How JustAnswer Works:

  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.

Ask Dr.Fiona Your Own Question

Dr.Fiona
Dr.Fiona, Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 6273
Experience:  16 years experience as a companion animal veterinarian in British Columbia, California and Ontario
Type Your Cat Question Here...
Dr.Fiona is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

My cat is now sticking just the tip of his tongue out ...

Resolved Question:

My cat is now sticking just the tip of his tongue out all the time & his breath has gone very bad. Weight is good as is appiteit. Not urinating frequently. He is three years old & had a partner that we adopted at the same time that was fine on minute and dead the next. Necropsy showed NOTHING abnormal and yet this cat too showed the exact symptoms that the living partner is displaying...tongue out, bad breath.
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Cat
Expert:  Dr.Fiona replied 5 years ago.

Hi thereCustomer

Welcome to Just Answer! I would like to help you and your sick cat with this question, but need a bit more information in order to better assist you both.

Where did you adopt these cats from (shelter, private home, SPCA, pet store, barn, etc)?

Were the cats ever tested for FeLV and FIV (feline leukemia and feline immunodeficiency virus)?

Is your boy drooling?

When did this start?

Fiona

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Fiona,

Thank you for your response!

Best to say shelter. Private resque group that has satalite foster homes. Our 2 (now 1) cat (s) were in a very clean home with about 20 other cats. They were older kittens when we got them.

Yes, according to the adoption paper work they were both tested & were negative.

We just came back from vacation & he was exibiting these sympoms. So could be as long as 2 weeks.

No he is not drooling nor did the other cat drool.

Point: of clarification:

They are not fed wet food. It was easier to say it that way. My concern at the time was however that we should swich the dry food.

Can the test come up negative if they are not shedding the virus at the time of the test?

Can the virus be transmitted with out direct contact? I own a petshop, we do not sell cats, but rather we act as a foster home for the local shelter. Over the last year we have found homes for thiry or so cats & kittens. This past winter the cat that died came down with a cold. Runny nose, sneezing, lethargic. When I took the cat to our vet he mentioned that it was probably due to a virus that in his expeience the shelter we are helping has...but that, again in his experience, this virus is not fatal.

Both of these cats were/are my 6 year old daughters. The death of the one cat was compounded by the death 4 weeks later of our 17 year old mix breed dog. The dog had many complications and was dealing with cancer for last year. So I am freaked out for both my cat AND my daughter.

Thank you for your continued help!
Expert:  Dr.Fiona replied 5 years ago.

Hmmmm...

Can you check this kitty's temperature rectally?

Normal temperature in a cat is about 100'F to 102'F (38-39'C).

Do his ear tips feel warm?

Is this kitty sneezing? Any nasal or eye discharge?

Expert:  Dr.Fiona replied 5 years ago.

I am about to go out for several hours with my husband and 2 small children. I will continue to help you when I return, so please accept my apologies for any delay in response should you return while I am gone!

Fiona

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
No worries. Thanks for the help!

While a friendly enough cat I think I'd need assistance which I do not have.

Ears are cool, eyes are clear. No discharge from eyes or nose.

Joel
Expert:  Dr.Fiona replied 5 years ago.

Joel,

Can you look at the cat's teeth? You would need to lift the lips up to see the upper teeth, and pull the lip back to see towards the back. I am wondering if he may have gingivitis which is seen as a line of red beside the teeth?

Fiona

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
well...

Tried that a couple of times & I'll either have to get an armed guard or take him to the Vet...more then I can handle that's for sure!

You have been great thank you!
Expert:  Dr.Fiona replied 5 years ago.

LOL! Well, don't call in the army just yet! ;-)

I am going to go work on an answer for you and will be back shortly!

Expert:  Dr.Fiona replied 5 years ago.

Hi againCustomer

You have described to me a 3 year old male cat who has been sticking his tongue out and has halitosis (bad breath). He is eating normally, not drooling, and is maintaining his weight. He came from a shelter-type background, and was tested for FeLV and FIV before you adopted him. His partner cat had the same symptoms and died suddenly with no diagnosis made as to why, though he did have symptoms of an upper respiratory tract infection before he died.

The top concern I have for your cat is that he may be positive for FIV or FeLV. Both of these are viruses that are only a problem in cats (not dogs, not humans, so your daughter is at no risk). With these viruses, if we do a blood test within 6 months of the cat having been exposed to the virus, the test will come up negative. So, doing a repeat test 6 months later may be necessary. These viruses are not transmitted by casual contact, so you do not need to worry about passing them to the cats you foster via your clothing.

Another possibility is that your cat may have FIP (feline infectious peritonitis) which is also a virus. It is much harder to test for, and we don't have a simple blood test that identifies it. It is also only a problem in cats (not humans) and not transmitted by casual contact.

Let me explain more about FeLV and FIV and FIP.

1 Feline Leukemia Feline leukemia (FeLV) is a devastating virus for which there is no cure once cats are exposed.There is a vaccine for it, which is highly protective, though not completely foolproof. Transmission occurs through infected saliva, bites by or sharing bowls with infected cats. Symptoms are numerous including fever, frequent infections, weight loss, depression, decreased appetite, and swollen lymph nodes. Prevalence of the disease is worldwide with locally high numbers of incidence possible in infected groups of feral cats.

Blood tests can identify infection. Supportive care is the only option for treating cats positive for feline leukemia; prevention is the therefore the best solution. Cats should be tested and vaccinated if owners intend to allow them outside. If owners are intending to keep cats indoors with no potential for exposure to cats outside of the household, cats need not be vaccinated against feline leukemia. However, an initial blood test upon bringing a new kitten or cat into the household is recommended to identify whether the cat is carrying the virus.

2. Feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) is yet again, a seriously destructive and fatal virus for which there is no cure. FIV exists throughout the USA and Canada and is transmitted through bite wounds. There is no standard vaccine to prevent FIV.

Once the virus infects a cat, the cat may live a relatively normal life for many years.

Since the virus affects the immune system of the cat, the cat is less able to fight off infections of any sort and will require supportive care as needed. Symptoms include fever, recurring infections and illnesses, weakness, depression, and weight loss. Prevention is best achieved through minimizing potential exposure to potential carriers.

Never allow direct contact with other cats and practice good hygiene and disinfecting practices. There is currently no known correlation between FIV and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

3. Feline infectious peritonitis (FIP) is another serious and destructive virus. The disease is most commonly seen in facilities housing large numbers cats, such as catteries and animal shelters. Transmission occurs when a cat comes into contact with an infected cat's bodily secretions, primarily saliva and feces. Unfortunately, the virus can survive a long time outside of the body and can remain a source of infection on a dirty food bowl or litter pan.

Initial symptoms include upper respiratory problems, depression, and weight loss. Two types of the disease are recognized. "Wet" type FIP-infected cats appear with large "pot-bellied" abdomens that are actually filled with fluid, eventually leaving the cat struggling to breathe. "Dry" type FIP-infected cats have minimal fluid accumulation and exhibit weight loss, depression, anemia, and fever.

Unfortunately, FIP is hard to diagnose as test results are unreliable; by the time symptoms are identified as likely resulting from FIP, the disease has already significantly progressed. The only way to care for an FIP-positive cat is to provide supportive care based upon the symptoms. A vaccine does exist for this virus but is quite controversial and is not frequently used. There is some concern that not only does it not prevent the disease, but it may actually cause it. The best prevention is to minimize a cat's possibilities of exposure.

From what you are describing about the previous kitty who died suddenly, I wonder whether he may have had one of these viruses. Then, if he was exposed to a simple upper respiratory tract infection (a virus similar to a cold in us), he may not have had a strong enough immune system to fight it.

With your cat who is now sticking out his tongue and having bad breath, he may have an infection in his mouth causing this behaviour and odour. A normal cat might be able to fight this off easily, but if your boy has one of the above viruses, his immune system may not be able to fight it. A course of antibiotics might be needed to help him get over this! Also, doing another blood test to determine if he is now positive for FeLV or FIV would be prudent. A physical exam and blood test called a corona titre would be helpful in deciding if he might have FIP, though the tests are not as definitive as the FeLV and FIV tests.

So, in summary, I am concerned about an underlying virus leading to an inability to fight a bacterial infection. Antibiotics might be all your boy needs! I would strongly recommend you see a veterinarian to determine if this is what is needed to help him get over this.

If this has been helpful, please accept my answer and leave feedback. I will still be here if you have more questions!

Best wishes, Fiona

Dr.Fiona, Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 6273
Experience: 16 years experience as a companion animal veterinarian in British Columbia, California and Ontario
Dr.Fiona and 4 other Cat Specialists are ready to help you

JustAnswer in the News:

 
 
 
Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... Justanswer.com.
JustAnswer.com...has seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like justanswer.com/legal
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.
 
 
 

What Customers are Saying:

 
 
 
  • The response from the Expert literally saved my cat's life. Thank you from the bottom of my heart -- I will recommend all of my friends to you!!! Lucia Rincon, Georgia
< Last | Next >
  • The response from the Expert literally saved my cat's life. Thank you from the bottom of my heart -- I will recommend all of my friends to you!!! Lucia Rincon, Georgia
  • I will use your service again. I was very pleased with the response and the fact that you have a low cost option so that those of us on fixed income can have questions answered. I will also recommend you to others. Karen Jackson Heights, NY
  • You helped us to come to what we believe is a better next step in Jack's treatment, and hopefully have saved us $800!! Thanks again! Jack's Mom Tuscon, AZ
  • The vet said that the information and my following it will be what made the difference. Thanks again for being so very helpful. Tracy Grayson, LA
  • My oldest male cat had a seizure this evening. This site was the first place I could think of to go after the seizure had passed. Dr. Lucy was fantastic and she was spot on! Debbie USA
  • I must tell you I found this site by accident and was amazed when I asked a question of the Veteranians online. I wish I could have found it sooner it could have made such a difference in the outcome of my pet's surgery. However, I am passing along the information to my sister-in-law (a cat-rescue person who is also a nurse), and perhaps it will help someone else who may experience the same problem. The doctor who answered my question was amazing, and while it didn't come it time to change the outcome of my situation, it is reassuring to know the caliber of Vets/Doctors that you have at JustAnswer. Thank you for being there. Alice H. Jacksonville, Fl.
  • Wonderful service, prompt, efficient, and accurate. Couldn't have asked for more. I cannot thank you enough for your help. Mary C. Freshfield, Liverpool, UK
 
 
 

Meet The Experts:

 
 
 
  • Terri

    Feline Healthcare Expert

    Satisfied Customers:

    18938
    Expert in feline health and behavior. 20 years experience with cats.
< Last | Next >
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/purrfectkitty/2008-07-10_084515_2006-06-10_me2.jpg Terri's Avatar

    Terri

    Feline Healthcare Expert

    Satisfied Customers:

    18938
    Expert in feline health and behavior. 20 years experience with cats.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/RY/rydergar/2012-6-6_192240_IMG0328.64x64.JPG Dr. Gary's Avatar

    Dr. Gary

    Cat Veterinarian

    Satisfied Customers:

    868
    DVM, Emergency Veterinarian; BS (Physiology) Michigan State Univ
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/CE/Cerecita/2011-3-16_2565_JAPIC500x500.64x64.jpg Cher's Avatar

    Cher

    Feline Specialist

    Satisfied Customers:

    9637
    Feline Healthcare & Behavior Specialist 40+ years Experience
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/kydoll/2008-11-26_190500_me.jpg Lori's Avatar

    Lori

    Feline Healthcare

    Satisfied Customers:

    3325
    16 yrs health care mgmt & issues relating to cats, reproductive issues and multicat environments
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/mccprn/2009-11-20_185102_JA_profile.jpg Micki's Avatar

    Micki

    Expert in cat behavior and health

    Satisfied Customers:

    3153
    Expert in cat medical and behavior issues.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/ER/ERPetNurse/2011-11-7_1293_b.64x64.jpg Candy R.'s Avatar

    Candy R.

    Veterinary Technician

    Satisfied Customers:

    2887
    Practicing Veterinary Technician for 26 years.Former Veterinary Practice Owner, Technician Trainer
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/BA/babybloo/2011-3-10_62613_DavidandI.64x64.jpg Theresa's Avatar

    Theresa

    A Voice for your Pet

    Satisfied Customers:

    2124
    19+ years in animal medicine as a veterinary technician