13 month old DLH neutered male cat was fine on Tuesday night, but Wednesday about 3pm I notice he was very lethargic and not interested in playing with his siblings or me. He was also having trouble getting to his feet on the kitchen vinyl floor. His walk seemed hunched and he was moving very slowly. Took him to his usual vet who did CBC, found no anomalies. His temp was 104.5. They gave him sub q fluids and sent him home. Feeling was that the fever was making him unsteady. Six hours later, he was no better, in fact was falling over when he tried to get to his feet. Took him to animal emergency clinic where he had more bloodwork to verify no liver or kidney issues, etc. Took x rays and found nothing. He has had one dose of NSAID 8 hours ago, but temp has only gone down a half degree. He eats if syringe fed, no fighting about it, but won't eat on his own. He has never shown any issues with muscles before this, but his sister has had problems with her rear legs since she (and the current patient) recoevered from panleuk at age 3 months. With no clue to why the sudden high fever, and no idea why he is ataxic (Spelling?), the vets are in a wait and see mode, which I understand, but I need ideas. What would you check next? Could it be that Sasquatch (the patient) has the same post-panleuk issues as his sister, but they haven't shown before the stress of this fever? Could it be something far worse?
Hello. Did they send home any antibiotics? Did they give you Metacam or Ketofen to treat? Is he actually falling over or does he just seem painful where he'll take a couple steps then crouch and act like he's "walking on egg shells"?
The regular vet gave him a dose of Clavamox and gave me the rest to give him, but they have not given him any at the ER clinic. He shows no signs of any kind of pain, and he's been prodded and felt all over by two vets and a tech or two. Once he's on his feet, he can move around, and he can get to his feet with a liitle less effort on carpeting, but he just scrabbles on the vinyl and falls over.
One other thing: Did he have his head tilted to the side or was it straight? Was he falling to one side more than the other?
I didn't notice any odd head tilt, but I'm not sure I would have noticed, I was so alarmed by the scrambling his back feet were doing. He only did this a couple of times, and I don't recall if he fell on the same side both times. He seemed to like laying with his belly up and is back legs splayed out. He does this when he's not sick, too, but this seemed odd when he's not feeling well.
Ok thanks. It's tough to localize the issue here. Initially I was thinking this was a condition that we'll often call "limping kitten syndrome." It's caused by calicivirus and ends up causing joint inflammation. We think of it as an infectious arthritis. Often they will be reluctant to move as all the joints hurt. It can almost look like a neurologic disease. They will also often have a fever in the 103-105 range. Treatment is giving it time for the virus to run it's course and using anti-inflammatory meds (Metacam) + antibiotics (Clavamox) just in case and other pain meds (Buprenex) as needed. They usually get back to normal within 3-5 days. 5-7 days for a full recovery. With more neurologic deficits, I would start thinking of infection/ inflammation in the central nervous system. That could be meningitis (infection around the spinal cord), encephalitis (infection around the brain) or FIP (feline infectious peritonitis) that can have a dry neurologic form. Hopefully it's not FIP, as that is fatal in 100% of young cats that get it. Usually on the bloodwork we'll see a high globulin level with FIP. If you want to get a diagnosis confirmed, then I would see a neurologist. They would first do a complete neurologic exam to localize the issue either to the brain, spinal cord or periphery (nerve muscle junction). If it localizes to the brain or spinal cord, then an MRI and CSF tap is needed to see what's going on. Treatment is often antibiotics +/- steroids if a "steroid-responsive meningitis" is diagnosed. Antibiotics and pain meds if it's a bacterial meningitis. I may be inclined to give him a couple days in the hospital on pain meds (Buprenex +/- Metacam), antibiotics (Clavamox + maybe Clindamycin as it penetrates the brain better) and potentially steroids if I thought true neurologic. I hope this helps give you some ideas, let me know if you have any other questions.
I've heard of FIP, of course. We have 7 cats: 2 siblings who are six years old and separated from the other five cats completely; four 13-mo old littermates and their 2 yr old mother. The kittens were born on our deck last April, and their mother had such a horrendous parasite infection that she weighed less than five pounds at one point and had ungodly diarrhea until we found the Clavamox Flagyl magic bullet that cured it almost overnight. We've had huge medical expenses the for littermates who had panleuk when they were 3 mos old. Then one of the 6 yr olds (neutered male) had a $2000 unrinary blockage. I'm not sure I'm ready to pay for a neurologist, but maybe there's no option. You don't give much to my theory that it's the fever stress bringing out the rear leg issues that his sister has all the time? If it's FIP, would all the other cats get it too? How could he get it when he never goes outside?
I do think that fever alone can cause some weakness. The neuro exam though will differentiate between weakness from fever and true neurologic deficits. We shouldn't see true neurologic deficits just due to a fever. Weakness and pain and reluctance to move- yes; but not true neurologic deficits. I don't think it's wrong at all to do the "wait and see" approach. I would definitely treat the treatable. If no response in another 24-48 hours, then that's just more evidence that additional imaging is probably needed. FIP is not a contagious disease, so it wouldn't be seen in the other cats. Almost every cat is exposed to a corona virus at some point in their life, it's the small subset of cats that will mutate that corona virus into an FIP virus. The actual FIP virus though is not contagious between cats. Here is a good link on FIP just FYI: http://www.veterinarypartner.com/Content.plx?P=A&S=0&C=0&A=681
DVM, Emergency Veterinarian; BS (Physiology) Michigan State Univ
There have been some complications I would like to discuss with you, but I'm confused by the $59 "value" stated. I thought the cost was $38. Why the increase?
I'm not sure what happened. I'll forward this to the people in charge of billing for you.