Welcome to PetForums

Join thousands of other pet owners and pet lovers on the UK's most popular and friendly pet community and discussion forum.

Sign Up

Vet is out of ideas

Discussion in 'Cat Health and Nutrition' started by BirmanMommy, Apr 3, 2011.


  1. BirmanMommy

    BirmanMommy PetForums Newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2011
    Messages:
    11
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hello,

    I have 2 10 month old Birman kittens, I got them both together from the same breeder, both were vaccinated and in good health. Charlie developed a respiratory infection (sneezing, watery eyes, mucus from his nose) at the end of September which slowly got worse until he was going off his food so the vet gave antibiotics, 3 days after the injection wore off he started getting poorly again. So the vet gave a longer course of antibiotics, then he had a stronger antiobiotic and so on. We even tried a course of anti-histamines to make sure it wasn't an allergy to something.

    Every single time the antibiotics work and Charlie returns to being his normal happy self but within days starts getting poorly again. Each time he gets poorly the symptoms get worse and he is now getting diarrhea too, once with blood in it. The vet is confused as she says diarrhea isn't usually a symptom seen alongside respiratory diseases.

    The vet has done several blood tests, nasal swabs, she has taken urine and faecal samples but cannot find anything majorly wrong with him. She has ruled out all the 'normal' causes such as feline herpes and calicivirus etc, they tested his red and white blood cells and his liver. The thing that has baffled her the most is that my other kitten has not had any problems at all. The vet seems to have now given up and just said he'll have to go onto antibiotics long-term which I'm not keen on as it's only a few days between each course now as the symptoms return very quickly.

    So I am wondering if anyone in here has any ideas? Have any of your cats suffered similar symptoms? What helped? I suggested natural remedies to the vet but she was very dismissive and I have no idea about it at all. I did search online but there doesn't seem to be any natural/holistic vets in my area. I don't know what else to do.
     
    #1 BirmanMommy, Apr 3, 2011
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2011
  2. Gem16

    Gem16 PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2010
    Messages:
    1,313
    Likes Received:
    25
    A different vets opinion might be your best bet before anything else hun!
     
  3. Ianthi

    Ianthi PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2008
    Messages:
    4,208
    Likes Received:
    110
    Hi there,

    Yes, can see why this is a frustrating case but I agree with you about the longterm use of antibiotics without knowing the cause-after all there must be one! Just out of interest how long had you had Charlie before these respiratory symptoms started? I think the two ( diarrhea ) are unrelated though and there's a chance the antibiotics are the cause of this.

    Considering he's vaccinated and his sister isn't showing any signs ( though of course she may just have a stronger immune system! ) I'm wondering more about allergy here. Allergy testing isn't always conclusive. Have your vet ruled out allergic rhinitis or sinusitis? Has he been mainly indoors since September? In which case it could point more towards allergy. Something else to consider are foreign bodies or polyps, or indeed in some cases dental problems ( though unlikely given his age ) which can produce the same symptoms.

    Presumably they've tested for chlamydia since unlike herpes or calici it's bacterial in origin and might explain the response to antibiotics. Also L-lysine is usually very effective in herpes cases and I wonder is you'd see a better response if you gave him some.

    Alternatively, you could have further swabs taken and see if there's a more conclusive result this time.
     
  4. havoc

    havoc PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2008
    Messages:
    13,004
    Likes Received:
    10,049
    That seems a logical thing to try. If it is chlamydia the common veterinary antibiotics aren't known for being very effective. Zithromax was used off label as the treatment at one time but I believe Doxycycline (Ronaxan) is now considered more effective and is licensed for cats.
     
  5. BirmanMommy

    BirmanMommy PetForums Newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2011
    Messages:
    11
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hi, thanks for the helpful reply. I forgot to say in my post that they are mainly house cats. They go out for a run in the garden if my son goes out to play but it's never for too long and they come straight back in when he does.
    In response to your questions:
    * The problems began after about 2 months of bringing the kittens home.
    * The vet doesn't think the diarrhea is down to the antibiotics because he gets it when he comes off them and then as soon as he starts the next course it stops. I cannot tell you the amount of litter I have got through these past few months though!!!
    * His teeth were checked when he was admitted for all his blood tests. He's had to go in twice for them and I don't really want to put him through it again unless absolutely needed as the second time he came out with bruising because he wouldn't keep still for them and was very withdrawn for days afterwards. And that's not even mentioning the cost!
    *I don't actually know exactly what all the tests were, I will have to phone tomorrow to ask if they have tested for Chlamydia.
    * As for the allergy testing, it didn't go very far. She actually called another vet into the room when I suggested an allergy as she didn't think it was a possible cause. The other vet agreed but said to try Charlie on a course of anti-histamines and see if it helped him. They said if it did then they would start looking into what the allergy was, but the anti-histamines didn't help him at all so they carried on with the antibiotics.
     
  6. BirmanMommy

    BirmanMommy PetForums Newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2011
    Messages:
    11
    Likes Received:
    0
    Oh and if it means anything to you (it doesn't me), Trimacare seems to have been the best antibiotic he's had so far, and had longer lasting results (after a 3 week course).
     
    #6 BirmanMommy, Apr 4, 2011
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2011
  7. ambercat

    ambercat PetForums Senior

    Joined:
    May 4, 2009
    Messages:
    451
    Likes Received:
    14
    Trouble is, the antibiotics knock out all the good bacteria too - so you might want to think about using a probiotic towards the end of the latest course of antibiotics to help counteract the diarrhea. Lacto B is a good probiotic, its a tasteless powder you just sprinkle on the food. Lacto B Powder 75g Pot - £13.01
     
  8. BirmanMommy

    BirmanMommy PetForums Newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2011
    Messages:
    11
    Likes Received:
    0
    Ooooo tasteless sounds good, I may give this a try. The vet gave Kaogel which Charlie hated and got really upset about. He spent 15 minutes after each dose frothing at the mouth. The vet then gave a 'meat tasting' one (I forget the name) but he didn't like that either......fussy cats!!
     
  9. Ianthi

    Ianthi PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2008
    Messages:
    4,208
    Likes Received:
    110
    At this point it's time to look elsewhere!

    In the meantime I would also ask the current vets about the following.

    Assuming the chlamydia tested negative the next thing to rule out is a foreign body/polyp ( grass seed? ) in the nasal cavity which can cause the exact same symptoms! Also both would cause secondary bacterial infections and judging by the response so far to the antibiotics sounds as if it either could well be the case! However, the infection will keep returning until the object is removed.

    Of course he's need to be admitted for a rhinoscopy/X-Ray ( sorry! ) but at this stage I don't think you have a choice-you need to pin this down now-it's taken far too long already! Either way I would definitely look to a second opinion.

    Hope you get it sorted soon for all your sakes!
     
  10. tashi

    tashi PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2007
    Messages:
    16,655
    Likes Received:
    503
    Dont know much about cats but do you use Febreeze anywhere ?
     
  11. MoggyBaby

    MoggyBaby PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2011
    Messages:
    23,958
    Likes Received:
    5,531
    Has the vet given or suggested anything to help boost the little ones immune system? You don't mention and it seems a bit of a logical step because the longer his system is trying to fight off whatever is causing this, the weaker his system is becoming so you could find yourself in a catch-22 situation.

    Merson had a really nasty dose of cat flu as a kitten and this was immediately followed by a VERY stubborn eye ulcer (stubborn as in 3 vet ops couldn't sort the problem & they were considering removing the eye!), it was a combi of arnica & echinacea that sorted him out. The depleted immune system after the cat flu meant that he had no resources left to heal the eye.

    I am not saying this WILL help, it is merely just a thought & a suggestion to consider along with eveyone elses.

    Good luck & please keep us informed of progress. :)
     
  12. GreyHare

    GreyHare Guest

    Agree with this you either need to change vet or get refered to a specialist, but also what Tashi has said do you have use febreeze or plug in airfreshners or any airfreshners.

    Have you tried Diarsanyl as a probiotic/tummy settler as I found it better than Prokolin and the cats actually like the flavour, I buy it from here, hope you find what is causing the problem soon.
     
    #12 GreyHare, Apr 4, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 4, 2011
  13. BirmanMommy

    BirmanMommy PetForums Newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2011
    Messages:
    11
    Likes Received:
    0
    Oh thank you for the replies. I don't use febreeze or any air fresheners. I occasionally have a scented candle but that's probably once every couple of months so I can't see that being the problem. A friend suggested that dust could be causing problems so I make sure I dust more regularly (without a spray) and I vacuum regularly. I even switched the cat litter to Cat's Best Nature Gold as it was the one I found with least dust. But none of that seems to have helped.

    I phoned the vet and asked about Chlamydia, Polyps, Foreign body in the nose etc and this is what she said (I'll try and remember it all):

    *Chlamydia has already been ruled out.

    *Polyps are unlikely because this started when he was just 4 months old. She said she has never heard of polyps in kittens, only adult cats and most common between the ages of 1 and 3. She said even when a cat gets them they will only cause problems once they have grown to a certain size and if he had them they would have most likely been causing him problems breathing by now and may have even caused problems with his ears which can lead to head shaking and things. She said she is perfectly happy to do exploratory tests /x-rays if I want but it wouldn't be something she would have suggested as she doesn't see it likely that they will show anything.

    *She said if allergic rhinitis was the cause the anti-histamines would have helped but they didn't.

    * As for helping his blocked nose she said to use a humidifier, or take him into the bathroom with me when I have a shower. To help his immune system she said nothing is definitely going to work so it can be an expensive trial and error task, but she did give a list of things I could try if I wanted to: L-lysine, Vitamins A, D and E, Echinacea, Zinc, Iron, Bee Propolis, Milk Thistle. I wouldn't even know where to start with all this!!!!

    * She also told me to stop feeding them raw meat as the bacteria from this won't be helping matters. They only have a raw chicken wing once a week. She said to try a food that isn't so rich as well to help with his diarrhea. I feed him Bozita twice a day with a bit of Orijen biscuits left out to snack on.

    * She said her professional opinion is that this is an infection which started when he was very young but didn't show itself until later on when it had grown stronger. She said it is most likely that the lining of his nose and throat have not developed as thickly as normal because of the bacterial infection and that this will be a lifelong problem which shows it's head from time to time. She said it won't affect him having a long healthy happy life and not to worry unless it affects his breathing to the point where he needs to open his mouth to breathe. The only thing I should worry about is the diarrhea but that is most likely to be his food or a consequence of the anti-biotics and it always clears up quickly anyway.


    So after all this I'm even more confused than before I phoned :-( Do you agree with her or should I get a second opinion?
     
  14. Ianthi

    Ianthi PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2008
    Messages:
    4,208
    Likes Received:
    110
    Well done for remembering all that! Did she mention foreign body? I still think this could be a strong contender. Is one nostril more affected than the other for instance?

    Is he still producing mucus? This clears up with antibiotics ? His breathing might not be affected not but all this mucus must make him quite uncomfortable! The only thing I'm unclear about is considering it's a case of infection why does it keep recurring? The aim should be to stop it completely IMO and not just treat the symptoms.

    L-lysine is definitely worth a go! You can buy it quite cheaply in Holland and Barrett. I would just start with one supplement and judging by the response then move on to the next one!
     
  15. BirmanMommy

    BirmanMommy PetForums Newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2011
    Messages:
    11
    Likes Received:
    0

    I did write notes about the polyps and vitamins etc to try, I never would have remembered all that!

    She just said she was happy to explore the foreign body theory if that is what I wanted her to do. I actually didn't let the cats outside until they were 6 months old and this started when he was 4 months, I know things can be carried in on clothing/shoes etc but she said if it is foreign body (and in her opinion it isn't) it is more likely to be something from in the house.

    Both nostrils are the same, if he gives a couple of good sneezes (I have to keep wiping my walls after he's done it from the thick, yellowy mucus) then he can then breathe happily again for a while. And yes the mucus clears up with antibiotics every time. The only thing that worries me about his nose is that it does get to the point where he goes off his food and stops eating, I guess he can't smell it.

    I'm going into town tomorrow so I will look in Holland & Barrett for the L-lysine, what dosage should I give?
     
  16. tyrole

    tyrole PetForums Senior

    Joined:
    May 5, 2009
    Messages:
    517
    Likes Received:
    5
    Aw bless him :( he's lucky to have such a caring owner.
    I hope you find the cause and get the right treatment.

    I'm in the proces of trying to work out wahts the matter with my 1 year old. he has breathing difficulties but is responding to steroids.
    It looks like asthma. I'm having to damp dust, remove air fresheners etc
     
  17. Ianthi

    Ianthi PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2008
    Messages:
    4,208
    Likes Received:
    110
    As you mention being indoors doesn't preclude him from inhaling ( or otherwise! ) something! Personally, I would like to rule this out completely before I proceed any further. The vets could carry out a nasal flush.

    You're right about the loss of smell-it's quite common for cats with respiratory 'infections' to go off their food for this reason and the last thing you need when fighting illness! One of mine lost her sense of smell once but compensated by observing what the other cats were eating!!! :)

    L-lysine-you can give 500mg to an adult cat! Also I've recently heard where a vet recommended evening primrose ( I just use mine! ) for a cat with a herpes virus specifically for this condition!

    Hope you get it sorted really soon!
     
  18. MoggyBaby

    MoggyBaby PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2011
    Messages:
    23,958
    Likes Received:
    5,531
    I only have one little bit to add to the above - should you do find that you have to try various immune system 'boosters' to find a suitable one, just be careful with Vit A as it is possible to overdo this one. I did get some of this for Merson many moons ago but decided against it in the end & stuck with the Echinacea. This can also be obtained from H&B. They also do a tincture mix of Echinacea & Goldenseal which is very good for days when the nose is extra gungy. I do believe however, that it tastes like sh*t because Merson always makes horrible noises after I give it to him and glares at me as though I am the most evil slave on the planet!! :blink:
     
  19. Ianthi

    Ianthi PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2008
    Messages:
    4,208
    Likes Received:
    110
    Something just struck me about all this! And I may be answering my own question in previous post about recurrence of infection!

    How long were the antibiotics prescribed? The reason I ask is that owing to the blood supply to some organs/areas and this includes the nasal caviy ( obviously the ABs are 'transported' in the blood ) a longer ( or stronger? ) than usual course is necessary to eliminate it completely. Another example of this is a kidney infection which requires a 4-6 week course of antibiotics!

    Obviously you may already have tried them for a longer period of time but if not it worth considering before embarking on more invasive procedures
     
  20. BirmanMommy

    BirmanMommy PetForums Newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2011
    Messages:
    11
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hi, sorry I haven't been back to respond for a while. I'll firstly respond to your questions. No I don't use febreeze or any air fresheners. Yes we tried a 4 week course and a 6 week course of antibiotics. He has been having L-lysine now for 4 weeks but it doesn't seem to have helped yet, hoow long should it take to notice an improvement and when should I give up and try a different one?

    Back to what has happened since: I ended up printing off this thread and booking an appointment with another vet at the same surgery (one that the original vet hadn't brought in in a previous visit). He agreed to a nasal flush and did an x-ray at the same time but nothing was found and the symptoms soon came back. The new vet suggested a course of steroids but said he was worried about doing this as the cause of the symptoms hadn't yet been figured out and steroids can make some things worse (he did say what but I forget). He double checked for dental problems in case the first vet had missed something and sent off swabs from his nose and eyes again but has now agreed with the first vet and said he just thinks it's a virus that keeps returning. He said stress usually brings the flare-ups on but I can't really see how my cat can be stressed as there have been no changes in his diet or routine and he seems to be a happy, relaxed, laid back cat.

    Luckily Charlie hasn't had any more diarrhea since I last posted. I have my fingers crossed it doesn't come back. He is currently 1 week into yet another course of antibiotics and it looks like he's going to have a lifetime of it unless I can find a natural supplement which does help him. Oh and I am also considering moving both cats onto a RAW diet even though the vet doesn't like the idea.
     
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice