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Dr. Gary
Dr. Gary, Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 3836
Experience:  DVM, Emergency Veterinarian, BS (Physiology)
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I have a 13 year old cat... She's been acting lethargic and

Customer Question

I have a 13 year old cat... She's been acting lethargic and having problems with diarrhea for the past week or so, but has perked up considerably. Eating and drinking normal, and activity level is back to normal as well. I noticed today that her stool is very black and tarry. I want to get her checked out, but am wondering if this sounds like a medical emergency or can I wait a couple of days to see if this improves as well?
JA: I'm sorry to hear that. Could be a lot of things that cause lethargy. The Veterinarian will know how to help the cat. What is the cat's name?
Customer: Jasmine
JA: Is there anything else important you think the Veterinarian should know about Jasmine?
Customer: Not really. She's been vomiting almost daily, but that's not strange for her so I'm not really concerned about that...
Submitted: 1 month ago.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Expert:  PitRottMommy replied 1 month ago.

Hello, JACustomer. I have been a Veterinary Nurse for over 15 years and would be happy to help you today. I'm reviewing your question right now.

Expert:  PitRottMommy replied 1 month ago.

1) You mentioned the stool being normal, but also tarry. Is the stool soft-formed? solid? loose?
2) When was the last time that Jasmine had blood work performed?
3) What food is she eating at this time?

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Its soft formed. <Much more formed than it has been in the past. Her blood work was last completed at her last physical - I think it was April. She's eating a variety of soft foods. I just fed her a shredded Friskies, but she regularly eats a rotation from a variety of both higher and lower quality brands...
Expert:  PitRottMommy replied 1 month ago.

The tarry stool is a medical concern known as Melena and can indicate some major underlying problems from intestinal parasites to cancer. If she is eating and drinking well, she can likely waitin a few days before being examined. If she worsens during this time, have her seen earlier. Try not to change anything in her diet as it may reflect poorly on the quality of stool that she produces. Keep her food and water intake stable and unchanged until she can be examined.

I can give you some steps to take at home to help your companion’s stomach feel better. It often helps to give something to calm the stomach and a bland diet with higher fiber. This can help to reduce the instance of nausea/vomiting, avoid or treat changes in the stool, etc. If you do not see a marked improvement from your pet or you see worsening of symptoms, they absolutely must be examined by a veterinarian.

The first step is to administer a dose of regular pepcid (famotidine) every 12-24 hours. You will want to give 0.5mg/pound of body weight (a 10# ***** would receive 5mg, a 5# ***** would receive 2.5mg, etc). For this, you can visit any human pharmacy and buy the OTC brand name Pepcid, or you can use the cheaper, off-brand “famotidine” that’s available. Either will be useful.

2 hours following a dose of famotidine, the time needed for the medication to begin working, you can offer a bland diet. To make this, you’ll combine white or brown rice, boneless, skinless chicken breast and sufficient water for cooking in a stock pot. Boil on medium until it turns to mush and the breast is easily flaked. To avoid more nausea, start with small amounts to begin with and offer the amount every 2-4 hours. A few teaspoons to start is typically sufficient and you can work your way up every 2-4 hours in incremental increases until you’re sure no vomiting will be seen. If your companion requires a more palatable food, try adding in pureed baby food in chicken, turkey and similar flavors. Avoid those that contain onion or garlic in the ingredient panel. Work up to feeding exclusively until at least 3 days following the resolution of the GI upset. After this, work on slowly switching back to the regular food that your companion typically eats.

I’ll be standing by if you have other questions. Let me know if I can help further.

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Expert:  PitRottMommy replied 1 month ago.

Checking in. How is Jasmine today?

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