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Author Topic: If there are healthy cats out there, why can't I find them?  (Read 13347 times)
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bug
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RIP little angel Katey


« on: March 28, 2012, 11:28:32 AM »

Here we go again.

So, after having our little Cooper neutered a month ago, I'm looking at the possibility of another cat with an unfixable condition.

As you know, Cooper had been dumped outside last year when his people moved out of the area. I took him in, got him neutered, vaccinated, de-wormed, de-flead, tested for diseases (all negative) and had routine bloodwork done. He weighed 4.9 kg at the time of neuter. Came through it no problem.

On Monday evening, we noticed he wasn't his usual bouncy, meowy, lively self. We thought we might have just wore him out playing, but he seemed off. He ate dinner but didn't get up on his counter for dry food before bed. He just went to bed. I noticed he was breathing quite rapidly and wondered if maybe he was having a reaction to the food I had given him for dinner.

In the morning, he came up to eat and had his breakfast but then went right back downstairs to his sleeping spot. We usually play in the morning before I go to work. When I got home, he jumped up on the couch beside me upstairs and went to sleep again. His breathing was not only rapid but somewhat labored, so I took him in to the vet to see what might be up. Thought maybe he might have asthma or allergies or something else.

So, we did an x-ray -- the only thing I didn't do the day of his first vet visit -- and ohhh, guess what? It looks like his heart is enlarged. Of course it is, because I couldn't possibly find a cat with no major issues. In addition, he seemed to have a fever. So, I took his temperature at home a bit later on to make sure he wasn't spiking because he was agitated and it read a bit over normal. So, I started him on Clavamox. This morning, his temp was normal but on the high side. Gave him his second dose of meds. He ate less wet and more dry and went back for another nap. His breathing wasn't as bad last night or this morning so I think it was the fever that I was seeing. His resp rate sleeping was 44-50  Shocked. Later it came down to about 30 but that's still too fast for a resting rate.

Still, now we've got an ultrasound booked for his heart. No murmur and heart rate isn't fast, so maybe this isn't HCM again, but really?

Also, the fur on the back and sides of his head and ears looks and feels like cwap. Very dry and sparse. His body fur looks a little better -- shinier but thin and the fur on his limbs and tail looks awesome. What gives?

I know he was an outdoor cat and had a winter coat that I'm sure was way too hot for indoors (he seems to run hot) and started shedding like crazy, but really, his fur pulls out so easily. It's like he has no undercoat left -- mostly guard hairs and he looks so pathetic and scruffy (except for his legs and feet which are nice and dense).

He's also quite thin but has a pudgy tummy so he looks like he waddles a bit when he walks. But he's so cute and I'm glad I have him. I just hope I can figure out what's going on here and help him. He looked just fine when I picked him up. What happened?

This cat is extremely vocal, when in good spirits, is constantly walking around meowing and checking things out -- doesn't sit around much or if he does sit somewhere, it isn't for long. He had been eating two 5 oz cans of food/day plus two feedings of dry (and was not starving when I picked him up), he seems hot all the time and does have to lay on the cold basement floor after playing, he breathes faster than the other cats even without a fever and has a low exercise tolerance (will pant if he plays too long or hard).

We may have been fooled on his age and because he's small, he LOOKS young, but maybe he's not as young as we thought.

Anyway, for those with cats that are hyperthyroid, what were the symptoms that drove you to suspect it?

Any other suggestions what this might be? Sound like anything anyone has been through before with an outdoor kitty (out all winter in a cold climate) that has come inside?
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My little babies, you'll always be in my heart. Mom will see you later. Look after each other, ok?
Meowli
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« Reply #1 on: March 28, 2012, 11:49:04 AM »

Any possibility of parasites that were not detected before? Maybe in the heart, lungs, or stomach?
Good luck with the little guy,I am sending prayers from here that the problem is found and resolved quickly.
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catbird
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« Reply #2 on: March 28, 2012, 12:04:42 PM »

Bug, I'm sorry to hear that you are having yet another cat with health issues.

First of all, how old is Cooper estimated to be?  HyperT is very, very unusual in cats under age 6 or 7.  It can happen, but it is very rare.

Symptoms that I've observed include:
--very increased consumption of food and water
--restlessness/constant movement/prowling, not sleeping as much or as soundly as a normal cat
--startling easily, seeming on edge
--increased vocalization, especially at night.  At the time of her diagnosis, Isis even had a change in her voice quality.
--seeming hot and lying on cool surfaces, such as choosing a shelf rather than a carpeted cat tree
--dilated pupils as a result of high blood pressure from the elevated thyroid (I saw this with Isis only on the last day before diagnosis, which was part of what prompted me to take her for a checkup.)
--weight loss
--having BMs outside the litter box when formerly very scrupulous about litter box habits
--fur that was both dry and oily and the same time, especially at the base of the tail, unkempt-looking coat when formerly very well-groomed

HyperT can also cause heart problems, which will often resolve once the thyroid is under control.

Based on your description, I think a T4 check for Cooper is in order quite soon, especially given the heart issue.  It's possible that his symptoms could be caused by something else, but I think it definitely needs to be checked.  My first cue that something was not right with Isis (months before the diagnosis) was just a sense that something was "off" but I couldn't put my finger on it.  Then all the symptoms started to appear.

ETA:  HyperT is fixable.  I131 treatment is a cure.  Whether or not Cooper would be a candidate (if it turns out to be hyperT) would be determined by a health assessment by the I131 center.  If I131 is not pursued for some reason, treatment with methimazole is very helpful for many cats.  It absolutely gave Isis her life back, and gave me my cat back.  (We use the transdermal.)
« Last Edit: March 28, 2012, 12:10:02 PM by catbird » Logged

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lesliek
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« Reply #3 on: March 28, 2012, 12:17:37 PM »

I agree with both catbird & Meowli , a T4 & a culture to rule out any non spotted parasites in the regular checkup are in order. The hair on Punkin's ears getting thin & brittle & the fevers were the 1st symptoms of HyperT. Also when they all had the raccoon worms back in 2006-2008 [can't remember without checking] I saw changes in breathing, coats & body condition . As well as food & litter habits.
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catmom5
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« Reply #4 on: March 28, 2012, 12:19:31 PM »

Check for bartonella - some of these symptoms sound like Foster when she "crashed".
Keep us posted.
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bug
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RIP little angel Katey


« Reply #5 on: March 28, 2012, 12:44:50 PM »

Thanks everyone! I will get a poop sample out to get tested for any parasites that might not have been killed by the Milbemax, Pyren or Advantage and I'll be asking the vet who will do the cardiac echo to get a blood sample done up then so I don't have to take him in yet another time. He's not too co-operative when it comes to procedures. Though he was a good boy when I took his temperature.

I really don't know how old he is. They figured about 2, but they only have teeth to go by and they usually look for tartar and color, etc. His were nice and white, but so was Mr. T's when I got him and he was 4 at the time. So, we could be way off on the age just because he's a little guy. He might have been the runt of the litter.

We go in for the echo on Monday so I'll let you all know how that goes. I think I'll shave him myself on Sunday so all he has to do the next day is lie there and not get agitated.

Meowli, he was tested for heartworm and was negative for that and the x-ray didn't show anything that looked like worms. Milbemax takes care of round and flatworms and Pyren (followup) is for an extra go at the round worms. I always pick up his poop right after he goes and he pees in one box and poops in another -- never in the same one, so he wouldn't even have gone back into the same box. I'll ask about other types of parasites he might have picked up. He didn't even have fleas on him, just flea dirt and they didn't notice any other kind of little bugs on him when they neutered him.

I mean, he might just be blowing his coat as far as the fur goes, but that doesn't explain the fever or heart issue. Oh, yeah. This is why I get them.
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My little babies, you'll always be in my heart. Mom will see you later. Look after each other, ok?
Soo
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« Reply #6 on: March 28, 2012, 03:39:24 PM »

Bug, I have no experience in any of those symptons, but would like to wish you good luck next week with the appointment.  Keeping you and Cooper in my prayer.  Hopefully, it's something minor and can be fixed.
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BW
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« Reply #7 on: March 28, 2012, 05:35:21 PM »

Oh my, Bug.  I am so sorry for you having another kitty with problems, but I must say that I am glad for the kitty's sake that he found you to love and care for him.  Bless you and I hope you can resolve his problems soon, for both your sakes. 
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bug
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RIP little angel Katey


« Reply #8 on: March 28, 2012, 07:26:21 PM »

Thank you Soo and BW. We will need all the prayers and good thoughts you have. Everything that happened with Bones came flooding back when I saw Cooper's heart on the x-ray. They didn't even have to tell me it was larger than it should be. I hope it's not HCM again, but I am prepared in case it is.

BTW, his temperature this evening was 38.4C. Normal. He decided to come up and play a bit, have some food and then after about two hours of hanging around, go back to sleep. He seems more comfortable but I know the Clavamox is making him a little dull. Still, much better than the last 48 hours.
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My little babies, you'll always be in my heart. Mom will see you later. Look after each other, ok?
Mandycat
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« Reply #9 on: March 28, 2012, 08:16:23 PM »

Bug,
I agree with testing for hyper-T.  Do a T4 and Free T4 both for this first time.  If his T4 is in the upper part of the reference range, there is still the possibility of hyper-T which would be confirmed or ruled out by the Free T4, which must be elevated above the reference range to be confirmation of that diagnosis. All the things you mentioned can be symptoms of hyper-T, and, although rare, younger cats can become hyper-T.  We just had one on the hyper-T forum who was 4 years old, and have had others who were under 8.  Of course, it could be something else, but I would definitely check this possibility.
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August
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« Reply #10 on: March 28, 2012, 09:44:49 PM »

What can be said.    Embarrassed    I will be sending tons of good vibes and will be waiting for some good news from Monday's tests.

Cooper is so lucky that he found you, Bug.  And I have the feeling he knows that.
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alek0
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« Reply #11 on: March 28, 2012, 10:57:33 PM »

Bug, I have no experience with symptoms you are describing, but whatever it is I hope it is something fixable. In any case, I am sure that he couldn't be in better hands.
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merrihart
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« Reply #12 on: March 29, 2012, 03:20:56 AM »

Prayers and warm thoughts for your little, bug Sad  I hope it's a fixable condition and you get to the source soon.
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JoMax
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« Reply #13 on: March 29, 2012, 04:48:52 AM »

{{{hugs}}} and thoughts for you all - and of course he is a very lucky boy to have found such a caring, attentive home, maybe as you say you draw them to you - perhaps thats because of the all the love & care within you.
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"I can think of many ways in which I would become a better person if I were more like my cats. But I cannot think of a single way in which my cats would be any better for being more like me."  A.N.Wilson
bug
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RIP little angel Katey


« Reply #14 on: March 29, 2012, 05:49:44 AM »

Good to know there's at least one other cat out there with hyper-t who is under 8. I could just imagine if Cooper was the first. He'd be written up in the literature. CM, I will get him tested for bartonella. No one ever mentions that around here, though. I wonder if it's something that isn't around these parts of the world. I'll have to ask why that isn't a routine test.

This morning, he was perky and waiting at the door to the kitchen to come and eat. He ate well and then meowed around the house a bit and when I pulled the vaccuum out, he went to his little safe spot because he hates the thing.

So, he had some diarrhea this morning from the Clavamox. What kind of probiotics have all of you found to be good for this? There are so many different kinds and I can get the basic human bifidus or casei but maybe other combinations work better for cats? I know the vet has fortiflora but that's mostly filler and one type of bacteria (faecum). Thoughts?
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My little babies, you'll always be in my heart. Mom will see you later. Look after each other, ok?
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