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Thread: cat diagnosis

  1. #1
    Senior Member arubabob's Avatar
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    cat diagnosis

    I know there are some cat lovers on the board and this is for you as a heads up just in case.

    We have 4 cats. One is 22 years old and doing fine except for some arthritis. She does well for her age. We also have 5 year old and 12 year old females and a 10 year old male. All our cats are either strays or adopted from a shelter.

    The male, TC, started limping in January of this year. We didnt think too much of it because he is an in and out cat that climbs trees and hunts little critters. When the limp persisted and started to get more pronounced we took him to the vet. The vet said he had a little swelling in his paw that was sensitive to the touch and a slight fever so she put him on an antibiotic thinking he had an infection in that area. It did seem to help for a while as the limp became less over the next few days but the limp came back and seemed to be getting more pronounced, so back to the vet. This time the vet took some xrays and found that TC had a pellet in his elbow. Someone in the neighborhood had shot him with a pellet gun again. He had been shot once before by a pellet gun a year earlier. The vet removed the pellet and gave him some more antibiotics. This seemed to help for several weeks but back came the limp so back to the vet. After some more tests and xrays TC was found to have an elevated white blood count but the most disturbing thing was in the xrays. The vet showed me the xray of TCs paw and pointed out that there was some type of infection in the joints between the bones. Each time we took him in, he had a slight fever. Not high just barely over the norm. He also was losing weight. He lost almost 6 pounds of his 14 pounds eventually. She was unsure what the cause was so she put him on antibiotics once more. This time the antibiotics did nothing. TC started walking in circles and was becoming weak and listless. There are 3 vets at the animal hospital we go to and all have been in practice for more than 15 years. None of them could figure out what was going on with TC, so they decided to check with some other vets in the area. Only 1 called them back saying he had had 2 similar cases to TCs. Those 2 cats had turned out to have a very rare form of histoplasmosis. Histoplasmosis is a fungus gotten from bird poop. It normally attacks the lungs and is very treatable. This rare form attacks the joints and nervous system and is difficult to detect and treat. Our vet tested TC for histoplasmosis and the test came back positive. She immediatly started treating him for that.
    TC continued to worsen even with the proper medicine because it had taken so long to diagnose that the fungus was pretty much everywhere. TC almost died. He lost his vision as well. He was unable to eat or drink on his own or find a litter box. When he tried to walk, he stumbled around walking sideways and falling over. We were close to having him put to sleep. I was feeding him baby food with a syringe 5 or 6 times a day and water and chicken broth as well. After a month of treatment he began to get better. He gained a pound and was finding his litter box(We have hardwood and tile floors, no carpets). I had some success feeding him deli turkey that I warmed up and tore into small pieces. He would eat it sometimes if you put it right under his nose. Each day he seemed a little better. Each day I was able to get him to eat more on his own. Then he had a relapse and almost died. I was back to feeding him with the syringe. Two weeks ago he finally started eating on his own again and drinking out of a water bowl. He has progressed to where he eats a lot now which is good. He has gained back about a third of the weight he lost. He does not wobble or fall over or walk in circles. He growls when I give him his medicine which is a good sign. He now wants to go outside. I let him out yesterday and he seemed to be able to see a little. If his sight comes back it would be amazing. The vet does not know if it will come back or not. There is not much information about this form of the disease because it is so rare. It also probably goes undiagnosed a lot. My vet says there are probably a lot of cats dieing with this disease simply because it looks like something else.

    Histoplasmosis in the lungs is easy to detect and treat because the symptoms are obvious to a vet. The kind TC got is rare and mimics other problems. If you have a cat that gets some or all of these symptoms, and treatments are not working, have your vet test for histoplasmosis. Its a simple urine test and not exspensive. If treated early, it is curable. If it takes as long as it did with TC, its hard. TC is not out of the woods yet. He could relapse again and may have to stay on the medication for life.

  2. #2
    Aruba since 1979
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    Andrea J.'s Avatar
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    contact arubalisa by Private message

    i have 2 cats

    she has a few more than 2

    you and lisa i am sure will have quite the discussion re:kitty health
    her cat, that recently died had been given fluid daily (by lisa) lie an IV.
    in lisa's first life i think she was a vet!


    i am glad to hear your beloved kitty is recovering

    Quote Originally Posted by arubabob View Post
    I know there are some cat lovers on the board and this is for you as a heads up just in case.

    We have 4 cats. One is 22 years old and doing fine except for some arthritis. She does well for her age. We also have 5 year old and 12 year old females and a 10 year old male. All our cats are either strays or adopted from a shelter.

    The male, TC, started limping in January of this year. We didnt think too much of it because he is an in and out cat that climbs trees and hunts little critters. When the limp persisted and started to get more pronounced we took him to the vet. The vet said he had a little swelling in his paw that was sensitive to the touch and a slight fever so she put him on an antibiotic thinking he had an infection in that area. It did seem to help for a while as the limp became less over the next few days but the limp came back and seemed to be getting more pronounced, so back to the vet. This time the vet took some xrays and found that TC had a pellet in his elbow. Someone in the neighborhood had shot him with a pellet gun again. He had been shot once before by a pellet gun a year earlier. The vet removed the pellet and gave him some more antibiotics. This seemed to help for several weeks but back came the limp so back to the vet. After some more tests and xrays TC was found to have an elevated white blood count but the most disturbing thing was in the xrays. The vet showed me the xray of TCs paw and pointed out that there was some type of infection in the joints between the bones. Each time we took him in, he had a slight fever. Not high just barely over the norm. He also was losing weight. He lost almost 6 pounds of his 14 pounds eventually. She was unsure what the cause was so she put him on antibiotics once more. This time the antibiotics did nothing. TC started walking in circles and was becoming weak and listless. There are 3 vets at the animal hospital we go to and all have been in practice for more than 15 years. None of them could figure out what was going on with TC, so they decided to check with some other vets in the area. Only 1 called them back saying he had had 2 similar cases to TCs. Those 2 cats had turned out to have a very rare form of histoplasmosis. Histoplasmosis is a fungus gotten from bird poop. It normally attacks the lungs and is very treatable. This rare form attacks the joints and nervous system and is difficult to detect and treat. Our vet tested TC for histoplasmosis and the test came back positive. She immediatly started treating him for that.
    TC continued to worsen even with the proper medicine because it had taken so long to diagnose that the fungus was pretty much everywhere. TC almost died. He lost his vision as well. He was unable to eat or drink on his own or find a litter box. When he tried to walk, he stumbled around walking sideways and falling over. We were close to having him put to sleep. I was feeding him baby food with a syringe 5 or 6 times a day and water and chicken broth as well. After a month of treatment he began to get better. He gained a pound and was finding his litter box(We have hardwood and tile floors, no carpets). I had some success feeding him deli turkey that I warmed up and tore into small pieces. He would eat it sometimes if you put it right under his nose. Each day he seemed a little better. Each day I was able to get him to eat more on his own. Then he had a relapse and almost died. I was back to feeding him with the syringe. Two weeks ago he finally started eating on his own again and drinking out of a water bowl. He has progressed to where he eats a lot now which is good. He has gained back about a third of the weight he lost. He does not wobble or fall over or walk in circles. He growls when I give him his medicine which is a good sign. He now wants to go outside. I let him out yesterday and he seemed to be able to see a little. If his sight comes back it would be amazing. The vet does not know if it will come back or not. There is not much information about this form of the disease because it is so rare. It also probably goes undiagnosed a lot. My vet says there are probably a lot of cats dieing with this disease simply because it looks like something else.

    Histoplasmosis in the lungs is easy to detect and treat because the symptoms are obvious to a vet. The kind TC got is rare and mimics other problems. If you have a cat that gets some or all of these symptoms, and treatments are not working, have your vet test for histoplasmosis. Its a simple urine test and not exspensive. If treated early, it is curable. If it takes as long as it did with TC, its hard. TC is not out of the woods yet. He could relapse again and may have to stay on the medication for life.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Arubalisa's Avatar
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    Arrow

    My best advice for kitty illnesses if you can afford it...

    Let your veterinarian give it their best shot. If your cat is still ill, ask your vet for a referral to a specialist. Our family has also had excellent experiences with the Veterinary schools at Purdue, the University of Georgia and University of Florida and can sometimes be a less expensive way to have your pet treated.

    This past year one of our boys Rocky, was treated by radiotherapy for hyperthyroidism and shortly afterwards diagnosed with Pemphigus Foliaceus. This is a sometimes fatal disease whereby the cat's immune system attacks itself. Luckily our boy was able to be saved but will in all likelihood be on cyclosporine for the rest of his life.

    We had a similar experience with one of our other boys who suffers from Herpes which affects his eyes and has been treated by a kitty ophthalmologist.

    Our veterinarian along with the 3 vets who he has working for him explained that most vets are not trained for these very specific complicated ailments.

    An added suggestion which we have learned, pet insurance is a good investment long term for a younger feline. In our case if we had insurance for Rocky, it would have saved us at least $4,000. Now all of our younger cats are insured

    One of our cats who passed away this year after surviving 7 years with chronic renal failure was another cat who would have saved us a fortune if we had had him insured when we took him in as a stray. Over the years, and 3 life threatening crashes of his kidneys we spent $3,000+. This did not include his maintenance subq fluids- just an ordinary i.v. bag of saline.

    The saline purchased from the vet was $20 per bag. We finally asked the vet for a prescription for it and ordered it from Walgreen's at a cost of $20 for a case of 24 bags. Another lesson learned
    Last edited by Arubalisa; 11-15-2012 at 07:03 PM.

  4. #4
    Senior Member arubabob's Avatar
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    Smile

    Quote Originally Posted by Arubalisa View Post
    My best advice for kitty illnesses if you can afford it...

    Let your veterinarian give it their best shot. If your cat is still ill, ask your vet for a referral to a specialist. Our family has also had excellent experiences with the Veterinary schools at Purdue, the University of Georgia and University of Florida and can sometimes be a less expensive way to have your pet treated.

    This past year one of our boys Rocky, was treated by radiotherapy for hyperthyroidism and shortly afterwards diagnosed with Pemphigus Foliaceus. This is a sometimes fatal disease whereby the cat's immune system attacks itself. Luckily our boy was able to be saved but will in all likelihood be on cyclosporine for the rest of his life.

    We had a similar experience with one of our other boys who suffers from Herpes which affects his eyes and has been treated by a kitty ophthalmologist.

    Our veterinarian along with the 3 vets who he has working for him explained that most vets are not trained for these very specific complicated ailments.

    An added suggestion which we have learned, pet insurance is a good investment long term for a younger feline. In our case if we had insurance for Rocky, it would have saved us at least $4,000. Now all of our younger cats are insured

    One of our cats who passed away this year after surviving 7 years with chronic renal failure was another cat who would have saved us a fortune if we had had him insured when we took him in as a stray. Over the years, and 3 life threatening crashes of his kidneys we spent $3,000+. This did not include his maintenance subq fluids- just an ordinary i.v. bag of saline.

    The saline purchased from the vet was $20 per bag. We finally asked the vet for a prescription for it and ordered it from Walgreen's at a cost of $20 for a case of 24 bags. Another lesson learned
    Sorry you lost one of your boys. We lost one of ours to kidney disease about 7 years ago We lost another about 12 years ago to tongue cancer. We lost a girl to basicaly old age 3 years ago. She was 20 and just fell over one night. It is hard when we lose them. We are considering not getting anymore because of our age. I just turned 69 and most of our cats seem to live a long time. We have had 5 cats counting the girl we have now that lived to be 20 or older. I think cats that are cared for and get regular medical treatment will live a long time baring cancer and kidney disease. I dont think it would be fair to get some kittens and then have something happen to us where we would be unable to care for them. Its hard to find someone that will care for your pets like you do.
    Having pets is a big responsibility. Anyone that doesnt want the exspense of a vet should not get one. Hope all your others are well.

  5. #5
    Senior Member SanNic44's Avatar
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    Sorry to hear about your cat. I recently lost the beloved Mr. Vernon Fletcher.

    I'm most disturbed to hear that someone in your neighborhood is shooting cats with a pellet gun. Find that fiend and punish accordingly.

    Some years ago, at the pier where I used to work, there were a number of stray cats that a nice lady who was police officer took care of, feeding the cats and getting them fixed up when they needed it. A local malefactor made the mistake of abusing one the cats and she caught him. He was charged with animal cruelty.

    All the best,

    44
    Aruba's Novelist in Residence (sometimes)
    http://www.bentpage.wordpress.com/

  6. #6
    Senior Member arubabob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SanNic44 View Post
    Sorry to hear about your cat. I recently lost the beloved Mr. Vernon Fletcher.

    I'm most disturbed to hear that someone in your neighborhood is shooting cats with a pellet gun. Find that fiend and punish accordingly.

    Some years ago, at the pier where I used to work, there were a number of stray cats that a nice lady who was police officer took care of, feeding the cats and getting them fixed up when they needed it. A local malefactor made the mistake of abusing one the cats and she caught him. He was charged with animal cruelty.

    All the best,

    44
    We live just outside the city limits. We are on 2.5 acres and all the homes in our neighborhood are on from 2 to 5 acres. Some have horses. I called the county sheriff after the second pellet was removed. I asked him to check around the neighborhood. He did go around to some of the neighbors and ask but of course no one knew anything. At least it might have let the perp know that the police were involved and they might stop doing it.

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