Juggling life through a bi-polar lens. Sometimes up, sometimes down. Mostly trying to tread water in the middle. Creating a likeness to a normal life. Whatever "normal" is...

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Fearful for Fluffy

I think Fluffy is definitely in her 9th life, and I am even worried that she won't make Christmas. I wanted to make this post so that all my cat-owning friends out there can give me their thoughts; maybe you have experience of these symptoms?............

When I took Fluffy to the vet in October it was for two reasons:

  1. she needed pills for her thyroid condition. I stopped giving her the ones she was on because they were having the side effect of sever itching and she was pulling her fur out. So, she needed a blood test to assess her levels, and new prescription of Vidalta, the thyroid med she had been on before.
  2. she was off her food.

I can't stress enough that these were the ONLY reasons I took her in. She was ok in every other respect. She was racing up and down stairs, overtaking us at times. She was using her litter tray ok, and using the catflap to go out. She was climbing the furniture and climbing onto US for cuddles and naps.

When at the vet's, they felt a lump and so decided to keep her in for the day to investigate. They shaved her side and did an ultrasound scan without sedative. They found that one kidney was larger than the other and looked cystic. They gave her 3 injections; an anti-biotic, an anabolic steroid, and a vitamin B12 shot.

SINCE THE VISIT TO THE VET she has changed- since then she hasn't run upstairs, or anywhere else. She stays in one room. She doesn't climb furniture or seek cuddles. She strains to wee and meows and meows and meows really loudly for about 20 minutes BEFORE each wee.

We returned to the vet. I told them her symptoms and they prescribed anti-biotics for a urine infection. She had this for 15 days. NO CHANGE.

She has gone from running around and being cheeky to staying in one room, crying to and from from the litter tray. When I asked about this, the only response was that oh well, she IS old, you know; you may have to make a difficult decision soon.

WHAT???? Yes I know she is old, but she was old when I brought her in last month and she wasn't like this. She has only been like this since her day at the vet. I am so scared they did something to traumatise her in some way and now no one will tell me what.

Since yesterday she is off her food. I am having to force her tablets down her, which I hate to do. AND NOW THERE IS ANOTHER SYMPTOM; her back legs are weak and she is wobbly and walking ' on her haunches'.

I know this can be a symptom of chronic renal failure, but I wander if she would be weeing more if she had that. It can also mean anaemia.

She is booked in for another blood test this Saturday morning. I am going to call the vet tomorrow morning to ask for more advice. They also want to test her urine via some special litter I have to use Friday night.

WHAT DO YOU THINK??? I know she is old, but this change in behaviour is only since she was at the vet for a day. I have said this to them, and all they do is say nothing they did caused it and that she is old. They don't seem to get that she was so different before. I know she will go downhill, being old, that is going to come,. But this was a sudden change...... I think i am losing her....

34 comments:

Tia said...

Helena, is there another vet that you can use? Are you stuck at the one you've been to already, or is there another reputable practise near you? If there's another one, now would be the time that I'd be changing.

It is possible that she's had a reaction to the drugs they've given her. If I remember rightly, she had a B12 injection. Please don't take this for red, but I did hear of one other cat who had a similar reaction.

I know of an absolutely super vet in Yorkshire, a very good one about 20 miles outside Oxford and another that I used in Hereford. If you live near any of these places, email me and I'll give you the details. For now, keep her warm. Give her towels to snuggle in,use a low litter tray if you can. If she's not eating or drinking, syringe feed her it. It's not pretty or nice to have to force fluids and food, but I've done it with my own and they don't hate you for long, even though they give the impression that you're torturing them! Mix your water with sugar and salt. 1tbsp sugar or honey and 1 teaspoon salt to 2 pints of water. Sugar is more tolerated than honey. This electrolite balance will help her. For food, puree her usual stuff and put it in a syringe. Add water if it isn't thin enough. If she's not drinking, you need to force feed 50 ml of water per kg body weight over a 24 hour period. Feed her every two hours. If she's still drinking, you can just ffed her food, and that can be at longer intervals.

I'm sorry you're going through this, I really am. Just make sure they test her for drug reactions. Read up on side effects of the things she's had and see if any of the symptoms match. Above all, please keep me posted as to what's happening. If you need on the spot advice from someone who's been there, again email me and I'll give you my phone number. You can call day or night. I offer because I've been here, and I know how awful it iseicly when you haven't got anyone to ask questions of who knows the ins and outs of force feeding etc.

Keep Strong

Carly, Tia's human

Helena said...

THank you Tia, I was told of another vet by someone, and I am going to see that person on Thursday so I will get specific details from her then, then I think yes I may change vets, as I just don't have confidence in thsi one now, and I need to know that I did my best don't I? Basically I know I wouldn't trust my other cat to them now, so I better change...

thank you for your advice and offer of support- I will be in touch. I am in tears here and ALSO worried about the effect of this on mum with the way she is now, as Fluffy is her favourite and she loves her so much.

Helena said...

btw I'm in Colchester so a bit out of your way ;)

Angel and Kirby said...

I am so sorry you and Fluffy are having to go through this. I, have no experience in this. but I think a second opinion is needed.

Feronia said...

I'm sorry Helena that I can't offer any advice - I don't have a cat. From what you've said though, on the face of it, it does sound kidney-related. I agree with Carly that you need to see another vet. My thoughts are with you and darling Fluffy x

Helena said...

Yup, the more I think about it (over and over and OVER!!! in my head) the more I think I need another vet and another opinion..... the change is so sudden. I know I have to let go sometime, but this doesn't feel like a gradual or natural change...

Stardust said...

I'm so sad to hear about Fluffy.

Like you know I don't have a cat. But that was how my hamster suffered in his old days. Took him to the vet, and returned with him changed. The vet merely answered, ' It's old, you see', and poor Muffin wouldn't be able to tell me anything... I hope things get better with a second opinion, soon enough.

Hang in there Fluffy!

Brian said...

I agree, a 2nd opinion might be in order. My sisters and I send purrs and purrs and purrs to your sweet Fluffy.

Furkidsmom said...

We're so sorry that this is happening to Fluffy. We hope things get better soon.

The Florida Furkids and Angel Sniffie

freebird said...

I can't help with this one. I wonder if the kidney problem is cancer. My husband had his kidney removed recently and we had no clue it was cancerous and then suddenly lots of stuff happened at once. I know he's not a cat and I hope that's not the case with Fluffy. I hope you can try another vet.

Jan's Funny Farm said...

Very sorry Fluffy suddenly changed so much. We have no advice but send lots of purrs and tail wags!

Forty Paws said...

We agree. Get her to another vet and find out what is really wrong with her. We are sending you tons of purrs and purrayers.

Luf, Us and Maw

meowmeowmans said...

We agree that you should seek a second opinion. We are sending big-time purrs and prayers for you and Fluffy.

Zippy, Sadie and Speedy said...

Oh yes, get another opionion at least. No one knows your cat better than you do and if all this happened right after her vet visit I'd be questioning it too. It may not be anything they did to her and just a reaction to medication but they should at least say so.

Kea said...

Just reading this...What was the antibiotic injection? If it was Convenia, have her checked for anemia ASAP. In a small percentage of cats it can lead to anemia and unfortunately, even death.

-Mom Kim @ Fuzzy Tales

Freya's Staff said...

We have no useful advice, but we really feel for what you must be going through, and we're sending our most heartfelt purrayers to you and to Fluffy

Sweet Praline said...

I don't have any experience with this, but I would definitely get her to another vet for a second opinion.

Good luck and sweet praline sends purrs.

Cat said...

I would seek a second opinion. Walking on their haunches (or hocks) can also be a symptom of diabetes.

Milo and Alfie Marshall said...

We don't have any advice to offer but we are sending love and purrs for Fluffy ~ and (((((hugs)))) for you.
We hope Fluffy can improve and have some more quality life.

Ginger Jasper said...

I am with some of the others. Go to a different vet. Saying she is old is just not good enough. Pleasetry someone else. I pray you can get something sorted and get some reief for her as it does sound as though she is having pain on using her tray. Poor darling.. good luck Hugs GJ xx

Helena said...

UPDATE-

I have talked to the vet again today and I will keep the Saturday appointment for a blood test, just because i can't get into a new vet that soon. BUT they are putting out some more antibiotics, a different type, for me to pick up tonight. So if it is a UTI maybe this will help.

I've also noticed that she is thin again. Strange as her appetite had improved for a while and she seemed to get her little pot belly again :) but now it seems to have gone again and she looks painfully thin.

She is eating today I have given her fish and she licked her plate clean :) but meowing very loudly still. I have stayed with her and kept her near the fire or in her bed with her own hot water bottle.

Junior and Orion said...

We are wondering if she has crystals in her urine. That may be the cause of her bathroom troubles. Definitely get her to another vet as soon as possible. It seems to us this one doesn't want to look to hard for her issues since she is older.

Admiral Hestorb said...

I beg you to see some other Vet. This is horrible and I am concerned for you and your baby. I know the pain and fear you're in. My girl also itches and pulls her fur out since she has been taking her hyperthyroid meds. A gel one puts in the ear flap.

The Lee County Clowder said...

The straining could well be crystals or an unary tract infection. Luna had lots of UTI's when she was younger, and usually the first signs were straining in the litter box and peeing in the bathroom sink. Is Fluffy 'putting out' about the same amount of urine, or less?

We would like to add to the 'second opinion/new vet' chorus. Cats try to hide illness and pain, but it almost sounds like your current vet has written off Fluffy.

We're purrrring for you both.

Save Moki said...

Hi Helena and Fluffy,

ML forwarded your story to me and thought that maybe I could be of assistance. I should start by explaining that I am not a vet, just someone with a lot of experience caring for felines, who has completed some vet assisting courses at a two year college, and is currently completing the requirements to get into vet school, so lots of biology, chemistry etc. With that said I shall begin...

First off I would find out what your current vet's specific training is when it comes to preforming ultrasounds. In the states, unbeknown to many, vets and there staff are not required to have received any special training in order to preform an ultrasound. Some vets and their staff choose to receive special training in sonography (ultrasound technology) to ensure that they are properly versed in the technology, while others choose not to.

What does this mean for the pet owner exactly? It means that often an untrained/uncertified vet or veterinary staff member can make a mistake when reading the ultrasound results. Not having formal training means that they may overlook something that could be important and not even realize it.

With that said, I tend to agree with Junior in that Fluffy's behavior sounds very similar to that of a cat who has crystals. Since you are seeing changes with the diet I might even wonder about struvite crystals which are often associated with a high magnesium diet. If your vet hasn't received any special sonography training then they could have easily missed the crystals on the ultrasound.

Another thing that comes to mind would be side effects of the medication they have Fluffy on. If you can email me a list of the medications I might be able to provide you more information about each of them as well as a list of both common and uncommon side effects.

Lastly I am guessing that the very sudden change in the weight which you have been talking about is most likely a result of dehydration. If Fluffy is having problems urinating then she most like isn't feeling up to drinking as much as normal. Combine that with the fact that she is not eating like regular and you have the makings for dehydration.

If you can email me any other details you can think of I will see what else I maybe able to come up with for you.

My email address is questions@savemoki.com

(((Hugs)),

Moki and Mom Crystal


P.S.

Here is an article on the ultrasound stuff I was talking about. It is not written by a reputable site but the information is fairly accurate.
http://www.ehow.com/about_6296294_veterinary-ultrasound-training.html

Save Moki said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Save Moki said...

Sorry posted twice...

Big Piney Woods Cats said...

I just lost my Patches on Nov 19th after a horrible reaction to the thyroid meds. She took the pills, they made her vomit, was switched to ear cream. Then her thyroid plummeted from being to high. Take her off the meds and clean out her ears they told me. Too little too late. Her ears broke out in horrible sores, she couldn't seem to lie down, her legs wouldn't bend, she went from place to place, never getting comfortable. Gave her fluids which perked her up for a day and then back to suffering. Finally took her in, vet shook her head and said she had AutoImuune Disease (Lupus) possibly caused from the meds that were supposed to help! I am devestated and cry daily for my 13 year old calico girl. I am so sorry you are going through this. Patches went to 3 vets, none of them knew what was wrong, just thyroid, they said, we need to get it controlled.

With tears,
Toni

Everycat said...

Oh Helena! Oh Fluffy! Poor darlings. Definately try and see another vet asap. In situations like these you need a vet who can run through blood test results and scan results and explain what might have caused the problem, what the treatment options are, not a vet who is snarky when you are concerned for darling Fluffy.

If you can find another vet, ask the current vet for a print out of the most recent blood panels, urine analysis and any captured frames from the ultrasound. They should provide them without a problem. You are entitled to copies of test results.

We send Fluffy and you large rumbly purrs for her problems to be sorted out quickly. She sounds very sore, poor girl.

Whicky Wuudler xx

Chrissy said...

I am reading this a little late. As usual, I am playing catch up. I do hope Fluffy is showing signs of improvement ~ hugs Chrissy

Helena said...

THANKS for all your comments again!!

I am shocked that a high magnesium diet can cause crystals as they gave me a magnesium supplement to give her, telling me it would help get rid of the UTI! Luckily I only gave Fluffy two of these- she sicked up both of them so I stopped giving her them.

She is back on antibiotics and we are meant to take her back on Saturday for another blood test. She isn't weeing as much as usual, I mean she doesn't go for as long as she would. Drinking- yes she is having a good drink still and I am adding water to her food too. She is most restless at night and sleeps through the afternoon and evening.

Today she has been nibbling at some tuna I am giving her, in warm water. Still not eating much of it though...

Poor twiglet.

Helena said...

KEA it was convenia, so I will definitely ask for an anaemia test on Saturday. THANKS!

Au and Target said...

Poor little kitty. We're purring for her.

I'd try for a second opinion too - just in case. And snuggle up in bed for the weekend. Comfort is half the battle.

Save Moki said...

Hi Helena,

Now that you have said that your vet prescribed a magnesium supplement I am really starting to wonder if maybe they aren't trying to cover up a mistake.

Crystal's (aka stones) come in a couple of different forms. There are calcium oxalate stones and struvite crystals for example. Calcium oxalate stones should be easily spotable with a urinalysis test and a radiograph. Unfortunately since these types of crystals/stones can't be resolved with a diet, they have to be surgically removed. With calcium oxalate stones, a cat should eat a moderate magnesium diet. There is some current research which indicates that magnesium may act as an inhibitor of calcium oxalate, and therefore diets which restrict magnesium may serve to increase the formation of calcium oxalate stones.

With that said, if a vet suspects that the cause of Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD) is attributed to calcium oxalate stones, they should be able to stop the stones, and taking steps to remove the stones. Once the stones have been removed an animal should be placed on a moderate magnesium diet to help prevent further stone development...

Here are two great articles for you on calcium oxalate stones:

http://www.vin.com/proceedings/Proceedings.plx?CID=WALTHAMTNAVC2003&PID=3667

http://www.marvistavet.com/html/body_feline_oxalate_bladder_stones.html

With Struvite Crystals on the other hand, an animal should be fed a magnesium-restricted diet since magnesium is what helps these types of stones/crystals to develop.

Here is another article for you, this one on struvite crystals:

http://hurricaneanimalhospital.com/forms/info%20handouts/Feline_Urologic.pdf

Given my current understanding of Fluffy's condition, an ultrasound was done and the vet found nothing. Your vet has also done nothing in the way of surgically removing any crystals. Is that understanding correct? If so, and you vet is uncertain as to what type of crystal/stone they are dealing with, which it kind of sounds like, then giving a magnesium supplement is a really bad idea since if it turns out that the FLUTD is being caused by struvite crystals this will only serve to worsen the problem. Unless your vet is 100% sure that the FLUTD is being caused by calcium oxalate stones, which if they were they would be taking steps to surgically remove them, since these wont go away on their own, then why would they give a supplement which they know can only serve to harm the animal?

If I were you, I would print out the articles and bring them with me to the vet. Start demanding some answers. What type of FLUTD do they think Fluffy has? You can then start to piece together things from there.

Also, I would quite feeding Fluffy tuna. Tuna is high in phosphorus which is bad for the CRF and some people have reported that diets high in phosphorus can make CRF progress faster...