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Old April 11th, 2009, 07:25 AM
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None of the usual "sick" signs, but something is still not right.

In my post from last weekend concerning my fears of possible aspiration pneumonia, I detailed General's recent episode of soft stools and occassional mucus and diarrhea. I was worried because General seemed to have inhaled some of his liquid meds, and because I had started to notice some mild behaviour/personality changes that seemed to conincide with this. Both the receptionist and the vet seemed unconcerned about the possibility of aspiration pneumonia, and said I'd know it if he had it (noisy breathing and such).

So, what I'm wondering is if anyone can make some suggestions about what might be going on here and other things I should be aware of, because General seems, to those other than me, to be just fine.


General is showing these, what I would consider "healthy" signs...

-eating (normally, though I will note a slightly reduced interest in crunchies, but he is still eagerly anticipating his wet food in the evenings)
-drinking
-peeing (usually twice a day)
-pooping (usually once a day, no diarrhea, mucus, or blood)
-purring
-cuddling
-grooming himself
-jumping up on his seat by the window or my lap
-running around the house like a nut in the early hours (like right now!)
-using his scratch pad

So, what do I consider to be the "something's off" signs?

-more tail twitching and slapping than usual
-irritability
-occassional "don't pet me" signs, such as gentle biting or kicking, irritated (but seemingly not pained) vocalizations, and he hissed at his string the other day and at me last night
-occassional slightly watery eyes
-almost none of his usually enthusiastic head butting
-a different look in his eyes: he's usually wide-eyed and relaxed or playful, but he has a more serious, tense/tired look... more of a flat stare.

I do plan on taking him to the vet, though I'm not sure what the vet hours are like considering the holiday. These symptoms don't sound like "emergency" symptoms to me, but correct me if I'm wrong.

When I last spoke to the vet on Thursday, I did express that I felt General was not his usual self -- irratable and just "off." When I asked about lingering effects of the meds, she told me the Metronidazole he had been taking until Tuesday morning should be completely out of his system by the end of the weekend, but to call if I still had concerns. So, of course, I will.

But does anyone have ideas about things I should pay more attention to? Things to ask the vet? Ideas about what could be going on? I'm stumped!

I appreciate any suggestions.
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Old April 11th, 2009, 09:25 AM
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Go with your gut. If he's not right by next week, get that appt on Tues and ask for some blood work. I don't know enough about cats to venture a guess about what's going on, but if it were one of the dogs, I'd be taking them in, if only for the flat stare, tense/tired look. You can tell a lot by the tension around the eyes and mouth in dogs.

Our vets used to sort of chuckle when I'd call about one of the dogs not being 'right'--but we'd take them in, anyway. After finding, at one time or another, the beginnings of leptospirosis, a couple cases of anaplasmosis and two hypothyroidisms, etc etc, the clinic no longer questions it. As they say, if you're that much in tune with your animals and you see something 'off', then it's time to get them checked. You know your pet better than anyone else. So go with your gut. Sometimes it can be a lifesaver, but even if it just gives you some peace of mind, it's worth the trip.

it's just the aftereffects of the metronidazole, which can be a bit 'mood changing' we've noticed. that by Tuesday he'll be back to normal!
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Old April 11th, 2009, 03:52 PM
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I'm supposed to be going away for a few days next week -- Tuesday to Thursday -- and I'm convinced that something's not right with General, so I thought I'd try getting an appointment with the vet for today, so that he could at least have a check up to address any immediate concerns and, were there any bloodwork to be done, I'd have the results Monday before I had to leave. That way, if there were anything more serious, I could cancel my plans and stay home with General.

Unfortuately, my vet's office is completely booked today. I managed to get an appointment for Monday morning, which is good. I'll be glad to have the vet at least take a look at him. The downside is having to wait until Tuesday for any test results. Sigh...

I have NO problem, of course, cancelling my plans to be with my General Bear. But I'm also trying hard to separate my anxiety over what could be wrong from the signs that General is putting out there about how he is actually feeling.

It's funny... I can manage stress in so many other areas of my life, but when it comes to my little guy, I'm just a head case. :sad:
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Old April 11th, 2009, 04:05 PM
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It's funny... I can manage stress in so many other areas of my life, but when it comes to my little guy, I'm just a head case. :sad:
Well isn't that the truth!!! I find I do the same thing and expect things to go wrong. Terrible feeling. I hope you get some answers from the vet that will put your mind at ease and General resumes acting like his normal self
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Old April 11th, 2009, 04:12 PM
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tbcookie,we know our animals and if something seems off,it usually is.
With General(love the name)it could be the meds,but a blood-test never hurts,to rule out HyperT and other things.
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Old April 11th, 2009, 05:51 PM
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Thanks! I completely agree. Now I'm wishing away the weekend and waiting for Monday to come!
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Old April 13th, 2009, 02:13 PM
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UPDATE -- We just got back from the vet, and she said that based on the physical exam, everything looks and feels good, so there's nothing urgent that we need to be concerned about. (Which, I suppose, means that for now at least, I can stop hovering over him and watching him breathe and obsessing over every swish of his tail.)



She said that as the metronidazole seems to have a positive effect on General's stools, this is an indication that there was defeinitely some sort of bacterial imbalance going on in General's gut.

We're doing bloodwork and a urinalysis just to check for anything else going on and to compare to the bloodwork he had done last year in which everything was a-ok, with the exception of a slightly elevated amylase level. This, she said, would again point to issues in the gut, but to note that the level was only slightly evelvated, and that we would see how that compares to the new results tomorrow.

In addition to the slight behaviour change/irritability, I mentioned to her that I noticed him swallowing a bit more than usual, and he did it a few times while we were there. She mentioned that with cats, even if they may not be vomiting, the swallowing can be a sign that they are feeling nauseous. While this can be caused by any number of things, one thing that does occur in senior cats is ulcers. She said that the symptoms of ulcers in cats can be treated using over the counter Pecid AC, and that if we do that and find the suspected nausea and symptomatic excessive swallowing stops, then we can look at the best way to fight the bacteria that has been shown to cause ulcers in the first place. Unfortunately for poor General Bear, that may include a combination of metronidizole (sigh...) and... I think she said amoxicillin. But we'll see how things go.

So, that said, everything, at least in the immediate future, looks good for General's health. Yay!

I'll get the results of the bloodwork and urinalysis tomorrow.
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Old April 13th, 2009, 03:31 PM
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I had some tummy issues with all of mine several weeks ago and it was also bacterial based. Kiska had that smacking often too, which my vet said indicated she felt nauseous. I also got some meds that were like Tagament, in liquid form for that.

I've been giving my gang some probiotics in powdered form and so far they haven't had any issues. Perhaps that is something you can look into.
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Old April 13th, 2009, 04:06 PM
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tbcookie,for good testresults!
Thank's for the update
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Old April 13th, 2009, 10:51 PM
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Sounds pretty good so far! and for good test results!!
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Old April 14th, 2009, 03:19 AM
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Glad the exam went well and hope he gets favourable test results.
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Old April 14th, 2009, 06:31 AM
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Could it be the meds causing General to feel unwell?
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Old April 14th, 2009, 11:16 AM
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BLOODWORK & URINALYSIS UPDATE -- The vet just called to say that all the test results came back normal! Woo-hoo! Even the amylase level that was slightly elevated last year has come down and is back in the normal range. Yay!

She said the only thing that the test results suggest keeping tabs on in the future is the thyroid. The numbers are still in the normal range of 19-50: he's at 44 compared to last year when he was at 29.8. But she said it's not somethng to be concerned about right now as, again, the levels are still in the normal range.

YAY! So happy to hear good news!

As General has continued to do the lip-smack and swallow, she would like to try him on the Pepcid AC -- 1/2 of a 10mg tablet once per day for 5-7 days to see if there is any noticeable change in this behaviour. With any luck, if it is nausea that General is experiencing, it will take care of this and he'll be right back to his old self.

Love4himies -- I wondered too about the effects of the medication on how General was feeling. The vet advised though that, as General has been a week off the meds now, they should be completely out of his system.

He's definitely much more himself than he has been over the last couple of weeks. Thank goodness. I was really missing his head-butts.

Thanks to everyone for the support. It's great to have some cyber-hands to hold while waiting for news.

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Old April 14th, 2009, 11:23 AM
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That's great news!
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Old April 14th, 2009, 01:30 PM
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She said the only thing that the test results suggest keeping tabs on in the future is the thyroid. The numbers are still in the normal range of 19-50: he's at 44 compared to last year when he was at 29.8. But she said it's not somethng to be concerned about right now as, again, the levels are still in the normal range.
29.8 to 44 is quite a jump! Even though it is still within normal values, I'd suggest getting it checked again in a couple months and maybe have a "Free T4" test done at the same time. The thing is, as cats age, their T4 number should gradually decrease. A sharp increase like that is definitely worth looking into a bit more (and a Free T4 tends to be more precise than the regular T4 test).

Glad to hear that all the other results are normal!
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Old April 23rd, 2009, 10:20 PM
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Thanks SCM for the tip on the T4 test. I wasn't aware there were different kinds!

Unfortunately, the Pepcid AC seemed to have no effect. I suggested to the vet that I'd like to give General some time, unmedicated, to monitor his behaviour and to see if things will work themselves out. She said that was going to be her suggestion as well.

Well, General's been doing pretty good. Still seems healthy in all the crucial ways, but still not 100% himself.

I'm reluctant to believe this change is unrelated either the medication or my terrible job of administering it. :sad: And now, General is (in my mind) confirming my suspicions. He's been having sneezing fits over the past few days, especially tonight, and he's been shaking his head, pawing his nose, sniffing, but in reverse in that he's huffing outward through his nostrils from time to time like he's trying to clear something, and tonight after a sneezing fit, he was scatching his ears too. The noticeable swallowing continues as well. So, I suspect the beginnings of a respiratory infection or something along those lines. And this was exactly my fear right from the day the meds went down the wrong pipe and his started coughing and I noticed a bit of sneezing and watery eyes. (Ok, well, I was initially fearing aspiration pneumonia, but you catch my drift.) But the vet seemed to dismiss the idea when I posed it at that time. I'll be making another appointment (sigh... sorry General) to see what the vet thinks of these symptoms. So frustrating!

I just want my guy to be his laid back, relaxed, carefree self. He deserves that!

Anything else that anyone can suggest for things I should have checked in relation to these symptoms? Have others had kitties who behaved the same way?
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Last edited by tbcookie; April 23rd, 2009 at 10:32 PM.
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Old April 24th, 2009, 12:17 AM
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Old April 24th, 2009, 07:05 AM
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Kitties are so darn hard to read, but go with your gut feeling. I would take my kitty in just to have the vet take a listen to his lungs.
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Old April 30th, 2009, 11:29 AM
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UPDATE -- General is doing well, but because of the lingering "not himself" signs, we did our trip to the vet yesterday. We did X-rays at my request (I thought it best to cover all the bases without having to drag my poor guy to the vet again anytime soon, plus we got 10% off becuase April at my vet's office is "seniors' month.") X-rays all looked good. We did, at the vet's recommendation, a specific fPL test to see if there were any issues with the pancreas, and it came back today as normal.

The vet wanted to be sure we hadn't missed anything really simple, and noted that we hadn't checked General's BP, so she checked, and it came back high at 180. She said they take into account that BP will be higher during the visit, but acceptable levels really only go up to 150. So, she said that this, combined with the jump that we saw in the thyroid levels in General's last blood test could suggest something to reevaluate another month down the road. She suggested we consider the Free T4 test that SCM mentioned.

For now, we are, again, going to wait and see and I will just continue to monitor things and be aware of any obvious changes.

Luckily, General seems to be feeling pretty good a good deal of the time. With luck, things will improve on their own. In the meantime, I need to get my anxiety under control! It's hard not to feel like everything is wrong with my little guy when I get myself all worked up! Maybe it's all my obsessing that's making General act funny... wouldn't that be the kicker!
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Old April 30th, 2009, 01:24 PM
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For now, we are, again, going to wait and see and I will just continue to monitor things and be aware of any obvious changes.
Keep a close eye on how much he drinks and eats. HyperT cats generally have increased thirst, and also eat more but lose weight. Sometimes they also become hyper, their coat gets dull and scruffy and sheds more, and they may even start yowling for no apparent reason. But 10% of hyperT cats have no symptoms at all, so it would definitely be a good idea to have a T4 and Free T4 done in a couple of months or so.
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