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Dr. Brian
Dr. Brian, Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 1231
Experience:  34 years in private practice, 2008 WA State Vet of the Year
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My 9 year old Ragdoll cat has begun to lose a lot of weight

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My 9 year old Ragdoll cat has begun to lose a lot of weight in the past 3 months. She had diareah constantly, but she eats and drinks quite normally. I recently changed her diet to more organic canned food such as the B.G. brand, as recommended by my vet about a month ago. I had taken her to the vet, and she had blood work which came back as "inconclusive". I had brought a stool sample but the vet didn't think that it was necessary to test it. Now I'm annoyed because I am sure that could have been helpful. My cat was put on Flagyll for a week but it did nothing. What can this be? She has lost a lot of weight, especially this past month. Also I notice she has been twitching her head more frequently and I wonder if this could be related. She's an indoor cat so I don't think she has ear mites or anything. Please help!

Dr. Brian :

Hi and welcome to Just Answer. I am a licensed veterinarian and will do my best to help you.

Customer:

Hello Dr. Brian

Dr. Brian :

Has she had an x-ray taken?

Customer:

no she has not. we wanted to see if the Flagyll would work. but unfortunately it did not.

Dr. Brian :

Is she an inside only cat or has she been outside on her own alot as well?

Customer:

she is an indoor cat. but i do wonder if she caught something from another cat when I brought her in for a grooming. she came back with a cold. and her weight loss progressed much quicker since the grooming session.

Customer:

the strange thing is that she never vomits. she has diarreah every day now, but never vomits.

Customer:

so i'm thinking it's not a blockage?

Dr. Brian :

When I see weight loss I'm always very concerned. The first thing I do is bloodwork and in your case that didn't provide an answer. I doubt a fecal exam would give the answer in this case but it is easy to check. When I have cases like this come up- blood work looks good but patient is losing ground fast I worry about tumors. Cancer of the intestine could cause the chronic diarrhea and weight loss in a cat this age. My best advise is to ask for a referral to get an abdominal ultrasound. It is a great tool to evaluate the abdomen and intestines for tumor formation.

Customer:

is that something a typical vet does not perform? where would I go for an ultrasound? and also, is there treatment for intestinal tumors?

Dr. Brian :

Most of us lack the training and adequate caseload to have an ultrasound machine. A veterinary radiologist would be your best bet. They may fe found at veterinary colleges or sometimes in referral practices. Your vet should be able to direct you to one.

Customer:

Ok. This has definitely been very helpful. Is 9 years old very old for a cat?

Dr. Brian :

Sometimes the tumors can be surgically removed, others may respond to chemotherapy (not as scary as people chemo). First is to make the diagnosis and the ultrasound will allow the radiologist to collect a sample of cells (fine needle aspirate) and have a veterinary lab determine what type of tumor it is.

Dr. Brian :

No, nine is middle aged but old enough to worry about tumors with this history.

Customer:

I have one last question, if you don't mind. Is there any way to know if she is in pain? I am so worried about her if she's suffering. She seems to act normal, but of course she can't tell me if she's in pain. What are the signs I should look for?

Dr. Brian :

I've never had the impression that these were painful to the cats. Usually painful cats won't eat well, sleep excessively and won't interact with owners. Also they don't seem reluctant to allow me to palpate the abdomen which they would object to it they were painful.

Dr. Brian :

Don't delay in pursuing this, time is your enemy when dealing with growing cancers.

Customer:

That's very good to know. I appreciate this advice. Thank you very much Dr. Brian, I'm going to call my vet again tomorrow and get her in there this weekend.

Dr. Brian :

Great. Best wishes for a happy outcome.

Customer:

Thanks Have a great night.

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