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Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 16923
Experience:  Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.
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10 +/- year old rescued Tuxedo won't eat much losing weight

Customer Question

10 +/- year old rescued Tuxedo won't eat much losing weight all blood tests negative no worms and no fever.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 2 years ago.
Hello, my name is***** and I have over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian. I'm sorry to hear that your girl Sadie isn't feeling well and is eating poorly and losing weight.
Loss of appetite and weight loss can be related to eating something she should not have, too many treats or table food, eating foreign material (which could cause a full or partial gastrointestinal obstruction), chronic pancreatitis, a dietary allergy or sensitivity, toxin exposure, a viral or bacterial infection, inflammatory bowel disease, hyperthyroidism (a tumor of the thyroid gland) internal organ failure, or even infiltrative cancers such as lymphoma.
Because she hasn't eaten normally in several days and she is losing weight I am very concerned about her. As her liver breaks down fats for energy to live it becomes overwhelmed by fat metabolism, unable to function normally performing other tasks, and she may develop a type of liver disease called hepatic lipidosis.
If blood tests are coming back with no definitive answer then organ failure, diabetes, and an infection as causes are less likely. An abdominal ultrasound or an exploratory surgery of her abdomen to collect biopsies is the best way to look for a cause. I suspect that they are looking for signs of inflammatory bowel disease, an obstruction or infiltrative intestinal cancer.
In the meantime your veterinarian can administer injectable anti-nausea drugs and fluids to rehydrate her and prescribe an appetite stimulant called mirtazapine.
In the meantime there are some things you can try at home.
At home to try and settle her stomach you can give either:
1) Pepcid ac (famotidine) at ¼ of a 10mg tablet per 5 to 10 pounds of body weight every 12 hours
2) Prilosec (omeprazole) at ¼ of a 10mg tablet per 5 to 10 pounds of body weight every 24 hours
These are acid reducers and may help her feel less nauseous so that she will eat and regain some weight. They are quite safe and can be used long term if necessary.
You can use a medicine syringe to try and force water into her orally.
A couple of hours after giving the acid reducer I recommend offering meat baby foods or a bland diet of 2/3 boiled minced white skinless chicken and 1/3 boiled white rice mixed with some low salt chicken broth to make it easy to lap up and swallow.
If she continues to not eat and lose weight and an ultrasound is not financially possible then another option is trying a course of steroids and a hypoallergenic diet. Steroids are useful in treating inflammatory bowel disease and some types of cancer. Once they given however we cannot get an accurate biopsy as steroids will change the tissues, thus your veterinarian's reluctance to give her those before getting a diagnosis.
Please let me know if you have any further questions.