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Mystery illness - any ideas?

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
My cat is pretty sick, and no one can figure out what's wrong with her. Maybe one of you guys will have an idea. (I hope!)

Bug is a two-year-old spayed female, indoor only cat. She has had poop issues her whole life. Most of the time, her stool is very soft, but formed. Sometimes it's worse or better than this, but not usually for long. Over the past 2 years, we've tried dozens of things -- all sorts of dewormers, all sorts of antibiotics, prescription diets (various hypoallergenic foods, low/high fiber, low residue, and even plain boiled chicken/beef & rice). We recently tried steroids, which didn't help either.

Occasionally her stool has had a little blood in it, but this isn't common. Other than the poop, she has been totally healthy and fine. No vet has ever found evidence of anything weird in her stool or blood.

Recently the vet did a culture of her poo and said there was a large amount of weird bacterial growth. This is the first time anyone has found anything that might be giving Bugger issues, so I was very hopeful. We started trying some weird antibiotics that we hadn't tried before.

Then Thursday she started vomiting. After some injections (fluids, antibiotics, and one for vomiting) she felt a little better, but didn't eat again until Friday, when she vomited again. Etc, etc, all weekend. Basically she hasn't kept anything down since Friday evening, and she has been off all medication since Thursday evening.

Here is where it gets weirder. She has a high fever that has been hard to control, usually around 104, but sometimes 105. We've done bloodwork twice since this started, and everything is NORMAL! No elevated white blood cells or anything, so why the heck does she have a fever? No signs of infection whatsoever in her blood. I don't get this!!!

She's been on IV fluids and antibiotics for the past 24 hours now, and the fever has come back down to 103, so she is home with me now. The plan is to continue with antibiotic injections and fluids, and also see if she can keep some food down. She is scheduled for an ultrasound on Thursday per the recommendation of an internal medicine specialist.

I can't figure out what could possibly be wrong with her, and neither can the vets. I just want her to feel better. She's only two years old!

If you got this far, thanks for reading so much. If anyone has ideas or suggestions, please let me know. Or if you're as clueless as I am, please just send some good vibes in the direction of my little Booger.
post #2 of 21
I wish I could help you, I really do, this must be so frustrating and upsetting to you. Many vibes for your sweet girl Bug, I hope they discover what is wrong with her soon.... If this makes you feel any better my Boy Joey has something and they have no clue what is wrong with him either but he has no outward symptoms but inside all his organs are abnormal looking

Many prayers for you and your girl Bug, I hope someone comes along and could offer some real help, I'm sorry
post #3 of 21
Poor little Bug. Good thoughts and healthy vibes to her.

It must be so frustrating for you to have no clue what is wrong after all the tests that have been done. I hope the ultrasound shows something so you will at least know what you are dealing with. Hugs to you and good thoughts for Thursday.
post #4 of 21
I am sorry to hear that poor Bug is under the weather-I am a vet tech and have seen a few cases like this come thru our hospital. I am wondering-how old is Bug? I hate to be a downer but is it possible that your vet has tested for FIP? FIP is a nasty disease that can cause fevers of unknown origin and a lot of the symptoms you are mentioning. We had a cat just today that was diagnosed with FIP-he has had a fever of 103-104 for the last few weeks, vomiting, diarrhea (occasionally with blood) and inappetance. I am hoping for you that this is not the case but if your vet has not mentioned it, it may be worth looking into. In the meantime I will continue to send good thoughts your way-it sure sucks when your kitties are sick!
post #5 of 21
I second FIP or FECV. My kitten Twinkie is going through similar problems. Everything started with her having loose stool with blood in it and next thing I know she would not eat and feel miserable. I have had her in and out of hospital several times she is now home under my care with Vet's supervision. I took her to three different vets the first one said FECV (Corona Virus) and the third one thinks it's possible FIP as her blood test came back normal as well. However the first time Twinkie showed a little bit of elevation in her blood but not enough to say that it was FIP but suspect FECV. I have been doing a lot of research and have been very down about these diagnoses. My little Twinkie is also on fluids daily, shots and antibiotics with steroids. I am praying that she will come out of it but time will only tell. I hope that's not your case but defiantly ask your vet about these viruses. My kitten also has a problem with her apatite and a fever of 104 even 105 some days. Good luck and I will be thinking about your little kitty and my Twinkie. I will pray for both of them. Hugs to you..
post #6 of 21
I wouldn't get on the FIP bandwagon. Instead, what you are feeding? There have been these type of issues with cats based on the pet food recall with more food being recalled almost daily. When she tolerates solids again, try feeding at least for a week, cooked hamburger (drain the grease) and cooked rice. Mix it together. In the meantime make a gruel of veal/ham or lamb baby food, and feed her slowly with a food syringe. Ask the vet to show you how to give supportive fluids, because of her frequent fevers, you may have to start giving her supplemental fluids from home.


Blood in the stools could be parsites. If she has a bacterial load that medication isn't touching, go to a health food store and purchase some GSE (Grapefruit Seed Extract) You want to buy the liquid, not the pill. One large bottle costs about $9.00 You want Grapefruit, not Grape seed. Put only a few drops in the water bowl, and into the food everytime you feed. If she is an outside/inside kitty keep her inside. Give her bottled water with the GSE mixed in- her bacterial load could be the result of her drinking out of outdoor puddles.

Best of luck
post #7 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by hissy View Post
I wouldn't get on the FIP bandwagon. Instead, what you are feeding? There have been these type of issues with cats based on the pet food recall with more food being recalled almost daily. When she tolerates solids again, try feeding at least for a week, cooked hamburger (drain the grease) and cooked rice. Mix it together. In the meantime make a gruel of veal/ham or lamb baby food, and feed her slowly with a food syringe. Ask the vet to show you how to give supportive fluids, because of her frequent fevers, you may have to start giving her supplemental fluids from home.


Blood in the stools could be parsites. If she has a bacterial load that medication isn't touching, go to a health food store and purchase some GSE (Grapefruit Seed Extract) You want to buy the liquid, not the pill. One large bottle costs about $9.00 You want Grapefruit, not Grape seed. Put only a few drops in the water bowl, and into the food everytime you feed. If she is an outside/inside kitty keep her inside. Give her bottled water with the GSE mixed in- her bacterial load could be the result of her drinking out of outdoor puddles.

Best of luck

Exactly what Hissy said
post #8 of 21
I agree with Hissy - my cat had the exact symptoms. Two vets thought it was FIP. Finally I found a holistic vet that put her on Jaro-Dophilus, which is a probiotic, (puts good bacteria back into the stomach) and everything cleared right up. Just a thought but it certainly won't hurt.
post #9 of 21
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the input. You guys are great.

I did some reading about FIP, and I'll discuss it at the vet tomorrow. I really hope that's not what it is.

As for food, her normal food is Nutro Max Cat dry food. As far as I know, none of Nutro's dry foods have been recalled. Also according to all the blood work, her kidneys and things are functioning fine. Back before the vomiting/fever started, and it was just a poo issue, I tried feeding ground beef and plain rice, and also chicken and rice for a while. She thought it was absolutely delicious, and would like me to cook for her every day, but it didn't change her GI issues.

The vet sent me home today with some canned science diet food that's extra stinky and appetizing, and (thank goodness!) she's eating it. She has kept it down for about 6 hours now, so I'm feeling really hopeful that maybe something is improving. At the same time, I think her fever is still there, and she has no energy.

The plan right now is to tough things out until the ultrasound on Thursday, which will hopefully tell us something new. Or I may end up taking her to Texas A&M's teaching hospital - I live a few hours away, but they're supposed to be pretty amazing with hard-to-diagnose cases.

It's so upsetting to have a pet feeling so awful, but it's even worse when no one can say for sure what's wrong with her. Thanks for all the good vibes and wishes - Bug and I both appreciate it.
post #10 of 21
Thinking about you and Bug today, I hope she kept her food down, Please let us know what they come up with.
post #11 of 21
I'm another one who thinks FIP is NOT likely in Bug's case. Keep in mind that there is no conclusive test for FIP.

It seems to me that the antibiotics could have triggered the whole vomiting episode. That doesn't explain the fever, but the fact that it's come down is a good sign nonetheless.

I hope Bug feels better soon.
post #12 of 21
You can't really diagnose FIP and I wouldn't go down that path either. It sounds like you need to take the results of her tests thus far and get to a cat specialist. ATM is one the leading veterinary hospitals in the country and I suspect they will find her problem.

I once had a cat with stool problems similar to yours (soft but formed with periodic blood and mucus) and she was diagnosed with colitis. But I caution that her problem never turned into what your poor baby is experiencing now, so it is probably not the same.

Sending positive vibes that you can find Bug's problem and get her feeling better soon!!
post #13 of 21
Well my kitten has almost identical symptoms and her blood test showed very little blood elevation which right away the vet said Corona Virus. After I brought her to another vet Twinkie's blood test was normal without elevation. So the vet said it's possible it could be "FIP" but they are not sure as it's very hard to diagnose it and be sure about it. If you vet figures out the problem in your cat PLEASE update me I have been doing a lot of research and have not been able to find anything other than FIP and FECV based on these symptoms.
post #14 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by rgard View Post
Thanks for all the input. You guys are great.

I did some reading about FIP, and I'll discuss it at the vet tomorrow. I really hope that's not what it is.

As for food, her normal food is Nutro Max Cat dry food. As far as I know, none of Nutro's dry foods have been recalled. Also according to all the blood work, her kidneys and things are functioning fine. Back before the vomiting/fever started, and it was just a poo issue, I tried feeding ground beef and plain rice, and also chicken and rice for a while. She thought it was absolutely delicious, and would like me to cook for her every day, but it didn't change her GI issues.

The vet sent me home today with some canned science diet food that's extra stinky and appetizing, and (thank goodness!) she's eating it. She has kept it down for about 6 hours now, so I'm feeling really hopeful that maybe something is improving. At the same time, I think her fever is still there, and she has no energy.

The plan right now is to tough things out until the ultrasound on Thursday, which will hopefully tell us something new. Or I may end up taking her to Texas A&M's teaching hospital - I live a few hours away, but they're supposed to be pretty amazing with hard-to-diagnose cases.

It's so upsetting to have a pet feeling so awful, but it's even worse when no one can say for sure what's wrong with her. Thanks for all the good vibes and wishes - Bug and I both appreciate it.
NO none of Nutros dry s are recalled but I would recommend a change to natural choice as it is a simplier food... Stinky is great with a sick kitty ... Solid gold makes a great tuna one
post #15 of 21
Thread Starter 
I talked to the vet yesterday about the possibility of FIP, and she said she doesn't think that's it. She said that the test they could do for that (I guess it's somehow testing for FECV?) could very well turn up positive and just freak me out more, and she doesn't think it's FIP. She doesn't think Bug would still be OK right now if it were FIP, so I hope she's right.

My little Booger has been keeping her (extra stinky wet) food down since Monday night now, so I'm very happy about that. I took her in for fluids and an antibiotic injection yesterday, and will do the same thing later today. I would be more hopeful if her energy level was better.

I'm worried about a few things right now, and I hope you guys can give me some input.

She is scheduled for a ultrasound tomorrow morning to be done by an internal medicine specialist at this referral-only place in town. I just found out it's going to cost $400. Is that how much these things normally cost? That seems kind of insane to me. If they said it would cost $400 to make my cat healthy, I would consider that a bargain, but this is a diagnostic, and my vet said there's a good chance they won't find anything. If they don't, exploratory surgery + biopsies is the next step. I don't even want to know how much that will cost.

I'm also worried because my cat is kind of freaking out right now whenever she's at the vet from stress, so I don't understand how they're going to be able to keep her still for an ultrasound without anesthesia. Does anyone know how this works?

Also, I know this is kind of silly, but it's something I'm worried about... My cat has always been very sweet, loves attention, sleeps under the covers with me, comes when she's called, etc. Apparently she is VERY crabby for the vet however, and she makes awful "OMG YOU'RE KILLING ME!" noises whenever they have to take her temp or give an injection. She's just really really stressed. Starting yesterday she won't let me pick her up without making awful noises. I don't think she's actually in pain because I can poke her all over without her making a peep. She just won't let me pick her up. Please tell me she hasn't been permanently traumatized by all this vet stuff. I don't want her to hate me forever.

I really thank you guys for all your advice and kind words. It really helps.
post #16 of 21
Hi - Just sending my thoughts and prayers your way. I'm hoping your baby is feeling better soon. The cost for the ultrasound is probably about right. This stuff can get to be quite expensive, especially when various tests are involved.

When cats aren't feeling well their behavior does tends to change from what we are used to. Sounds like Booger is really stressed. I'm glad she is keeping her food down; that is a good sign.

Good luck... keep us posted.
post #17 of 21
I have no medical advice, but I just wanted to say I hope Bug gets to feeling better. I'm dealing with a sick kitty right now too, and it's definitely no fun. Glad to hear Bug is keeping the food down so far!
post #18 of 21
I'm glad to hear that Bug is keeping her food down. That's great news.

FWIW, I agree with what your vet had to say about FIP and the test. I think that was sound advice.

I've only ever had an ultrasound done on one of my cats. It was a cardiac ultrasound, which I guess would compare. IIRC, it was $225...but that was done a vet school, so I think the services were cheaper there in general. We had some xrays and blood tests done that day too, and it was all together $375. For the ultrasound, I think $400 is probably around average, at a referral center.

I was told that they would sedate/anaesthetise my cat if needed. Precious is a very, very nervous semi-feral cat. She's terrified of strangers. BUT, she got through the tests without sedation. Some cats withdraw in fear, some strike out and freak out. It can depend a little on the skills of the person handling the cat too.

I don't think she's been permanently traumatized by the vet stuff. I think she'll settle down when she feels better, and when her routine isn't shook up so often by tests, vet visits, etc. I thought Beandip would hate me forever from all the vet visits and pills I shove down his throat. But now he doesn't see the vet very often, and he got used to the pills ...he went back to his loveable self.
post #19 of 21
If she's getting that stressed by all the vets visits, can you hold off and let her stress for a bit? If the fever is breaking, she's holding food down, etc, talk to the vet about giving her a break. I had my lover boy quit sleeping with me after 12 years when he got ill and we stressed him with daily vet visits. I gave him a week off and he regained his composure.
post #20 of 21
My goodness, I'm so sorry to hear that you and your Booger (cute name, by the way!) are having to go through so much!! Major vibes for the both of you!!

My kitty just had exploratory surgery last week where they took biopsies and that was just over $300, so I wouldn't think a simple ultrasound would cost more than a surgery!! Costs do vary among vets, though. None of my cats have ever had an ultrasound, so I'm not sure how they keep them still. It would be interesting to know!

About your cat making sounds as if someone was killing her - mine does the same thing when she's at the vet. She likes to complain haha. My baby is also very sweet and loving and has never once even tried to bite or claw anyone. She's just a super sweet cat. But you would never know that when she's at the vet!

I hope you are able to figure out what's going on soon, I understand how stressful and emotional that is on both you and your cat. Good luck and let us know when you find out anything more!
post #21 of 21
throw on an old thin tee shirt and go for a long bike ride, a jog, or just stand in the bathroom with the heater on and the hot shower running (you want the tee shirt nice and stinky. Once it is wet with your sweat, put it in a plastic bag and take it with you to the vet. Put it in her carrier, under her on the table, ask them to wrap her in it when she goes for tests. It will keep her calm. If they keep her overnight, keep the shirt with her. Tell the vet you don't care about the shirt, if they find you want it back, they may not let you leave it.
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