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Old June 18th, 2008, 09:05 AM
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Ethel's Belly

So I took Ethel to the vet last Thursday because she had a bloated hard belly and diarrhea. Well, a week has past, she's been on antibiotics and a dewormer, and not much seems to have changed.

I've booked another vet appointment for tomorrow morning. (Hopefully I get my usual vet and not the rookie they put in last week)

Anyone have any idea what might be wrong with her? The kittens have soft poo too - it's formed, but definitely not solid. Does it take over a week for the dewormer to kick in? If it's gas, is there anything I can do?

I am planning on picking up some canned pumpkin when I get home from work.
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Old June 18th, 2008, 11:27 AM
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Dewormer medication should take effect very quickly, definitely not a week. For canned pumpkin - perhaps try organic canned squash. I have a hard time getting cats to eat pumpkin.

I think some blood work, radiographs (X-Rays) and possible ultrasound may be beneficial. I assume Ethel is the mom, so evaluation of her uterus would be important for a distended abdomen with recent mom. Any infection or retained placenta/kittens in the uterus need to be ruled out.

Some questions: how distended is her abdomen? You said it is hard? Is she in discomfort? Problems breathing? Is she still eating and drinking? Also her abdomen is distended, not her mammary glands, right? Some cats can get mastitis (inflammation of the mammary glands). Any pictures?
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Old June 18th, 2008, 11:33 AM
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Dewormer medication should take effect very quickly, definitely not a week. For canned pumpkin - perhaps try organic canned squash. I have a hard time getting cats to eat pumpkin.

I think some blood work, radiographs (X-Rays) and possible ultrasound may be beneficial. I assume Ethel is the mom, so evaluation of her uterus would be important for a distended abdomen with recent mom. Any infection or retained placenta/kittens in the uterus need to be ruled out.

Some questions: how distended is her abdomen? You said it is hard? Is she in discomfort? Problems breathing? Is she still eating and drinking? Also her abdomen is distended, not her mammary glands, right? Some cats can get mastitis (inflammation of the mammary glands). Any pictures?

Her belly is round.. Not massive, but noticeable when she walks. It's pretty hard, but the vet squeezed it last week, so it can be squeezed. She doesn't seem to mind too much when I touch it. She's eating well and drinking (I add water to her wet food as well). It's definitely her abdomen. I don't have a perfect picture of it right now because I'm at work - here's a pic of her lying down, but you can't really see the 'bulge'. In the picture of her standing, you can't really see it either.. It's not massive, but enough that it's noticeable normally - I wish I had a better picture of it..

She doesn't seem to have problems breathing, either, but she definitely still has the diarrhea.
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Old June 18th, 2008, 11:35 AM
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I think it's more noticeable because she is really skinny by her back legs.

Oh, and it looks like she sometimes has problems lying down - as if she is in some sort of discomfort. It's hard to say, because she always seems kind of tense - part of being a mom, I'd imagine..

I was worried about FIP, but realised the she doesn't have the rest of the symptoms (fever, loss of appetite).
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Old June 18th, 2008, 11:42 AM
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I think it's more noticeable because she is really skinny by her back legs. Is there a possibility she has FIP? If so, is that treatable?
She is a cutie!

I know everytime we hear about a distended belly, we worry about FIP. It is a horrible, and non curable disease, however, it is less likely to be present in a cat who just delivered healthy kittens. If a cat has FIP, it is unlikely for pregnancy to be successful.

Again radiographs, and if possible, ultrasound, along with simple blood work would be beneficial. Radiographs may just show some intestinal gas too! For now, I would try to not worry about FIP and see your vet. Hopefully everything will be fine.

How old are the kittens?
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Old June 18th, 2008, 11:45 AM
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Sweet Pea's belly was like that after she delivered her kittens and seem to still be extended.

I always thought it was from her tummy muscles being stretched and the enormous amounts of food she was consuming to nurse 7 fat babies.
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Old June 18th, 2008, 11:45 AM
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The kittens are about 5-6 weeks old. They were born between April 19-25, as far as I can tell. They are all pretty healthy (and very cute too ). Looks like she spent more time taking care of them than herself.
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Old June 18th, 2008, 11:47 AM
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Sweet Pea's belly was like that after she delivered her kittens and seem to still be extended.

I always thought it was from her tummy muscles being stretched and the enormous amounts of food she was consuming to nurse 7 fat babies.
Did she have diarrhea? I think that's the part that bothers me the most. She's a small cat, but she only had 3 kittens. Is the belly pretty hard? She does eat a lot - every time I put out food she eats a ton. Plus she is still nursing.
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Old June 18th, 2008, 11:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Love4himies View Post
Sweet Pea's belly was like that after she delivered her kittens and seem to still be extended.

I always thought it was from her tummy muscles being stretched and the enormous amounts of food she was consuming to nurse 7 fat babies.
It is possible that this is all 'routine' stuff after kittens. It takes a lot out of a cat to make babies. However from what you are describing, a veterinary visit is important to make sure there isn't anything else. Just like for people, moms should see their doctor to make sure everything is 'okay'.
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Old June 18th, 2008, 12:38 PM
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I'm pretty worried about her stress levels right now.. So I called the vet and told them I'd just bring in a stool sample (even though I brought one last week and they didn't care to look at it ) and then after they look at we can reassess what's wrong with her. that everything will be fine.
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Old June 18th, 2008, 12:54 PM
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It is possible that this is all 'routine' stuff after kittens. It takes a lot out of a cat to make babies. However from what you are describing, a veterinary visit is important to make sure there isn't anything else. Just like for people, moms should see their doctor to make sure everything is 'okay'.

She had her babies a year ago and has since been spayed, still eats what ever she can She is now a bit porky. She did have a vet check with bloodwork and parasite check, when her kittens were about 5 weeks old (Humane Society's vet, not mine and they lost the results) and she is due to have annual bloodwork and check up this summer with my vet.
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Old June 18th, 2008, 12:57 PM
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Originally Posted by phoozles View Post
I'm pretty worried about her stress levels right now.. So I called the vet and told them I'd just bring in a stool sample (even though I brought one last week and they didn't care to look at it ) and then after they look at we can reassess what's wrong with her. that everything will be fine.
Good luck.
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Old June 18th, 2008, 01:19 PM
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I hope Ethel is just taking a little longer to recover because she focussed all her care on her kittens! She really is a cutie.

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Old June 18th, 2008, 01:59 PM
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I hope so too. I think there's a problem with what I'm feeding them.. I confess (and am ashamed, knowing what I do about cat nutrition) that when I started feeding them outside I got them a big bag of cheap stuff, because I had a lot of deposits for the wedding coming out of my account and I couldn't afford anything else. Anyway, I've upgraded to them to a decent canned kitten food, but am still giving them this cheap kibble during the day. I bet the food isn't helping them one bit with their bellies. I wonder if I should throw out the dry altogether and just feed them the wet.. I don't feed my other guys dry, but I don't know if it'll be enough food for 3 kittens and a momma
If I get them a supplemental dry, would Orijen be too rough for their kitten bellies?
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Old June 24th, 2008, 11:30 AM
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Unhappy Slippery Elm Bark?

Ethel still has her loose poop :sad:
Otherwise she seems healthy - and her stool sample came back 'clean'.

I've got her on grain free kitten food (Performatrin wet). The squash doesn't seem to be helping. I add a good amount of water to her wet to keep her hydrated..

I've been thinking of adding slippery elm bark to her food - but I don't know where to get it. We have a GNC in town, do you think they would have it? I did a search on their website, but nothing came up.. If they do have it but it is combined with other minerals, should I avoid it?

Anyone know anything else I should do? The kittens poops are fine - could it be her diet? The Performatrin is a chicken formula, and again, it doesn't have any by-products or grains, but it does have some salt in it.. The vet wants to put her on Hills IB, but I want to avoid that if possible.

I would appreciate any insight to this - I hate to see her have to deal with this..
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Old June 26th, 2008, 10:15 AM
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*bump*

Anyone? :sad:
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Old June 26th, 2008, 10:41 AM
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I've been thinking of adding slippery elm bark to her food - but I don't know where to get it. We have a GNC in town, do you think they would have it? I did a search on their website, but nothing came up.. If they do have it but it is combined with other minerals, should I avoid it?
Sorry, didn't see this till now. I wouldn't get the slippery elm if it has anything added. Just pure SEB is your best bet, and it could indeed be helpful for Ethel's poop issues. Most cats are fine with it mixed in a bit of baby food or some tasty canned food. Dosing amount depends on if you get capsules or just loose powder. Let me know if you manage to find some.

Another thing you might want to try are probiotics (these are likely easier to find then the SEB). I like Natural Factors Ultimate Multi Probiotic. You would only need to use 1/6th of a capsule per dose (2-4 doses per day), also mixed in with canned food.

Poor Ethel. I hope you find a solution soon.
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Old June 26th, 2008, 10:42 AM
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Some cats have more sensitive tummies than others. Have you tried any other food to see how she does?

Jasper can't eat Wellness Core, but can eat Orijen and I had to find a food for him through trial and error.

Slippery Elm Bark should be sold at any supplement store, I would even think in Loblaws, organic section or Shoppers Drug Mart.

It comes in capsules and you have to split the capsule apart to get the powder out.
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Old June 26th, 2008, 10:50 AM
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Thanks guys..

I'll go on the hunt for the probiotics and/or SEB tonight. I could also try her on Wellness Turkey to see if there's a difference - she's been on crappier food than she is on now and her diarrhea has pretty much been the same. Very little change since adding the squash as well.. *sigh*
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Old June 26th, 2008, 12:00 PM
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Slippery Elm Bark should be sold at any supplement store, I would even think in Loblaws, organic section or Shoppers Drug Mart.
It comes in capsules and you have to split the capsule apart to get the powder out.
I couldn't find it at Shopper's Drug Mart. Looked for about 10 minutes when my guys were going through their diahrrea. Still am looking.

Phoozles - have you taken in a poop sample yet? I think you said they have tested for worms. Have they tested for ALL worms and not just the usual tapeworm, pinworm, etc? Some can't be picked up by a simple poop test. They have to do another one to spot them. And darned if I can remember what it is. I'm sure if Dr Lee is around he will give my ever forgetful mind a boost.
You know what they say about having a baby. It takes a year for the bones to be back to the original position they were in before a woman concieved. Can you imagine what it's like for a momma cat? for you and Ethel. Hopefully you can find the root of the problem soon.
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Old June 26th, 2008, 12:07 PM
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Yeah, I took in a stool sample and they tested it for all parasites, etc. Came back clean (well, as clean as runny poop can come ). I had a feeling that would be the case, especially since the kittens seemed fine.

I'll check the Shoppers around here, if not, I guess I'll ask at GNC. It's really the only health 'food' place in town..

I'm not too worried about her belly - it's gone down a bit and isn't as hard - I just don't like her runny poop.. Plus she was dry heaving this morning.. :sad: Poor thing..
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Old June 26th, 2008, 01:58 PM
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I just seen your thread now and sorry to hear about Ethel. I think you will have better luck getting the SEB from the health food store as I have never seen it at the Shoppers Drug Mart here.

Good luck....I hope Ethel is back to normal soon.
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Old June 26th, 2008, 02:16 PM
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I've found slippery elm at Loblaws in the "organic/healthfood/supplements" section. It's in gel caps that you can open up and sprinkle on their food.
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Old June 26th, 2008, 02:19 PM
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Do they have Whole Foods markets up there? I know they've got a lot of stuff like that there. I hope she gets better. At least you know it's not parasites so you just have to find the right food for her. Maybe her tummy was just used to the stuff she was eating outside and the transition to cat food is what's got her like that.
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Old June 26th, 2008, 02:21 PM
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Another thing you might want to try are probiotics (these are likely easier to find then the SEB). I like Natural Factors Ultimate Multi Probiotic. You would only need to use 1/6th of a capsule per dose (2-4 doses per day), also mixed in with canned food.
I looked up that brand, and it's not available anywhere even remotely close to where I live (of course )

SCM, what do you think about this: Natural Brand Super Probiotic with Bifidobacterium

Would this be okay for her? If so, I can pick some up tonight..
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Old June 26th, 2008, 02:30 PM
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I've found slippery elm at Loblaws in the "organic/healthfood/supplements" section. It's in gel caps that you can open up and sprinkle on their food.
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Do they have Whole Foods markets up there? I know they've got a lot of stuff like that there. I hope she gets better. At least you know it's not parasites so you just have to find the right food for her. Maybe her tummy was just used to the stuff she was eating outside and the transition to cat food is what's got her like that.
Unfortunately we don't have either of those stores here (I really hate this town). We *do* have a Real Canadian Superstore, which is owned by the same people as Loblaws, so I'll take a look on my way home from work - it's in the same plaza as the GNC anyway..

I am glad it's not parasites - I was hoping it was just a transition, but it's been a couple of weeks now, so I figure her belly should have adjusted by now..
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Old June 26th, 2008, 05:06 PM
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SCM, what do you think about this: Natural Brand Super Probiotic with Bifidobacterium

Would this be okay for her? If so, I can pick some up tonight..
Hmmm, couple of things: the link is actually for a prebiotic, which you don't really need (more on prebiotics here) but I did see this probiotic next to it. It's not particularly ideal because it's a tablet, which means either you're going to have to pill it or grind it up in order to sprinkle it on the food. It also contains dairy and some strange ingredients like tumeric. If you can find something in capsule form, it will have simpler ingredients and be easier to administer. And maybe cheaper! That one is a tad pricey (probably because of their super-duper "patent-pending BIO-tract delivery technology").

Hope that helps, and I'm not too late in replying!
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Old June 26th, 2008, 05:18 PM
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You're not too late

I don't know why the link went to the prebiotic - I had looked at it first, because I was confused - maybe that's why

I'll go on the SEB hunt tonight - hopefully I can find some, or at least some probiotics in capsule form - thanks for your help!
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Old June 26th, 2008, 09:06 PM
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Yay!

I found some Slippery Elm in the Superstore's organic section and gave some to Ethel tonight..

I don't know how fast it kicks in, or if it's just a coincidence, but shortly after she ate some, she pooped, and although it was soft, her poop was pretty much formed! And MAN was there a lot of it - I didn't know she could store up that much!

Anyway, that's progress to me, so I'm hoping she'll be on the mend very soon..

Thanks to everyone for their help - it's been really stressing me out, and of course Ethel as well
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Old June 27th, 2008, 07:38 AM
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That's great news. Maybe now that she's got all that nasty poop out of her she'll start getting back to normal.
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