Senior Cat with IDB
I posted here a few months ago in this thread, when my older cat mysteriously lost weight and stopped using the box regularly: [url]http://www.pets.ca/forum/showthread.php?t=80775[/url]
I want to thank the poster growler~Gatekeeper for pointing me towards IDB. After more tests and examining her symptoms, we're very confident she has IDB. That's a diagnosis two vets couldn't seem to make.
The vet treated her with steroids and anti-biotics as a last result in early June when she took a severe turn for the worse. He said it was a shot in the dark that this was her last chance. Well, the medicine worked and she's doing a lot better on food that doesn't have corn or grains. The best food we can find based on our limited options is Purina One Beyond for dry food and Fancy Feast Classic for wet food. We also mix pumpkin into her food every day, which helps. (Anyone who doesn't know about the positive effects of pumpkin on cats, please look into it!)
I now have two questions I hope you guys can help me with:
1. When should the cat go back to the vet? I know IDB cats need to go on and off the treatment, but he gave us no date for a follow-up visit or any info on starting the treatment again. (Like I said, he didn't act as if he expected the treatment to work.)
2. Is there any way to harden her stools? She no longer has diarrhea, but her stools often have the consistency of pudding. The pumpkin helps, but is there any way her stools can become hard again? Are loose stools a sign that she'll continue to lose weight?
Thanks for any help you guys can provide.
How much pumpkin does she get each day? Too much pumpkin can soften the stool, so maybe try adjusting the amount?
Is she on any type of probiotic? That might also help to firm her up.
[QUOTE=RGW;1043180]The best food we can find based on our limited options is Purina One Beyond for dry food and Fancy Feast Classic for wet food. [/QUOTE]
Can I make a suggestion? Is there any possibility of ditching the dry food altogether? The Purina kibble still has ingredients that could potentially be problematic for a kitty with an overly reactive digestive system. There's soy, yeast, egg, and quite a few grains. If you could go 100% wet, and perhaps even a raw diet if that's at all an option, I think your cat might really benefit.
Hazelrunpack's suggestion of probiotics is excellent - look for something with a high number of colony forming units (CFUs), in the billions, and a wide variety of strains, preferably dairy-free; and also pick up some slippery elm bark powder. I find it works better than pumpkin for firming up loose stool. Just a pinch (1/4 tsp) twice a day mixed with wet food is usually all it takes.
[QUOTE=RGW;1043180]I now have two questions I hope you guys can help me with:
1. When should the cat go back to the vet? I know IDB cats need to go on and off the treatment, but he gave us no date for a follow-up visit or any info on starting the treatment again. (Like I said, he didn't act as if he expected the treatment to work.)[/QUOTE]
How long was the steroid & anti-biotic course?
Basically what steroids do is suppress the immune systems' response to the IBD. Anti-biotics are then used to treat any possible bacterial infections or lower/remove the inflammation.
The bowels are reacting against something (as you've discovered likely corn/grains in the food) that reaction is inflammation - it's the body's defensive way of dealing with "intruders". The white blood cells attack the "intruders", most of the time a healthy immune system can handle such intruders/attacks but sometimes it gets overwhelmed and needs to be helped with treatment (conventionally w steroid & antibiotics or alternatively w homeopathy or herbal remedies)
The steroids pretty much take over & shut the immune system down a bit so they can deal with the attack & inflammatory response.
If your cat is currently off all steroids & anti-biotics and is doing good with the change in diet alone she likely won't need to be in more often than twice a year.
Just my :2cents: Personally I like to have senior kitties in at least every 6 months for blood & urine tests to keep on top of any changes, it's a good opportunity for a weigh in as well if you don't have a scale at home.
If managing with diet alone isn't working as well as you'd like then a discussion with the vet would be a good idea to possibly re-treat w the same course as before.
If there is [I]any[/I] change in behaviour that resembles the previous condition or she starts losing weight/looking thinner I would have her back to the vet asap for a once over & med discussion.
[QUOTE=RGW;1043180]2. Is there any way to harden her stools? She no longer has diarrhea, but her stools often have the consistency of pudding. The pumpkin helps, but is there any way her stools can become hard again? Are loose stools a sign that she'll continue to lose weight?[/QUOTE]
How much pumpkin is she currently getting per meal/per day?
As Hazelrunpack mentions perhaps the amount of pumpkin needs adjusting. As SCM points out Slippery Elm Bark is also a good alternative to pumpkin to may wish to try instead. Sometimes a bit of trial & error to find what and how much works best is needed.
Loose stool is not necessarily a sign of impending weight loss it really is a symptom that there is excess water &/or the bowel, colon & digestive tract isn't functioning up to normal standards.
What does she currently weigh? Has she gained back some of the weight lost since December?
She gets a tablespoon of pumpkin a day. More than that gave her gas pains, and less than that didn't seem to do anything.
We haven't tried probiotics. My mother is the main caretaker of the cat and isn't open to totally eliminating dry food (she thinks only eating wet food causes diarrhea). I'll look into Slippery Elm.
The steroid/anti-biotic course was over a month's time. He tried another antibiotic a month earlier and after a few days, it seemed to be making her worse. I assume that's why he didn't go for a two-month course this time.
She was last weighed five weeks ago at around 7 pounds. She lost two pounds between April and June after a few diarrhea and vomiting attacks. I don't know if she's gained any weight, but she doesn't seem to have lost any either. Her fur is much thicker since switching food, and her eyes are also clearer.
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