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Hi Sara14 -
I am going to assume that this kitty has been tested for feline leukemia virus and feline immunodeficiency virus. If not, it certainly should be. And depending on it's history of contact with other cats, it possibly should have been retested a second time after it has been in your home for a month of so.
Most of the time when cats get recurrent upper respiratory infections, it is because they have being caused by a herpes virus. Because it is a virus, it will not respond to antibiotics. The virus becomes dormant in many infected cats and then becomes active periodically, especially during periods of stress. These cats can be treated with topical eye anti-viral medications during flare up which may be more effective than the eye ointment you are using. Also, giving them lysine (this is an amino acid product that is usually available over-the-counter) orally also has been shown to decrease viral replication. so this is often recommended as a long term supplement to use when Herpes is suspected.
Using Clavamox periodically for an upper respiratory infection isn't likely to create any problems, but while it will help if there are any secondary bacterial infections, it really isn't very effective against most organisms that cause upper respiratory infections in cats.
Two other organisms that can casue upper respiratory infection in cats (besides the herpes virus) are Chlamydia and Mycoplasma. Both of these can be treated more effectively with an antibiotic called doxyccyline rather than Clavamox.
It is really hard to say whether this will decrease his life span. As a general rule, viruses can suppress an anima's immune system, making then more susceptible to other illness, but I don't know if any studies that have looked at this specifically.
How was the toxoplasma diagnosed (blood or fecal test) and has any treatment been given for it?
If he came from a breeder, he definitely should have the feline leukemia and immunodeficiency tests done and repeated a second time after being away from the breeder's home for a while. Even a good breeder often has cats in and out of their cattery and there is always a chance that something could be transmitted. I can't imagine your vet would have overlooked this as a possibility, but it is an important thing to be clear about.
If the Toxoplasmosis was diagnosed with a blood test, this just means that they have been exposed to the organisms, not that they have an active infection, so your kitty may not necessarily need to be treated for this. The blood tests just detects antibodies against the organism, so it doesn't really mean they have the infection at that time.
Hypertension in cats is most commonly associated with either kidney disease or hyperthyroidism (increased thyroid function). Although your kitty is young for both of these conditions, if your vet hasn't checked for them, it may be a good idea to have this done, but it is likely that your vet has already ran those tests.
I do think addition of the new kitty could cause a flare up of the herpes virus, but I am not sure if it would be enough to cause the retinal bleeding and hypertension. Hopefully this will stay quiet, but if either of these problems recur, they probably should be exploref further.
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If you think the cats are getting along at this point, then I don't think it would be necessary to get rid of the kitten. Any change in daily routines can be source of stress to a cat, so if you really think the older cat is enjoying being around the kitten, it probably is fine to keep her
There is actually a product that combines Duralactin with lysine - it is called Duralatin Feline L-Lysine Gel. If this is what you are giving, then your cat is already getting the extra lysine. If you are on straight Duralactin, then ask your vet about switching over.
Regarding pet insurance, I have only researched this fairly superficially, but my general opinion is that is a good idea for large and giant breed dogs where even the routine medications is much more expensive just because of their size, while for anything else, it may not be worth it. For your older kitty, I think they probably wouldn't insure against any of his ongoing problems at this point , so I seriously doubt if it would be worth it for him, although you could certainly ask. For the kitten, I would say just read the fine print before deciding. Sometimes only certain things such as routine care are covered, or sometimes routine care things are excluded. You just have to read every last word. I think that if it was overall just a really great idea, it would have caught on like wildfire, so I think that chances are it benefits the insurance companies a lot more than it benefits the owners in the long run as a general rule. I haven't had a lot of experience with any single insurance company, I occasionally come across an owner who has pet insurance and they bring a form to sign. Most of the time, they still have to pay the clinic, and the medical insurance reimburses them.
Hi Sariai14 -
You are very welcome. I am delighted that the information has been helpful to you, and that you have found Just Answer to be such a useful service. We will be here for you if you need any help in the future.
Hi Vi Guglielmi -
Great to hear from you again! I'm glad to hear that Max is doing pretty well.
I would definitely be considering the radioactive Iodine treatment in this kitty. It is so much better to have a permanent cure than a chronic condition that requires ongoing medication. With the radioactive iodine treatment, the radioactive chemical is picked up from the blood stream by the hyperactive thyroid gland, so we really don't worry about the thyroid gland "growing back" so to speak. We are not really "killing the thyroid" - just the part of the thyroid that is producing too much of the hormones - and most cats will have normal thyroid function after the procedure. Occasionally there will be a kitty that will require a second treatment, but this is by far the exception rather than the rule.
The only reason to not do it would be if there is kidney disease present in the kitty. If we are concerned about kidney function in a hyperthyroid cat, we do the trial methimazole treatment to see what happens to the kidneys when the thyroid goes back to normal, so that if we see deterioration in the kidney function, we can change the dose of the methimazole if needed. Since this is a relatively young cat, hopefully his kidneys are fine and he would be an excellent canidate for the radioactive thyroid procedure.
I'm not sure why your vet seems to be resistant to this idea, but I think the best way to handle the situation would be to have a consultation with the vet who is doing the procedure (usually involves referal to a specialty practice) and get their opinion about risks and benefits for your particular kitty, and then make your decision from there. I totally agree with you that for some cats, the stress of the blood draws can definitely be a big deal and having to do this a few times a year for the rest of his life certainly makes me want to find some other alternative for this kitty.
I hope this answers your question. Let me know if there is anything else I can do for you.
Hi Vi -
Max sure was lucky to get adopted by you from the rescue organization. You have gone above and beyond in giving him a great home!
I'm really glad you find my answers helpful. I would appreciate it if you would click the Accept button so I am compensated for my time on Just Answer.
I'm signing off for the night, and work my regular job tomorrow but will check in tomorrow evening to see if you have any other questions. Thanks for using Just Answer!
Hi Vi -
I know what you mean - sometimes the pets that need us the most are the ones that also give us the most in your lives.
For some reason it does not apper that the payment has gone through from my end. The last payment from you was on October 30, 2007. Hmmm - seems to be a bug in the system. I will send the moderators a note attached to this question so they can check things out. I don't want you to get charged twice so let them check things out before you do anything else. They will probably send you an email to let you know what is going on. Thanks for letting me know.
Hi Vi -
I am still around - Is there something I can help you with?
Bless your heart for hanging in there with Max!. Megacolon situations can be so frustrating to deal with.
First, if he is currently constipated, he may very need an enema at this point. I'm sure you are probably familiar with this if you have been dealing with it for six months already. Our medical treatments are more geared toward preventing constipation from occurring, but once it has occurred, an enema is the only way to get him cleaned out.
I have had by far the best success in these cats using lactulose long term to control the firmness of the stool. This is a medication that you can get from your vet or it can also be gotten from a human pharmacy with a prescription from your vet. It is a liquid and I don't think it tastes very good, so I hope Max will take it okay. It can be given 2 - 3 times a day and the dose will need to be fine-tuned so you get soft stools that are able to pass. This will likely need to be used continuously long term to prevent episodes. I have seen many owners think that everything is going okay so they stop the lactulose and pretty soon end up back in the hospital for another episode.
Hydration can also play a big role in managing these cats, so you may to have your vet show you have to give subcutaneous fluids to Max at home, so we can make sure he is not forming harder stools simply as a result of some mild dehydration issues. This is a really easy thing to do, so just let your vet know you are interested in this.
Lastly, megacolons can be dealt with surgically as well. The procedure is to remove the affected part of the large intestine. There are significant risks to this procedure (infection, internal suture breakdown, narrowing of the intestinal tract) and is best performed as a last resort and by someone who has much experience with this surgery. If you decide to pursue this, I would try to have the surgery done by a board certified veterinary surgeon rather than a general practitioner if at all possible.
It sounds like Max probably needs to go get an enema at your vet rather than just starting him on the lactulose as the lactulose will not make the hard stools that already stuck in the colon any softer at this point.
Let me know if there is anything else I can do to help.