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Illness of unknown origin

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
I am in desperate need of help for my 5-year old domestic short-hair black cat. She is indoors only (although she spends a moderate amount of time on my balcony), and she has developed symptoms for which even the emergency vet was unable to diagnose a known illness.

On November 12th she started hiding and stopped eating. She would come out occasionally, but she was mostly uninterested in her food. She had maybe a few bites of her dinner. The next night, a Thursday, I felt a small lump on her neck. It was located on the skin, and it did not feel like a tumor.

By Friday, when I got home from work at about 9:30pm, she would not move from the bed, would not drink, and when she used her litter box, she could only urinate a small bit though she stayed in the box a long time. I also felt another small bump on her side, almost on her tummy. While looking at the lump on her neck, it oozed a little pus, and the fur came out of it. Obviously alarmed, I rushed her to the animal ER to find out what was wrong. I just brought home a new kitten 2 weeks ago, and he is perfectly healthy, been vaccinated, all that jazz. He's sweet, and she doesn't let him too close to her, but I thought it could be an infected puncture.

At the kitty ER, she had a high fever, was understandably dehydrated, and the vet needed to run blood tests, rehydrate her, and shave the area of the lumps. All her tests came back normal, but the marks on her are very curious. The one on her side is of no particular shape and small like a knick in the skin. The one on her neck looks like a smaller cigarette burn. It has also spread and is somewhat inflamed around the circle. It is not a puncture.

In 2006, I had to rush to my doctor, because I couldn't walk. The night before, I picked at what I thought was an ingrown hair on my calf. Overnight it had spread and practically paralyzed my leg. I was diagnosed with a spider bite. After antibiotics and hot chamomile tea bag poultices, I was able to slow the necrosis to minimal damage, although it scarred fairly badly for such a small bite. Everything on spider bites tells us they are rare and unlikely, but the "burn" on my cat's neck looks suspiciously like the one I developed on my leg. It is black, not red, and a perfect circle.

She had a shot of antibiotics and an anti-inflammatory, but almost 24 hours later, she is still not hungry or thirsty. She sits on the bed and looks unhappy. I am giving her antibiotics, and I gave her some anti-inflammatory this morning as instructed (she threw up an hour after dosed). Please, anyone who has seen anything like this before, can you advise? I have had many cats over the years, and I have never been flying so blindly before.
post #2 of 13
I nearly lost my yorkie to a spider bite mar of 07 ... she was in a o2 tent for a night ... the vet did say it was that particular spider and her immune system as the same kind could and she would not react the same

Is it possible it was a scratch that got infected ?? like the new baby scratched her>>??

did the new baby come from a breeder , shelter or a newspaper ad or someplace else??

can you call the er back and give them an update about size and color??
post #3 of 13
Thread Starter 
The vet said it is not a scratch or bite, and I did update them on the sore, but it was not the same vet (24 hour clinic). This vet said to keep an eye on it and keep giving her the antibiotics. She is acting a little more like herself...she came out and slept with myself and the kitten for a while, for example, but she won't eat. I'm supposed to call the vet back tomorrow if there's no improvement.

The kitten is from Operation Kindness, a shelter nearby. He was born in a barn and is about 10 weeks old. That's all the history I have on him. What kind of symptoms did your Yorkie have?
post #4 of 13
she went into anaphalactic shock ( ie respitory arrest)
post #5 of 13
Are you able to take a picture of the areas so we can see?

What kind of antibiotics is she on? It's possible that if they're oral, they're contributing to her lack of appetite. Just wanted to toss this out there for you. I learned a few months ago that there's a new injectable antibiotic for cats called Convenia -- and it's a one-time injection that lasts for 14 days and can be repeated once after 14 days if required. It's primary use is for skin/tissue infections and abscesses. Might be something to ask the Vet about, it would at least help to reduce the amount of meds taken orally that could be causing gastrointestinal upset. Here's the info on it:


I've used it in 2 of my cats a couple of times and no side effects at all.

Did the Vet take a culture of the sore/area? (as you'd mentioned that pus came from one of them).......

Even though the Vet doesn't think it looks like a spider or insect bite, is there any possible way it still could be? What kind of climate do you live in; could you have any spiders in your home?

Could you at least clip your new kitten's claw, in the event that these were caused by punctures?

I have no idea what this could be........hopefully someone reading will have some suggestions. My only thought is that "whatever it is" is somehow related to the new kitten, only because this all began after kitten arrived. But even that is purely speculation.
post #6 of 13
Wicket, have you gone to your regular vet with this? If not, please do that asap because your regular vet can consult with specialists at the university. (It would be a very long drive for you to go there and I can’t see you doing that.) Your vet can talk to specialists, and he/she can also go to VIN for info/advice.
Please don’t wait with this, get in touch with your regular vet as soon as possible.

In case you need to find a veterinary dermatologist:

But I hope your regular vet can help you with that as well.
post #7 of 13
There are two links to two articles about an emerging phenomenon in domestic pets: MRSI, which is similar to the human phenomenon MRSA in this thread.

I would suggest that you read them carefully and share them with your Vet. Most Vets, however, are not familiar with this condition...so, if you are not satisfied with the response you get, you should perhaps consider a consult with a feline dermatologist.

If it were I and, if I were close to a University's small animal hospital, that would be my destination.

Here's another.

Please don't delay.
post #8 of 13
Thread Starter 
Well, I took my girl back to the ER as she is not improving. She still will not eat or drink on her own. The sores do not look like staph, but the ER does not have the ability to culture, so tomorrow morning I will be dropping her off at our regular vet with 30+ years of experience, and hopefully, he will be able to shed light on what is happening to her. She was running a fever again, so they rehydrated her and gave her another shot of antibiotic (it was making her throw-up, thank you, the_food_lady, they gave me liquid antibiotic this time ) and corticosteroids. They also gave her some high calorie food with a syringe. She did eat it, and I have more to give her. Unfortunately, right before I was ready to leave the ER I found ANOTHER sore on her right side this time. Prayers of any kind are welcome and hoped for. I lost my 14-year old kitty two months ago, so this is doubly draining and frightening.
post #9 of 13
Thread Starter 
Oh, additional info, I can't post pics as I don't have a camera, but the sore on her neck looks like a cigarette burn, only smaller. Perfectly round, black, and not oozing. The other two look like small knicks in the skin, although at first, they ooze a small bit of pus. The vet today has seen staph many times, and said this did not look like any case of staph she'd ever seen. She truly believed it to be spider bites of some kind, although, after the discovery of the third sore, she was not so certain. They are not punctures from the kitten, and he is still perfectly healthy. She is an indoor cat, so it's hard to believe these could be caused by an insect/spider bite three times, but anything is possible.
post #10 of 13
...She truly believed it to be spider bites of some kind...
If you remember, the articles I referenced for you make it sound that the "classic sign" of MRSI is that it is similar to spider bites. I also advised (from the interview article with the Dermatologist) that MOST VETS AREN'T AWARE OF MRSI.

If this were my cat, I's INSIST on a referral to a FELINE DERMATOLOGIST.
post #11 of 13
It's amazing to me that any vet clinic, even an Emerg clinic, would not have the simple and inexpensive swab tube needed to do a quick culture of the discharge, that's amazing and sad.

Secondly, any type of sore can contain pus that's caused by any kind of bacteria......I don't see how any vet can look at a sore and make the claim "that doesn't look like Staph"...........I'm sorry but what an ignorant/arrogant statement to make? (no offense).

I am so glad you're taking kitty to your Vet tomorrow. Please, please print off the Info that Blaise provided................and ask your Vet to read it.

Hopefully your kitty will tolerate the liquid antibiotic. A shame they couldn't have given the Convenia injection.............whether an antibiotic is a pill or liquid, it still hits the tummy/gastrointestinal tract and has the potential to upset it. with the injection, it bypasses this all.............unless I misunderstood and she gave that PLUS liquid antibiotic? (maybe that's what you meant, for you did say she gave a shot of antibiotic).

Please keep us posted.
post #12 of 13
Thread Starter 
Well, my wonderful vet of 30+ years experience, says her sores are indeed that of a bite - a kitten bite that is!!! I felt so certain the baby was too sweet, but tonight after my Cate came out of hiding from her day at the vet, she laid on me, and the kitten went after her! He tried to bite her neck again, and she held him down with a paw, but he got up again ready to fight. She also, at long last, came out to eat, and he pounces on her. I was concerned about neutering him too soon, but I will have to do this ASAP to see if it calms his aggression. Of course, now I'm afraid to leave him alone with her...talk about feeling guilty...
post #13 of 13
Thread Starter 
And just so you don't think I've been remiss in watching them, he's been so good with her until tonight...laying by her and laying down, rolling over to be submissive when she hissed at him...I realize he could be stirred up by her smell being different from her being at the vet all day, but he absolutely tried to bite her neck in the same place as her sore.

Oh, and just to confuse the situation further, before she came out, a big, brown jumping spider landed on my book as I read in the living room!
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