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Dr. Gary
Dr. Gary, Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 19331
Experience:  DVM, Emergency Veterinarian; BS (Physiology) Michigan State Univ
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HI There, my 8 year old cat ( outdoor) came home last week

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HI There, my 8 year old cat ( outdoor) came home last week with a strange cry and seemed to be a bit weak. I put him in my bed, and he slept with some cries in between. He then went back outside for a few days. This past Monday he came from the woods crying and awful cry and walking very slow, then he fell over. I picked him up and he cuddled into me, which is not his normal self. I brought him to my bed to make him comfortable and assess the situation. He ate and he was able to jump down off the bed when my dog came in. Tuesday he ate but remained in the same location, I took him to go potty in the litter box, which he had a bowel movement, then the dog barked at the door and he fell over in the litterbox, I then brought him back to my bed, was trying to find a booboo or injury, his feet were cold along with his midsection. I called the vet and they had no availability. Wednesday I put him in the bathroom with the door closed, gave him a can of food that he would n't touch. He just laid there. His eyes were open wide and every time I went in the room, he cried, I syringed water in his mouth and he seemed to like that, I was thinking dehydration. On the phone with vets all day. Then I had to leave for a bit, came back went in to check on him, he suddenly stretched out his front paws and was screaming and then flailing, I assume a seizure then his breathing was fast and his mouth was open, I had to travel to a ER clinic. I was freaked out about Rabies, cause he is not up to date. I am afraid that I will have Rabies because I was caring for him and giving him water and such. We ended up putting him to sleep, poor baby. The vet , thought perhaps he was hit by a car or blood clot. But still scared he had rabies cause he is outside so much. He became paralyzed by Wednesday. I wish I knew what happened. I have 3 other cats, all of my cats have lived over 20 years and this is to new to me. HELP! Thank you!
Hello, I'm Dr Gary. I've been practicing veterinary medicine since 2007. I look forward to helping with your questions/ concerns.

I'm sorry to hear about your cat.

It sounds like he may have had a urinary blockage. It doesn't sound like he was urinating in those couple days. This is common in male cats causing lethargy, pain, crying out, vomiting and eventually death. Usually they will try to urinate in the box but nothing comes out.

Eventually the potassium in the body goes up too high that it stops the heart. Toward the end, we can see seizures and neurologic signs. They may not have felt the large obstructed bladder if it ruptured that last day.

It may have also been a blood clot that he threw to his back legs and lungs causing the signs. This can happen when there is an underlying heart disease that we didn't know about. It could have also been rabies given the time frame and the fact he wasn't vaccinated. Rabies is quite rare in cats, but it's possible. My guess is a clot or urinary obstruction.

I'm sorry again for your loss, let me know if you have any other questions.


Customer: replied 3 years ago.

HI There, thank you. He was urinating. he was not aggresive at all, in fact he looked at me like " help me" I was hoping you would not say Rabies cause I think I have it from being so close to him. If I didn;t mention rabies in my question, would you have thought of that? It's just hard not knowing cause I have never had a sick cat.

If he was urinating, then I would guess it was a clot from heart disease.

Any time there are strange neurologic signs, we always have to keep rabies in the back of our mind. It's so rare though, that most vets will go their whole career without seeing a case. I think that's quite unlikely, but it's still worth thinking about.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you. The vet we went to said Rabies was very low on the list. His body temp was cold, his legs were cold. HIs temp when we got to the vet was 96. But I did notice even before we went his limbs were cold. Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX I have been looking on the internet too much and thinking rabies cause I'm afraid I will have it now.

With that low temp, it's just more evidence of heart disease. Those cats come in cold and with cold limp rear legs. It's very sad, and something we unfortunately see too much of.
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Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi Dr. Gary, your opinion, if the vet really thought my cat had rabies, would she have insisted on it being tested? They called me today and said, the doc thought it was hit by a car or spinal trauma. He had no visible signs on him of anything. It's so hard not knowing, I wish we sent the head in, but my husband didn;t want to. I have had a lot of cats in my life and not one have them have died before 20 years old. As I am the one that brought up the rabies to the vet, because of good old Dr. Google, that has what has stuck in my head. My physician doesn;t think I need to worry. But of course I am. His heart rate was 120, no heart murmur. No puss from the mouth, eyes or ears. The dr didn't want to proble too much because the pain the cat was in. Thoughts?

If they thought it was rabies, they would have sent the test. I really don't think that was the issue. Spinal trauma is possible. The exam should have differentiated. Clot cats don't have femoral pulses, trauma cats do. I agree with your physician, don't worry.