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Old July 7th, 2012, 11:34 AM
Jarvis1 Jarvis1 is offline
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My cat Jarvis has: Eosinophilic Granuloma Complex

Hi, everyone. First post.

Last Fall I trapped and rescued Jarvis, an FIV cat (otherwise robust), now aged 18 months. He is an indoor cat and currently isolated (from our 3 others) in a large airy room with windows.

PROBLEM
He has a raw, and sometimes bloody lesion that he scratches under his chin/neck with his uncut back claws. This grew over time. He scratches violently at it with his hind paws and cries with pain—sending blood flecking outward on the floor and walls. He re-opens the wound each time it seems to be healing (every few days). The cause is unknown, perhaps stress or allergy.

Vet Diagnosis (2 days ago)
Their working diagnosis is Eosinophilic granuloma complex. Jarvis has always been extremely fearful and basically cannot be handled (sometimes, we can pet him while he eats, or my wife used to be able to stroke him as he seemed enthused by her; no more). I had to trap him to get him to the vet. He wants to be with our other cats but they dislike him, and harass him, except one who tolerates him (thus, socialization--our original challenge-- has been frustrating and we even tried a behaviorist but got sidetracked by this EGC issue).

What has been done and reviewed by vet:
• He is in an E-collar (will be for 3 weeks to permit healing of lesion).
• He is receiving antibiotics mixed in his food. (He completed a short course of Prednisone).
• I changed his food from Natural Balance Chicken/Turkey (which my others eat) to MERRICK BG (Before Grain) BEEF
• I switched to steel food dishes vice flat poreclain.

2 days off sedation he eats but I need to steer the food to him. The collar is a distraction and he is now a bit listless, sleeping a lot. I'm told this is normal.

I looked at some of the older related posts on this, though none seemed to have his location issue. Jarvis is a beautiful animal with a great spirt that has been utterly reduced by this (in addition to the socialization issues). Any advice you can share is appreciated.

Thanks.
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Old July 7th, 2012, 01:28 PM
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Love4himies Love4himies is offline
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Thank you for rescuing this kitty

Personally I would start with a very restrictive diet with a novelty meat. Turkey/chicken/beef can be protein allergens and unless you do an elimination diet, you won't know which, if any, is affecting his allergies.

The one food that I know of is Nature's Variety Instinct, Venison or Rabbit, canned. It doesn't contain any turkey/chicken/beef and is probably a protein your kitty may never been introduced to and is a high quality canned.

My daughter's cat does well with the prescription food , but since it keeps her sore's away, it is better than living in misery .
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Old July 7th, 2012, 02:42 PM
Jarvis1 Jarvis1 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Love4himies View Post
Thank you for rescuing this kitty

Personally I would start with a very restrictive diet with a novelty meat. Turkey/chicken/beef can be protein allergens and unless you do an elimination diet, you won't know which, if any, is affecting his allergies.

The one food that I know of is Nature's Variety Instinct, Venison or Rabbit, canned. It doesn't contain any turkey/chicken/beef and is probably a protein your kitty may never been introduced to and is a high quality canned.
Thank-you, Love4himies.

I do lots of rescue work and have kept more than I should! But not complaining. Jarvis is my first setback, which means I've been lucky.

I get different opinions on the Beef, and this can get confusing for me, even as I am pretty experienced with cats, foods, ferals, etc. But I joined here because I liked the forum and want to learn more. Until I began the Merrick Beef (2 weeks ago), Jarvis has only ever had Natural Balance (Chicken & Liver Pate and the Turkey & Giblets). At present, I feed this to all my others.

I am of course most concerned with his condition, especially as we aren't certain why he has this behavior and lesion.
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Old July 7th, 2012, 03:28 PM
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RUSTYcat RUSTYcat is offline
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Hi Jarvis1 and welcome to the Forum!

I don't know a better word to describe you than hero! It is so very heartening to read of rescue stories like this...good on you!

Feedback on your post? I think you're covering most of the bases. I didn't "get" what you meant by the italicized part here
Quote:
I looked at some of the older related posts on this, though none seemed to have his location issue
..."location"???

One point: you posted "prednisone". With cats, it's prednisolone that should be used - if you need a reference, just ask.

The only other issue that resonates with me is the whole issue of dealing with FIV. My second cat had FeLV, and it was only after his passing that I learned of all the specialized online resources which I could have availed of - in particular, that there are specialized online support groups where guardians of cats with chronic diseases/conditions gather to share experience, information, developments and practical advice. If only I had known about them...I am convinced that my kitty would not have passed when he did, before his time. The collective experience of these groups far outstrips that of anyone's individual Vet. I can assure you that, if I had a FIV kitty today, I would be involved with such a group/s.

There are three separate groups I'm aware of that have FIV as their focus. From my own bookmarks, here they are:

First, the home page of the newest group http://www.fivtherapy.com/index.htm There, you'll find an intro and description of their online support group http://www.fivtherapy.com/fiv_healthforum.htm (active since 2006) and the group itself is here
http://pets.groups.yahoo.com/group/fiv-healthscience/


The original online group founded in 2003: http://pets.groups.yahoo.com/group/F...ec=group&slk=2

The third, active since 2005: http://pets.groups.yahoo.com/group/F...ec=group&slk=3

I suspect that there are people who belong to all three.


About the EGC...

One of my guys had an episode of EGC....it came 'out of the blue', was treated, disappeared quickly and has not returned. Before, during and after the episode absolutely nothing in his environment had changed...that means that no food allergy, no plastic dishes, none of the known common allergens were involved. His was an episode of unknown origin and, to someone who has a good understanding of EGC, that is a very common occurrence. (My own advice would be that you not lose any sleep looking for/trying to identify an allergen....it may well have been something transient. And, remember, it may be associated with the FIV and, as well, transient.) There's an excellent coverage of all this on a well-respected site, MarVistaVet: http://www.marvistavet.com/html/eosi...granuloma.html


Here's a quote from Dr. Lee, our resident Veterinarian, that you might find helpful
Quote:
One note on the steroid. While I am not a steroid fan, with EGC the steroid injection can in some cases permanently resolve the situation. I am treating a cat with that right now. My protocol, besides allergy treatment and food change, is depo-medrol injections. We are going to use one to three injections only. If that doesn't work, then we will use other options. Depo-medrol is not my favorite drug, and does present risks for diabetes, kidney disease, etc... however when employing them on a single or limited basis, the benefits may outweight the risks.

The following an excerpt from Wendy Brooks D.V.M., D.A.B.V.P. from a EGC client handout, "In most cases the eosinophilic granuloma responds to cortisone derivatives though often an aggressive regimen must be used. Typically an injection of long acting corticosteroid (such as Depomedrol) is given every 2 weeks until the lesion is gone or for three injections whichever comes first.

Most eosinophilic granulomas resolve with one injection but some are refractory and will not resolve until antibiotics are used. Some are more refractory still and require more exotic treatments." http://www.pets.ca/forum/showthread.php?t=42431
If I were to deal with EGC in a FIV+ kitty, I would be taking the issue to people in the support groups for sure.

(Just ask if you'd like the other FIV links I have bookmarked - they come with no guarantee and will need to be evaluated. They did appear to have some value at the time I collected them.)
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Old July 7th, 2012, 04:22 PM
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RUSTYcat RUSTYcat is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jarvis1 View Post
...I am of course most concerned with his condition, especially as we aren't certain why he has this behavior...
After I posted, I saw your new post.

By "behavior", do you mean these
Quote:
I need to steer the food to him. The collar is a distraction and he is now a bit listless, sleeping a lot
The antibiotics frequently 'turn off' the appetite in cats, sometimes by irritating the stomach and/or upsetting gut flora (sometimes diarrhea also results...a rule of thumb is to give probiotics*** throughout the antibiotic course, usually midway between the antibiotic dosings). Listless...well, I'd say the lesion is bothering him and he can't attempt to relieve it by scratching. Sleeping a lot....well, I can relate to that when I'm feeling crappy! Overall, I don't see any of that as abnormal, given what's going on.

***Probiotics
Here's a quote from the guru of probiotics, Sugarcatmom, on using probiotics with antibiotics
Quote:
Would also be a good idea to start giving her some probiotics. Look for capsules in the refrigerator section of a health food store. Something high potency (in the billions) with several different strains of organisms and containing little to no dairy. I like either Natural Factor's Ultimate Multi, or MegaFood's Mega Flora. You need just a wee pinch, like 1/6th of a capsule twice a day, mixed into wet food. http://www.pets.ca/forum/showthread....ght=probiotics
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Old July 7th, 2012, 06:33 PM
Jarvis1 Jarvis1 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RUSTYcat View Post
Feedback on your post? I think you're covering most of the bases. I didn't "get" what you meant by the italicized part here..."location"???

...

By "behavior", do you mean these...
Thanks, RUSTYcat. This means a lot to me.

By "location" I mean the area where the lesion is—under his chin/neck. So he has used his uncut back claws to tear himself up there.

By "behavior" I mean I am unsure how this all began (the scratching til he literally flecks blood and cries), even as I can suspect some stressor from his being alienated by the other cats. In truth, I don't really know the cause, and as he is an FIV cat (even a young one) there may be confounding variables too. I hear you that "not knowing" the origin is a common experience with EGC.

Regarding the other --post-sedation and in the E-collar "listless" behavior--collectively, the vet today said it all seemed normal (agreeing with you). And indeed he is eating when I show him the food. This is important as I can't administer the oral antibiotics any other way as he is very fearful, panicked at times at our approach.

The vet says we'll evaluate after the 3-week collar period, which may include steroid shots like those linked article.


How was your EGC guy treated? Wonderful that it did not recur. I know that this may also recur, which is horrific since getting him to the vet is a nightmare. I had to trap him with my feral cat trap, in his room but may not get so lucky this next time with the collar. I was not prepared for this young cat to have quality-of-life issues so early. I do not know how I'll get him there in 3 weeks. But one day at a time...


I hear you about avoiding over-thinking this. I suppose there has always been a sadness about Jarvis in that he so wanted to be accepted among the others and mostly has not been, and instead became even more fearful. I've since questioned my keeping him (I had planned to trap-neuter-return) but my wife says I am not very good at the "return" part! And now this. Otherwise, he is comfortable, well-fed and has a good space, and a better life had I not rescued him, so I am told. And I have had such unbroken success with the other ferals I took from the Bronx Streets, kept, trained, and adopted-out. So this is my first real reversal. It is also hard to watch this young beauty suffer (an all black robust boy that is much like a Panther); so again, this is a somewhat different experience for me than with the many other cats I've had to care for as they grew sick and died. So, it is part of MY process, I suppose.

Thank-you for the online FIV resources and the other links. This is already what I have hoped from my joining there today.
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Old July 7th, 2012, 07:52 PM
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sugarcatmom sugarcatmom is offline
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Hi Jarvis1! Sounds like you and your kitty are having a bit of rough go of it right now. Along with the excellent advice RUSTYcat and Love4himies gave you, I'd also like to suggest that you look into a supplement called Transfer Factor Plus for Jarvis. 1 or 2 capsules a day mixed into wet food should help boost his immune system and hopefully prevent secondary health conditions such as ECG from developing.

For the stress that he's likely experiencing, maybe a Feliway diffuser plugged into his room will help him feel a little calmer. Another one for the rest of your cats, if you aren't already using them, might help them be more accepting of him.

And lastly, I swear by the benefits of feeding a raw diet. There are some great commercial frozen products available that make it as easy as opening a can, or if you're up for the challenge, you can make your own from scratch. Some good info at this link on the why's and how's: http://feline-nutrition.org/

All the best to you and Jarvis. Crossing my fingers that his ECG gets resolved and that you can eventually integrate him into the rest of your household.
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Old July 7th, 2012, 08:54 PM
Jarvis1 Jarvis1 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sugarcatmom View Post
Hi Jarvis1! Sounds like you and your kitty are having a bit of rough go of it right now. Along with the excellent advice RUSTYcat and Love4himies gave you, I'd also like to suggest that you look into a supplement called Transfer Factor Plus for Jarvis. 1 or 2 capsules a day mixed into wet food should help boost his immune system and hopefully prevent secondary health conditions such as ECG from developing.

For the stress that he's likely experiencing, maybe a Feliway diffuser plugged into his room will help him feel a little calmer. Another one for the rest of your cats, if you aren't already using them, might help them be more accepting of him.

And lastly, I swear by the benefits of feeding a raw diet. There are some great commercial frozen products available that make it as easy as opening a can, or if you're up for the challenge, you can make your own from scratch. Some good info at this link on the why's and how's: http://feline-nutrition.org/

All the best to you and Jarvis. Crossing my fingers that his ECG gets resolved and that you can eventually integrate him into the rest of your household.
Thank-you, Sugarcatmom.

Yes, we are already using the Feliway difusers and even the spray. We had also been using group scent transfer (with a sock alternately petting all our cats), until Jarvis became untouchable.

I have read your well-argued older posts on a raw diet (and other posts on food) and will study this more for certain. I did not know about the frozen versions.

Must the Transfer Factor Plus be used indefinitely with Jarvis because he is FIV? Also, can it also help with one of my other rescues, Rudy, who has Herpes (runny eyes, sneezing, etc.) I'm not up to date on the Herpes help beyond oral Lysine.

How do you currently feel about the various food brands I'm using (currently Merrick's Beef, Wellness (the grain free ones, I presume) and Natural Balance (chicken and turkey), which has been my mainstay, as most of my cats do not reject it and it seemed a good brand, well respected by some of the people with whom I do rescue work?

Thanks to all of you!
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Old July 8th, 2012, 10:29 AM
Hazmat Hazmat is offline
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Perhaps you are over thinking this.

I am financially embarrassed so I tend to think of the simpler things first.

My first thought is to trim his back nails. Perhaps you have done so but it isn't clear in your post. Keeping all the nails trimmed is the easiest and cheapest way to substantially reduce self inflicted scratching injuries. If necessary wrap him in a towel to keep him from injuring you while you trim.

My second thought is the water dish. You mentioned changing the food dish but didn't mention the water dish. When my big male started having issues, with what I simply diagnosed as cat acne, he scratched the heck out of his chin. While I provided fresh water several times a day I was not cleaning the water dish often enough. I started using hot water and scrubbing the water dish out daily, especially around the rim where he would rub his face on it. His problem cleared up after a few weeks.

Third: Fleas. No one likes it when I mention fleas. Their initial reaction is to absolutely deny that their cat has fleas. Well it doesn't take a lot of fleas if a cat is flea sensitive. I have one cat that a single flea bite will set her off scratching for days or even weeks. Even in the purest most flea diligent household a cat is going to get an occasional flea or two. So it should't hurt to try one of those once a Month flea treatments. I currently like Advantage II since it also seems to make their skin less dry. I was using Frontline but after a few years it suddenly stopped working (not sure if fleas got resistant or I just got a bad batch) and I ended up with a house full of fleas. I'm guessing that most of the once a Month things work about the same.

Forth is the FIV thing. Have you had Jarvis re-tested? I read that the tests for FIV test for FIV antibodies and that it is easy to get a false positive. A cat less that 6 months old can test positive from antibodies it received from its mothers milk. And a cat that has ever been vaccinated for FIV will test positive for FIV. You said that you got Jarvis last fall and that he is 18 months old. Depending on when you had him tested he could have been under 6 Months old and tested positive because of it. He could also have been vaccinated by someone and tested positive because of it. Ask your Vet. about it. I'm guessing that as long as your other cats have been vaccinated that they are fine to be with Jarvis.

Finally is the socializing. When I took in Motly, my big male Maine Coon cat, none of my 3 girl cats liked him. He was big, clumsy, extremely shy, basically a scaredy-cat. He spent the first 6 Months under my couch most of the time. Eventually he made friends with the 3 other cats. He was inside for years before any of my friends even saw him and even now he will only come out for a few select people. I would let Jarvis run with the others but make sure he has a few places to hide. Motly likes to hide under things, couch, bed, basically any type of low furniture. Others like to perch up high like shelves and book cases. On top of warm computers and DVD recorders are real popular.

PS. Trim everyones nails so they don't hurt each other while Jarvis is being socialized.
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Old July 8th, 2012, 12:21 PM
Jarvis1 Jarvis1 is offline
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Thanks, Hazmat.

His nails were unable to be trimmed until this vet visit (Jarvis must always be sedated by the vets and they are using multiple skilled people to handle him). He is in an E-collar now. Don't see how I can trim them in future. He is extremely fearful and panics easily. The other cats have their nails trimmed.

The vet guessed Jarvis was a year old last Fall when the they first saw him. He was retested for FIV (with a different test) a month later, which also confirmed his FIV positive status.

This past vet visit (3 days ago) showed no fleas or parasites, though I will ask about using a monthly flea med like Advantage II.

We swapped all the ceramic dishes/bowls for all stainless steel 2 days ago. Eating materials were and are always cleaned 2x per day. (I never saw any of my cats drinking that much anyway but they are now steel also and cleaned 2x daily.)

Socialization
On socialization, there are several opinions. My mentor in this who runs the a large animal rescue organization has tons of experience and he has found that letting the cats all "sort it out themselves" is best—letting the fur fly and establishing the pecking order. We tried that and Jarvis was always chased into permanent hiding. So we began work with a behaviorist (using various techniques) but discontinued when this all happened. Maybe we didn't let it happen long enough.

At present, Jarvis is isolated from all but one of our cats who tolerates him, and whom Jarvis likes. The vets think we should keep it that way (separate) at least until his acute episode is resolved.

Food
Still trying to figure the food (other than raw at this time). Currently, we switched from Natural Balance (chicken or turkey) to Merrick B/G 96% Beef. Vet seems to think that was an OK switch but am reading lots of info on this now. I'd give him Wellness Chicken or Turkey but he was previously eating chicken and turkey (though a different brand). So, still trying to finalize the plan there and there seem to be many opinions.

All I can figure is that no grain seems a good idea, high in basic protein content, few carbs. As to what food exactly, I am unsure other than a switch from what he was eating.

Last edited by Jarvis1; July 8th, 2012 at 12:37 PM.
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