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Dr. Deb
Dr. Deb, Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 9973
Experience:  I have been a practicing veterinarian for over 30 years.
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I have my mom's older cat (maybe 12 yrs) who is VERY skinny

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I have my mom's older cat (maybe 12 yrs) who is VERY skinny and wants to eat all the time. I was feeding him 1 1/2 cans of wet food daily and am now up to 2 cans and he still acts ravinous. Could he have a parasite? They aren't in his stools. Thanks.
JA: I'm sorry to hear that. There are all sorts of infestations cats can pick up. I'll have you talk to the Veterinarian who'll sort out what is wrong and help you decide what to do about it. What is the cat's name?
Customer: Maxie
JA: Is there anything else the Veterinarian should be aware of about Maxie?
Customer: He use to go outside when mom had him but he hasn't been out in about 3 years. I inherited him about 7 months ago. He also has lost half his teeth.

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

I'm sorry for this concern about Maxie.

Does he have any other symptoms such as vomiting?

Is he lethargic or does he have good energy for a cat his age?

Thanks, deb

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
For his age, he gets around pretty good. The only vomiting is sometimes from a hairball.

Thanks for the answers to my questions. Please give me a few minutes to type back a response for you. Thanks for your patience. Deb

While I can understand why you might think internal parasites might be his problem, it's not likely for an indoor cat.

When one of my patients starts to lose weight in the face of a ravenous appetite, then the first condition I'd want to rule out would be Hyperthyroid Disease. Some of these patients will have other signs such as the vomiting I asked you about but others will only lose weight while acting hungry all the time.

This is a relatively easy diagnosis to make with routine bloodwork: the T4 is usually elevated in these patients.

And, there are a number of very good treatment options which range from daily medication (which actually can even be compounded into a gel that is rubbed into the ear) to diet (Y/D although most cats don't like it very much) to radioactive iodine treatments (which can be somewhat pricey). I actually consider this to be a good diagnosis since the majority of patients can live quite a few years after treatment is started.

I'll usually also suggest that blood pressures be measured since Hypertension can be a secondary problem for some of these patients; the procedure can can be done at your vet's office if they have the equipment.

If Maxie were only losing weight but had a decreased appetite or other issues, then I might want to include other conditions on the list such as kidney problems or liver issues; however, Hyperthyroid Disease is going to be just about the only one which will cause a cat's appetite to increase so I'd want to test for this first.

I hope this helps. Deb

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
Thank you so much for your time. I will make an apt. as soon as possible. Maxie thanks you too.

You (and Maxie, of course) are more than welcome; glad that I could help.

Best of luck with her. Regards, Deb

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Dr. Deb