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cat very ill...please help

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 
Assuming that a cat didnt claw into a bottle, are there any common household things that cause antifreeze-poisoning-like condiitons in a kitten?

here's the story of everything that has happened so far......

I adopted brother and sister kitties in March when they were 6 weeks old.Their names are Buffy and Spike. They have been to a vet, they have had their shots. They have not been spayed or neutered yet.

Today is Thursday Aug 26th. On Saturday the 20th, I noticed a small puddle of vomit in my house. It caught me off guard because neither of them had ever vomited before. The next day I found two more spots of vomit. Once in the morning and once in the evening. I finally caught Spike doing it. The vomit was yellow/brown in color and looked like it was mainly liquid. It has always looked like this.

Once I knew which cat it was I observed his behavior and noticed that he wasn't eating. I assumed he had just caught some brief illness and it would pass. Monday morning when I woke up, I couldnt get Spike to eat and decided to take him to the vet. I told them that he was lethargic and wasnt eating. but was drinking water and urinating. They took X-rays, and did a barium drop. By Tuesday morning, the barium correctly moved into his colon. They also performed an enema to make sure that things in the colon could get out and there was no problem. So, they let me take him home.

Tuesday night and all day Wednesday, he was still lethargic but he was eating and drinking normally. Thursday morning when I woke up he was still a little lethargic but was back to his morning routine of meowing at me to fill his bowl. he even jumped up on the countertop once. This was a positive thing because since he has been ill he really doesnt move much. I thought things were returning to normal.

Thursday night...I get home, he's still lethargic but is eating and drinking. However, when he went to sit down at one point, an uncontrollable tremor shook his head as if something was almost forcing his head to turn right. I felt the back of his neck and his muscles were spasming like crazy. These tremors only lasted a couple of seconds. I also noticed at one point that almost immediately after urinating, he would go to his water bowl and drink for a long time. Since this was a new thing that I hadnt seen yet, I contacted the vet and made an appointment for this morning. I asked them to perform a blood test and urinalysis to see what came up.

The vet called me two hours later and told me that Spike is very ill. She said that his kidney levels are off the chart and that her initial evaluations point him getting into some antifreeze. She said that he is extremely dehydrated and that he is now on intravenous liquids. She also said that there is a rare disease in kittens called Addisson's disease (?) that he is exhibiting symptoms of but she doubts that it is this since it is so rare in cats.

Anyway,, I have no antifreeze in my house, all my chemical cleaners, etc.. are in plastic bottles, I know of nothing I have that he could have gotten into that would contain ethylene glycol. I have never noticed any of my chemical cleaning supplies appear to have cat scratches or any evidence that the cats are playing with the bottles.

Other factors involved....last week my girlfriend visted my house for a couple of days with her dog. Also, there was a box with some styrofoam in it accessible to them...other than that I cant think of anything strange that happened last week.

Also, Buffy(his sister) is showing absolutely no symptoms of declining health. She is alert, active, and happy. This is why I dont think its some kind of general sickness. I really think he ate something.
post #2 of 28
Hopefully, a moderator will be along and have some information for you that can help. In the meantime, I did a search for both Feline Addison's Disease and ethylene glycol poisoning. Addison's Disease is the failure of the adrenal glands to function properly. My father has this, so I am somewhat familiar with the disease, but did not know that cats could have it. You would know better than I if Spike exhibited any of the symptoms. It's also called Cushing's Disease in animals. Your vet is right, it is VERY rare in cats. As for the poisoning possibility, I couldn't find any other household cleaning products that contain ethylene glycol. Like I said, I hope that someone with more information responds to this thread. Do some reasearch using the search engine on your computer and see what you think about Spike's symptoms regarding these two illnesses. I wish you best of luck with this and apologize that I couldn't provide more information.
post #3 of 28
I'm sorry to hear that Spike is so ill - some plants are also poisonous to cats and a brief look on the internet indicates that some can affect the kidneys. Is it possible that Spike could have eaten some of a plant? If so, it's worth mentioning to the Vet the types of houseplant or cut flowers you have in home.
post #4 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by flisssweetpea
I'm sorry to hear that Spike is so ill - some plants are also poisonous to cats and a brief look on the internet indicates that some can affect the kidneys. Is it possible that Spike could have eaten some of a plant? If so, it's worth mentioning to the Vet the types of houseplant or cut flowers you have in home.

I have no plants in my place and he doesnt go outside.

The vet I currently use is not a 24hr clinic so I am going over there after work tonight to transfer him to a 24hr place.. With any luck his kidney's 'levels' will drop back down to normal over the next few days. I'll have to take the vet's judgement in regards to his ability to recover and whether or not I should put him down.

With any luck, he'll get better.

I found this site just this morning while looking for information on his illness. I wish I had started reading site for reasons other than why I am posting now. There is a very nice group of people here.
post #5 of 28
I sent this to a friend of mine who is an emergency vet tech- and a darn good one. Several times, she has saved the lives of my cats. I will let you know if I hear back from her.

Have there been any visitors to your home? Someone who might think it funny to poison a cat?

I hope Spike recovers from this
post #6 of 28
Did you use any household cleaners that he could have licked up? Like cleaning your shower/tub or sink - and then him jumping in and licking?
post #7 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Talon
Did you use any household cleaners that he could have licked up? Like cleaning your shower/tub or sink - and then him jumping in and licking?

I do use household cleaners but in a worst case these would at least have been wiped dry before I just left it. I don't regularly clean my bathroom with those products. Its more of a once/week or once every other week kind of thing.

Also, I did a top to bottom cleaning of the house 2 weeks ago and so I wouldnt have been doing a lot of heavy stuff like that. I also am fairly anal about toxic things, a lot of those products give me headaches. For example, whenever I clean my toilet, the lid always gets shut immediately after,etc....

Oh...Talon, both Buffy and Spike are black kitties too.
post #8 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by hissy
I sent this to a friend of mine who is an emergency vet tech- and a darn good one. Several times, she has saved the lives of my cats. I will let you know if I hear back from her.

Have there been any visitors to your home? Someone who might think it funny to poison a cat?

I hope Spike recovers from this
I don't think any of my friends would do that. I have no children and most of my friends are vegan and animal rights activists.

I am extremely interested in hearing your friend's opinion. I have confidence in the vet I go to, yet, experience is always the greatest teacher, and perhaps your friend has seen things that my vet hasn't?!? Also, I wanted to mention that confidence in my vet has grown because after I posted my message, the first few messages of questions to me were the same questions given to me by my vet when she called with the bad news.

Now, I understand why my vet said what she did. she said, it would appear from the urinalysis that he may have ingested something like antifreeze but she fully admitted that she doesnt know for sure. The only reason I question this is because everything I read about antifreeze tells me that Spike should have already died. the things I see about it talk about how quickly it moves (24-36 hours after ingestion). Spike first started throwing up on Saturday.

I also read an article about a family whose pets died after they changed their carpet. What happened in this case was that the family started leaving their shoes at the door, the shoes had been in antifreeze, dogs licked the shoes and died. I do always leave my shoes at the door. It of course is possible that while walking outside I stepped in some and didnt know it, but I havent a clue as to when or where. Then again, like I said, he would probably have been sicker sooner.

Anyone, once again, thank you for all your input.

With any luck I'll be creating a banner for my sig with a brand new picture of both of them healthy and happy pictures. Right now, I can't even bear the heartache of looking at his picture.
post #9 of 28
I will send Spike well wishes and good vibes.

Get better Spike!
post #10 of 28
Sounds like your vet is indeed on top of things. I hope that Spike improves and can come home to you again.
post #11 of 28
Gas stations can be dangerous for people owned by cats because there is anti-freeze and other dangerous chemicals on the ground. I'm paranoid whenever I fill up my tank and I watch very carefully where I step. However, I had my kitty for over a month before I thought of this.

I'm sending good health vibes for Spike and praying that he will recover quickly.
post #12 of 28
I'm sending good, healthy vibes for Spike - wishing for his speedy and full recovery. You can take comfort from the fact that you are doing everything you can for him and have confidence in your vet. Please keep us posted on his progress.

Hoping for a picture of him fully healthy soon
post #13 of 28
I am so sorry to hear of Spike's illness. Could they do a tox screen to ascertain what it is he ingested? Would that help instead of guessing?My thoughts go out to you and Spike - hope he gets well soon!
post #14 of 28
Thread Starter 
Ok..large update

I forgot to mention (?) that when I spoke to the vet originally she told em that since their vet isnt 24hr, Spike would have to be moved at some point to an emergency care facility they work with. I have been to this facility before when my dog was in his last years(he had kidney problems from old age)..

The doctor talked to me about Spike saying how his condition had improved since he was on the IV. She commented that he ate 3/4ths of an entire can of cat food (this is in addition to what he ate this morning when I fed him). She said that he was sitting up and pushing his paws against the cage and being active. The doctor said that his response was very encouraging and she had a lot of hope for him. Anyway, the doctor said that she had sent the urine sample from the original test to the emergency care facility because they had better urinalysis and blood analysis technology. she loaded me up with all of their lab work and x-rays. The emergency care facility was only a 15 minute drive so it wasn't too far.

Everything was fine during the drive and Spike did fine. They got me signed in and in an exam room. The on-staff doctor and the main doctor came to see me. They told me right off the bat that this was not a worst-case scenario. The urine test had come back and they found no crystals from antifreeze. The doctor asked me if I had any medication around in the house. I told him that I did but they are in normal pill containers with 'push down and screw off" lids and they are always in drawers. Then he asked about stray pain medication...advil, ibuprofin, aspirin. I told him that it definitely wasnt out of the realm of possibility for a stray pill to have fallen on the floor and gotten pushed under something. He then replied saying that a cat ingesting ibuprofen would cause the kind of kidney reaction Spike is having. Medications like that. Both doctors said that there are a lot of good signs here; He's eating, drinking, and urinating. They said that he might be constipated and that they could help him with that or see if the IV helps it to pass naturally. The doctor also explained that his kidney problem isn't acute. Spike is passing all the water out as opposed to not urinating at all, the latter being far more serious. He improved with the IV and we can be far more hopeful that it wasnt antifreeze. The said that they are very optimistic about him coming out ok. Also, when my dog was ill they didnt try to say anything just to put a smile on my face, they told me the truth, so I think their optimism is sincere

So, he's there now, his second kidney evaluation is tomorrow.

Sorry my posts may seem a little disjointed and off the wall. Its been tough to calm down today..buffy is laying in my lap as I type this.

Thanks again everybody

I forgot to mention. They said the tremors could have been caused by the effects of the kidney malfunctioning. He didnt do it all when I saw him. The doctr from the first vet said that she saw it once in the morning but not at all after he got the IV in him.
post #15 of 28
I'm sorry you have to go through this, but it sounds like Spike is in the very best care around. So many products anymore contain aspirin, it really could have been anything. He could have found an old pill laying in a corner, played with it and ingested it, as kittens are curious creatures.

Will hold on to good thoughts about Spike and hope he continues to recover rapidly. I know this is worrisome for you, but bless you for going the extra mile for your animals. So many people do not-
post #16 of 28
I've been lurking in this thread because I honestly don't have much useful to offer, but I'm glad to hear he is doing better and I really hope to hear more good news!
post #17 of 28
I am so sorry to hear of Spike's illness. Please keep us posted on how Spike is doing. I hope that he continues to improve.
post #18 of 28
He sounds like a tough boy! My fingers are crossed for his continued improvement
post #19 of 28
My friend just answered, here is her response

http://www.cathelp-online.com/emergency/hazards.php will show common household hazards to cats, have her check it out to rule out various things the kitten could have gotten into. It's important that even though she feels no chemicals were ingested, that certain foods, human meds, essential oils, plants, especially plants, can cause symptoms such as she describes.

Also, would advise new physical exam and full-body xray to rule out potential trauma...did the kitten get caught in something, did he take a fall, did the visiting dog happen to play too rough with him (oftentimes, a puncture wound from teeth will go unnoticed), etc. Does she allow the kittens outdoors, and if so, was there anything in the yard, such as fertilizers, rodenticides, gasoline, even plants and poisonous mushrooms, herbs in a garden, etc can be deadly. Lastly, make absolutely sure she rules out if the DOG or even the kittens were recently treated with flea medications, especially over-the-counter crap.

Hopefully, if it was indeed antifreeze, with prompt agressive treatment, the kitten could make a full recovery. But, if the vet is unsure at all, she should refer the owner to a more experienced vet or emergency facility for 24 hour hospitalized care with agressive IV fluids support, and supportive treatment. Would suggest testing for immune-mediated problems if the symptoms persist or worsen within the next 12-24 hours...(can start with blood clotting test, CBC)

post #20 of 28
sending prayers and hugs!
post #21 of 28
Thread Starter 
Ok folks..large update (Hissy...I'll respond to your questions in a seperate post if this message doesnt cover it).

The last update I made was Friday night. Spike's behavior was the biggest sign of improvement at this point, ever since he had been on the IV he was happier. At this point he had just made it to the 24hr emergency care facility

Saturday morning at 6:30. A technician from the facility calls and says,"hey there, just wanted to let you know that everything is fine. We did find something in his stool though that we wanted to ask you about. Its kidney bean shaped and is red. Any clue as to what it might be?" Considering the doctor's theory from the night before that it was ibuprofin, I mentioned to the doctor that my ibuprofin pills are cylindrical and a maroon-ish color. He said that this probably isnt it because those pills are typically absorbed as well as the fact that most pills like that are smaller than what he was looking at. I couldnt think of anything. Then a few hours later I was talking to my girlfriend and she reminded me that last week we had a box of 'Hot Tamales' candies out in the living room. For any non-American visitors to the site Hot Tamales is a spicy cinnamon candy. Anyway, the moment she said that, I was sure that that was it. I got a list of ingredients and contacted the doctor. They told me they would look into the research. They also said that his results from his first blood toxicity screening would be in soon.

So, later in the day, my girlfriend got off of work and we went to see Spike. When we got there, he was napping. We opened the cage and I whispered his name too him. He woke up and stretched...and not just any stretch, THE BIG STRETCH where he sticks his hind legs out. He hasnt done this since before he was ill. He then walked right up to the edge of the cage, meowed, and tried to step right up onto my left shoulder(His cage was at shoulder height). Ever since he has been sick, he hasnt really been much for physical contact, hugging, holding, that sort of thing. Anyway, I guess what I'm trying to say is that he seemed SO much better.

The doctor came in, and said that she had a lot of good news. His test had come back and his BUN (?) level which on Friday had topped off their measurement at (130?) was now measuring 80. In addition she said that all of his levels had improved. She said that he was still dehydrated, and was still urinating a lot but that further improvement could come over the next few days. The doctor also mentioned that there isnt any chemical in the Hot Tamale candy that would normally cause that kind of reaction. So, they still don't know what it is EXACTLY that is caused the problem. But he is getting better.

The next day (Sunday) we went back again and they had had to put that lampshade looking thing on his head because he kept going after his IV. When I talked to the doctors then they told me that he is still improving and that they had started to ween him off of his water supply. All of his numbers were coming back to normal and they were planning on fully taking him off of the IV before bedtime.

This morning I received a phone call from them saying that his numbers are "just below normal" after being off of the IV overnight and that I could come and pick him up later this morning. I responded by saying that I would probably have to wait until after work to which he said that this would be good since it would allow them time for another test to see further how good he is improving while off the IV.

So, right now, the plan is to take Spike home for a few days and see how he behaves and then bring him back for a quick round of tests in a couple days. In addition they will be taking an ultrasound to take a look at his kidneys. The only way this could still turn out to be bad is if his kidneys were permanently damaged by whatever he ate. In this case, he will probably get sick again in a few days. However,on the good side, his numbers between last night and this morning still improved and he was off the IV....So, between then and tonight when I go to pick him up, there will be another test. Hopefully these results will also be positive. SPIKE IS COMING HOME TONIGHT!!!

Anyway, thanks for everyone's fast input and support....I'll be taking pictures for my signature sooner than I thought!!!
post #22 of 28
I'm so glad that he has improved and is coming home! Welcome home, Spike!
post #23 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by hissy
My friend just answered, here is her response

http://www.cathelp-online.com/emergency/hazards.php will show common household hazards to cats, have her check it out to rule out various things the kitten could have gotten into. It's important that even though she feels no chemicals were ingested, that certain foods, human meds, essential oils, plants, especially plants, can cause symptoms such as she describes.

Also, would advise new physical exam and full-body xray to rule out potential trauma...did the kitten get caught in something, did he take a fall, did the visiting dog happen to play too rough with him (oftentimes, a puncture wound from teeth will go unnoticed), etc. Does she allow the kittens outdoors, and if so, was there anything in the yard, such as fertilizers, rodenticides, gasoline, even plants and poisonous mushrooms, herbs in a garden, etc can be deadly. Lastly, make absolutely sure she rules out if the DOG or even the kittens were recently treated with flea medications, especially over-the-counter crap.

Hopefully, if it was indeed antifreeze, with prompt agressive treatment, the kitten could make a full recovery. But, if the vet is unsure at all, she should refer the owner to a more experienced vet or emergency facility for 24 hour hospitalized care with agressive IV fluids support, and supportive treatment. Would suggest testing for immune-mediated problems if the symptoms persist or worsen within the next 12-24 hours...(can start with blood clotting test, CBC)


Well, Spike did end up having multiple x-rays. First, on Monday, when checking for obstructions in his system and to observe the barium drop. Then, he also received more on Friday when I took him in. They told me that they did check for breaks and other signs of physical (external) injury.

Both of my kitties don't go outside at all. I've opened my deck door a couple of times, and frankly, I think its a little intimidating to them. They both sat in the doorway taking guarded swats at the sunlit pavement of my deck trying to figure out what it was.

I havent done anything specific for fleas with the cats and I don't think my girl's dog has had any kind of treatment recently.

I still wonder what it was. The doctor said that it probably wasnt the Hot Tamale they found in his stool, but I scratch my head over this for the following reasons.

1) A Hot Tamale (the candy) is a full inch long and is probably 1/2 to 1/3 inch in diamater.

2) Spike started vomiting Saturday morning the 20th. Even if the Hot Tamale wasnt the cause, he must have eaten it before then. Even when he came home last Wednesday and Thursday, he wasnt moving unless it was to go to the bathroom or get water and food. He definitely wasnt exploring. So, the Hot Tamale was in his system before Saturday the 20th and he didnt pass it in his feces until Saturday the 27th. (?!?!) that seems like a heck of a long time for something to pass through a cat's digestive system.

I'm not trying to argue with my vet's determination on the subject. But it seems like an object of that size, that is spicy, that stayed in his digestive system for that long. If it was in him, making it hard for other food to pass through his digestive system, couldnt that have set something off like this?

Anyways, Hissy, all, thank you for all your efforts on this..
post #24 of 28
Lillies (any part of the plant) will cause signs of kidney failure.
post #25 of 28
I'd suspect it was ibuprofen. IIRC, the toxicity point for ibuprofen is 50 mg per kg of body weight. So one 200 mg tablet would probably be tolerated by an adult but would be harmful to a kitten.

Hopefully it was that or something similar, since it would mean that since your kitty is recovering he will probably be just fine.
post #26 of 28
Please do not EVER attempt to give your cat ibuprofen for any reason, in any strength!there is NO dose of ibuprofen or other NSAIDs that can be tolerated by cats, they are toxic in any dose.

Only aspirin (NOT acetaminophen), in very low doses, may be judiciously prescribed by a vet for a very specific condition (i.e., heart or thromboembolism disorders), with careful veterinary supervision on an INDIVIDUAL case necessity. There are other safer analgesics most vets prescribe, under careful supervision, for pain relief or other conditions.

(thank you Traci for catching this!)
post #27 of 28
Just a clarification - I was not saying that anyone should be giving ibuprofen to a cat! I was only saying that a dose over 50 mg per kg is likely to cause serious kidney toxicity.

For pain management, a related drug called ketoprofen (FDA approved for dogs but not cats - unfortunately a lot of feline medicine is off label use) may be prescribed by a vet. But just like ibuprofen, it is hard on the kidneys and as such, should never, ever be used for an old cat or a cat with kidney disease.
post #28 of 28
Thread Starter 
I have an update with some bad news.

Spike was taken off of IV fluids on Sunday night (28th) and his levels even improved by Monday morning and again Monday afternoon all without IV fluids. Also, an ultrasound was performed to check for issues with his kidneys and they said that the ultrasound showed what looked like normal kidneys. They said that the purpose of the test is to show signs of congenital problems and he didnt have any with his kidneys.

Unfortunately, when we took him in on Wednesday for his check up, the doctors told me that his levels have started to rise again. When I went to pick him up, they trained me on adminsitering sub-Q fluids and my first solo experience with that will be tonight. I will return there next Tuesday (9-6) to get him looked at again.

Does anyone who regularly gives sub-Q fluids have any advice for me? Ways to keep him from being afraid of it, ways to speed up the process (I was told I can squeeze the bag a little).

The good thing in all of this is that my boy is good. He's feeling good, sleeping in normal positions, playing with toys, etc... I don't care if I have to do this sub-Q stuff every day until he's 20. Thats not a problem. I'm just wondering if I should expect his position to improve to the point where he wouldnt need them. Given his recent history I guess my overall question is...can kidneys heal?
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