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Dr Christie
Dr Christie, veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 1492
Experience:  Over 6 years of practice
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I have a 13 year old neutered male cat who weighted over 20

Customer Question

I have a 13 year old neutered male cat who weighted over 20 lbs for most of his adult life. About 18 months ago he started to lose weight, was at 12 lbs. about a year ago,.now hovers between 9 and 10. He had very bad smelling diarrhea and often vomited up his food, clearly there were digestive issues. I have changed his diet many times, he now eats high end grain free non-salmon cat food plus cooked pork or chicken (won't eat raw meat) and unless he gets into other cats food doesn't has decent digestion. I have 3 other cats (a family of rescued kittens) and it is difficult to feed them differently. Vet ran many expensive tests that revealed nothing -- thyroid ok, kidneys ok, blood work all good. He is also skittish/nervous, licks his own fur out when stressed. Unclear if fur loss is related to other problems. Tried him on prednisone for a few weeks, had no effect. He eats great amounts of food, isn't getting sick any more, but isn't gaining any weight back. He has a big frame (think Maine Coon size), you can feel every vertebra in his spine, every bone in his legs, and the organs in his belly just by petting him lightly. I am at a loss, is there any hope for him?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Expert:  Dr Christie replied 1 year ago.

Dr Christie :

This is Dr. Christie. I am a licensed veterinarian and would like to try to assist you!

Dr Christie :

I am sorry to hear Fuzzlebutt has been having a problem!

Dr Christie :

I can definitely understand how frustrating this is!

Dr Christie :

It sounds as if your vet has done a winderful job trying to rule out the most common things that could cause the symptoms Fuzzlebutt has been experiencing!

Dr Christie :

I know your vet did some extensive testing. By chance, did your vet run a TLI test to test the function of Fuzzlebutt's pancreas? If you are unsure, could you check your receipts or call your vet to ask?

Dr Christie :

A disease that is gaining more light and knowledge on it in cats, is called exocrine pancreatic insufficiency (EPI). This can cause weight loss (primary presenting complaint) but we can also see diarrhea and or vomiting all while maintaining a good appetite usually.

Dr Christie :

Treatment involves just supplementing pancreas enzymes (usually powder form) and vitamin B injections over time.

Dr Christie :

I would discuss this with your vet as I feel this may be what is going on with Fuzzlebutt!

Dr Christie :

Please let me know if you have any further questions concerning Fuzzlebutt!

Customer:

I just read up on the disease and think you may be on to something. I don't know if my vet ran the TLI test, but will ask as soon as they open on Monday. One related question (because while you seem to think otherwise, and while it may be nothing, I'm not 100% confident in my vet), I searched Petmeds.com to try and get a handle on the cost of treatment, if he has this disease. Two products came up, Epizyme and PancreVed. The price difference of these products was significant, $145 and $40 (on sale), respectively. Would either one be an acceptable treatment? Thank you.

Customer:

I just read up on the disease and think you may be on to something. I don't know if my vet ran the TLI test, but will ask as soon as they open on Monday. Hope you will answer quick follow-up question (because I lack total confidence in my vet). I searched Petmeds.com to try and get a handle on the cost of treatment, if he has this disease. Two products came up, Epizyme and PancreVed. The price difference of these products was significant, $145 vs. $40 (on sale), respectively. Are they equivalent, and if not, why? Thank you.

Customer:

**Sorry for accidental double post.

Dr Christie :

The Epizyme or Pancrezyme (also on petmeds) would be the product you want, as the PancreVed is more of a vitamin. The good thing is that a 12 oz bottle will last you some time!! This is definitely a disease I would consider. We know alot about this disease in dogs, but are learning more and more in cats as it presents a bit differently than what it does in dogs. In Fuzzlebutt's case, I would definitely consider doing the testing!!

Dr Christie :

Please let me know if you have any further questions!

Dr Christie :

If not, and I have been helpful, please remember to rate my answer! :)

Dr Christie, veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 1492
Experience: Over 6 years of practice
Dr Christie and 4 other Cat Veterinary Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Turns out he did NOT have the TLI test. I am bringing him in for testing later this week. Many thanks! I will let you know if it turns out he has EPI.

Expert:  Dr Christie replied 1 year ago.
You are most welcome! Definitely keep me updated!!
Expert:  Dr Christie replied 1 year ago.
Hi there,
How is Fuzzlebutt? Were you able to have a TLI test done?

Dr. Christie
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

He goes to vet Saturday (first opportunity work schedule and vet hours permit) for blood draw, thanks for asking. I will probably have results early or middle of next week, will keep you posted.


 


--Robin

Expert:  Dr Christie replied 1 year ago.
Hi Robin,
Ok definitely do!!

Dr. Christie
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Just an update...I am still waiting for TLI results, had blood draw last Saturday, today lab told vet results won't be in until 7/8 (I don't like this lab, waited 3 weeks for biopsy results last year [different cat]).


 


Vet talked me into retesting for thyroid issues and also for food allergies (expensive) and both came back negative. Fuzzy was coincidentally sick when I took him to vet, had fever, and sneezed constantly for next couple of days.


 


Two days ago he started seeking heat -- sitting in sun (unusual for him), sitting on me, or crawling under blankets -- and also scratching more than usual. Then yesterday I noticed he's actually got a bald spot developing on top of his head (clearly not stress-licking)...vet was so sure it was food allergies I gave him some prednisone, but it didn't make much dif, then those tests came back negative late this afternoon (caveat: he may have pollen allergies).


 


Given the TLI delay and his fast-deteriorating condition, I asked vet if it would hurt to try him on the Epizyme in the meantime, and he said it would be okay, so I've ordered some and am hoping this works, because otherwise I think I'll have to put the poor guy down before he effectively starves to death...he's under 9 lbs. now. I should have the Epizyme by Tuesday, will keep you posted on effectiveness and TLI tests once received. If this does turn out to be the answer, I will make sure you get a nice bonus.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Dr. Christie -- YOU WERE ABSOLUTELY RIGHT ABOUT EPI!!!!!


 


The tests finally came back, his TLI number was 0.1, ouch. He has been taking food with Epizyme for the past five days, and while he is still very thin, his digestion seems markedly improved (normal!). The first day after using it, he was on the bed next to me the next morning when I woke up, something he hasn't done for months. His hunger is now normal, at least for an animal who's been starved. He's been fighting a respiratory infection, but otherwise showing improvement every day. I am hopeful we caught this in time, and he will live a few more years without discomfort.


 


I would like to send you a bonus and have no idea how. Please advise.


 


Many, many thanks,


Robin

Expert:  Dr Christie replied 1 year ago.
Hi Robin!

I am so glad you finally got a diagnosis for Fuzzlebutt!! EPI is definitely manageable and can make him more comfortable for years to come!! It sounds like he is already feeling much better :)

I think you can email the company at experts@justanswer.com if you wanted to include a bonus, which I greatly appreciate and thank you for. I will double check the email. Let me know if it doesn't work.

I hope you have a wonderful weekend and let me know if you have any problems or concerns with Fuzzlebutt! Also thanks for following up with me on him too!

Dr. Christie

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