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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 33252
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience.
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My cat is 21. He stopped eating and drinking for 2 days and

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Hi. My cat is 21. He stopped eating and drinking for 2 days and the vet put him on a drip and did blood tests. Blood tests came back clear and so has the ultrasound. He is now home and shows signs of wanting to eat when I take food to him and eats a little...pate type food with water mixed in and sometimes his dry food. Understandably his appetite is not great after 6 days in total of no food but after he eats he dry retches, no vomit at all. I am loathed to have him undergo any invasive tests so as to minimise distress but any thoughts as to what could be wrong given all tests are clear so far? Can it simply be old age? He does not seem distressed, purrs when stroked and can still jump on the bed.

You're speaking with Dr. Michael Salkin. Welcome to JustAnswer. I'm currently typing up my reply. Please be patient. This may take a few minutes.

Andrea, I'm sorry that your question wasn't answered in a timely manner and I'm sorry to hear of this with Hobbes. I believe that something has been missed in his blood tests. There simply must be an indication of something awry in those tests in a 21 year old cat. Can you upload a copy of Hobbes's test results to our conversation? I understand that you might not have a copy at home but his vet can give you one which you can scan into your computer and then give me the file link or you can photograph the pages and upload them by using the paperclip icon (if you can see that icon) or by using an external app such as

I not only review the test results but also note which tests should have been performed but weren't. Old age isn't a disease but degenerative disorders and age-related malignancies are important considerations in our elderly pets.

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
Hi. Im at home without access to a scanner and am in Greece so the results are too. What I can tell you is that they tested thyroid, kidneys, liver, pancreas, glucose levels, and nutritional condition. His glucose was down at 42 and his blood cells indicated mild anaemia.
He does not appear distresed but my concern is that I might be prolonging life because I cant bear to lose him but that in doing so I am not being kind to him.

I understand your concerns. Every day is a gift with a 21 year old. A glucose of 42 indicates starvation, a poorly functioning liver (which would require serum bile acid testing to confirm - that testing wasn't performed), or perhaps an insulinoma - a tumor of the pancreas that secretes insulin and lowers the blood glucose precipitously. A mild nonregenrative anemia is expected at Hobbes's age and is most consistent with chronic renal insufficiency which must exist in a 21 year old. Pragmatically speaking, Hobbes needs to begin eating on his own without causing gastrointestinal distress as appears to be the case at this time. It isn't appropriate in my mind to continue force-feeding an elderly cat which would adversely affect what quality of life remains for it. Please continue our conversation if you wish.

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Customer: replied 4 months ago.
Hi. He ate yesterday 3 times without being prompted to do so but today has had v little except for water. Thank you though I think you have helped me to do the right thing by him.

You're quite welcome. Thank you for your kind accept. I appreciate it. I can't set a follow-up in this venue so please return to our conversation - even after rating - with an update at your convenience. You can bookmark this page for ease of return.