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Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 14878
Experience:  Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.
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I adopted a cat from a shelter 4 yrs. ago. She was sick when

Customer Question

I adopted a cat from a shelter 4 yrs. ago. She was sick when I got her with respiratory infection but we treated this. She has never been able to jump. She can barely make it onto a chair. She has always used the litter box to urinate but has always had an issue with using it for bowel movements. I tried various litters and various foods both wet and dry. I currently give her about 7oz. of wet food daily and leave out dry food all the time. She has progressively gotten worse, defecating on my bed and clothes, her bed, etc. I asked my vet about this when I took her in for her annual shots. He just suggested a change in litter. I am on social security and do not have a lot of cash for extensive tests so I would like to know what tests would be appropriate and what ones would be unnecessary. The shelter told me she was about 1 yr. old when I adopted her. She had a chip but it had not been registered so they were unable to locate her original owner for any medical details .She uses her rear legs normally and moves her tail normally. She has been an indoor cat since I adopted her. She urinates normally and her stools are usually on the soft side, sometimes runny, usually not hard but soft. Any suggestions?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I would also like to mention that she has always been very thin. She looks to be normal weight on the front half of her but is very thin on the back half of her. Her spine is usually evident when you pet her. I have had her to 2 different vets and mentioned the fact that she cannot jump. Both felt her rear body and legs and did not offer any opinions other than that she could be losing muscle due to age. Neither vet suggested any tests.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I forgot to mention that over the past 6 months I noticed a drop of blood on three different occasions on the floor where she had defecated.
Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 1 year ago.

Hello, my name is***** and I have over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian. I am sorry to hear about your girl's poor rear body musculature, difficulty jumping, chronic loose stools and progressively worsening habit of not using the litter box to pass stools.

I don't necessarily know that her respiratory infection is a part of what you are seeing now unless that progressed into a chronic inflammatory disease process called FIP, Feline Infectious Peritonitis. Most of these cats get very sick as youngsters with the wet form which causes fluid to accumulate in the abdomen and chest, organ damage, weight loss and death. But a few develop the dry form which causes chronic loose stools, loss of muscle, neuropathy symptoms, weight loss even with a decent appetite, and poor health in general.

I don't know that blood in the stool indicates much beyond inflammation of the lower intestinal tract, known as colitis. That seems to go along with her chronic loose stools and tendency to not use her liter box.

Cats that have primary intestinal disease often have painful cramping and discomfort passing stools. They start to associate pain with passing stools in the box and thus choose to go elsewhere hoping it won't be uncomfortable. She may also have some sudden urgency to go and thus have trouble getting to her box in time. Over time she has probably tried to hold it, knowing it will hurt to go, and then with increasing urgency from the intestinal disease and a backup of stool started to go somewhere that seemed reasonable to her close by.

It's also possible with her muscle loss that she has some difficulty getting into and staying in position to pass stools when standing on litter, so your bed or clothing, which doesn't slide is easier to hold position on.

I don't necessarily know that her respiratory infection is a part of what you are seeing now unless that progressed into a chronic inflammatory disease process called FIP, Feline Infectious Peritonitis. Most of these cats get very sick as youngsters with the wet form which causes fluid to accumulate in the abdomen and chest, organ damage, weight loss and death. But a few develop the dry form which causes chronic loose stools, loss of muscle, neuropathy symptoms, weight loss even with a decent appetite, and poor health in general. I am suspicious that may be the trouble with her given her long history.

FIP can be very difficult to diagnose. We can infer that it is likely from history, high levels of blood proteins, and a biopsy of a granuloma in the abdomen or intestinal tract can be diagnostic, but of course that isn't inexpensive to gather.

Other possibilities include immunosuppressive viruses like FIV (feline immunodeficiency virus) or Feline leukemia, inflammatory bowel disease or infiltrative cancers like lymphoma.

Vague symptoms like those that your girl has can be tough to work up and achieve a diagnosis inexpensively.

Perhaps start with a feline leukemia/feline immunodeficiency blood test. If that is normal then a biochemistry profile to check organ function and look at blood protein levels could help.

Radiographs of her spine and abdomen could be helpful.

An abdominal ultrasound may also be helpful, but those can be expensive.

An abdominal exploratory and biopsies could be very helpful, but of course would be very expensive.

Feeding a prescription food that is easy to digest yet higher in fiber like Royal Canin GI Fiber Response may be beneficial.

Please let me know if you have any further questions.

Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 1 year ago.
Hi,
I'm just following up on our conversation about your pet. How is everything going?
Dr. Kara
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I read your response. I would like to try a different type of food to see if that helps. Is there a food sorce that would help control her loose stools? From what I read IThe brand that you mentioned seems to be more for cats with constipation and I certainly do not want to try something that would make her movements even more loose.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Also, are you able to provide the necessary prescription?
Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 1 year ago.

The food I recommended is for cats with loose stools due to colitis, and the presence of fresh blood indicates colonic inflammation/colitis. Certainly high fiber foods can also be used for cats with chronic constipation too, so that may have been what you read about. Sometimes in cats with chronic diarrhea we may need to try a few foods before we find the one that works.

It is worth adding a probiotic to whatever food you choose, Fortiflora and Proviable are both good options.

It is cause for loss of license for a veterinarian to write a prescription for an animal that they have never physically examined, so I cannot write a prescription for your girl. Her regular veterinarian may agree to do so if she has been examined within the past 6 months.