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Chronic Reoccurring Health Problems

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
I have a male cat who will be three years old in May. In November of 2004 he had his first episode of digestive problems. He stayed at the vets for three days on an IV and antibiotics. Given his age the assumption was that he had swallowed something but nothing ever showed up in an X-ray and he recovered. The following February the same thing happened. It was on a weekend and I had orientation for a new job that week so I couldn't take him to my regular vet so I took him to a 24 hour emergency clinic. They gave him sub-q fluids a shot of antibiotics and sent him home on antibiotics. The following July it was the same thing again. I took him to a feline specialist. She said even though she couldn't make a definitive diagnoses she thought it was chronic pancreatitis. She did complete blood work as had been done the previous November and checked him again for feline leukemia and everything came back normal. She told me to keep him on Eukanuba Vet Diets Low Residue food. A month ago he was sick again I took him back to my regular vet and she gave him the sub-q fluids and amoxicillan as in the past. He got better and the day after finishing the antibiotic he got sick again and I took him back and she kept him this time it turned out to be a urinary tract infection. She sen him home with a fourteen day supply of Baytril, he is almost finished with it and hopefully this time he stays well. I read an article on the internet that these infections are very rare in a cat his age that is properly cared for. I have kept both of my cats on high quality foods, before the vet diet food it was either Wellness or Natural Balance, I keep the litter boxes clean and my other cat has no health problems. They also have access to fresh water at all times. I give them canned food in addition to keeping the dry food out at all times to up their intake of water. They get tired of the canned food quickly so I change brands often, right now it is Merricks. Anyone have any ideas on what I can do to keep this guy healthy. Not only do I hate to see him have to go through these episodes but I am not a wealthy person and these extra vet bills are a real problem for me.
post #2 of 4
Two years ago my cat had what's called a super chem blood test to use as
a future baseline line. Her amalyse level & triglycerides were very high. The amalyse would either indicate kidney problems or pancreatitis. However, her kidney values, including a urine sample were negative. Vet suggested feeding a low fat diet. I started feeding Iams Weight Control because she was overweight. About a year later she suddening had a poor appetite. I took her to the vet - she had a temperature. She was put on antibotics and got better. Then it happened about 6 months later. I fasted her for 12 hours and we re-did the super chem test - amalyse was still high. But at the same time part of the blood sample went to a specialized lab that runs a test called TLI. This is strictly for pancreatitis. There are not many places in the country that do this test and its only done on certain days of the week and takes about 7 days to get results. It came back normal. This time the vet suggested Hills WD as he felt the Iams Weight Control was still too high in fat. A year later we re-ran the blood work, amalyse was still high but the TLI once again came back normal. Triglycerides also normal. My vet said the high amalyse "just might be normal" for my cat. I still feed the WD and she's lost a little weight.

Ask your vet about the TLI test - outside of a biopsy this is best way to determine pancreatitis. It costs about $80.
post #3 of 4
It sounds like your cat may have had pancreatitis. Pancreatitis is easily diagnosised in dogs based on doing a simple biochemistry and looking at their amylase and lipase values. However, it is not so simple in cats. For many years people thought cats never got pancreatitis, until they did a study and found after doing post mortems, that about 1/3 of the cats had suffered from pancreatitis at some point in their lives (their medical records showed no indication that they had ever had pancreatitis). Since then vets are more open to the possiblity of feline pancreatitis, and many cats are treated as potential cases. As Christine said you can do a TLI test to get a definate answer. However, Texas A&M is the only place that I know that does this test for cats (other labs will for dogs, but not cats) so depending on where you live it can cost a lot of money and a long turn around time.

As for causes, 99% of cases is idiopathic (that is no one knows). Some cats just seem more prone than others. Because of this, it is very hard to prevent it, besides feeding a Low Residue/Gastro diet.

On a more personal note, I also have a kitty who does have episodes every so often, so I know how frustrating and expensive it can be.
post #4 of 4
Thread Starter 
I live in Columbus OH so it will probably be more expensive to get this test done. I will ask about it the next time I take him to the vet which will hopefully be this summer for their annual checkups. Ohio State here in Columbus has a school of veterinary medicine, maybe at some point this test will become available locally. Since I am having to change canned food often to keep them eating it do you think I should drop the small amount I am feeding and keep them strictly on the low residue dry?
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