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Desperate Newbie with Urgent Question

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
Hey there - I'm Robin, with a problem my vets don't seem to be able to help me with.
I have a multi-cat household consisting of four shelter-adopted cats I've had for some years, and two gorgeous feral females I socialized and adopted one and two years ago from a feral colony on a vacant lot beside my house.
About two months ago, I noticed another one of the feral kittens outside(approximately seven months old at that time) was in respiratory distress and appeared to be failing. This particular cat (Panda) had also been ill in the summer, requiring a flea bath, feline milk sub. bottle-feeding, separation and particular attention. This time I was concerned enough to bring Panda indoors (I have a spare room available) and seek medical attention for him.
His symptoms at that time: greenish ocular and nasal discharge; frequent sneezing; coughing; lethargy; little appetite. He was, and is, extraordinarily small.
The vet prescribed Clavimox and told me to keep Panda's environment as stress-free as possible. I did so. Panda's condition improved slightly, but when he went off the Clavimox the symptoms worsened again. He was prescribed Clavimox again, improved, went off, and worsened. During the period when he was on the antibiotic, he had his first set of shots, which of course stressed him and probably contributed slightly to the exhibition of symptoms. Again, for the third time and about two weeks ago, I took him in, he was prescribed Clavimox, improved, got his boosters, and just four days ago, finished the drug and yesterday and today is worsening again. He is due to be neutered in two weeks, but if his health won't stabilize, I won't subject him to the surgery, nor can I introduce him to my other indoor cats.
I am getting, as you can imagine, kind of frustrated. I had no intention of adopting the little guy but now that he's in my care I'm certainly not going to put him back outside; the colony has more or less rejected him since the onset of his more severe symptoms, anyway. He's very friendly with my husband and I, and is a pleasant little cat, and I'm not too upset about being stuck with him.
However, if he cannot be 'cured', I don't know what to do. I imagine he has one of the big five: herpesvirus, FCV, chlamydophila, mycoplasma, or bordetella bronchiseptica (excuse spelling errors). My concern is that he might remain a shedder of the virus, and I am certainly not willing to endanger the health of my five indoor cats, none of whom has had contact with Panda to date. And as long as he's kept separate, I'm losing valuable time socializing him with my other cats. This is going to sound harsh, but if the little guy is never going to be able to join the rest of the household, I will consider having him euthanized.
Please give me any advice and/or share any experience you think might help me figure this out. I'm off to the vet again tomorrow, and am going to request viral and bacterial cultures be taken, again. What else can I ask them to do? What else can I tell them to look for? I'm at my wit's end, a short journey at the best of times.
Thanks so much in advance. I'm not a wealthy person, but I'm willing to spend a big share of my limited resources on both my indoor cats and the feral colony, when I'm able. Cats are... how can I put this... I really, really, love cats. I don't want to lose Panda.
post #2 of 18
Hi - I'm not certain why the vet isn't able to figure out what he has or doesn't have... maybe the cultures will tell you more. Also, wondering why the vet hasn't tried a different antibiotic other then the Clavamox. Sometimes one antibiotic won't work, but another one will. May want to try another vet if this one isn't able to provide some answers. Poor little thing should be able to come around... good luck.
post #3 of 18
Have you attempted to talk with another vet in your area? I don't know how much you trust this vet, but it all seems fishy to me. Most vets WILL NOT give booster shots to a kitten or cat if that animal is sick at all. Also, the fact that your current vet seems unwilling to try anything new is alarming.

My suggestion is to make some calls to other vets in your area, and see what they say. Good luck and some to the little guy!
post #4 of 18
Thats true my Cat are not allowed to get shots if they are sick. They should also try another antibiotic. We had to do that with Coco because the Clavamox made her sick and i wasnt working either. She had Orbox for a bad cold and cephalexen for her Bladder infection this time.
post #5 of 18
Hi Robin,
I have a multi cat household too and we are just finally getting over, force feeding, giving meds, cleaning vomit and diareah so I can sympathize. I agree with everyone with regards to checking out another vet. I'm concerned about the vaccines being given while sick.

Also, be careful about carrying the illness to your other babies via your clothes. Yes, if it's an airborne illness it can spread that way.

Good luck; sorry I don't have any answers for you. Please keep us posted.

post #6 of 18
Please keep us posted on the cultures and tests...should they not be able to figure out what he has by doing those tests? This poor little guy
post #7 of 18
Has he been tested for FIV/FeLV? (I skimmed most of your post, sorry if I missed anythign!)

My piece of advice is to get a 2nd opinion. If Clavamox doesn't work the first time, then stronger anti-biotics need to be tried....Baytril, Orbax, Doxy...something!
post #8 of 18
Originally Posted by mews2much View Post
Thats true my Cat are not allowed to get shots if they are sick. They should also try another antibiotic. We had to do that with Coco because the Clavamox made her sick and i wasnt working either. She had Orbox for a bad cold and cephalexen for her Bladder infection this time.
i know when i took in Firefox, she was late on her beginning shots because the vet wanted to wait until she was healthier. i'd search out a different vet... perhaps a feline specialist?
post #9 of 18
This sounds so much like FIV/FeLV. We had a really great cat Sammy who was a shelter kitty. We nursed him back to health with antibiotics and got rid of all of his worms and yucky things. He was doing really great and then all of a sudden just started getting sicker and sicker. He had all the symptoms of a nasty cold and it extended to diarrhea and vomiting after time. He was with my other indoor cat at the time who was not showing any symptoms. Finally, he was tested and did test positive for FeLV and we put him down as he was beyond improvement. Towards the end he lost tremendous amounts of weight and was listless and unable to enjoy life anymore. Even though the tests are notorious for false positives, I do recommend them. Many owners have also found that the feline pheromones (Comfort Fel-way I think it is called) can be very helpful to improve their health and well being. I have a friend whos cat was also diagnosed with this and has lived several years symptom free with the help of the Feli-way... I guess it releives the stress from their illness. A big caveat though, if the little guy does test positive, find another home for him ASAP and keep him quarantined from your other cats because it is transmittable. If I can help you in any other way, please don't hesitate to contact me at

Good Luck!
post #10 of 18
I'm kind of in the same boat as you are, only in reverse. I want to take in more strays, but b/c I have 2 FIP cats (the dry form), I'm afraid to bring in any more strays for fear of them possibly having something that they could pass on to my FIP furbabies. Amd until I can afford to have them tested for any possible contagiouos feline diseases, I won't bring any more strays into the household..

I think you should do what's best for the furbabies you already have. I understand your wanting to give Panda a good & loving home, but I think your first responsibility lies with the ones you already have. Would it be possible to try and get Panda well again, and adopt him out?

I also agree with the others on getting another vet who's willing to try other treatments.

I wish I had better advice to give. I hope everything turns out for the best, and that Panda gets well..

post #11 of 18
Please go get the advice of another vet. I agree it doesnt sound like you vet wants to try anything new and if he doesnt want to try anything how can he be a good vet? But definitely get another opinion before you jump to a decision that could be prevented. He deserves that chance.
post #12 of 18
Ditto to everything said here. Try another vet. Just because he/she got through school and is practicing doesn't mean they're good.
post #13 of 18
It sounds like he could have FIV because of the way he improves on the antibiotics. My Seb is FIV positive and is healthy and happy When he does get a sniffle, I immediately get him on antibiotics because his immune system needs help fighting the germs. Perhaps a stronger antibiotic is needed?

Please have your vet check this. It should be done as a matter of course. Let us know how it goes for you and this sweet little guy Sending lots of vibes
post #14 of 18
Time to demand something else, or see someone else. You certainly haven't tried everything if clavamox is the only drug in your vets cabinet.
post #15 of 18
Thread Starter 
I agree that my vet doesn't seem to be trying too hard. It's a difficult situation... I'm vision-impaired to the extent that I can't drive, and there's only one vet in the small, mill-pulled-out-impoverished-community where we live. Plus, the vet clinic was just sold around Christmas and there is a pretty big language barrier between the dudes that bought it and the town's residents.
As per the advice of several of you, I'm going to have Panda tested for FeLV and FIV as well as herpesvirus, FCV, and a few others. But the test results will take a week or so - do you think I should have him put back on Clavimox in the interim just to keep him from getting sicker? I don't like antibiotics at the best of times, but this isn't really the best of times.
My husband and I are careful about contagion, but this is something else my new vet wasn't able to tell me much about. We currently wash and change our clothes (especially socks) after visiting Panda, but this is an old house and I know my other cats sometimes hang around his door and he likely does, on the other side, too. The room he's in has a big closet, and initially, when he was really sick, I kept him in there (just because I could keep the space warmer with hot water bottles than the larger bedroom space). Do you think I should contain him to the closet again (with food, water, litter, toys and his cat tower) so there's an 'air lock' between him and the others? I worry that the space is too small, I don't want to be cruel.
Again, thanks, and I'll let you know what the vet says.
post #16 of 18
Can someone, a friend, help you find another vet maybe in the next town over? What state or area do you live in?
post #17 of 18
Thread Starter 
We're in Ontario. We settled here after moving all over Canada working as chefs, and have lots of friends and family - about three hours away. I want to try and establish a relationship with this vet clinic, as I'm going to live here a long time and it's close enough for me to walk. I think once I convince them of a few things (that freaky tattooed women aren't going to leap over the table and hit them, for one) I'll be able to get my needs met locally.
post #18 of 18
Originally Posted by RobinRC View Post
I think once I convince them of a few things (that freaky tattooed women aren't going to leap over the table and hit them, for one) I'll be able to get my needs met locally.
Not to make light of the situation, but maybe that's exactly what they need to think in order for you to get the best service.

All joking aside, I really do hope that things can work out better between you and the vet. I am very sorry that your options are so severely limited, that you're dealing with incompetence at this time, when you really really need a vet as a partner to try and figure this out.

I think antibiotics can definitely help during the interim, especially since he does seem to get better when on them.

Good luck, no matter what happens, and lots of hugs and for you and Panda.
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