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Assistance with URI/anorexia (long, sorry!)

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
Took the new girl to the vet this morning. She came home (late Monday night) from the shelter very congested and already on Clavamox for URI.

I got her in ASAP for the URI. It seems better than it was in the shelter (wet sneezes, but not slinging snot everywhere anymore - still coughing/choking/gagging, though ), but her appetite is still pretty much nonexistant. The only thing she's even eaten on her own was some tuna with its water last night, and she promptly threw up some of it.

Personality-wise (and this is a new cat in a new environment, so not much to compare it to, and no idea how either of those two things might be contributing to her behavior in combination with her illness), she doesn't seem to be too lethargic or miserable. This afternoon, she seems a little pooped, but I'm just chalking that up to the vet visit and assisted/forced-feedings (see below). She's very affectionate, interested in exploring her new environment, etc. She seems to be very "at home" in the bedroom she's confined to.

We picked her up pretty late for the shelter, so the limited remaining staff couldn't say if she had been eating consistently (I noticed her evening food looked untouched). She had started to get pretty sick in the days before I picked her up, but one of the staff members mentioned that she had gotten sick previously, seemed to improve, and was now getting sick again. They sent us home with the remaining doses of Clavamox, but her medical info didn't say when she'd started this current treatment or if she'd received it previously (just left a message for someone to call me with the info so I can relay it to the vet).

The Vet Visit:

No temperature. Not excessively dehydrated. The regular exam went fine. A little tartar build-up on some back teeth, so she recommended a cleaning in the future, but the vet isn't interested in pursuing that right now.

My vet stated she is a fan of Clavamox, so will continue the Clavamox if this is her first treatment, or she's been on it less than two weeks. If this is her second treatment, or she's been on it for two weeks straight, she wants to switch to Zithromax. She sent us home with a tube of Lysine (recommended we purchase the capsules in the future, since it's cheaper and easy enough to sprinkle on food (when the cat eats, anyway). She also gave her a dose of Cyproheptadine to see if that would boost her appetite. I asked her if we should continue that, and she advised she would prescribe more if we saw a change in her appetite.

One concern I had was some info on the shelter's intake sheet. The prior owner mentioned that he thought the cat had allergies, since she'd been having sneezing fits off and on over the past few months. The vet and I both agreed to take it with a grain of salt, and the vet pointed out the obvious: If she'd been this sick for several months, she'd be dead. I can be a worrywart with my animals, so I also brought up the possibility of any sort of growth, etc. obstructing her breathing. The vet, reasonably , wants to treat this like a bad URI until something indicates otherwise. I can hold off my hypochondriac tendencies with the knowledge that the stress of landing in a shelter for a month and a half could have messed with her immune system and made her more susceptible to a severe URI. Not to mention, I don't know her vaccine history, but the prior owner stated he obtained her from a breeder and kept her indoors with another breeder cat, so she may well never have been exposed to it (are the URI viruses like chicken pox? If you are exposed to it for the first time later in life, are its effects more severe?). There's also the possibility that she's just a chronic case.

Also, I requested the vet do bloodwork, since I'm kidney-phobic.

At this point in time, the vet wants to hear from me on Friday (or tomorrow, if things get worse, but she'll be off, so I told her I'd leave her alone, since if the cat is that bad off, I would simply take her to the e-vet). We are force-feeding the good ole A/D slurry. The vet wants at least half a can in her each day we have to force-feed, but would prefer an entire can. I'm still offering her stinky Fancy Feast and tuna (none of the expensive, natural, grain-free stuff garners any interest). I'm offering her dry (Avoderm, what they feed at the shelter, and Instinct), since the previous owner said they only fed her dry. We are hoping she resumes eating on her own relatively quickly. She doesn't seem to be in "good flesh" for a cat that's only eight (spine's a little too bony for my taste, and her hindquarters have that sort of hollowed out look to them), so I'm thinking she was losing weight at the shelter, and might not have been eating much there, either.

Any suggestions to help this kitty feel better? Any suggestions I should bring up to the vet? Anything at all, honestly, would be nice. I dealt with anorexia due to CRF, and a very picky eater who never lost his appetite (just *couldn't* eat at the end) even after a malignant mass showed up under his tongue. All the other sick kitties I've dealt with have been foster kittens (hand-feeding them, anyway), and in the shelter and later, the vet hospital I worked in. I just want to know what I can do at home to make her more comfortable while we wait for the drugs/her immune system to work.
post #2 of 10
yes CRF and anorexia can go hand in hand ... my kandie was on actually a antihistimine to stimulate... BUT

URI lends itself to not eating as they cant smell the food try a fishy flavor wet ... Meow mix pouches are decent and smelly...
post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by sharky View Post
URI lends itself to not eating as they cant smell the food try a fishy flavor wet ... Meow mix pouches are decent and smelly...
I bought a bunch of fishy flavors at Target and the grocery store - no interest in the tuna, salmon, or whitefish/seafood variations. As my pets can't seem to let a day go by without making me look dumb (I did post that worried post less than an hour ago!), I just checked in on her and, she ate a bit of dry food on her own. I'm hoping she's actually hungry and not just terrified I'm going to make her eat again. It looked pretty uncomfortable for her, and she gagged/coughed several times. The vet did mention possible throat irritation, so I may have to continue with the A/D if she's not eating enough dry food on her own and I can't convince her to eat wet.

I'll take it. As long as she's eating, I don't care if she's doing it only to prove me wrong and make me look like a worrywart on TCS.
post #4 of 10
Poor kitty. Hopefully she just can't smell the food and will start eating a little better soon. I did hear recently that saline drops in a kitty's nose can unstuff them some. I understand that it's really really common for a kitty to get a URI in a shelter.

What breed is she?
post #5 of 10
When I brought Hannah home from the shelter, she was VERY sick, much like your kitty, only she wasn't on antibiotics already. Here's what I learned that helped me.

1. She won't eat because she can't smell the food. Sooo...warm up the food a bit (15-20 secs in the microwave) AND run a vaporizer constantly in the room where she's confined.

1a. Boil a chicken breast without any seasoning in water. Add some of the broth to the wet food to increase the flavor.

2. Leave dry kibble out all the time for her, just in case she decides to have a nibble.

3. Get some eucalyptus oil from the health food store. Put it on a washcloth NEAR where the kitty sleeps, but not close enough for her to get it as eucalyptus oil is deadly if ingested. This will help open up the nasal passages. (You can also add it to the water of the vaporizer.)

4. If you can find a Vick's vapor rub thing in the hard plastic tube, tie it around her neck. This will also help open up her nasal passages. If all else fails, use baby Vicks. Just a little dab on top of her nose (where her tongue can't reach) will help. (The vet recommended this one.)

5. Sounds like she might have air-borne allergies. I give my Hannah L-Lysine daily, 500 mgs. If she's sneezing or her eyes are water, I up it to 1000mgs. I buy the powder from the health food store. No crushing pills!! Approx 1/4 teaspoon equals 500 mgs. (She just went through a sneezing spell for 3 days last week when the weather changed.)

6. Watch her eyes. If they continue to be leaky, you might need to get drops. We ended up with drops that we put in her eyes and in her nose. (NOT fun to administer, but they did the trick!)

7. Don't overtire her as that will cause her to go downhill. Encourage her to play, but not too much. Spend time cuddling and loving on her to build the bond. Most likely stress has played the biggest part of her illness.

8. Be prepared for the long haul. It took a good 6 weeks for Hannah to be totally well. She spent that whole time in solitary confinement, too!

9. TLC is the BEST medicine. I think once a kitty knows you love them and are committed to them and getting them well, healing is increased.

10. Don't be afraid to ask the vet for an appetite stimulant. Once she starts feeling better, her appetite should increase and you can stop giving the stimulant.


post #6 of 10
Stephanie gave a lot of really great advice.

Another thing that has worked for me with a lot of sick kittens is a little tiny finger full of the food in the mouth. I have tried the smudge on the nose with limited success, but actually just scooping a little in there has made a "lightbulb" go off on many occassions. I have even had to force feed on numerous occassions and brought back some little ones that my vet said would never make it - many times this little swap inside the mouth helped before it led to that point again.

If you do end up with the eye goop, a homemade saline solution of some warm water and a little salt can go a long way as well. Often times goopy eyes in cats are caused by the herpes virus and l-lysine has been very effective for me. I often see dramatic improvement overnight.

Good luck.
post #7 of 10
Oh! One other thing.

Plain pedialyte will help keep kitty hydrated and provide nourishment as well.

post #8 of 10
Originally Posted by stephanietx View Post
Oh! One other thing.

Plain pedialyte will help keep kitty hydrated and provide nourishment as well.

YES! Even if you don't need them right now, tiny 1cc or 3cc syringes are handy to have around, because you'll need them when you least expect it. Most pharmacies will give you a few for free. I told me CVS guy I was caring for a litter of orphans and he gave me a handfull for nothing. And, when I asked the guy at Eckerd if they sold the small ones a while back, he gave me 2 or 3.
post #9 of 10
Thread Starter 
Is it weird that she hasn't had any eye discharge? She had plenty of nasal discharge when I picked her, mostly just a wet nose (but the coughing and "snorkeling" through her stuffed up nose just break my heart).

For the poster who asked, she's a Siamese. I initially posted about her here:
post #10 of 10
Aw, you are so sweet to adopt an older kitty. She's a beauty. I am partial to meezers myself. I have one full and one mix.
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