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Doc Sara
Doc Sara, Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 952
Experience:  I am a dog and cat veterinarian with a lifetime of experience in our family veterinary hospital.
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My cat is at the vet, they can not find out why he has

Customer Question

My cat is at the vet, they can not find out why he has developed gas in intestines and now into esophagus. X-ray, exploratory, and blood work shows nothing. This has happened in 3 days and now they think I should put him down. Any suggestions? He was fine 4 days ago and was not 3 days ago.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Expert:  Doc Sara replied 1 year ago.

Hi there, I'm Dr. Sara. I'm a licensed veterinarian who works exclusively with cats and dogs. I'm so sorry to hear that you and Ace have been through such a difficult time. I'll do my best to help.

Did the vet take any biopsies when they did the exploratory surgery? It's my general rule of thumb that if I'm inside an abdomen and I don't see an obvious problem, I get biopsy samples from stomach, intestines, liver, lymph nodes, and potentially other areas of concern. This is because some GI diseases don't show outward signs that you can see with your eyes. It sounds from your description like he's developed a severe ileus (where the GI tract stops moving). While there are promotility medications to try to kick start a stalled GI tract (like metoclopramide), it's hard to know what the prognosis is unless you know why the ileus struck in the first place. It sounds like he's a really sick kitty for sure. I'm always concerned, also, when I see a middle aged to older cat who is ill and has normal lab work that there could be cancer creeping in there somewhere. There's no definitive blood test for cancer, but biopsies of the affected organ would show it. In a diffuse ileus, I'd also consider a very rare disease called dysautonomia, which is where the nerves that control GI function click off and stop working. No one knows exactly why this happens, and it's very difficult to diagnose, but it carries a poor prognosis overall.

Another option you could pursue before making a "final" decision - if he's stable enough - would be to seek a consultation from a specialty hospital. A larger referral hospital who employs board certified internal medicine specialists, surgeons, radiologists, etc, would be where I'd send any case I'm treating that I'm stumped about. Often the very rare diseases that I can't diagnosed are more easily recognized by the specialists, since they get all the "weird" cases that we general practitioners send to them.

It's certainly not wrong to consider humane euthanasia at this point too, as sad as it is. It sounds like you and your vet have done a significant amount of work to try to make him better - you gave him the best chance that you could so far. When the prognosis is uncertain and the pet's not improving with the care you're giving, it's definitely not wrong to decide to stop treatment and let them go humanely through euthanasia, rather than continue to spin your wheels.

Once again I'm so sorry that you're facing this difficult situation with Ace. Please let me know what other questions I can answer for you.

~Dr. Sara


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Expert:  Doc Sara replied 1 year ago.
I'm just following up on our conversation about your pet. How is everything going?
Doc Sara