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Vets stumped/surgery/IBD???

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
I have been posting about my cat, Lucy, and her ordeal this weekend. Long story short, she began vomiting (pink), had diarrhea (became bloody after I got her to the e-vet), no appetite, went to the e-vet, x-rays/ultrasound didn't show any specific obstruction, but her intestines were bunching up like there might be one. Fluids, anti-vomiting meds, pain meds...the critical care specialist, radiologist, and surgeon (this place has a bunch of specialists) all agreed to open her up after 24 hours in the hospital, expecting to find some string or something.

Nothing. The vet grabbed some lymph node, stomach, and intestine for biopsy (wanted two samples from the intestine, but had problems with tearing, so didn't want to risk further complications and settled for one). She suctioned out the stomach contents and said Lucy kept leaking bloody diarrhea while on the table. This cat hasn't eaten anything since Thursday night, and by all appearances, threw all of that up.

The vet is stumped. At this point, the approach is more fluids, meds, and wait-and-see. The bloodwork and other tests didn't indicate it was a viral or bacterial infection (not to say it isn't, but isn't presenting like it, according to the vet). She suggested possible IBD or lymphoma, but says it's highly unusual in such a young cat (approximately 9mo to 1yr old).

This cat was perfectly healthy (except for a suture reaction to her spay) and suddenly becomes deathly ill late Thursday/early Friday. This is freaking me out. I'm trying to figure out how a fully vaccinated, indoor ~1yr old cat falls deathly ill. Obviously, it could be something bizarre or weird for her age.

-The shelter I adopted her from had a distemper outbreak. Lucy was vaccinated and received boosters over a month before the outbreak.
-I brought home another cat from this shelter (also vaccinated for distemper by prior owners and vaccinated again upon arrival at the shelter). This cat has a bad URI, but no other obvious health problems. Her bloodwork was all normal, and she checked out fine at the vet. She is improving daily and has no unusual/new symptoms.
-I let Lucy eat some Harmony Farms Tasty Tuna Entree Thursday night. She normally eats Wellness or Nature's Variety. I bought the Harmony Farms when I bought some Meow Mix to try to tempt the new kitty to eat. I figured I'd let Lucy eat some, since she went nutso for it when I was dishing it out for the new kitty (the new kitty, as it turns out, won't touch wet food, so she never ate it.) I figured it wouldn't kill her, right?

Anyone think the new kitty could have brought something into the house that made Lucy so ill? It just strikes me as unlikely between two fully vaccinated cats who came from the exact same environment (they were housed in adjoining cages at the shelter, for crying out loud).

I see Harmony Farms has been the subject of several recalls (including prior to the most recent "big" one.) Any possibility that food could be the source of this illness? The expiration dates on the cans they had were not included in the previous recall, but I suppose there could be another recall in the future.

I'm not looking to sue anyone or anything like that. I just hate not knowing the cause behind her illness. I'm also confused about what I'm supposed to do if she doesn't improve tomorrow or the next day or the next day. I am coming close to completely broke, and I can't justify borrowing large sums of money from family members when there's no reliable prognosis (especially after exploratory surgery turned up nothing - I can't argue with people who might suggest I'm throwing good money after bad). I could always open another credit card, but those funds aren't available immediately, and the vet hospital requires deposits every time anything changes. I already have a CareCredit account in use for Lucy.

Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated. I have never dealt with a mystery illness before, and it's breaking my heart (and my finances) to have Lucy be so sick and uncomfortable. I already feel incredibly guilty for subjecting her to unnecessary surgery (I know, I know...can't help it).
post #2 of 14
I am so sorry you and Lucy are going through this. She looks so sad and sick in the photo in your other thread.

Did the vet say anything about possible immune mediated hemolytic type reactions? The reaction to the sutures just screams autoimmune trigger to me. This might be because I have three different autoimmune diseases myself that seem to have been "triggered" by a spider bite.

Autoimmune things tend to be those that are weird and don't make any sense.

Sending lots of healing vibes to your sweet girl.
post #3 of 14
Thread Starter 
I realize this isn't a hot topic on the Health/Nutrition board, but Lucy hasn't vomited or had any diarrhea since the surgery! Between Dave and I, we can swing another day or two of hospitalization, so she will hopefully get through whatever has mangled up her poor little body and pull through. Fluids and meds for as long as we can afford it. I reallyreallyreally want my girl to pull through. Who doesn't, right? I just "clicked" with this kitty so well, and as bad as it sounds, most other kitties would never have made it this far (this is a LOT of money for me/us). I adore the new kitty, but Lucy just stole my heart (and Dave's). My little kitty girl apparently yelled at a few people (she's a talkative little brat) and has been walking around a bit. If she doesn't vomit, they'll offer her food around 4am. Even if you don't respond, please keep your fingers crossed for this little girl. I have been crying all weekend at the thought that she might not make it (or worse, won't make it before the funds run out), and Dave has been beside himself trying to calm me down. I'm not completely separated from reality, so I can accept that things are still up in the air, but I am hoping and praying that my little kitty girl can come home and hog the bed again.

I don't mean to bug everyone repeatedly, but I figure you guys can relate. It tears me up every time I think about this kitty not getting better. My house has been so quiet and lonely without her. It bugs me even more that I spent so much on surgery that turned out to be pointless - no obstruction. I could afford another couple of days of hospitalization without that surgery. Maybe she just needs fluids and time to recover. If not, I still feel awful for putting her through it. I know I was just following the advice of people who knew better than me, but if she doesn't get better, I feel like I made her suffer more than she had to. I don't want to think about her not getting better. I need my chatty little girl back.

Please keep your fingers crossed.
post #4 of 14
All fingers are crossed and mega positive vibes on the way to you and Lucy.

It seems like a good sign that she is walking around and meowing. I hope she can keep the food down.

I've never had to deal with a mysterying illness with my kitties. It has to be frustrating not to know what is causing her problems. Any result from the biopsies yet?

Hugs to all.
post #5 of 14
You must be devastated, I'm so sorry to hear you're having to go through this. I will be crossing my fingers and sending plenty of good vibes. Keep us informed on how she's getting on.
post #6 of 14
Following your story with great interest and thinking the best thoughts for you and Lucy! Please, KEEP POSTING!
post #7 of 14
How is your sweet Lucy today? Still sending lots and lots of vibes your way.
post #8 of 14
Also checking on Lucy. Positive thoughts and hugs to all.
post #9 of 14
Any updates!? Pleaseeee? I pray sweet Lucy pulled through this!
post #10 of 14
Thread Starter 
Sorry. Updates were posted in another thread. Lucy did, indeed, pull through this. We still have no idea what caused it (the biopsies were all normal). She improved drastically after the surgery, and she's had no other symptoms. She's back to her normal self, and you'd never know she was ever so ill (except for the weird haircut ).

It still bothers me that we don't know what caused it, but I'm just going to keep my fingers crossed that it was a fluke.
post #11 of 14
Sorry to hear Lucy was so seriously ill. I'm wondering if it was a weird allergic reaction to the sutures. This is something that you should keep in mind in the the future.
post #12 of 14
Thread Starter 
It has also been mentioned that maybe her spay was messed up and somehow affected her intestines (scar tissue, perhaps?). No clue - I brought it up to the vet, but she didn't find anything during the exploratory surgery that would specifically point to that. She got metal staples this time, and her incision healed beautifully. Nothing at all like the spay incision.

That spay incision really was gross. The exploratory surgery left a huge incision that looked perfectly fine 24 hours after the surgery (although, she was a little freaky looking with a long line of 28 shiny staples). The spay incision drained, gaped, and looked disgusting for about ten days before it started obviously healing.

If we end up needing any surgical procedures in the future, I'm going to request staples. I don't want to risk another possible suture reaction, if I can avoid it.
post #13 of 14
so glad to hear your baby kitty is better! It's so scary when they fall ill...
post #14 of 14
That is good that they found a work-around to the sutures. My Lucy had a problem after her bladder surgery where the wound opened up and we had to have a tube in it to drain. The vet used a different material to sew her back up.
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