05:06 PM
The vet I consulted for a second opinion on Mousse (13 yr old cat vomiting bile, eating hardly at all, rapidly losing weight; so not the same profile as your kitty) gave me the same tentative 'diagnosis': IBD or Lymphoma. His blood was OK but some of the values suggested inflammation somewhere, we just didn't know where. She put him on prednisolone. He is now down to half a pill, finally has a real appetite and has gained a pound. The vet said if he didn't improve on the prednisolone, she would lean towards lymphoma. In that case, there's another drug that can be added, specifically for lymphoma.

Some people are uncomfortable with long-term steroid use but in the short term at least it can be a life-saver, it certainly was for Mousse, picked him right up. If I can't get his dose any lower, so be it.

No scan was done, by the way. A skilful vet can feel the thickening of the intestine (which she did in Mousse's case). A scan would probably not get you much further. I think everything you are doing now is excellent, but I would ask for steroids if he is not improving. And hazelrunpack is right, it is not expensive. I paid 20$ (Canadian dollars) a month for the full dose, so the half-dose he is on would be 10$/month.

November 2nd, 2008, 05:30 PM
Have you tried a quality, grain free canned food, or a raw diet? Cats with IBD do well on a raw, veggie free diet and can't tolerate any foods that have grains in it.

Did the bloodwork include a thyroid check?

November 3rd, 2008, 11:27 AM
We are fostering a mama cat and her six kittens for the SPCA. Since the day she came home with me the mama had diarrhea. Very smelly and liquid, ugh. She was alos ravenously hungry like your kitty. I couldn't leave anything out on the counter she would devour it. She ate grated up carrots, about a cup and threw them all up. It was like she was trying to eat more so she would poop more to help clear the bug.

After a week of this I took a poop sample in and she tested negative for a tummy bug - no Gardia or Coccidia nor other bugs. Two weeks later with no change in her poop, still awful, and still incredibly hungry, I took another sample in and it came back positive for coccidia. At the SPCA they say it's very common for a negative test even if the cat has the bug.

After the pos test we were given Medi Cal gastro which did seem to firm her poop up but it was still soft and smelly (really smelling still).

From advice here I've switched her food to grain free, all nine cats here are getting it and they love it! It's less expensive than the Medi Cal, too! It's too soon to say it's making a difference but I just feel better using it.

So, I would take a poop test in every week and if comes back neg for three or more weeks you maybe can rule out a bug.

Has the vet suggested giving an antibiotic just incase it's a bug? I don't know if this is safe. I know they couldn't give it to my mama as she's still nursing.

November 4th, 2008, 05:27 AM
Yesterday I took my cat to her regular vet for a second opinion (had to go to the bigger local clinic when she was so sick last week as regular vet had no appointments). He felt there was nothing wrong with her WBC count, and agreed with opinions here that she needed steroids. He gave her a shot of depo-medrol and we will see if that helps. She is getting Nature's Balance food right now, anyone have any suggestions on better brand names for a grain free? Thanks for the suggestions.

November 4th, 2008, 06:10 AM
I would recommend Nature's Variety, Instinct. It is carb free, human grade meat and has many different flavours. It does have a tiny bit of peas and carrots for fibre.

Evo makes a 95% meat canned, not sure if it is human grade though

My Jasper gets horrible smelly diarrhea if he eats ANY grains. He is doing very well on Nature's Variety, Wellness grain free ones, raw and some Orijen.