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Question about FIP? Please help!

post #1 of 37
Thread Starter 
I have just found this forum (I'm a member of the Chins & Quills forum) to try and get some input about our cat.

He is normally a fine, healthy cat; very beautiful, easy-going and no problems up to now. He is almost 4 years old; neutered.

The last few weeks, we noticed that he would sometimes not use his sandbox, but pee on strange places. We always clean his sandbox, as he showed from early on that he prefers it that way.

This afternoon, about 5pm, we noticed that Patches was behaving strangely. He was straining on his sandbox, and then started vomiting. It was an angry sandy-green colour, almost like a paste, and smelled horrible. He vomited a few times more; every time getting thinner, but the smell is just terrible; like something is dead inside.

He strained several times more, but nothing happened. We thought he was constipated, and gave him some hairball remedy, as well as a small piece of glycerine suppository. It came out a short while later.

He kept straining, without success.

By 10 pm, we took him to an emergency vet. He has a fever, and the vet also found a huge mass in his abdomen. He talked a lot, and spoke about a myriad of tests to be done. He wouldn't answer my simple question of what can be done for the cat right now to make him more comfortable.

I told him to stop talking tests and big names and to just say what he thinks is wrong, and what the symptoms are. He found the cat is dehydrated (about 3%); his eyes are turning yellow (jaundice); there is the mass in the abdomen, he is vomiting due to an obstruction or something; and by then, Patches was also starting to just leak fluid from behind. It smells awful.

He is depressed - he crawls into his sandbox, something he has never done before. He also doesn't clean himself off, and he is a very proud and pretty kitty.

I just found this article on the forum, about FIP: http://www.thecatsite.com/health/fip.html

All the symptoms are there. The vet wants to run the tests the article speaks about.

We have just given Patches a 1/4 tablet the vet gave us, to help the vomiting, but it came back out, along with a lot of foul-smelling foam and slime. We put it back in, and will try to give him some water in a few minutes.

He didn't eat or drink anything for the last 8 or 9 hours. It is now 1.30am here near Toronto.

I love my cat dearly, but I can't stand his suffering. I would rather have him put down now, than force him to hang on for our sake.

My beautiful, proud cat was reduced to a stinking mass of dull fur in the space of a few hours. He looks at me for help, and I can't do anything for him. He hurts when we pick him up or try to hold him.

Input, please, anyone?

Sorry for the long message as a first introduction. I can hardly see the screen anymore; I'm crying so hard.

post #2 of 37
I am so sorry you and Patches are going through this. My own Missy is very ill also, and I know how you feel. I don't know if I can give advice because I don't know your situaton, I don't know how much Patches is suffering.

They thought FIP was a possibility with Missy, and it took a lot of tests to find out exactly what's going on (and we're still not sure). All I can say is that I hope the vet can relieve some of his suffering. It hurts so much to see them suffer so. My thoughts and prayers are with you and Patches.
post #3 of 37
Thread Starter 
HI, Missycat
Thanks for your input. Yes I read about your cat, and my heart goes out to you.

Here is the latest update - and I have to say, I am so angry at the vet from last night! Back then I thought I was just upset about my cat, but he did mess up big time, according to a second opinion we just had. Also, he did nothing for Patches last night; didn't even listen to his heart. Only took temp, and felt the abdomen and checked the eyes and teeth. He wanted to run all those tests, but wouldn't relieve the cat's pain right then.

10 am:
We just took him to another vet, who was very kind and saw Patches
immediately. He said Patches is critical. It is definitely a blocked
bladder. The vet last night said it is for sure NOT the bladder! I am so upset. The vet last night did nothing, nothing at all to relieve the situation or give Patches anything to make him more comfortable. If I didn't insist three times that he gives us something for the pain at least, he wouldn't have done so.

This morning, the other vet said the blockage is so severe that by now, even running any of the expensive tests the other vet wanted to do, he can tell us the heart is compromised, the blood gases are upset, the potassium levels are sky-high and the toxins in the body must be extensive. He told us he will give Patches a chance by trying to unblock him. He will put him under anaesthetic - but that is dangerous in itself because of the fact that the cat's heart is compromised already - and try to put in a catheter to flush his bladder and unblock him.

He promised that if it takes half an hour or is difficult, he will go to euthanasia. I am waiting for his phone call now.

post #4 of 37
I am so sorry that you Patches has had to go through all of this. It never ceases to amaze me what some vets *don't know* or how they just forget about the creature under their care. I have a horse that many years ago had these puzzling symptoms and my vet at the time misdiagnosed him not once but 3 times! Then he gave him an injection that almost killed him and I had to get really tough and yank my horse out from under his care and demand that he refer us to a teaching university vet hospital. It came out okay, even though Race had to spend a week in isolation and another week in general wards.

About Patches, the symptoms you describe does not sound like FIP. There are two forms of this disease wet and dry. The dry comes on slowly and your cat will have chronic weight loss, fever, loss of appetite, lethargy. If the disease has advanced to the brain you will see neurological signs such as paralysis, disorientation, loss of balance, drooling, tremors, convulsions, incontinence. In the wet FIP you will see similiar symptoms like the weight loss and lethargy but the cat will become severly anemic and you can check this by looking at the gums to see if they are red, or pale pink. Fluids will begin to build up in the abdomen making the cat look like it has a pot-belly. The fluid continues to gather inside, spreading to the chest and making breathing difficult.

So please let us know the outcome as soon as you can, and don't worry about crying. Most of us have been there at one time or another and know full well what you are dealing with. We will wait for that phone call along with you.
post #5 of 37
Oh, Meerkat - that is so agonizing to have the first vet misdiagnose. I've heard of misdiagnoses too many times. I'm glad you got him into another vet who will treat his immediate symptoms, and I'm hopeful that the catheter is successful. Poor baby. Missy sends face-licks too.
post #6 of 37
Thread Starter 
Thank you very much for the updates, and sharing your stories! Much appreciated to know that there are others who understand. Isn't the Internet wonderful?

The second vet called a while ago. He said it was easy to unblock, and then he put a catheter in to flush the bladder. It got blocked within minutes. They cleaned it and tried again. Same thing. It seems there are sandy crystals in the bladder, so much that it keeps blocking the catheter.

However, he feels that we should give Patches 24 hours to see how it is going. He is replacing fluids and also giving him antibiotics to curb any infection.

He said he got the papers from the vet from last night, and "they were definitely barking up the wrong tree."

I phoned the vet hospital where we were last night, insisted to speak to a manager or someone and got the head vet or something like that. A very kind lady. I explained very calmly to her that I wasn't happy with the fact that we had to wait 2 hours last night with a clearly very sick and moaning cat; and that the vet would stand with his hands to his sides half the time, then spent 5 minutes checking the cat and talking about lots of tests. I told her I had to ask three times that he give Patches something to relieve his pain. I also said he told us that it was definitely not the bladder, and yet this morning the other vet said Patches was by now critical and that he was able to unblock the bladder.

I said I wouldn't want anyone's cat to go through what Patches did, just because of an incompetent vet. That we took him there to get relief, not a list of possible procedures. I said we paid $50 for nothing. She agreed and promised to phone me back in a few hours.

Thanks for listening to my long moan!
Hopefully Patches will be ok. I just wonder what caused it in the first place, and hope we can stop it from happening ever again if he comes through it ok.

stupid vet from last night - hope they give him heck!
post #7 of 37
But keep on the incompetent vet, some offices will just sluff it under the table and not do anything about the incident. Write a letter to the owner of the vet clinic, kick your feet, scream and holler and demand your $50.00 back! Make a fuss so they will listen- if only for the benefit of the next animal that is coming the way of this man!

Once kitty comes home,try adding some cranberry juice in the water, not a lot unless Patches will willingly lap up the juice. Some cats like it, some don't. good luck and I hope this turns out well for you.
post #8 of 37
Thread Starter 
Just minutes ago, the other vet phoned. He said Patches woke up after the sedation of this morning, he pulled the catheder out by himself and drank some water on his own. He said Patches looks a whole lot better than this morning. He wants to keep him overnight to make sure Patches can urinate on his own, and that there are no more blockages. He will phone us again tomorrow morning at around 10am.

The vet told us we could pay him back over time, so that should be all right. He also did not do costly tests or anything unneccessary, it sounds like. He really cares for the animals; not like that twit of last night who told me (a) it was definitely not the bladder; (b) that Patches was dehydrated but I should not give him water and (c) to come back in 3 days if the matter wasn't resolved, so he could put on an IV!
My cat would have been dead, and died a horrible death by now if I took him at his word.

I'm so glad he is feeling better! Can't tell you how relieved I am. This morning was terrible; and I have never cried so hard in front of a perfect stranger in my life. Shame; wonder what they thought! But then, I'm sure they see that too often.

Thank you, everyone, for your input, for reading and for praying, thinking, sending kitty-licks and good vibes. I'm glad I found this forum last night, and will certainly stick around to help out someone else in my turn next time.

Will update you again tomorrow morning.
post #9 of 37
I know I am not alone when I say I am so relieved for you!
post #10 of 37
post #11 of 37
Thread Starter 
10 am here
Up and down on the emotional roller coaster.

The vet just phoned.
Patches was kept overnight. His temperature is sub-normal. He is too cold,
due to too much toxins that built up in his blood because the bladder was
not unblocked in time..
His bladder lost the ability to let him know he has to empty it. They have
to squeeze him every hour. It could come back over time, but the doctor said
the prognosis is not good. He would advise we put him out of his misery.

I have sent email to DH at work to find out when we can go say our final
post #12 of 37
Meerkat....I am sooo very sorry for your loss. Having to make a decision like this is one of the most painful and horrific experiences us cat lovers can have. Just know that you did everything possible and that you gave your sweet guy a good life.

My thoughts are with you.
post #13 of 37
My celebration was to early, I am so sorry. When we lost our wonderful shop cat, it was due to blockage as well. It came on suddenly and we made the decision to put Bravo out of his misery. The vet, bless his soul made a house call and put him down on the table he loved to sprawl on. I am sorry that your path turned like it did, and I will offer you all the support and hugs and prayers I have. This poem has always helped me to find perspective, perhaps it may comfort you as well...

The Calling
God looked around His garden
And found an empty place.
He then looked down upon the earth,
And saw your tired face.
He put His arms around you
And lifted you to rest.
God's garden must be beautiful
He always takes the best.
He knew that you were suffering
He knew you were in pain
He knew that you would never
Get well on earth again.
He saw the road was getting rough,
And the hills were hard to climb.
So He closed your weary eyelids,
And whispered "Peace be thine."
It broke my heart to lose you
But you didn't go alone
For part of me went with you
The day God called you home

post #14 of 37
Meerkat...I am so sorry. I was really hoping Patches would pull through. I know how hard it is to say good-bye. My thoughts are with you.
post #15 of 37
Meerkat... I'm so sorry you and Patches had to go through such pain, and then having to lose her at the end. My heart is with you.

JoJo and Dani Night Stalker
post #16 of 37
Meerkat, I am so sorry to hear about poor patches and I'm so angry at that first vet! I am no vet, but as soon as I read your first post, I said to myself, what a classic case of FUS (Feline Urological Syndrome). The lump that vet had felt was the full bladder. He must have been extremely inexperienced not to realize that. I think any vet should have suspected FUS immidiately based on your description alone (peeing outside the box and then straining and not peeing at all! - a classic!).

I know it is too late for you and your poor precious Patches, but honesly if there was ever a case of veterinarian malpractice this is it! I would not only demand the 50$ back but would sue them for all the extra expenses with the other clinic and also for all the agony they put the poor cat through!

Again, I'm really really sorry for you and I hope and pray that my post won't bring you more pain. This is totally not your fault and is totally the fault of the first vet!
post #17 of 37
Oh, Meerkat - I am so sorry! My celebration was premature also. It's just to hard - you're hoping and hoping that the news is good, and you and grab onto any positives, even small ones. I think I know how you feel. I am so very sorry. I just gave Missy an extra pat for poor Patches. You did everything you could for him and I'm sure he knows that.
post #18 of 37
Thread Starter 
Thanks everyone for your kind words. I can't believe how sad I was over that cat. Every time I see his sandbox, or come to the top of the stairs where he would usually sprawl so you had to step over him, or find a pipe cleaner somewhere, I started bawling again.

We buried him tonight while the sun was setting, on a friend's farm. They have five cats themselves. They made a little corner available for Patches. It is a lovely spot, and I felt it was so fitting that the sun was setting in pure gold while we were covering his box.

One of their cats came wandering by and sat down looking at us. It was as if he was attending the funeral for one of his own.

While we were driving back home, there was this huge, very creamy moon in the sky. Like a gently smiling face or something.

Maybe you think I'm nuts, but these natural things always make an impression on me, and when I see them again in future, I remember the situation or the person with as much feeling as the first time.

Thank you again for your notes. I really appreciate them.
post #19 of 37
We have all unfortunately been in your position. If it will help there is a forum called Crossing the Bridge that is set up for memorials to your pets. If you want to post something there, all will welcome reading it I am sure. Hugs for your loss
post #20 of 37
Thread Starter 
Thank you again, everyone, for your support. Much appreciated.

I'm following up with the vets and am busy getting things ready to lay a complaint about the vet. However, if anyone wants to share in that up-and-down, I'm willing to tell the story, but I suppose it should be continued as a different thread elsewhere.

Any suggestions as to where to take it, please? I am new at this forum after all, and don't want to mess up things. But this experience shows again how important the choice of a vet can be. I should have trusted my gut instinct; I didn't trust the vet from the moment we walked in with Patches, and said as much to my husband before he even touched the cat.


Fly free, Patches; and watch over little Hannah
post #21 of 37
Yes, please keep us updated. I think keeping it on this thread is just fine.
post #22 of 37
Thread Starter 
(Notes: Dr V is the vet who tried to save my cat, twit-vet is the one who made the mistake (also male) and "she" is the head-vet or whatever her title is, at the Vet Hospital where we took Patches on Sunday night. She has a strange surname; I'm not sure if I have the spelling correct. The twit-vet's name I got from the container of tablets he finally gave me. DH = Dear Hubby, or something else, depending on mood. )

On Monday, after Patches was dropped off at Dr V's office and he said "let's give the cat a chance", I phoned the lady vet and told her I was not happy with twit-vet's performance. But at that stage, we still thought the cat would make it. She phoned again on Tuesday, just after Dr V called to say Patches had to be put down, and she was totally shocked to hear the news.

She phoned me every day so far, and yesterday spent more than 45 minutes with me on the phone. Finally she admitted that the original vet is a new graduate. I asked why he was alone in an emergency clininc. She said if we were in a small town, and there was a new graduate vet, we wouldn't have had the luxury of a second opinion anyway. I said but the point is, this is NOT a small town, it is a huge city of 375 000 people, (near Toronto, with 5 million people) and they are a big hospital with many vets and assistants; why didn't he just pick up the phone and get a second opinion? Silence.

She wanted to pin the cat's death on me because we were not willing to just fork over $700 for the tests. I said I didn't trust the vet from the first moment, and I said as much to DH before we went in. I didn't want to leave my cat there. So I asked her, if she was the vet on duty and I brought my cat in with these symptoms (urinating outside box, straining without product, vomiting, collapsing hind legs) what would she have done first? Silence again from her. I repeated my question, and then said these are the symptoms as I presented them to the vet that night; if she were there, what
would be her diagnosis? Silence again. So I said, "Thank you very much. Your silence is answer enough."

This twit never tried to take a urine sample, never touched the penis, and kept insisting it was not the bladder.

She wanted to know if it was a cultural thing. The twit-vet was wearing a turban; I am not even sure what he is and it didn't matter. I said to her I just wanted help for my cat and I didn't care who could give it to him. When I then suggested it was a cultural thing from his side, because he spoke right through me and over my head and didn't reply to my questions, but just did his own thing; she bristled and said his wife is a dentist; she is sure he doesn't subscribe to that women as subservients idea. I said well, she asked me about culture, so I had a right to ask the same of her. That calmed her right down.

I did not attack her, or yell at her, or cry (this time!) or anything. I just told her I am getting the paperwork ready to send to the Head clinic of Vets in Ontario, who handles complaints. She wanted to know what I wanted. I said I don't want him to practice on his own until he retrained or got more experience. She agreed, and said that if I complain to the Clinic, she is sure that is what they would insist on too. I told her I don't want him to be out of a job, or have him fired; I just don't want him to ever do this to a cat again. She also kept asking what she could do to "make this all go away."

I got the chart twit-vet wrote via the second vet; they had it faxed to them when they got Patches, and they made me a photocopy. This twit never weighed the cat; yet he put a weight down; never asked the history, yet he wrote that it was a stray we got from the humane society??? We got him from a pet shop as a kitten, for crying out loud! I was so angry when I read that. The vet hospital (24 hour emergency hospital) cared for Patches from the first injection; they should have his whole history there. The guy was reading it wrong or didn't read it or had cats mixed up, for sure.

Anyway, I won't go into every thing we discussed, but when I said to this Head Vet yesterday that I would at least expect them to refund the money we paid, she immediately agreed. Then she asked if I could come see her in person. Why, I don't know. DH says maybe to offer a bribe or something that I don't take this further. I told her I already spoke to many other people via email and phone, explaining what happened, and they all agree I have a case and that the vet was at fault. He shouldn't have let us leave that night without at least insisting on something - IV or blood test or whatever, or then telling us that we are removing the cat at own risk. The fact that he insisted it was not the bladder, is a clear case of misdiagnosis.

I have go see her today (Friday afternoon) at 1pm; will take the bus down there. With all the paperwork under the arm. But it is raining hard here; maybe I'll reschedule for Tuesday. Don't fancy sitting in the rain for 20 minutes, waiting for a bus.

And yes, I still miss my cat tremendously. Last night we were watching TV and I got up from the bed; automatically looking to where he would have been, and there was just an empty spot.

Thanks for reading - I just hope this never happens to any pet of mine again. I feel so guilty!

post #23 of 37
Oh, Meerkat, not only do you have to deal with the grief of losing a beloved part of your family, you have the (justifiable) anger of having him misdiagnosed, which may have caused his loss in the first place! And no matter what happens, he can't be brought back. I know what I would do - I'd pursue it until I was bone-tired of pursuing ievery angle I could think of. But I know not everyone is like me, and some will reach a point where they must let go and move on. But you have every right to lodge a formal complaint to any and every veterinarian board that is involved in licensing veterinarians, running vet hospitals, and even the Better Business Bureau!

I have a story about possible "vet malpractice," only it's not really that serious, and didn't cause irreparable harm. When my little Boo was a tiny kitten 14 years ago, my ex-husband took him in for his booster shots. My ex-husband noticed that the vet's office was crazy - people rushing all around - maybe they had had an emergency that day. He also noticed that the liquid in the syringe was a different color than usual. And he noticed that this shot didn't cost as much as the last time, but he didn't think much of it. Well, later that evening, Boo had a reaction. He was shivering and would cry in a painful little meow when touched. I called the vet's office to report that he was maybe having a reaction to the shot, and they said if he didn't improve in an hour to bring him in. But he did improve - that's the happy part of the story. I looked at the bill and noticed that they marked "canine" next to the shot he had that day, and that it was $10 less than his usual shot. I began to wonder if he had been given a canine shot instead of feline, and if that's why he seemed to have a reaction. But he wasn't suffering anymore and I forgot all about it.

Fast-forward a few months. My ex-husband and I had moved across the country. We started getting bills in the mail from that vet clinic for $10 - the exact difference between what they charged for the "canine" shot and what we usually paid. I called them and said I refuse to pay it because the mistake was theirs, and could have caused the death of my tiny kitten. A few more months pass, and I got a letter from a collection agency for ten lousy dollars! They had turned my huge "delinquent" account balance of $10 over to a collection agency.

The unmitigated gall! I was so angry that I wrote letters of complaint to the vet clinic, the AAHA (American Animal Hospital Association), and the editor of the local newspaper. I pointed out that it was a mistake made by their staff, a mistake that made my kitten sick and could have cost his life, and that I couldn't fathom why they were sending a collection agency after me for a $10 mistake that they had made.

I never heard another word from them.
post #24 of 37
Meerkat, I'm curious to see what she has to say to you face to face... You're right - her silence is as good as admitting the vet's guilt, interesting that she won't actually say it in so many words. I guess she's afraid of being sued.

Let us know how the meeting goes! Heavy rains... I wish those would start here soon! It's still very warm and sunny everyday (though not as hot as July or August). We still wear only t-shirts, even in the evenings...
post #25 of 37
Dear meerkat
I'm soooo sorry for your loss i feel your pain & anger . I wonder if this twit vet does not feel for animals why he had to go to vet school. cats are people too & have very sweet soul, they should be treated as people cause their death is so hard & very painful. I read this poem & i found very touchy i hope you will like it:
Don't be dismayed at good-byes.Afarewell is necessary befor you can ever meet again.And meeting again, after moments or lifetimes, is certain for those who are friends. Richared Bach
post #26 of 37

I just now saw your thread. I am so sorry for your loss of Patches. What a horrible experience for you, your husband, and poor Patches to have to go through! I would be very upset too, if the same thing happened to my cat!!! The twit vet did poor Patches alot of harm because of his lack of skill and knowledge. This twit vet should NEVER be allowed to work on or even go anywhere near another animal ever again!!!!!!!! I hope you are letting other pet owners in your city know about your terrible experience with the emergency clinic. I want to tell you again how sorry I am for your loss of Patches.
post #27 of 37
Thread Starter 
HI, everyone, and happy Thanksgiving to those in Canada! We had a lazy day today.

I never did go to see that lady vet on Friday, due to the weather. She was going to reschedule anyway. I'm going to see her on Tuesday evening at 6pm.

On Saturday my husband phoned around to find out about kittens up for adoption. It turned out that one Humane Society had an open house, because they have so many kittens that they just had to try and find homes for some of them. I said ok, but because Patches was a tuxedo, I would prefer a Siamese or ginger cat, if possible, and not a male again. Famous last words!

Long story short, we deliberated for a while - I was so worried about bringing a cat home for my sake and not for the sake of the cat, but it seems our new baby, named Chatter, is very happy and already made this his home. He is black with gorgeous golden eyes, and about 4 1/2 months old. He was neutered on Friday.

Those who would like to see pictures - I've uploaded about 20 of Chatter. On the same link, you will find a picture of Patches, as well as some of our hedgehogs. I think the female hedgie is pregnant!

So although there is still a lot of sadness about Patches, it is going better. Thank you again, everyone, for sharing your stories, for messages, and for input. I'll keep you posted about what the vet has to say tomorrow.

post #28 of 37
Thank you for sharing with us.
Patches was a very beautiful cat.
Your new cat, Chatter, looks exactly like my Midnight did, except Midnight's eyes were green.
I hope you have many long and happy years with Chatter!!
post #29 of 37
Thank you for giving Chatter a home! I'm sure he'll be very happy for you.

Did you see the lady vet yesterday?
post #30 of 37
My heart goes out to you. I know there is nothing we can say to relieve your pain, but please know that all of us on this forum are sending you love and prayers.
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