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Syringe Feeding/ Hard Lymph Node/ advice welcome...

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
My sweet Buddy has had a terrible summer. He had allergies and respiratory issues which eventually in September led to him not wanting to eat, so the antibiotics began. I'll shorten things... things went up and down for over three weeks, but I did not realize the amount of food he was NOT eating. I was measuring but had nothing to compare it with I guess. Antibiotics cause GI upset and a host of other stuff. Well, on IV fluids every few days my sweet boy would perk up and eat a bit more. Then he'd fall back. His doctor then decided we would go every other day on fluids to keep him hydrated and more on an even keel, get him started eating, and hopefully off the antibiotics soon. Between his fluids last tuesday and bringing him in thursday he had a setback. He no longer perked up, he ate nothing. (I'd been supplementing him with Nutri-cal the whole time). Dr Tom looked at him thursday and noticed that his swollen left lymph node had not gone down as expected - it got firmer, and about the size of one of those bigger marbles. He looked in Buddy's mouth, then with the lighted thing and Bud's whole throat was red and sore.

Doc had told promised me weeks ago that he would never play "hero" and think if he couldn't fix something then nobody could. He knows how much Buddy means to me, especially after my sweet lady died nearly 21 months ago. Buddy is 11. Well, he told me he was referring me to a colleague that he trusted, and reminded me about our hero talk. He went right in the back and I could hear him on the phone. Drove right from the vet to a strange town and walked in with Budbud and they knew we were coming. Immediately this doctor did not like that he had been on antibiotics for so long and thought his sore throat was a bad case of thrush. She wanted to stop all antibiotics. But the lymph node on his neck - that was a problem. Of course I'm panicked this entire time, barely remember even driving there.

The other node is not inflamed, and she found no others on his body that were odd. I guess this is a good thing, but the needle biopsy she took came back as not having "lymph cells" in it (I don't understand why) but it had a high white cell count, so something is badly infected. Possibly a sinus or a tooth. Now they have to do an actual biopsy but she though, with Buddy's temperament, it could be done with a local anesthetic. Also the skull x-rays - he's a very good patient. The other x-rays that were taken a couple weeks ago were done with no sedation. See, Buddy almost died in January at the Animal Hospital. He had a reaction to the ketamine cocktail and it nearly killed him. I'm petrified of anesthesia. Well, whatever this is, is probably going to involve it. And I'm scared........

Ok, so now he's off antibiotics since thursday night, I don't know when the side effects will go away. A feeding program has begun, even though I kinda had to figure it out for myself to step into this over a 4 day period. I would imagine it is hard for a 10 pound kitty who weighs 7.8 pounds to go from eating approximately 10 to 30mL of food per day, to eating a 6 oz can (177 mL) or more in a day. He doesn't want to eat, maybe one kibble or one lick, but that's it. After 2.5 days of this step-up plan I'd imagine that his stomach feels awful, like a couple too many trips to the buffet for us. How does this work? Does it hurt? When will his strength come back? When will his appetite return?

Tomorrow will be the 4th day, approx 220mL of food - 1.25 cans. I'm using a/d at the moment, but we initially had Royal Canin Recovery RS. I was running out so I called a local vet yesterday at 5 minutes to noon and they were willing to set the food out for me to get through the weekend, and I had heard that the a/d was more palatable. Budster doesn't like anything right now. And I'd imagine he is not hungry, after his tummy had shrunken after all the days of not eating. I highly doubt he is losing weight anymore at least, and the few times he's vomited it was more like coughing up mucous. I caught it in my hand today during noon feeding (yuck) but it was just food-colored snot. I feel like I must be blowing him up like a balloon. 5 half-hour sessions a day is hard on both of us, but he is obviously worth it, he's my baby! This upcoming week scares the he!! out of me and I'm pretty much a trainwreck but trying to be positive around my sweet boy. Could anyone shed some light on any of this for me today? My mind is on nothing else, so maybe I can learn more from you guys. Thank you


my sweet man, who I want to spend many many more days on my bed in the sun~
post #2 of 10
First of all I want to say you're amazing for everything you are doing for your kitty. Second of all I just got through a month and half stint of kitty not eating, assist feedings, and a really hard time. (she just started eating on her own) And I want you to know I'm here for you if I can be, unless you've assist fed a cat, people don't really know the emotions that go into it, and how hard it actually is.

There is a really good assist group online with all the resources you could possibly need, its what got me through it and taught me everything (had to do it on my own as well) I'll PM it to you.

My only advice is that there are no answers, to when they start eating on their own, or when they get their strength back. Kismet actually needed a nasal tube to feed her for awhile, she just started eating on her own this past week, but her strength isn't even clost to back. She weighed in at 8 pounds at the beginning of all this, was down to 5.5lb at her lowest and is back up to 6.6 now.

My other issue i personally had was people telling me she needed WAY more food then she normally ate (normally she ate around 1/4 cup a food a day --> maybe equivalent to 40-50cc and i was encouraged to give her 100 + a day) this made her ill, this made her vomit so I went down to much less (around what she normally ate) and this worked for me.

Any more specific questions and I'd be happy to help what I can.....
post #3 of 10
Work with the doctors on this; give him as much nourishment as he will tolerate, and cherish every moment with him. NO ONE knows how any individual will rally or what their path will be, "expert" or not. Think the best healing thoughts for your Buddy, and if you're a spiritual person, prayer is very powerful. Then, you must leave it in the Hands of the Supreme Being and the doctors, and Buddy himself. My best healing thoughts and prayers go out for him, and for you. I have been where you are now before, and I know how very, very difficult it is. Talk to Buddy, too, in your heart, and tell him your feelings. He will tell you his as well. ALL THE BEST to you both.
post #4 of 10
According to Janet and Binky's chart, Hill's AD contains 180 calories/can.

In researching diabetes in cats, I found a lot of good information on feeding cats. Diabetic diets tend to be high protein, low carb - healthier for cats. Most of the experts recommend 15 cal/lb of lean weight. For my son's cat to gain weight (a total of 4 lbs), we started out feeding her as if she weighed 2 lbs more than she does. She has just recently been bumped up to the amount of food for her final goal weight.
Our vet had recommended a much smaller amount of food - she would have been losing weight!
Illness can up the amount of energy needed, and therefore food.

Stomachs don't actually "shrink," the brain just resets itself to a new "full." The smaller, frequent feedings are the best. Everytime you feed them, it stimulates the intestines to work. Sometimes that can be a bit uncomfortable when they aren't used to it so often. It will get better.

Positive thoughts headed your way. It's very hard when theya re ill.
post #5 of 10
I don't have any grand knowledge for you but wanted to tell you that the love and kindness you have for your little fella reaches all these miles and touches my heart. Sending you both lotsa prayers and blessings....
post #6 of 10
Thread Starter 
Thank you. I can't begin to say how much I love my sweet Buddy, he is an amazing cat. I was never gonna give up on him for a sinus infection, nor will I now. I just don't understand why it came down to this. I won't give up, Buddy has a lot of fight in him, but it will definitely help to get his strength up with some good yummy food. And kick this sore throat out the door.

post #7 of 10
Poor guy!! it's a good chance he's not eating because of the sore throat!! Maybe once that is gone he'll start eating again! If you keep the nutrients in him hopefully there won't be anymore complications! it's so hard with our fur babies when something so minor becomes so complicated!! Hang in there!!
post #8 of 10
Thread Starter 
OMG I am so exhausted. It took me 45 minutes this morning. I know he is exhausted as well. We had to stop for a few minutes because he coughed up mucous twice, but there was no food in it. My syringes suck. I eventually had to take one with both hands and squirt it into another one.

I am again waiting for a call from Budster's doctor. I honestly do not understand why he doesn't eat by himself, especially since he's holding this food down. I don't know if it is the sore throat or the mucous. He sniffs food and then turns away. Occasionally he will take a lick or two, or one kibble or treat, but that's all. I want him to get better so badly. I want to see him enjoying his food again, wanting to shake hands for treats, and enjoying laying in the sun. I don't even have a way to give him a special treat anymore.

I think I'm honestly getting exhausted. When Eric is here he can feed Bud in 10-15 minutes. It took me 45. At least neither of us got hit in the eye this time. Bud is sleeping on the bed now. I'm trying to think of an excuse to join him, even though I have important things to do. I guess waiting for the doctor's call would be more important than going outside and doing my work.....

post #9 of 10
Thread Starter 
Buddy's sore throat is still there, and it's probably why he is not eating or drinking. His head is stuffy and full of snot, but his lungs sounded really clear this time, not "crackly" as she described a week ago. No sign of pneumonia. His weight is the same. They took body x-rays and everything looked ok, but she was going to have other doctors look at them. There is potentially an enlarged esophagus, but she was not certain, and when she pointed out what she was looking at, I had no idea what I was looking at. She saw no sign of enlarged lymph nodes anywhere else in the body, and everything was the right size except he had lots of gas ... probably from the syringe feeding and how much he fights that! We could see that he will have to go potty soon, so hopefully he will expel a lot of that.

She gave him a shot of Dexasone steroid to help clear his head, and a pain killer called Buprenex to help ease his sore throat. It is hope that he may be eating by the end of the weekend. We can give this under the tongue or sub-q because his throat is sore and he started drooling right away. They gave us the IV set of fluids and needles and showed us how to use them sub-q. I'm to feed him more than one can of the high calorie food per day so that he is on the "gain weight" program of the diet, and then weigh him to watch that and try to monitor fluids that way. She recommended 100-150 cc's every 2-3 days.

She wants to see if this clears things up, and then she will have an idea of what exactly is going on. Meanwhile that enlarged lymph node should begin to go away on its own, as it does it's job of getting rid of bacteria. He still doesn't have a high temperature or yellow/green color in the mucous he's been coughing up since the antibiotics and prednisone were stopped a week ago. Actually, he never had a temperature or colored snot. I admit I do not know what it all means, but last time he got a shot of steroids his breathing was really good, and with the painkiller his throat should feel better soon. And hopefully that means his sense of smell will return and he'll want to eat and drink again. soon!

I hope this is the case, and I hope that it makes sense to Dr Tracy enough to fix or treat the problem. She did suggest that it might be something that may tend to recur because of the stricture behind his nose making it more difficult for him to drain his sinuses, but at least we will then know immediately how to treat it and get things cleared up fast.

From what I remember she wanted to do this to see if it worked, and is kind of using it as an "exploratory" measure to get closer to what is going on. I think the steroid might make the lymph node shrink as well (??). Scary stuff, but I'm glad his insides look clear. I wonder when he will want to try some food. He's so averse to it now, I'm sure he'll be afraid to even try. I guess I'll probably have to syringe feed him his lunch soon, maybe it won't be as bad and he'll get the hint. I have my fingers crossed.

post #10 of 10
Good luck Gina!!! you are doing amazing!!!! I really hope he starts eating soon!! make sure the food you leave out has no hint of a smell of what you've been force feeding him because he'll be adverse to that!! And he WILL START eating as soon as he feels betteR! they don't forget, although sometimes it seems like they have.......
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