Thoughts on Cat Injury(?)

pannaking22

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One of our cats has been having major problems lately and since the vets down here are <edit> I figured I'd get more opinions from the AB crowd.

Woke up a few nights ago to one of the most pitiful meowing/yowling sounds. I'd assumed it was a hairball coming up since our cat makes those kinds of noises as he runs to the bathroom to hack it up. However, this time nothing came up and it looked like our other cat (who had been adopted a few days earlier, but they were getting along very well) was freaked out by his noises and hissed at him. Maybe a disturbed hairball?

Fast forward to the next morning and the cat is listless with occasional muscle spasms in the chest and abdomen, very slow, unsure movements, and continuous pitiful meows as he tries to move. Add to that rapid breathing and a weird hitch each time he breathes.

Unfortunately we had to leave that morning because of a family event so we made sure he had plenty of food and water and was separate from the other cat just in case. When we got back the next afternoon he was more listless and couldn't seem to lift his head, along with all the previous symptoms. He ate and drank a little though.

First vet visit basically ended with the vet saying it's likely just a pulled muscle and she gave us some pain meds. The meds would work for a short period of time, even his meows sounded normal, but then they'd wear off and he'd be back to how he was before.

Two days later it was back to the vet since the symptoms had gotten worse and now he could barely move because his legs were shaking so badly. Different vet looked at him and said no way a pulled muscle does this. Symptoms were more in line with contact with an organophosphate, so she gave him a shot to increase appetite and stimulate the immune system and sent us home with a small bottle of steroids.

I did some poking around our apartment and the complex as a whole, and no organophosphates have been used. That plus the fact that our other cat is unaffected and none of my bugs have died makes this seem unlikely.

The shot didn't seem to work all that well since his appetite didn't increase at all and he'd gone 4 days without eating (that we knew of). Finally last night he did eat some and he spent a little time bathing as well, so it seemed like the steroids were working. He looked a little more alert as well and could move his head a bit better.

Now this morning he was having the same movement issues as before. It could be the steroid wearing off, but there doesn't actually seem to be any sort of improvement. Likely going to have to take him back in again. Maybe this time they'll actually decide to do an x-ray...

Any thoughts from the AB field? Sorry for the long post, this has been unbelievably stressful since I'm half expecting to come home from work or wake up in the morning to a dead cat. He's only about 4 and we've had him for 3 and a half years. He's one of the sweetest cats, so my wife and I really want to figure out what's wrong.
 
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The Snark

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who had been adopted a few days earlier,
One possibility, potential disease vector.
But, it really sounds like neither vet is a serious cat expert. Nowhere near on par with the vet that saw our cat for it's snake bite. One major concern is nephritis. Must keep liquids in him. If he is not drinking water regularly the kidneys -will- shut down. I'd venture a wild guess he would benefit from a course of IV liquids.
 

pannaking22

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One possibility, potential disease vector.
But, it really sounds like neither vet is a serious cat expert. Nowhere near on par with the vet that saw our cat for it's snake bite. One major concern is nephritis. Must keep liquids in him. If he is not drinking water regularly the kidneys -will- shut down. I'd venture a wild guess he would benefit from a course of IV liquids.
Thanks Snark, I was hoping you'd comment on this.

That's something I'd wondered, but I wasn't sure what she could vector since she was a very clean cat externally along with initial bloodwork coming back fine (no FIV, feline leukemia, etc.). Of course she could just be a carrier of something and isn't exhibiting any symptoms and whatever blood test they ran didn't catch it. He did get a heartworm pill recently, so I think we can eliminate that one.

Hydration has been my biggest concern. Fortunately temps here have been pretty cool so that's one less concern, but it'll be heating up as the week goes on. I've been giving him soft foods with lots of "gravy", so that has been another method to keep him hydrated. He still seems to be urinating fairly regularly, which I take as a decent sign, but I'd feel better if he was going it more. I agree, IV liquids would probably be very beneficial, it's just convincing the dumbass vets that it could help. They seem to be of the lets try all the little stuff first for the monies/let's wait and see, like you mentioned in your cat post. Same process with my knee and the doctor's here.

If the vets are so gung-ho about wanting to eliminate various problems you'd think they'd jump for big things that could cost extra (x-ray, more blood work, etc.). He already went through the blood work once and they said nothing seemed out of the ordinary, but it's hard to say what they were testing for.
 

The Snark

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Medical professional often rigidly stay within their comfort zones. When something outside it it comes along they hedge, dodge and blind side usually quite expertly so average person doesn't even notice. This seems to be what they are doing with your cat. When Snit got bit the vet was a cat lover fanatic. 25 minute consultation, x-ray and she followed me out into the waiting room to further discus prognosis. Also called an ortho doc for a possible follow up.
I'm not about to venture a guess what's wrong with the cat. Keep it comfy and stress free for certain, let mom nature work her magic and keep an eye out for odd symptoms. Charting a trend is always a good idea.
 

Anoplogaster

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If the vets are so gung-ho about wanting to eliminate various problems you'd think they'd jump for big things that could cost extra (x-ray, more blood work, etc.).
Well, they’ll charge you for the little things first. And when they inevitably don’t work, they will STILL have the big things to charge you for. Many general vets are doing it solely for the money. You need to find a feline specialist if you want any chance of a proper diagnosis.

Don’t take my word for it, but the symptoms sound like either a stroke or some sort of nerve disorder. Is she overweight? Cats can have strokes and heart attacks just like humans. Either way, I definitely agree with the advice above regarding IV fluids. Even though she’s urinating regularly, that only indicates that the kidneys are still functioning. But you don’t have much way of knowing how concentrated the urine is and whether or not she’s dehydrated.
 

The Snark

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Cats can have strokes and heart attacks just like humans.
But you don’t have much way of knowing how concentrated the urine is and whether or not she’s dehydrated.
A stroke will ordinarily be easy to identify. Do a peripheral side to side neural response check. Lateral equal.
Repeat urinalysis certainly wouldn't hurt.
 

pannaking22

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@Anoplogaster @The Snark

He's at a healthy weight, so I don't think that's an issue. One of my first thoughts was neurological though based on how he was shaking.

It looks like there's a cat specialist a couple hours away from here, so I'm going to just skip the bull here and set up an appointment there.
 

The Snark

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I'm going to go off in a rant tangent here. Hippocratic oath fail. The patient comes first. Correct that to 'Me and mine comes first!'

Example: Over 20 years ago I was initially diagnosed with a neurological problem/condition. I was referred to a certain specialist hospital, the only one in California, for further testing and diagnosis. The hospital did not accept insurance and wanted over $50,000 cash up front to start testing with no assurance or guarantee they would find anything of use/value. In other words, neurological conditions are a very difficult field to diagnose or treat. Only a very small group of medical practitioners are considered highly capable and reasonably qualified.

Over the past 20 years I have had discussions with well over 100 physicians. With around 40 of them we discussed my own condition. So far, not one physician was willing to come out and state clearly they were not qualified. Hedging and dodging or ignoring was industry standard.

The point is, when you go to a physician, or you take an animal to a veterinarian, they may be clueless of certain animals or certain conditions, diseases, ailments, and procedures to diagnose and treat, but are extremely unlikely to come right out and say "I don't know. I'm not qualified."

Such seems to be the case, the same old song, with @pannaking22 and his cat.
What the world desperately needs is a duck, dodge and prevaricate detector for every time an animal, human or other, has to seek professional help.
 

pannaking22

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Update: the missus took him to a different local vet today and they said that the food he ate Monday isn't digesting and just sitting in his stomach. This would explain in part why he hasn't defecated or anything. She left him at the vet for the afternoon for a barium test and it sounds like they hooked him up with an IV, so fingers crossed we're getting somewhere.
 

pannaking22

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Update: X-rays from the barium test came back...he has a massive blockage in his stomach that basically isn't letting anything through. Missus saw the x-rays, she says it's like half of his stomach. The mass is so large it's even displacing one of kidneys. Basically looking to be a surgery or put down situation, so we're trying to figure out what all it'll take to get him better. ****, this sucks....
 

Galapoheros

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I'm impressed that you even got the cat in the car. The one over here would send me to the hospital if it was locked in the car. That sounds very unusual, hope you find out what the problem it, I'm curious about it. The cat over here adopted me, not sure where she came from but she has a clipped ear and a spade tat, I think it was the neighbors, was caught, spade and released. They had 10 cats running feral, knew nothing about them, didn't pet them, pick them up, nothing but food. I fed them once, none would let me touch them, but one. I put my hand on it's head and it grabbed it and pulled my hand down to pet it, I think that's the one over here because she still does that. Good luck with it.
 

The Snark

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massive blockage
Cancerous growth or foreign material? Former it would depend on if malignant. If benign or foreign material the operation is quite simple and straight forwards. When I worked as a vet assistant we were yarding weird crap out of farm animals on about a weekly basis. Clothes, plastic bags, nails, nuts and bolts, you name it.
 

pannaking22

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I'm impressed that you even got the cat in the car. The one over here would send me to the hospital if it was locked in the car. That sounds very unusual, hope you find out what the problem it, I'm curious about it. The cat over here adopted me, not sure where she came from but she has a clipped ear and a spade tat, I think it was the neighbors, was caught, spade and released. They had 10 cats running feral, knew nothing about them, didn't pet them, pick them up, nothing but food. I fed them once, none would let me touch them, but one. I put my hand on it's head and it grabbed it and pulled my hand down to pet it, I think that's the one over here because she still does that. Good luck with it.
He hates car rides (gets tons of anxiety), but he's been sick enough that he doesn't really even care about that. Our new adopted cat seems to really enjoy car rides as long as she can look out the window.

Cancerous growth or foreign material? Former it would depend on if malignant. If benign or foreign material the operation is quite simple and straight forwards. When I worked as a vet assistant we were yarding weird crap out of farm animals on about a weekly basis. Clothes, plastic bags, nails, nuts and bolts, you name it.
Hopefully today's test will show that. He's not into eating things other than his food, so my guess is he either ate something weird or it's a giant hairball. Hoping it's not a cancerous growth, but if it's benign at least that'd be an easy removal.
 

The Snark

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Well, fingers crossed. Surgically evacuating FOs are typically no more complex or stressful than a hysterectomy.
 

pannaking22

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Update: We decided to send him through surgery and they did it today. He just got out not that long ago. Vet said he went through it well. Turns out the culprit was a giant hairball, so it's all been removed. Kidneys look good, but there's swelling in the gall bladder and spleen, so they're keeping him for another 24-48 hours to monitor.
 

The Snark

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Yeay team cat. Now you have an additional little job of giving him thorough regular brushings. He's one of those cats that doesn't regurgitate effectively. Be sure the vet gives you the medicine to aid this. Nice little irony: wanting the cat to barf hairballs.
Don't stress out over neighboring organs getting inflamed. That is a typical immune system response. Calor, dolor, rubor, tumor, and functio laesa. Sympathetic transmission. Something all vets and doctors learn in first year med school then promptly forget to tell patients about..
 
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pannaking22

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Yeay team cat. Now you have an additional little job of giving him thorough regular brushings. He's one of those cats that doesn't regurgitate effectively. Be sure the vet gives you the medicine to aid this. Nice little irony: wanting the cat to barf hairballs.
Don't stress out over neighboring organs getting inflamed. That is a typical immune system response. Calor, dolor, rubor, tumor, and functio laesa. Sympathetic transmission. Something all vets and doctors learn in first year med school then promptly forget to tell patients about..
Certainly not anymore. He used to be pretty good about hacking them up before, but apparently not now. More brushing and we'll probably look into foods that help with that sort of thing as well.

I vaguely remember learning about the neighboring organs getting inflamed during a couple college courses, so it's good to hear that I'm not completely losing it and this is something that'll sort itself out.
 

The Snark

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Here's hoping he has a rapid uneventful recovery. BTW, something you _might_ expect: He may have a change of personality after the surgery. This is an aftereffect of the general anesthetic. Call it like it is. General anesthetics are powerful poisons. Undergoing surgery equates to being subjected to a near death coma for the length of time the animal is under the crap. It can really play hell with the brain cells.
 
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