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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 21747
Experience:  I am a small animal veterinarian with a special interest in cats and am happy to discuss any questions you have.
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Hi, We have a 9 year old male. He has been to our local vet

Customer Question

Hi, We have a 9 year old male. He has been to our local vet as he became very lethargic and stopped eating. Will drink water. Vet carried out the usual tests and found nothing wrong. However, he is certain he has a heart problem, perhaps been in a fight, got bitten and the infection went to his heart. He also has a fever. Vet gave him anti-biotics, pain-killers, unable to bring the fever down. Cat now home, still not eating, but drinking water.
Advised to take him back to-day for another anti-biotic injection. Cat still very lethargic and unhappy!! Is there something we can do ourselves?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Cat
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 3 years ago.

Hello & welcome, I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you with your wee one today.

 

I am sorry to hear that Rocky is unwell.

 

When did he see his vet for those injections?

Did he just get the two?

 

What was his temperature when he had the injections?

Was this checked 24 hours later? What was the temperature then?

 

What tests were done (since there are many options)?

Did he have a general profile blood sample? Urine sample? Ultrasound? Xray?

What were the results of the ones he has had?

 

Does Rocky have any interest in food but then turn away?

Or no interest at all?

 

Any hard swallowing, lip smacking, pawing at his mouth, or retching?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi Dr. B. Rocky had 2 injections (anti biotic) Temp. was 39.6, but not taken when he had the injections. Only blood tests and xrays. Results of blood tests later on to-day when we take him back. Vet worried about a heart infection and said yesterday, he had a high fever, not able to bring this down!! Heart rate unusually fast!!


Really do appreciate your help.

Expert:  Dr. B. replied 3 years ago.

Thank you Suzanne,

If the blood results are not yet back, then hopefully they will hold the answer to Rocky's signs. I would also note that if your vet is truly concerned about endocarditis (bacterial infection of the heart valves), you may wish to speak to them about a heart scan. This would be a fairly non-invasive tool that would allow your vet and yourself to see Rocky's heart and appreciate if there are bacterial lesions on the valves as they suspect. At the same time the vet can check an ECG to appreciate if Rocky's fast heart rate also has an irregular rhythmn that could be caused by this condition. And if this is confirmed, then it would shed light on his situation and give a better idea of his prognosis.

Further to this, without his blood work back nor a heart scan done, we cannot be totally sure that a heart valve infection (which is not very common) is the only thing to blame. The reason is because while kitties with fevers may go off their food, cats that are generally unwell, have sore mouths (less likely here if they have examined his mouth and given a pain killer) or nauseous can do so too. Therefore, it may be worth having your vet cover bases and treat Rocky for nausea to ensure this isn't what is putting him off his food. There are a range of anti-nausea treatments that could be considered and some are even available over the counter. These include Cimetidine/Tagamet (LINK), Famotidine/Pepcid (LINK), Omeprazole/Prilosec (More Info/Dose), or Ranitidine/Zantac (LINK). These may be ones to consider trying for him but I would note that if he is currently getting injections from his vet, it is better to coordinate with them since you don't want to give anything yourself that may counteract something they have given. As well, the vet will also have strong injectable anti-vomiting medications like Metoclopramide (LINK) Ondansetron (More Info/Dose) or Cerenia. So, I would consider first making sure that if he is suffering with underlying nausea that we are addressing it and ruling it out so that you can make sure there isn't something else putting him off his food.

Alternatively, since Rocky is off his food, you may also want to speak to his vet about
vet about a trial on an appetite stimulant drug. The two we use most often in cats are Mertazipine/mirtazapine (LINK) and cyproheptadine (LINK). And one of these could just get him back on track to eating while you work together to determine what has put him off his food.

Further to these treatments, that can help get him eating, we need to continue to tempt him to
eat (as I know you are). Favourite foods are allowed or you can tempt him with a light/easily digestible diet. Examples of this would be boiled chicken, boiled white fish, scrambled eggs (made with water and not milk), meat baby food (do avoid the ones with garlic powder in the ingredients) or there are also veterinary prescription diets that can be used here (ie Hill’s I/D or Royal Canin’s sensitivity.) This all said, if tempting doesn’t work (which sounds quite likely with Rocky at the moment), then we do have to consider initiating syringe feeds to get food in. In that case, you may want to try Hill's A/D (LINK) or Royal Canin Recovery (LINK) from your local vet. Both are critical care diets that come as a soft, palatable pate. It is calorically dense, so a little goes a long way nutrition-wise and this could just help get some more calories into him even if we can’t get a huge volume of food in. Just to note, these diets are amenable to having water added to make into a gruel to syringe feed if necessary. As well, for syringing food, you can use the animal version of Ensure (balanced for animals dietary requirements) called Clinicare Canine/Feline Liquid Diet (LINK). It is actually by the same people who make Ensure, but is formulated to meet out pet's dietary needs. Your vet should be able to order it for you but it is available without a prescription (some pet stores and even Amazon stock it). This way it would a means of getting food, stopping his self imposed starvation, and this is something you can do at home to get some nutrition into him.

Overall, without those bloods or an official definitive diagnosis, you will be limited on how to approach Rocky's situation at home. That said, you can consider an antacid just now (though do ring to make sure what you choose to give is compatible with what they have given) or have his vet give an anti-vomiting medication to ensure nausea is not playing a role in his anorexia. Further to this, you can speak to them about an appetite stimulating drug to break his fast. But in the meantime, while you are waiting for those blood results, the key here will be to tempt him to eat or (if he refuses) start syringe feeding to break his fast and prevent him from wasting away while you await his vet's findings on the bloods.

I hope this information is helpful.

If you need any additional information, do not hesitate to ask!

All the best,

Dr. B.

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Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi again Dr.B, Thank you for your informative and helpful reply. To try and get Rocky to eat something, we opened a tin of salmon and offered him little pieces, which surprisingly he ate in small amounts, he is walking about now with my husband and he tried him with a little game, he now seems to be responding and cheered up a bit!! Will go back to the vet later on to-day with the blood test results. ie. No urine sample was taken either.


Thanks again, very much appreciated by both of us.


With regards, Patrick & Suzanne Redding.

Expert:  Dr. B. replied 3 years ago.
You are very welcome,

That is a positive wee step for Rocky.

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Keep up the good work and hopefully those blood results will have some answers for you today. And if they come back clear and the heart is still suspect, then do have a wee word with your vet about the possibility of a heart scan since it would let you see if that is indeed the root of his problem and could direct you to exactly what needs to be treated.

Take care & let me know you get on,
Dr. B.