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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 22616
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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My elderly cat has recently been getting diarrhea at night

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My elderly cat has recently been getting diarrhea at night (last few days). He's very skinny and we took him to the vets about this, but they couldn't find anything wrong (they did a seniors blood test, amongst others). I would take him back to the vet now, but he hates it so much that last time he had a panic attack there and when we got home (luring down panting. Horrible!). So we promised ourselves next time would be the last... The vet did mention he might have stomach cancer or tumours, which we would not get treated. Is it likely this is the case or should I see if his stomach settles? He still seems happy but is very lethargic (and quite arthritic) so much as I hate the thought am prepared to make the hard choice. Thanks in advance!
Hello & welcome, I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you today. I do apologize that your question was not answered before. Different experts come online at various times; I just came online, read about your situation, and wanted to help.
Again I do apologize that my colleagues could not aid you sooner. If you would still like assistance, can you tell me:
Did his vet check a stool sample?
What treatments have they tried?
What does the diarrhea look like?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
They haven't tested a stool sample or tried treatment. Is it likely this might show something that is easy to treat? The diarrhoea looks 'normal' - pale in colour. No black tarry bits or visible blood.Thanks for your response!
Thank you,
As I am sure you can appreciate, diarrhea in cats (just as in people) can be caused by a range of agents. Those sinister issues are a concern but we can also see this with IBD, dietary sensitivities (which the bland diet they provided should help with that), worms, protozoa, viruses and even bacterial overgrowth related to a weakened/aged immune system. (And I have to say that these are much more common and seen on a daily basis in cats as opposed to masses). So, if no tests have been done, we'd not assume cancer right off the bat for Morgan. Especially if the vet didn't palpate a mass or see one on xray or ultrasound.
So, if he has no signs of blood in his stool and is otherwise well in himself for his age, then supportive care would be ideal here. To rule out bacterial causes, you could speak to his vet about a broad spectrum antibiotic (they should be happy to dispense this without seeing him again since they just have for this). As well, if you have not recently, worming would be ideal. You could even have them dispense Panacur since it has some protozoal treatment action. Of course, if we don't want to treat broadly, you can submit a stool sample to be tested for infectious causes for this.
Otherwise, I would say that we at least want to think about putting Morgan onto a pet safe anti-diarrheal. As I am sure you appreciate, these would not be a cure for infectious issues; but it can still be of benefit. It will reduce diarrhea load, allow the body to absorb more water/nutrients, slow weight loss, and soothe the upset gut. In regards ***** ***** options, the one we most commonly use is Kaolin/Kaopectate (More Info/Dose @ This is available OTC at most pharmacies. Otherwise, Propectalin, Canikur, Fast Balance, and Protexin Pro-Fiber (all OTC at vets, pet stores, and even Amazon) would be another option. All will slow diarrhea and those last ones have the added bonus of providing support to the delicate good GI bacteria (ideal here for Morgan).
Finally, just since you noted that he is plagued with age related arthritis, I did want to mention some OTC nutrient supportive treatments that could be of benefit. Specifically, you can supplement him with fish oil (omega 3 or 6; EPA/DHA) and/or glucosamine/chondroitin. In regards ***** ***** fish oil, these can be helpful as they do have anti-inflammatory properties. In regards ***** ***** we tend to give this at a rate of 20mg per pound of their body weight. And this could just help soothe any joint inflammation and be a long term management option with his arthritis.
Furthermore, you can use glucosamine/chondroitin with your wee one. These are a nutrient supplement that is available at your vets, pet shops, and health food stores (as as capsules, liquids, and even treats). They work to aid joint suppleness by helping cartilage replenish itself and blocking enzyme destruction of cartilage in the joint. Often we can find this helpful in animals with mild signs and this could just take some of the discomfort away from him. Normally we give kitties 50mg glucosamine + 15mg chondroitin a day per 10 pounds of body weight. So, these would be worth consideration too.
Overall, we can see diarrhea in the elderly cat related to a wide spectrum of causes. It is true that GI cancers are one consideration but there are other more common potential causes. Therefore, before we assume the worst, some supportive care would be ideal to see if we can slow the diarrhea, help his body retain nutrition, and get some weight back on him. As well, if this lingers despite supportive care, then testing a stool sample could be a non-invasive option to consider to help us narrow down the root of this for Morgan.
Please take care,
Dr. B.
If you have any other questions, please ask me – I’ll be happy to respond. Please remember to rate my service once you have all the information you need as this is the only way I am credited for assisting you today. Thank you! : )
Dr. B. and other Cat Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thank you so much, this is very very helpful!
You are very welcome. :)
Best wishes for Morgan and yourself,
Dr. B.