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Continuing Pred w/o Real Diagnosis?

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
Hi, all! Haven't posted in some time, but wanted to get some opinions on Connie.

She's a nine-year old Siamese who coughs and vomits when she's not on prednisolone. This has been going on with her since I got her on Labor Day last year. My vet says she doesn't necessarily present like a cat with asthma (from her x-rays...and the random vomiting). She's had every blood test that was recommended here (a few times), and the only thing that ever shows up is slightly elevated globulin. The vet, at the time, when we were still actively trying to figure out what was wrong with her, did mention that some cancers can cause elevated globulin. Without further diagnostics, we're sort of stuck. The vet is of the opinion that, if she had cancer, we'd have seen something else by now. She (and two other cat-only vets who have reviewed her records and examined her), when pressed to go with her gut, thinks Connie has asthma and/or IBD.

Meanwhile, as long as Connie stays on 5mg of prednisolone a day, she remains symptom-free. We have tried to cut it back to every other day with mixed results. We are talking about reducing it by half, but sticking with the once-a-day approach. In any case, we are able to control her symptoms with the pred.

My dilemma: From what I understand, asthma and IBD are both usually treated with steroids. Connie remains happy as a clam on her prednisolone. Should I put the cat through more invasive diagnostics when the most likely result is going to be continuing steroid treatment?

Thanks for your help!

(Oh, and before anyone asks, Connie has finally been switched from dry food and is currently eating Nature's Variety, Wellness, and Evo canned foods. She hasn't made the leap to raw, but I'm very pleased with my dry addict's progress.)
post #2 of 13
I would actually try the all meat canned ... evo s 95% are "complete" /// asthma and IBD are both often triggered by allergies ...

As for Pred it can be a necessary evil... just make sure to check organ function like every 6 months
post #3 of 13
Thread Starter 
sharky, any brand recommendations? I've seen them, but wasn't quite comfortable with the idea of an ingredient list that simply says, for example, "chicken, water for processing". Technically, a boneless, skinless chicken breast is 100% chicken. So is an entire carcass, ground up, and stuffed in a can. Do these 100% meat canned foods contain organ meats, or does it vary from brand to brand?

Also, any packaged raw diets that would meet these requirements?

Maybe it's time for me to just go ahead and make my own cat/ferret food.
post #4 of 13
Raw is an option... I would suggest having a vet who is knowlesgeable help... I have done raw with animals with "issues" but only with my raw savvy vet

canned varies ...
is not as simple but is BASIC .. ie has chicken and turkey with chicken liver

chicken = chicken and whatever bone that maker puts in ... some claim boneless then you know it should be just the meat ( muscle)
post #5 of 13
Thread Starter 

So, you prefer the NV Instinct to Evo and Wellness, right? The NV Instinct is the Nature's Variety we use here. I always forget that Prairie even exists, because it's not carried at the store I use. I've also used their raw food with Lucy.

That's pretty doable, since Queen Connie has already declared NV Instinct edible.
post #6 of 13
I had RB Damita on Pred for many months with no real diagnosis. Many will most likely doubt my decision, but she was dying....why was I going to put her through to know what was wrong?

You do what you feel is right. Talk to your vet about it. See what s/he reccomends.
post #7 of 13
What we would consider at this point is a consultation with a different vet at a different practice for another opinion.

post #8 of 13
Thread Starter 

She has been seen by two different cat-only practices, along with a referral hospital that only has specialists. At this point, the only thing anyone seems to be willing to suggest (and somewhat grudgingly, depending on who you ask) is endoscopy and/or biopsies. Every single one of them seems to be of the opinion that whatever is wrong with her is most likely still going to require further steroid treatment.

Honestly, I'm a little nervous knocking her out for either of those options. It's irrational, but my last cat was knocked out for an ultrasound and didn't fully recover from the anesthesia before we had to euthanize her. That cat was more than twice Connie's age, but I'm still hesitant.

I need to get dental work done on her, which will also require anesthesia, so maybe I'm just being paranoid. I don't know. Would it be reasonable to do the other procedures in conjunction with the dental work? I just don't want to put the cat through more stress than is necessary, only to wind up continuing the same treatment.

It's not the money, as she's got great pet insurance, and I "owe" her several thousand dollars, if we're going by what rotten little Lucy has cost me in such a short time. I'm just really nervous about a semi-senior cat, anesthesia, and invasive diagnostics.
post #9 of 13
If she needs the dental, talk to your vet about whether or not to do further testing while she's under anesthesia. If a blood panel is done prior to putting her under, it should be fine. However, there are limits to the length they would keep her under.
post #10 of 13
I have learned a few things since Molly's near death incident.
When it comes to dental cleaning many vets medicate the cat before the procedure so they don't go in distress like antibiotic shot, a steroid shot
and Albuterol.

Molly just had a transtracheal wash done. The test is used to rule out infections, cancer and possibly parasitic infection. My ER vet did this test on Friday afternoon and the results should be in on friday. They also will use the results to figure out the best treatment for the future. What they do is knock your cat out and put a tube down their airway. They will fill the lungs with saline solution and then suction it out. The fluid is then sent out for testing. Some fluid may remain behind but saline is absorbed quickly and doesn't cause harm. Molly has a dry throat and has been drinking lots of water. She did go in distress before the test but that's why she was there. She was just playing a few minutes ago. I was really scared to have it done but once I learned more about it I felt comfortable. I believe from what I read this is done prior to a biopsy.

Molly has been coughing for 6 years now. Her X-rays showed significant changes. Has there been any changes on the X-rays for your cat? Are they all the same or showing any changes for the good or bad?
post #11 of 13
Poor cat.
When Mary got sick once they never figured it out. They gave her meds and I changed her diet completely and she is better.
I agree with Sharky.
I do grain free mostly Raw.
I use a product called Rad Cat

But use Natures Variety raw and I make my own raw with organic meat and a premade mixture.

It has come out to be so much cheaper and I really think it saved Mary's life. Their coats feel like the softest down.
post #12 of 13
Thread Starter 
Thanks, everyone.

I'll talk to the vet about what procedures we might be able to do while she's under for the dental.

Crazy, her x-rays haven't shown any changes, according to the vet.
post #13 of 13
I am begining to wonder if cats have differnt levels of normal. Jordan was diagnosed with Idiopathic Hypercalcimia about a year ago now. At the time the vet was sure that he had intestinal lymphoma. After much thought, and an ultra sound, I made the difficult decision not to do an exploritory surgeory to searc for lymphoma. I decided that chemo would not extend his life long enough to make it worth what little time it bough. I put him on pred last July or August with the understanding that if it was lymphoma he would have a couple comfortable months at best. I really believed he would not see his 5th birthday. His blood calcium is under control at 5mg of pred a day, we tried every other day and it spiked again. So he has been on 5 mg/day since. Well his 5th birthday has come and gone, and I would say outside of an off day here and there I have my sassy happy healthy Jordan. I would love to have him off the pred, but when his blood calcium spike he is miserable and he can't eat. This whole process has been a difficult one, but I have decided I would rather he have a great life no matter how short. I know pred has side affects, but as the vet said, the long term affect of hypercalcimia out weight the pred use. Jordan goes back next month for a blood check. I am hoping that we can reduce his dose, but know it may not be a possibility. I guess the point of all of this is, if you listen to your heart you will know the right thing to do.
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