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Unusual medical problem - vets are stumped. Please help!

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
We are so frustrated and don't know what to do with our sweet 2 year-old kitty anymore. Does anyone have any ideas?? Here's the story (sorry, it's a little long):
Our indoor, spayed, female cat started showing discomfort when picked up. Eventually, she would walk and suddenly cry out in pain. Her back would arch a bit as if she was keeling over in pain. She would hide for hours at a time and then when she did get up, she would walk in "slow-motion" and periodically cry out while moving. The greatest pain came when she would get up from a sitting position. Here's what we did:
1) Took her to the vet who thought it was a back problem - maybe a bulging disc from trauma. The vet gave her a shot of prednisone and she was like a new cat the next day. After about 24 hours, she got even worse than before.
2) The vet took x-rays and saw no abnormalities. A board certified radiologist said the same. They thought maybe the disc herniated. They gave her prednisone pills. This seemed to help, and after strict confinement and 7 weeks, she was finally OK.
3) After 2 months of being purrfect, she started getting the same symptoms again. We gave her prednisone pills and they seemed to help very little this time or not at all. Even though she was in strict confinement, the pain progressed to the point where she could barely move. It was always the same thing - severe pain when getting up and then pain when walking. She would continue to urinate and pass stool at regular intervals and without showing signs of pain. This has remained true throughout our whole ordeal, FYI.
4) The Vet couldn't figure out what was going on so we went to a specialist. He did blood test, urinalysis and culture. Did a neurological exam which he said was normal. He really doubted a back problem. The blood work came back fine except for some evidence of muscle inflammation (some kinase thing) and slight amount of magnesium-something in the urine. He suspected immune-mediated myocites. Suggested ultrasound to rule out other things.
5) A radiologist did the ultrasound and found everything perfect - no stones, normal organ sizes, etc. They also took a new set of x-rays and compared them to the ones from 3 months ago...all was within normal.
6) The specialist was stumped, the radiologist was stumped, and the family vet...stumped. They suggested a $2,000 MRI to "maybe" pick something up, or a spinal tap to look for spinal infection or visit with a neurologist. Maybe a muscle biopsy, but they didn't know where to biopsy. Sounded like they were on a fishing trip. The source of pain could not be pinpointed, although the consensus was that it was coming from somewhere below the rib cage and above the hind legs - possibly right under the spinal cord.
7) The specialist gave her a medication called Metacam - a COX-2 inhibiting pain med. It made her into a brand new cat for 48 hours. It was like nothing was wrong with her. As long as we medicated her, she was great. If we stopped, it was severe pain pain pain. As before, when in pain, lying on her side and tipping a little on her back made things comfortable. Getting up from there caused her to shreak in pain.
8) The vet suggested we at least rule out renal calculi and put her on Purina UR Ox/St. So far...no positive changes. The Vet suggested Clindamycin as the next thing to rule out some deeply embedded toxoplasmosis, even though she was toxo negative in the urine test. We haven't done that yet.

We feel so terrible for our kitty and all the vets have no clue what to do, except try a bunch of things that aren't yielding anything. There must be someone out there who has heard or seen these rare set of symptoms and would say, "Oh I've seen that before. It's this.....!" Who would that be? We don't know what to do anymore. I'm sure you can all imagine what a torture it is to see your cat in so much agonizing pain, and then not be able to help her! Metacam medication is dangerous to give her long-term, so we can't keep that up much longer.

Can anyone suggest anything?? Your help is so very much appreciated!!
Zuri and Michelle
post #2 of 12
I sent your post to a friend of mine who has helped me many times with my rescues. Here is her response

Consult with a veterinary university specialist, ASAP. Neurological and neuromuscular disorders need to be ruled out. An ultrasound and/or MRI wouldn't be a bad idea, but only through a specialist, based on something that may have been missed on current health records. Other testing may prove useful long before an MRI, but a specialist has to make the call. Heart function should also be checked carefully.
An immunology profile to rule out tick disease and other immune system disorders also would be prudent. Nerves or compression, lesions, etc all need to be ruled out. A feline neurologist (with a speciality in this area) should be consulted promptly.
The owner should videotape one or more "incidents" showing how the cat reacts upon getting up, rising, walking, vocalizing at the time, etc. The tape can come in quite handy with a certified feline neurologist.
post #3 of 12
I am so so sorry about your sweet kitty, I would be beside myself, just like you are. Hugs to you and your sweet kitty, I hope you find something out soon.
post #4 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by hissy View Post
I sent your post to a friend of mine who has helped me many times with my rescues. Here is her response

Consult with a veterinary university specialist, ASAP. Neurological and neuromuscular disorders need to be ruled out. An ultrasound and/or MRI wouldn't be a bad idea, but only through a specialist, based on something that may have been missed on current health records. Other testing may prove useful long before an MRI, but a specialist has to make the call. Heart function should also be checked carefully.
An immunology profile to rule out tick disease and other immune system disorders also would be prudent. Nerves or compression, lesions, etc all need to be ruled out. A feline neurologist (with a speciality in this area) should be consulted promptly.
The owner should videotape one or more "incidents" showing how the cat reacts upon getting up, rising, walking, vocalizing at the time, etc. The tape can come in quite handy with a certified feline neurologist.

and possible an animal chiropractor
post #5 of 12
Hissy has obviously tapped into a very knowledgeable friend with wonderful suggestions.

I'm sure with all the x-rays and scans, etc., they would most certainly have picked up on any arthritis, but have you tried giving a prophylactic dose of glucosamine to see if it helps at all? Also, she is pretty young for that, but it could happen I guess.

I know some cat foods have it already in there, but I'm not sure which ones at the moment.
post #6 of 12
Thread Starter 
These are wonderful ideas, and my wife and I are thankful for your suggestions. Keep 'em coming if you have more! I think video taping her is a very good idea and I was not aware there were good tests for immunological disorders. We were already leaning in the direction of seeing a neurological specialist, so that suggestion was also right on. We happen to be a few hours drive from UC Davis, so I guess that would be the place to go.

Zuri and Michelle
post #7 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by zbarniv View Post

4) The Vet couldn't figure out what was going on so we went to a specialist. He did blood test, urinalysis and culture. Did a neurological exam which he said was normal. He really doubted a back problem. The blood work came back fine except for some evidence of muscle inflammation (some kinase thing) and slight amount of magnesium-something in the urine. He suspected immune-mediated myocites. Suggested ultrasound to rule out other things.

If you have any idea what the kinase is, I'd be curious. I study muscle atrophy, and most of my work through the years, even in other fields, has involved kinases. No worries if you don't have the info, just wondering.

I hope you can get some help for your cat soon.
post #8 of 12
To me it sounds like lyme disease. My dog had it, and it was same symptoms. Took 2 different vets to figure it out. And during that time he seemed to get better, but then get even worse after treatment was stopped.
post #9 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by zbarniv View Post
These are wonderful ideas, and my wife and I are thankful for your suggestions. Keep 'em coming if you have more! I think video taping her is a very good idea and I was not aware there were good tests for immunological disorders. We were already leaning in the direction of seeing a neurological specialist, so that suggestion was also right on. We happen to be a few hours drive from UC Davis, so I guess that would be the place to go.

Zuri and Michelle

I I think UC Davis is a Great Idea,Good luck with the Kitty, I hope they find it's something simple that they just may have missed, it's a shame our babies can't tell us what's wrong.
post #10 of 12
Quote:
Consult with a veterinary university specialist, ASAP

I have no experience with this sort of problem, but I totally agree with this suggestion. Sending loads of hugs to you & your wife; this is an awful situation for you & your sweet kitty. (((((healing vibes))))) to your girl.
post #11 of 12
I am seconding lyme...I have it as does my mom, sister, brother and my friends 2 dogs had it. I know my (FIRST) vet said years ago "cats and dogs don't get it" his theory was they clean them selves to often. Id look into testing for that first. I have had lyme for about 9 years since it didnt get caught right away brother got the bulls eye rash and was treated soon enoguh to have no lasting effects
post #12 of 12
I have no suggestions. The idea of going to UC Davis sounds good, though. I think they do research on unusual animal diseases so may have some ideas for you. Here are more vibes and hugs or you and your kitty as you try to find a solution to her problem.
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