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Dr. Bruce
Dr. Bruce, Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 18538
Experience:  15 years of experience as a small animal veterinarian
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My cat is 13...best guess. Last year he got fleas and was

Customer Question

My cat is 13...best guess. Last year he got fleas and was looking poorly before I figured it out. He had lost weight and was suffering from hair loss. I took care of the problem with Advantage and a few flea baths. He was also throwing up a lot so I changed his diet to food for sensitive adults. His hair has grown back, he is not allowed outside at all. He seldom throws up. He seems to eat well and drinks a lot of water. He is still about 5 pounds underweight at 9 pounds and seems to still be losing. I feel bones. He sneezes in fits, like 15 times in a row. He seems to sleep even more than he used to. He still cleans himself. I have taken him to the vet to check him out several times for worms or anything that might be causing his weight loss. Maybe he is just a lot older than I thought as I adopted him when he was 3. Suggestions how to get weight back on him and not belly fat?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Bruce replied 1 year ago.

Hi. Welcome to Just Answer. My name is***** and I've been a veterinarian for 15 years. I'm sorry to hear about Murphy's situation. How long ago did your vet last evaluate him? Did they do blood work looking for hyperthyroidism, diabetes and kidney issues?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
They did blood work. It was last December after I found out he had fleas. In all the years I've had him he never has a flea problem. They ruled out kidney and thyroid disease and said to change his diet. He has always drank a lot of water - like a camel. 5 to 10 minutes at a time. He eats ok but sometimes sleeps in and doesn't eat "breakfast" until late afternoon. He is not active, but he does prowl at night. He is very verbal. I have 2 other cats, 11 and 12 that seem very healthy. He does have an odor about him though. Male cat odor that he didn't used to have so much.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
One other thing, when I found out he had fleas, I accidentally used Heartz DOG flea drops on him but only 1/2 vial. However the drops were for a 40 pound dog. I realized what I did and washed him the next day. He was real lethargic after that. Then a month later I started my cats on Advantage.
Expert:  Dr. Bruce replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for that information about Murphy. That is good that they checked out the blood work on him there last December. I'll be honest and say that in cat years, a long time has passed since then. It is nearly a year later and things may have changed. When I talk to an owner aboutweight loss in older cats that can also present with vomiting - I'll talk about the following things.

1) Hyperthyroidism
http://www.VeterinaryPartner.com/Content.plx?P=A&S=0&C=0&A=516

2) Diabetes
http://www.VeterinaryPartner.com/Content.plx?P=A&S=0&C=0&A=631

3) Chronic renal disease (kidney failure)
http://www.VeterinaryPartner.com/Content.plx?P=A&C=&A=2633&SourceID=

4) Cancer

5) Intestinal parasites

6) Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
http://www.VeterinaryPartner.com/Content.plx?P=A&S=0&C=0&A=598

The first three diseases I've listed can best be screened for by having your vet perform blood work and a urinalysis on Murphy. Again, the last blood work was from quite awhile ago in cat years. I would recommend re-screening for these. The fourth disease, cancer, can sometimes be suspected on a physical exam if a mass is palpated. Other tests to help screen for cancer include blood work and imaging studies such as radiographs and ultrasound. However, an aspirate or biopsy of suspect tissue is required for a definitive diagnosis. Intestinal parasites can be screened for by having a fecal sample examined by your veterinarian. Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is best diagnosed by intestinal biopsy but is sometimes is suspected when the patient is responding to the treatment for the disease.

As far as getting weight back on him, it may be only done if the underlying issue is identified and directly treated. As a blanket approach, good quality cat food on a free choice basis to get as many calories in as possible is all that can really be done.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thanks. I just lost my 15 year old Shiba Enu to renal failure. She went very fast and covered her symptoms until the very end. I feel my dogs chicken, beef and pork with Rachael Ray dry food added. I add carrots and green beans sometimes. Murphy does not seem to have the same symptoms. I will take him to the local vet. I lost my job last March so I am not spending money unless I have to. However, I think another screening is the only answer.
Expert:  Dr. Bruce replied 1 year ago.

I'm sorry to hear about your recent loss of your Shiba Enu. It is hard to lose a good friend. Cats can show different signs with kidney issues. A lot of times the early signs are drinking more, urinating more, weight loss, poor appetite, and just seeming run down. This current economy is a tough one and I'm hoping you can get back on your feet in the work place here soon! At this point, the screening for Murphy would be best to see if something is there that can be addressed sooner and hopefully give him the most time / best time with you.