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Dr. Deb
Dr. Deb, Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 9147
Experience:  I have been a practicing veterinarian for over 30 years.
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I have a perfectly healthy 4 year old female black cat who

Customer Question

I have a perfectly healthy 4 year old female black cat who randomly just stopped eating at dinnertime Sunday the 21st. Seemed more quiet and still and didn't move around as much. Had some trouble navigating stairs but was able to do it. No vomiting or diarrhea. When this continued into Monday afternoon took her to the vet. Couldn't find anything wrong on physical exam . No fever. Pumped her full of fluids for hydration. Took complete blood work and urinalysis. Depending on these results recommending an x-ray. Is this safe.? Didn't eat anything different than usual and no injuries. Indoor cat only. Shares home with 2 other cats and a dog but all health and not new to household. Was born with a blood clotting disorder but never any problems prior and told not fatal. Have to leave her alone all day due to being at work confined to one room to see if she uses litterbox. She did have a little water on her own and ate a tiny bit but mainly liking the gravy off. Did urinate just fine during night but no bowel movement yet. Said they will check for urine crystals. Are x-rays justified depending on lab results? Found no masses in abdomen. Still moving a little slower and sleeping more but normal in.every other respect.
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Deb replied 9 months ago.

Hello, I'm Dr. Deb and will do my best to help you today.

I'm sorry for this concern for Spooky.

If she wasn't running a fever and this were my case, then I would want to rule out pancreatitis in a cat this age who has the signs you mention.

As to why this condition might develop, well, we usually don't have a good explanation but it's actually a fairly commonly seen problem.

We do have several tests to help confirm this condition (both an inhouse one and ones which a lab would have to run) but they usually have to be requested as add-on tests; they aren't typically included in most routine chemistries, in other words.

Having said that, though, I've come to doubt their reliability for all patients with pancreatitis since no test is 100% reliable. Routine blood work is often normal in these patients, by the way.

Every vet might approach this condition somewhat differently but I usually treat my patients with fluids and pain medication (we believe the pain is why they stop eating) and possibly an appetite stimulant.

An x-rays isn't going to be terribly diagnostic for pancreatitis; usually an ultrasound will be of more benefit. In my experience, however, most cats this age will respond to symptomatic treatment fairly quickly such that additional diagnostics are not necessary.

It's difficult to justify an x-ray in my opinion in this situation in the absence of symptoms which point to a specific organ system (gastrointestinal, cardiopulmonary, etc) although I suppose your vet is just trying to be thorough by suggesting it.

But, if the blood work is abnormal, then it might make more sense.

I hope this helps and that she continues to improve ...which it sounds as if she's doing. Deb