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Terri, Feline Healthcare Expert
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 32228
Experience:  Expert in feline health and behavior. 20 years experience with cats.
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I have a 16 yr old kitty and he was diagnosed with spinal

Customer Question

I have a 16 yr old kitty and he was diagnosed with spinal cord cancer last June and put on Gabapentin and Prednisone. The Gabapentin is 100 mg 3 times a day and the Prednisone is 10 mg twice daily now. He has been living for 10 months since diagnosis and had his ups and downs. He was still able to walk, not like before, lower to the ground and slow and at times almost dragging his back legs on some days and other just low to the ground and slow. He became constipated a while back and I took him to the vet where they gave him enemas and put him on lactlulose. It got to where the lactlulose really wasn't working and a week ago today he became very constipated and couldn't do anything, He would get in his litter box and push and strain and even gag. I took him to the vet and they took an x-ray and said he was really backed up and said it was really big and they kept him all day last Monday and gave him fluids and enemas and then on Tuesday he had a bowel movement but the vet said the stuff was still there and it just moved around it. They had to do surgery and go in and remove it. They cut him open and his colon and cleaned it out, said there was a lot of hair and he can't even groom so not sure how or why the hair was there. Since then he isn't the same. The vet sent him home the day after and I couldn't get the lactlulose down him, he would just sit with it in his mouth and it would run out. I called them and they said bring him back in. I did and they kept him and said they would keep him until he had a bowel movement. I took him his meds, but the vet cut back on some of them. I would call every day and they would say he was walking and eating which I found hard to believe. They said there was stool in the colon and it was moving down and should have a bowel movement by Friday. Never happened and then Saturday came and still nothing. I got a call on Sunday and they said the vet thought he looked mellow and different and wanted to observe him. Said he wasn't really eating or moving around much. Said all his blood work looked fine. On Monday I called and they said he didn't look or act good. I went out there and he was pitiful. He couldn't move hardly and his third eyelid was up and he looked like death. They said I probably needed to make a decision and the decision was they keep him and administer dextrose. I asked about tube feeding and she said she could but they never did. I went to see him again that afternoon and he was just lying in his litter box. I told them I wanted to take him home which was yesterday afternoon. I did and slept with him all night. I put wet food in his mouth, Science Hills AD and he would drink a little. It is like he mouth doesn't want to open much. He also seems to have problems swallowing. He is also blind pretty much. I think the cancer got all activated again and now he can't walk or do much of anything. I decided to try and wash off his little back legs and lower belly because it was filthy from where he had peed and had the one bowel movement on Sunday. I washed him off by pouring warm water and some shampoo on his back legs and lower abdomen and not getting the incision wet. It felt really weird on his lower belly and one back leg. It was slimy feeling and thought I didn't get the suds off. I kept rinsing and rinsing but the slimy feeling wouldn't leave. I finally took hold down there and when I did the hair just peeled off across his stomach in big clumps and the skin was left bare and very red. His little back legs are hairless and nothing but bones and so very red. What would cause his hair to come out in clumps like u just peeled it off all stuck together in pieces? Would it be the cancer or from the surgery and what can I do, it looks very painful. I feel so sorry for him. I asked out there but they didn't have a clue, didn't see it and didn't really want to take him back again given his poor condition.
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Cat
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
His little lower belly is also very red and tender looking without hair where it peeled off. I know that prednisone can thin the skin and make the hair less but doesn't mention peeling off and never has before, although it has become thinner over the past ten months. If he is close to death will it cause this?
Expert:  Doc Sara replied 9 months ago.
Hi there, I'm Dr. Sara. I'm a licensed veterinarian who works exclusively with cats and dogs. I'm sorry to hear that Socks is so very ill. I will do my best to help. Unfortunately, based on your description, I have to agree with your veterinarian that it sounds like it's approaching time to make the kind decision for Socks by considering euthanasia. Kitties who are very ill can lose their fur in large chunks and leave bare skin below. This is especially true when the skin has been moist - as it may have been from urine and then from bathing. It sounds as though you've been a loving caregiver to Socks for years and I'm afraid it sounds like he's approaching the end. At this point if euthanasia isn't something you would consider, then I'd switch gears into full on hospice care - meaning that we aren't treating now to get him healthy again (because this is unlikely) but rather to control his pain and try to keep him as comfortable as possible. Your vet would very likely be open to discussion of this type of change in Sock's care. Once again, I'm so sorry to hear that Socks is so very ill. He needs you now to help him be as comfortable as possible and be his advocate for his quality of life. Please let me know what questions I can handle for you.~Dr. Sara ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------My goal is to provide you with the most complete and accurate “five star” answer. If my answer isn’t what you were expecting, it’s incomplete, or you have more questions PLEASE REPLY to let me know what information you are looking for BEFORE giving me a negative rating! If my answer has been helpful to you, please show me by giving me a favorable rating. Thank you so much :)
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Why when they are ill does that cause the hair to come out and will or would it grow back if he gets better? I can't bring myself to take his life yet, I know it may come down to that but for now I just can't. I also don't know how to cope with losing him as he is my best friend of 16 yrs and can't imagine life without him. I am blaming myself for this happening because I don't think he should have had the surgery, not at his age with all that he has already going on. I was led to believe this was a very simple procedure and a small incision, they never told me it was a very major surgery and what all was involved. I think again the surgery aggravated the cancer and made it active in the most awful way. I would like to try something to make his body alkalized where cancer can't survive and shrink the tumor. Do you think that would be safe, all natural things like lemon and baking soda, things like that?
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Is there anything I can put on the skin or anything he could take to help?
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Also I had the $10.00 off and it said 22.00. It didn't take the 10 off and take it to 12.00 like it should have.
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
I also asked the follow up question quite a while ago and still no response, not very pleased with this site but I keep giving it another try.
Expert:  Doc Sara replied 9 months ago.
I am terribly sorry for the delay. There was a technical issue on my end and I believe that my computer was the issue. I had it repaired this morning and I find your responses awaiting. I apologize sincerely. If you'd like to cancel your request or discuss any billing issues please contact customer care: experts have no access to any billing or invoice info - only your veterinary queries. I'm afraid that I cannot advise you on any "natural" remedies here - I am an allopath by trade and I don't put much faith into homepathic and naturopathic remedies, especially in such dire situations. I'm afraid that alkalinizing his body is very unlikely to help. The body runs a tight ship in terms of the pH of the blood and there is significant potential to do harm by feeding him substances like baking soda, which can cause toxic changes in his blood pH. I would only do so under the close supervision of a veterinarian experienced in the process. In regards ***** ***** skin - if it's unbroken (no ulcers, scabs, fissures, etc) and you can get it completely dry you can apply a thin layer of unscented hypoallergenic diaper cream (just the barrier only like petrolatum), however if he ingests it by licking it could cause GI upset so the risks may outweigh the benefits depending on his nature. I want to stress that the area needs to be completely dry before applying any barrier cream, otherwise the cream will simply trap the moisture on the skin and cause further moist dermatitis. I'm sorry that you feel that your veterinarian didn't communicate well on the extensiveness of the surgery. Communication is frequently the stumbling block in our pets' care - we do our best to communicate all things as we currently see them however sometimes pets react differently than we would expect and the situation becomes either better or worse than we were initially expecting. I will opt out in case there is another expert more qualified in homepathic remedies. If you'd like to continue your conversation with me simply reply and I'll get the message.Thank you so much and take care.~Dr. Sara
Expert:  Terri replied 9 months ago.
Hello,I am sorry Socks is so ill.I suggest you apply raw honey to the sore areas. It is a remarkable homeopathic healing agent. You can get it in any health food store. It is safe to ingest. Apply it several times a day. You should see positive results in as little as 48 hours. let me know how your baby is doing.Please be so kind as to rate my answer with positive feedback; that is the only way I receive credit for my assistance. Thank you very much!Providing a positive rating will not end our conversation, should you need me for any follow-up. Simply click 'Reply' for clarification or additional information, if needed, at no additional charge.Best wishes and prayers for Socks,Terri
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Terri, what about giving him the baking soda, honey and lemon to get the body alkalized so it helps put the body in an alkalized state. I have read that it can really help animals with cancer and tumors?
Expert:  Terri replied 9 months ago.
Hello,Thanks so much for your reply. To get the body alalinized give him baking soda, honey and two drops of cranberry juice. No lemonThe honey on his skin should help immensely, you will not believe how quickly it heals.Please keep me updated on his progress.Best wishes and prayers for him,'Terri
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
You said no lemon, will the lemon hurt him. I read everywhere the lemon is very important? I would like to try and get his body at an alkalized state where they say cancer can't survive. They also say it will shrink the tumor.
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Did you get my last question, I haven't received a reply yet and has been several hours?
Expert:  Terri replied 9 months ago.
Hi,I apologize, I was offline when you replied.Yes, you can use lemon. It is safe for cats. The alkanalized state may help. I just thought he would not like a sour taste.What do you think of this: importantly, lets work on healing his skin with the honey so he is more comfortable.Please let me know how he is doing.Terri
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
I'm not really sure how he is doing. I know he is a very sick cat since he was diagnosed with the spinal cord cancer last June and then just having the colon surgery to remove backed up stool. He doesn't act the same as before surgery, doesn't want to eat the dried cat food he ate before, only will eat canned tuna and the Science Hills ad urgent care can food off my finger. He also appears to be blind now, then at times it will appear he can see, then back to his pupils being dilated and just seems to be lost, just lying there and staring straight ahead, never closes his eyes to sleep. His third eyelid does stay up more than usual ever since the surgery. He hasn't had a bowel movement since Sunday while at the vets and I am worried the surgery didn't work and maybe he won't be able to go now. Not sure why he couldn't go before the surgery either. The hair is still coming off his legs and now his testicles and stomach and nothing buy very pink skin that looks raw. I wonder if he did live if it would ever grow back or would it be gone for good. I have never seen anything like it, so pitiful looking.
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Now he isn't peeing. The last time he peed was 10 am this morning and it is now 8:35 pm. I helped him over in the litter box as he wanted to go and he just sat there and did nothing. I don't understand and don't know what to do. They said his blood work was all good at the vets earlier this week and now this on top of everything. I am overwhelmed and about to have a breakdown. I can't put anything on his little red hairless, bony legs because it will just let the litter stick to it and would be a mess. He cries out when I even touch them. He is on Zenequin per my request in case he had any infection going on. Do you know why he wouldn't be able to pee? I desperately need answers.
Expert:  Terri replied 9 months ago.
I understand that he is very sick....poor baby. I am really concerned if he does not pee. He could be blocked (God forbid)If so, he needs to be seen immediately.I know you do want to hurt him by applying honey but I can tell you it will not only sooth but begin healing right away.Would he potty on wee wee pads made for puppies so no litter sticks to him?If not, apply honey after he potties. Forget about dry cat food. feed him A/D, baby food, tuna or whatever he wants.Please keep me posted on how he is doing.I am praying for him!
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Will the hair grow back if he lives long enough or did it just kill the hair folicles. It's just so bare and slick looking, nothing at all but shiny skin.
Expert:  Terri replied 8 months ago.
Yes, the hair will absolutely grow back as long as you heal his skin. I know honey can be messy but I promise you it will sooth and heal. I urge yo to try it right away.

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