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Swollen abdomen getting worse - ideas?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
Hi, everyone -
I'd like to give you a little history on our Kirby and ask for ideas on what could be going on with her, based on your experiences. Kirby is a beautiful tabby that we rescued as a stray malnourished kitten back in Oct. 03. So she'll be 4 in a couple of months. When she was about a year old, she was scheduled for a spay, but developed a uterine infection requiring immediate spaying. since that time, she's still experiencing mild heat cycles (well, usually mild, lol). She has a history of very frequent bladder infections - usually 6-8 per year. For the past few years she's had sort of a potbelly appearance, but the rest of her isn't overweight. She doesn't eat any more than normal - about 1-1 1/2 Tbsp. of wet canned Evo in the morning, then a little dry Evo a few times later in the day. Last time she stayed at the vet for her bladder infection was 2 months ago, and there was a lot of bacteria in there. But the rest of her results were fine (ran the full blood panel and checked glucose levels and kidney function), and the abdominal xray didn't show any blockages or stones. No constipation, occasional diarrhea accompanied by the lovely butt scoot on light colored carpet since her belly is so big she can't reach to clean herself... eww.

The past 6 months or so, her abdomen just keeps getting larger and harder. I would think roundworms would do this, but her fecal didn't show any eggs. She waddles when she walks and looks very uncomfortable - it's expanding more and more all the time. Other symptoms: she has a dry coat and very sensitive back (to the point that she'll bite if it's touched for too long), is a flea magnet (we use frontline plus), and she's very anti-social (she takes a valium when it gets too bad). Vet just says she's eating too much, but i've been monitoring her intake closely, and it's still getting bigger and harder.

Does anyone have any ideas as to what we could possibly test for? Obviously the vet doesn't want to do the research, so it looks like it's up to me to suggest things.

Thanks so much, and I hope all of your furbabies are healthy and happy!!
post #2 of 8
Heat cycles concern me. Did the vet leave the ovaries? I thought they always took them.
post #3 of 8
I'm concerned about the heat cycles too. Did the same vet do the emergency spay (same one she sees now)?

I'm concerned that the vet just says she "eats too much"?? How much does she weigh? That doesn't tell the whole story of course, but I'm curious.

I would suggest getting a second opinion. "Large and hard" doesn't sound like obese to me.

Have they done an ultrasound?
post #4 of 8
A friend's female cat developed a large, hard distended belly like you describe, and it turned out to be roundworm. Sometimes roundworm (which goes in cycles) is hard to detect... maybe a second or more thorough fecal test should be done. Sometimes there aren't eggs in every stool.
post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 
They didn't leave who ovaries, but they must have left some tissue behind. I've heard it can cause the heat cycles to continue. Nothing showed up on her abdominal xrays, but they don't show the whole picture.

Our current vet is a different one than the vet who did the emergency spay- closer, plus their office is more professional with more docs on staff and emergency care. BUT - I'm not thrilled with the way they are treating this situation either. She weighs about 15 lbs. I'll try to upload a pic for you... the rest of her body isn't that big in comparison to her belly. The roundworms were what I was leaning towards too, although we haven't seen any evidence of them, and I don't know how she could have gotten them since all of our cats are inside with a controlled diet. But that's one of the mysteries of the feline world, lol. Attachment 12127
post #6 of 8
Honestly, at this point I would get a second opinion. My Molly had a similar issue, and an ultrasound was one of the first things they did.
post #7 of 8
I would get a second opinion as well. Maybe take her records from the other vet with you so they know what has and hasn't been done. Another worm test wouldn't hurt as well, since they may not have shown up the first time. I wouldn't think she would just be fat...

Good luck and please let us know what you find out.
post #8 of 8
It's hard to tell true body condition from a picture...she is very cute, though.

The fecal test can't hurt, however it's been my experience that skinny cats who eat a lot are wormy. I tend to doubt that a female who is able to maintain 15lbs would be wormy. Of course, worms can cause a rounded belly but that's the only sign I see with her.

Your vet has probably mentioned this, but the fact that she can't reach her rear end to groom can cause the urinary tract infections. Females who can't reach themselves to groom are especially prone to those, as their opening is more vulnerable to the entrance of bacteria from the outside. I think when you are able to find out the solution for her large hard belly, it will help prevent the UTIs too.

I agree that an ultrasound would be a good idea.
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