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Dr. Bruce
Dr. Bruce, Veterinarian
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 19117
Experience:  Small animal veterinarian with 15 years experience.
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We looked after my sisters dog after she passed away in July.

Customer Question

We looked after my sister's dog after she passed away in July. The dog was in our house for 3 weeks. I have a ten year old house cat and the dog got up to our bedroom and scared her last week and she has barely eaten since. The dog was rehomed yesterday and my cat has had a bowl of water and some ham yesterday and two mouthfuls of ham today. She won't eat her food or her favourite treats. She keeps gulping and is very tired. She had a bit of a runny eye today. She finds being handled traumatic so worried vet trip will make her worse. Please help. Sandra
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Cat
Expert:  Dr. Bruce replied 3 years ago.
Hi Sandra,
Welcome. I'm Dr. Bruce and I've been a small animal veterinarian for over 13 years. Thank you for your question. I'm sorry to hear about Gerry's situation. Has she had any vomiting? Do you feel that she's losing any weight? Can she get up and walk around?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
She has lost weight. She is a very small cat anyway so it is noticeable. She can get up and walk around but is very slow in her movements. She hasn't vomited at all. She has never had a huge appetite and can be quite fussy but it is unusual for her not to eat her treats. She looks very tired and is sleeping a lot. She has no history of health problems.
Expert:  Dr. Bruce replied 3 years ago.
Ok. This situation is one that is challenging. Gerry isn't alone in not liking trips to the vet's office. I'll be honest and say that there are a lot of cats that don't like getting into the carrier, the car ride, and then the actual vet visit. Usually though if a cat isn't feeling well, this trip and the stress is pretty minimal as they don't have the energy to fight it. I'm concerned that this is more than just the stress of the dog being previously in the house. Could that dog being there have just made her that upset that she has hid and not been herself? It is possible, but usually they aren't going to lose weight due to the stress if the food and water is readily available. There are a few common causes of weight loss in older cats and I've listed them below with links for more detailed information on those specific diseases.
1) Hyperthyroidism
http://www.VeterinaryPartner.com/Content.plx?P=A&S=0&C=0&A=516
2) Diabetes
http://www.VeterinaryPartner.com/Content.plx?P=A&S=0&C=0&A=631
3) Chronic renal disease (kidney failure)
http://www.VeterinaryPartner.com/Content.plx?P=A&C=&A=2633&SourceID=
4) Cancer
The first three diseases I've listed can best be screened for by having your vet perform blood work and a urinalysis on your kitty. The fourth disease, cancer, can sometimes be suspected on a physical exam if a mass is palpated. Other tests to help screen for cancer include blood work and imaging studies such as radiographs and ultrasound. However, an aspirate or biopsy of suspect tissue is required for a definitive diagnosis. The first step in getting a proper diagnosis would be to have your vet do an exam your little one and perform at least some blood work. I know again a trip to the vet isn't what is hoped for, but I would throw this out there. The sooner something is figured out, usually the better response for therapy there is.
If you didn't go to the vet, the best you could do at home is to continue to have fresh food and water available and to let her rest. Could the "stress level" go down with the dog out of the house and she gets back to normal? I can't say it couldn't happen like this, but I have to be concerned.
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Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Gerry had managed to jump up to my foster daughter's bed, which is very high, whilst I was collecting the children from school. I bought some tuna and she has eaten half a tin. She is staying on top of high bed (the dog couldn't jump up there) and I think that is because she feels safe. It was a ***** ***** that was staying with us and it is their nature to chase small animals. I am so relieved that Gerry has eaten something substantial (she ate it ravenously). Her bowl was on our bedroom floor whilst dog was here and after he got in our bedroom, Gerry didn't want to come down from our wardrobe often. I feel the trauma may ease but I will take her to the Vet if she doesn't improve overnight. I am so grateful for your full reply, Dr Bruce. I've never used an internet service like this before and I would now heartily recommend this to my friends and family. Thank you for your care and advice. Kind regards, Sandra
Expert:  Dr. Bruce replied 3 years ago.
Jack Russell's definitely have a drive for being active with following / chasing other animals. They have a lot of energy to burn! That is great that Gerry ate ravenously for you! If the food was just not that accessible to her with the dog there, then hopefully that is all that is going on. I know I threw out a lot of other possible more serious considerations, but I always want owners to be able to understand the situation as best as possible. Hopefully she'll continue to do well and maybe not need any visit to the vet here for this!
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Thank you so much, Dr. Best wishes from our family.
Expert:  Dr. Bruce replied 3 years ago.
Give Gerry a good petting for me and I again hope that all goes well. Take care!