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Dr. Deb
Dr. Deb, Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 10923
Experience:  I have been a practicing veterinarian for over 30 years.
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Hi - my cat doesnt seem to be drinking as much as normal,

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Hi - my cat doesn't seem to be drinking as much as normal, nor eating. She had a traumatic trip to the vets Fri, for a blood test (she needed to be sedated), as she had been a bit listless for a couple of days beforehand. She isn't using her litter tray as much either. We don't want to stress her out even more by shoving her in her basket and taking her to the emergency vet up just yet (our vet is ringing us up on Tue) - is there anything we can do to get her to drink more? Can you help as to why she would be like this in the first place? The blood test didn't show anything untoward, according to the vet. Thank you.

Hello Nicola, I'm Dr. Deb and will do my best to help you today.

I'm sorry for this concern for Barbie but I do have a few additional questions to ask about her first if you don't mind:

1. Is she still eating but just not drinking as much?
2. Did your vet feel she was dehydrated?
3. Did he give her any fluids under the skin or send you home with any medication?
4. What blood tests were done, if you know?
5. Was a urinalysis also done?
6. Any other signs such as weight loss, vomiting, diarrhea, etc?

There may be a slight delay after I receive your answers since I have to type up a response to you. Thanks for your patience. Deb

Customer: replied 3 years ago.
1. No, she's not eating as much as well as not drinking as much
2. No, but she was concerned about kidney function hence the blood test (and results = nothing untoward).
3. No, she gave her antibiotics and a painkiller on Thu but no meds to take home. Thu, she had Metacam 0.2% and Duphamox injections. Fri, sedator injection, Alvegesic and Atipam.
4. Presume for kidney function.
5. No.
6. No, she hasn't lost any weight in the last year, and stools were fine.
She comes in and out of the house quite happily, and has come to bed a couple of times with us, but she just isn't eating and drinking as she usually does.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
She's just come downstairs, and has had a wee in her tray, and is eating some food. Can there be any reaction to the drugs she was given??

Thanks for the additional information. The fact that she's not lost any weight or showing other signs is a very good thing as is the fact that she just ate.

She certainly could be having reactions to any one of the drugs that she was given. If the drugs are now starting to wear off, then she may be returning to normal.

I'm assuming that your vet might have thought she was having some issues with her pancreas if her kidney values and all other tests were normal. There's a special test, called a spec fPL, which can be run to evaluate the pancreas but it's not done part of the routine bloodwork and has to be specifically requested. But I've actually come to doubt it's reliability in some cases since not all tests are 100% accurate.

Signs of pancreatitis can simply be anorexia but since older cats can experience other issues (such as kidney disease) which cause this symptom, it's always a good idea to run blood work to rule out these other issues first.
Typically, if pancreatitis is suspected or confirmed in cats, the treatment consists of fluids and pain medication (we believe pain is why they have a reduced appetite and thirst).

In terms of encouraging her to drink, this isn't always the easiest thing to do in a cat since they typically aren't big water drinkers in the first place. But I usually suggest tuna or clam juice or low sodium chicken broth. You can also use a syringe to squirt liquid into the side of her mouth, if necessary.

And, as far as getting her to eat more, appetite stimulants can also be given such as Mirtazapine or Cypoheptadine although these would have to be dispensed by your vet.

If it looks as if she's starting to improve, then one scenario might be that she did have pancreatitis which is not starting to resolve and/or she was having a reaction to one or more of the drugs she was given.

Some of these cats also have a low level of nausea even though they aren't actively vomiting. She could be given over the counter Famotidine although this drug may be hard to find in the UK. The dose would be 1/4 th of a 10 mg tablet twice a day.
Another option would be Omeprazole at a dose of 5 mg once a day.

I would continue to monitor her today and if she still doesn't have a good appetite tomorrow, then I'd call your vet and ask about an appetite stimulant.

I hope this helps and that you continue to see improvement. Deb

Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Thank you - it's also her not producing any faeces for two days ... Yet she doesn't seem to be in visible distress
You're welcome.

The absence of a bowel movement wouldn't worry me too much, under the circumstances, since she wasn't eating very much. It's highly unlikely that we would add constipation to her list of problems especially if she wasn't constipated when your vet examined her.

It's sometimes difficult to diagnose pancreatitis unless an ultrasound is done and sometimes even then. But, if she's slowly but surely showing signs of getting back to normal each day, then this may have been my presumptive diagnosis in this case.

Dr. Deb and 3 other Cat Specialists are ready to help you
Thanks for the rating and bonus; they're greatly appreciated.

I'd like to check back in with you tomorrow to see if Barbie is continuing down the right path.

Even though you've rated, we can still continue to communicate at no additional charge to you.

Best of luck that she's turned the corner with this. Regards, Deb

Kindly ignore the request for additional information.

I’m just following up on our conversation about Barbie. How is she doing? Deb
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Hi Deb

Barrie is a lot better now, thank you! She is eating and drinking more than she was, although not as much as normal, but she's improving day by day. She is a lot brighter, running around as normal, and the blood tests came back negative so that's a relief. Thank you for your advice, it was much appreciated.

That's fantastic news about Barbie; you must be so pleased:)

Let's hope she continues to improve so that she's back to normal within just a few more days. Deb.