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Cat with severe weight loss

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

Hello everyone. I'm posting on here for a friend of mine. Here is a little background, due to circumstances my friend took in her mothers two cats about 4 years ago, she has been the sole caretaker of these two cats since then. When she got the cats they were overweight and had trouble adjusting to the new environment, going from a humid area to the desert was fairly hard on them. One of the cats eventually adjusted but the other never really seemed to fully adjust.

 

The cats are 7 years old now and Bear the cat that didn't really adjust has lost probably close to 10 pounds of weight over the last 6 months. He has been taken to the vet who ran a full set of blood panels and other being severely underweight was given a clean bill of health, no abnormalitites in the blood, no parasites, no diseases. This cat weighs MAYBE 5 pounds and the vet can't find a cause for it. My friend free feeds dry food and Bear gets a 5.5 ounce can of wet food a day. Yesterday Bear refused his wet food and threw up some water.

 

Do any of you have any idea what could be wrong or maybe ideas on how to try and get him to gain weight? My friend is seriously worried that he might die but the vet hasn't been any help...

post #2 of 9
First of all, so sorry to hear that your friend is going through all of this. Weight loss to that extreme always indicates there is something physically wrong with them and unfortunately, blood work doesn't always uncover what is wrong. When I hear about that type of weight loss, my mind goes to thyroid issues (which should be detected in a full blood panel screening), renal issues (also detected in blood panels), oral/dental issues (such as bad teeth, gingivitis/stomatitis), and cancers. Unfortunately, cancer doesn't always affect their blood results so unless there was a full set of xrays and/or MRIs, you may not detect these.

I've had cats waste away like this where the blood work was always perfect, and only hints of possible things showing up in their xrays and MRI's. If Bear did have a full exam and the blood panels were absolutely complete (not just simple CBCs), then the question becomes how much is your friend willing to invest in finding out what is wrong with him. My vet would offer up an xray as the next step, and depending on that result, go on with MRI's. If those show hints of things, then the step after that would be biopsies. A biopsy isn't always done for cancer, but to detect other types of diseases.

Honestly, as sad as this sounds, it sounds like Bear will waste away unless your friend has more tests run on him. If a vet gives a cat a clean bill of health when it's lost 10 pounds in 6 months and is now down to 5 pounds, I would seek a new vet immediately. That is simply not right.
post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 

I will recommend her taking him back and trying the x-rays. She asked for a complete panel of tests on Bear to try and find out what was wrong but the vet didn't do x-rays. I honestly don't know if the vet has an MRI machine...he mainly focuses on large animals/ livestock even though he does treat dogs and cats so he wouldn't really have much call for one.  As for how much she is willing to pay to see him get better, well she will pay what she can and make a payment plan with vet for the rest. He's really good about taking payments.  The next closest vet is about a 300 mile round trip and I don't know if Bear could handle that kind of stress.

post #4 of 9

Bear needs an ultrasound to see what's going on in his intestines. He could have severe inflammatory bowel disease and needs medication and proper treatment or he could develop fatty liver pretty soon with this severe weight loss. That's really A LOT of weight to lose in 6 months! 

post #5 of 9

I agree that further testing is necessary and quickly. I think Momofmany was spot on with her comments, and just wanted to add that I hope an answer can be found and that Bear will start regaining some of that weight, soon!

post #6 of 9
Thread Starter 

Thanks everyone for the advice and I will be passing it on to my friend. Hopefully she can get Bear into the vet tomorrow and see what's going on with him.

 

@Finnlacey : I'll have her ask the vet about the inflammatory bowel disease. If it turns out to be treatable with a special diet and medication that would be great! The poor guy is just a skeleton with skin and fur over it so I don't know how they would be able to use a general anetsthetic if they had to biopsy something.

 

My friend just feels terrible about this, having watched him waste away and not knowing what to do about it, it's just breaking her heart.  While she gets the appointment would you recommend her trying to switch him to a raw diet? She was thinking about switching over to that in the hopes that it would help him gain some weight.

post #7 of 9

hi my name is sara i have 3 kittens, i did have 4 but unfortunately 1 died 2 days ago. tell your friend to try boild some chicken breast in a little bit of water, cool it down and try the cat with that, if that doesnt work i would try mashing the dry cat food with hot kettle water and letting it cool. i hope things work out. sara

post #8 of 9
Thread Starter 

Update on Bear. My friend has beein introducing raw food and looking into a grain free dry food and Bear has put on weight! He has the energy to follow her around the house now so it seems like he is getting better!

post #9 of 9

Was any additional testing done by the vet to determine the cause of the weight loss?  I don't think it can be as simple as changing foods.  He might just like the new food better, but I fear the problem still might exist.

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