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inflamed gums, other issues, tearing our hair out

Discussion in 'Cat Health and Nutrition' started by Agata Sajkowska, Jul 22, 2019.


  1. Agata Sajkowska

    Agata Sajkowska PetForums Newbie

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    Hiya, this is our first time on this site and we are looking for a little bit of help or clarity. We have read a few other posts on here which sound very similar to the issue we have, and we have done our research in general, but we still feel pretty helpless :( this will be a very long post since I am not very concise but if you can ready it and help that would be great.


    Our kitten has been to the vets yesterday, he managed to scratch his eye so we rushed him in. While he was being examined, the vet noticed his gums are very badly inflamed - not just a pink line, they are raw red all over. I have to admit, we were not aware of this, but I would also like to mention that we generally have an issue with our vet practice (so this could have been a persisting issue although he was regularly checked?), which I will explain.


    The verdict was calicivirus. Previously it has been diet, diet, separation anxiety, diet.


    Apart from the gums, we don’t see any clear symptoms of either. He's never had a lack of appetite and he grooms obsessively because of his extremely long coat (and his anxiety). He actually loves eating and being groomed, he's a very happy chunk of 14lbs which is about right for his breed. The only strange thing we have noticed in the past week is what we describe as twitchy-chattery mouth, which I could be a reaction to the painful gums.


    We are not sure where he could catch calicivirus. He is an indoor cat, and we don’t get out much, seems unlikely we could have brought it in. The vet suggested he caught it off mum - but his vaccinations are up to date, the breeders use the same vet surgery and their cats are indoor with no know health conditions, so she ruled that out too.


    He also has a few issues which could be related, but this is where we feel the vet ignored or shrugged us off every prior visit. Dude’s breath has been unbearable since about 5mnth old. His gums were healthy until now, but he has quite dark build up on his fangs and he is not even a year old. We have seen the vet about this at least 3 times, were told to change his diet and added the separation anxiety, as well as brushing (which he absolutely will not let us do). He has always had tummy problems. It doesn't matter what food he is on; he just has issues going to the toilet. Sometimes it's diarrhoea three times a day, sometimes he won't even go for three days. We are very careful when changing his food and has settled for one which seems to upset him less. Until yesterday, we were told each time that his breath isn't that bad, his tummy is fine, we need to change his diet. For the third or fourth time we repeated all the problems, such as on a bad day he will cry for an hour before or after using the litter; sometimes he hates his back being touched, he wriggles and scowls in pain; sometimes he does what we call rippling, where the back end of his body shakes.


    So, the vet decided we will put him on steroids once his eye recovers - this will help with the inflammation and with his sensitive tummy. But we are far from convinced. To be honest, we feel like we have been shrugged off again. No one actually told us what tests we could do, what the issues could be, how do we proceed? Even on steroids, what tests can they do and what treatment is available? Could it be something other than calicivirus?


    That's all I have to say to describe the situation. Does this make any sense to anyone? We tried to talk to the vet about it, but were told to wait and give it a thought… What exactly are we thinking about? Maybe we are just overprotective parents panicking unnecessarily?
     
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  2. Sacremist

    Sacremist Mum to 2 cats and a dog

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    I would ask for a referral to a specialist veterinary centre. At the end of the day, our local vets are usually only general practice vets and it sounds like you need a specialist to look at your boy.

    One of my boys had inflamed gums from being a kitten and no amount of treatment helped, inflamed gums can lead to kidney failure, so it’s best to act sooner rather than later. In the end my boy had to have all his teeth removed and it made a huge difference. He’s never had any problems eating.

    As for the other issues, maybe a specialist will know more.
     
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  3. Soozi

    Soozi PetForums VIP

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    No You can’t be overprotective with cats they are just so good at hiding pain and discomfort. I agree with above posts I think you need to ask for a referral to a specialist in feline medicine. Please let us know how you get on.
     
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  4. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

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    Hi @Agata Sajkowska and welcome :)

    I am sorry to hear of your kitty's health problems.

    Feline Calicivirus (FCV) can be caught from a cat who is a carrier of the virus, who isn't showing symptoms but is shedding the virus. Some cats can remain carriers of FCV for years without any symptoms. So it's possible in theory your kitten could have caught it from his mother or from another cat in the breeder's household who is a carrier with no symptoms.

    Vaccination does not give 100% protection from catching the virus, but often makes the symptoms less severe if the cat does catch it.

    An acute Upper Respiratory Infection is the most common symptom of FCV. Conjunctivitis is also not uncommon in FCV when there is a URI. I imagine the reason the vet diagnosed possible FCV in your kitten is because of the gum inflammation - chronic and severe gingivitis being one symptom of FCV.

    To find out for certain if your kitty has FCV he would need to be tested. Oral swabs can be taken and sent to a veterinary laboratory where the virus will be grown in culture or, more commonly, given a PCR test (a molecular technique for detecting the genetic material of the virus).

    If it was my cat I think I would rather know conclusively if it is FCV or not, so he can have the most appropriate treatment. Also if kitty definitely does have FCV it could have implications if you were to decide to adopt another kitten in the near future.

    Bad breath and chronic intermittent diarrhoea could indicate a bowel infection or inflammation of the gut (e.g. IBD) or an intolerance to some kind of food. Have you had stool samples from 3 separate days tested at the lab to rule out infections and parasites?

    What foods are you feeding him?

    Have you put him an elimination diet to identify which foods he is intolerant of? You may like to look at the pinned thread on these boards which explains the process of conducting an elimination diet:

    (Note: I have conducted elimination diets for 3 of my current cats - 2 brothers with IBD and a 3rd cat who had chronic feline dermatitis when I adopted him - and successfully identified their allergens. All 3 are now well)

    https://www.petforums.co.uk/threads/elimination-diets.509821/

    Personally I would rather first rule out any possibility of a specific food intolerance before considering having him on steroids. Long term steroids have well known health risks for cats e.g they can trigger Diabetes Type 2.
     
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  5. Agata Sajkowska

    Agata Sajkowska PetForums Newbie

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    Thanks everyone :)

    Well, we definitely want him referred or tested, especially since we definitely do not want to spread the virus, but we are just in a bit of disbelief that it could be calicivirus, not something we anticipated. I think the initial panic was because of the discharge from his eye, which turned out to be a scratch, and then the gums.

    But, we have had a proper look in his mouth yesterday, and it looks at the moment like gingivitis (which I read can be a sign of FCV). His mouth looks clean he's just got a build up of gunk close to the gums. Maybe I could try to take a photo later, he is pretty chilled so doesn't mind us doing it.

    The only other question - can anyone advise how much does FCV swab cost? I've pested the vets a little bit yesterday and got a quote for just under £200 :confused: he is insured but we are thinking about other potential costs. I've always had old rescue cats and some of them didn't even have teeth, but I never gone through insurance or such high costs of care. I am assuming that as a genetic test it will only check for FCV as the one condition, or could it detect anything?

    @chillminx thank you for the link, I will have a closer look at it later. Right well, here is a little story of the food we feed him:

    Firstly, dude does not eat any human food. He isn't even interested, which is great at dinnertime. Ideally however, we would have him on raw diet, but he is not very keen on fresh meet. He might pick at the chicken or beef but that's it - won't even touch fish. That said, we never tried specialist frozen etc.

    We started on Gimcat but found it a bit too expensive, so went with the breeder's second recommendation, Carny - both from Zooplus. That's when we noticed his tummy was a bit funny. So, the vet recommended Royal Canin (which we were not very happy about, not fans of RC, and generally we intended to stay away from processed gravy/jelly stuff). That's when it all started - to begin with, he wouldn't even touch it, but the vet insisted, so we persisted. The result of RC was a lot of crying, litter tray trips, and follow-up baths. We stopped that as soon as we could and moved onto Applaws, which went okay until he started turning his nose at it as well. As a last resort we went with Pets at Home's AVA which is seems to be the best solution so far, just from our observations. He scoffs down the wet and the dry, not a problem, has been on it for at least 3mnths now. Not the most nutritious food but it seems to upset him a lot less. We were intending to get a second kitten later this year, from the same breeder, and hoped we could try the raw diet again - but it does not look likely right now.

    Oh also! Our clinic is a "state-of-art" all-singing all-dancing one, providing all specialist services, with a lab and everything on site. Or so they told us. As to a referral, we didn't hear anything back.
     
    #5 Agata Sajkowska, Jul 23, 2019
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2019
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  6. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

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    £200 does sound a lot for an FCV test. However I believe the swabs may need to be taken under general anaesthetic or at least sedation, because as I recall they are taken from the throat and/or the nasal cavity. So the cost may include the GA/ or sedation. I would check with the vet surgery to see if that is the case.

    If he is doing OK on the AVA (no more diarrhoea) I would stick with that for now, as it will be better for his tummy than more changes of diet. Animonda Carny contains quite a lot of offal including heart, which can be loosening to the bowel. None of my cats could get along with it when I tried them with it, it gave them all loose stools.
     
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  7. Agata Sajkowska

    Agata Sajkowska PetForums Newbie

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    @chillminx thanks again! well, the swab does involve sedation, so the breakdown is £80 test + £80 sedation + £20 aftercare, the analysis is being done in the clinic's lab. We are however going to investigate other local practices that we have been recommended.

    Also, a random question since you seem to know a lot about nutrition - what do you think / know about tripe? I work in a pet friendly office and my MD has two dogs with a lot of allergies and health problems - I've just been handed some frozen tripe to try on Chewie.
     
  8. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

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    @Agata Sajkowska -

    Green Tripe is the nutrient-rich lining of the stomach of animals such as a cow, or deer. "Green" does not necessarily refer to its colour — it refers to the fact it has not been cleaned, bleached or scalded for human consumption.

    Green tripe’s actual colour is brown. However, there may be a greenish tinge due to the grass the animal ate prior to being slaughtered.

    Raw green tripe provides beneficial bacteria such as lactobacillus acidophilus. Also digestive enzymes such as amylase which are of benefit to cats.

    If you can get Chewie to eat it, that will be good. I could not get my cats to eat it when I offered it to them.

    Processed tripe is not harmful to cats but the best benefits of it to cats have been lost.
     
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  9. Agata Sajkowska

    Agata Sajkowska PetForums Newbie

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    @chillminx it is raw green minced tripe indeed, but he did not touch it, on it's own or mixed with other food :( we have spoken to another vet, they asked for £170 for the test and £130 for sedation.... we will go ahead with the test in our clinic hoping for the best.

    thanks everyone!

    EDIT:

    @chillminx I have read on another one of your posts about spine/neurological problem short tailed cats might experience. Chewie is a kurilian bobtail. Could his bad tummy and his strange reactions to having his tail end touch related to that?
     
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  10. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

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    @Agata Sajkowska - I'm sorry to hear he didn't like the green tripe - what a shame! None of my cats would eat it either when I tried them with it some years ago. But I think your cat might need to be used to eating other raw meats first before he might venture to eating raw green tripe.

    I didn't realise Chewie is a Bobtail. They are very pretty looking cats. :)

    Icat Care says there's a lack of information on how much the health of the Kurilian Bobtail is affected by being born with a much shortened tail. In some cases of cats born with shortened tails there can be neurological damage to the spine which can cause pain or discomfort and may affect bowel function.

    Whether this is the case with Chewie I could not say. Have you discussed it with your vet?

    Icat Care says no cat with a stumpy tail caused by a genetic mutation should be deliberately bred, because of the risk the kittens may be born with neurological damage to their spines.

    https://icatcare.org/advice/cat-breeds/kurilian-bobtail
     
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