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DrJessicaO, Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 1062
Experience:  7 years of private practice with dogs, cats, exotics, pocket pets, etc
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My cat is hungry all the time and losing weight. He has gone

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My cat is hungry all the time and losing weight. He has gone from 13 lbs down to 10 lbs in a year. He is a 14-year old Siamese and had had the Feline Herpes Virus since he was a kitten. He does sneeze and cough on occasion. Tests have been done for diabetes and hyperthyroid and were negative. He had an x-ray and the only thing the vet said was odd was that his intestines looked "billowy." She is sending the x-rays to a radiologist for further review. She said the next step will be an ultrasound. I'm very worried because it is like he is wasting away. I feed him high-quality wet food constantly and he is still losing the weight.

Any ideas?
Hi there,
I will do my best to answer your question. First although his thyroid has already been tested I would suggest having the test repeated in 4-6 weeks from the original testing. What you are describing is very characteristic of hyperthyroidism and we can see false negative test results in some cases. I would suggest having your veterinarian send the test to MSU, as they provide an entire panel of factors affecting the thyroid (not just the T4 that most other labs run). I also agree that an ultrasound would be best to better examine the abdomen including the intestinal tract. Cancer such as gastro-intestinal lymphoma as well as adenocarcinoma are common in older cats and sometimes the only clinical sign we appreciate is chronic weight loss. These diseases cannot typically be seen on radiographs alone and ultrasound (as well as sometimes ultrasound guided aspirate of an area of concern) are vital to make the diagnosis. Lastly, Texas A&M runs a special blood test called a maldigestion/malabsorption panel. This can diagnose diseases that cause the gut to not absorb nutrients appropriately, hence leading to weight loss (but continued hunger). I hope this information helps,
-Dr. Jessica
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Thank you very much. Very helpful. Also, there was one other thing - the vet asked if he has been throwing up or had diarrhea - he had only a couple days where he had both, but other than that one episode, he has not.

I will mention the entire thyroid panel test and maldigestion/malabsorption test to my vet.
With hyperthyroidism, malabsorption/maldigestion, or some forms of neoplasia, vomiting/diarrhea do not necessarily have to be present. Another consideration I forgot to mention is inflammatory bowel disease (this is also diagnosed typically via ultrasound and sometimes biopsy). This disease, however, typically does result in other signs such as vomiting/diarrhea.
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Customer: replied 5 years ago.
OK. Thank you very much!
Thank you- I hope this helps your little one :)