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Dr. Amanda
Dr. Amanda, Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 799
Experience:  Associate Veterinarian
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Should I put my cat to sleep? Siamese is 16 years old. a

Customer Question

Should I put my cat to sleep? Siamese is 16 years old. a year ago his spleen was taken out due to mast cell. he has put on weight and kept it until now and takes steroid, benadryl, etc. everything has been great. what led to surgery was him crashing, barfing diahrea.
About a week ago we noticed he was squinting and starting to sleep with his mouth cracked. never seen this before. we took him to the vet and they did tests and couldn't tell us much except for some elevated liver levels over where he was last blood test. they did some eye tests and i forget but he wasn't reacting to every situation with the light off/on, but they think his retinas were good and pressure test was ok.
I'm at a loss with their guidance i feel its not good enough care. so they put him on orbax and zydaclin hoping a small chance it was a virus or something, otherwise considering he has cancer and is old look into putting him to sleep.
Just not enough info for me, I am stuck in a small town right now.
Its day 5 on the meds. he is still drinking allot and going to the bathroom. appetite shifts. he ate allot the day before yesterday then went 3/4 of the day without, then ate some wet food. he is also liking chicken broth. since we keep a log of his weight anyway he is down 3/4 pound compared to before we noticed him not feeling well. not sure if thats a good enough sample.
he is very lethargic and stumbles a bit with everything that he does. he walks a little funny, has a little trouble cleaning himself. doesn't seem to react to stimuli as much, but he is navigating the house with litter box, food, bed, etc.
he just seems run down in a haze, but we are just ending day 5 on all these meds and i think their course runs out around day 10. tonight he was yodeling with me in the room and his tongue hangs out. i get the feeling he was uncomfortable trying to find a rest spot. this seems off and wierd to me so i gave in and gave him the pain meds they gave us after surgery in case he was in pain.
he isn't squinting like he was for the past few days now, i see color in his eyes but he leaves them cracked allot. they seem watery. little crust in the corners but no goop with color flowing out.
what i would love to know is how to determine how long i ride this out if its some secondary problem like herpes, or if its just a sign that he is slipping away and i should end his pain and put him to sleep. i just started giving him lysine in case it is herpes, they couldn't tell me a thing.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Amanda replied 1 year ago.

Hi,

My name is***** and I am sorry to hear that Punk is so sick.

There are many factors that go into deciding if a pet has a poor quality of life and if we tolerate a not so great quality in hopes that things will improve.

First a list of his problems-

blindness

open mouth breathing

waxing and waning appetite

weight loss

difficulty walking

not grooming

inappropriate vocalization

closed eyes

non-responsive to antibiotics

Is he dehydrated? Do his eyes look sunken in the sockets? Can you pick up his skin and count the seconds to how quickly it returns back to its normal location (this should happen very quickly).

Second, is he eating and drinking through all of this illness? Is he still able to make it to the litter box or is he soiling himself?

Based on your very descriptive and helpful history, I am not convinced your kitty has herpes. With herpes they don't have walking problems, don't loose their vision and they don't act as if they are in pain. Have you explored the idea that the problems could be more related to cancer that has spread everywhere?

Here is link to a discussion about quality of life in pets that includes a chart that can help making the decision a little more objective:

http://www.veterinarypartner.com/Content.plx?P=A&S=0&C=0&A=1523

You have all of my sympathies as you walk down this path with Punk. It is not easy and not straight forward.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any more questions.

Dr. Amanda

Kansas State University,

College of Veterinary Medicine Class of 2001

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
the vet didn't think he was deyhdrated at the time and he doesn't appear to be now with that test. he definately has kept the fluid intake up, he loves the broth throughout this each day. he is making the journey to his litter box and handling business although he did have diahrea 2 days, i thought it might be the meds?he was eating at first when we noticed the eye squinting. his longest period of time without food was 3/4 of a day while drinking the broth constantly. day before yesterday he ate allot of dry prescription food during the evening and early morning but not much during day while he sleeps all the time. today he ate half a can of wet food but didn't seem interested in the dry food.grasping at straws i just found a youtube video about cats that are sick and they suggested baby food so i just ran out and got some. this made him perk up and devour a bottle of it and its the first time since this started happening that he did so with the foods. he also perks up with the broth throughout all of this and drinks allot in one sitting.the vet does have the history of the cats surgery and bloodwork checkup, etc. i was just hoping they could guide me so i know the difference between some kind of other flare up and cancer side effects. all of this was very sudden.if i let this current round of meds run its course and hes acting the same do i just assume its the cancer?
Expert:  Dr. Amanda replied 1 year ago.

I am happy to hear that he is eating. He may like the soft texture of the baby food. There are some different "recovery" diets available such as Purina Recovery, Science Diet A/D, that he may also enjoy.

If the meds don't work, then, yes, I would assume that he has cancer. But, just because he probably has cancer doesn't mean that he must die immediately.

The good news is it sounds like he is still not feeling too poorly and today may not be his day. Were you able to see the chart and scoring system for quality of life that was in the link that I sent? I would suspect that his score will still be high and it will also give you things to think about and watch for as he continues to age.

Dr. A

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
well sadly last night punk was having trouble getting around the room and knocked over the food and water. then he proceeded to come over to me and had a seizure. it was short and he came out of it in minutes and started moaning. i pet him as he had trouble moving around at first.this scared me so much and i was looking at the chart you gave and i could see that his quality of life was not good, it would be selfish for me to try and keep him going. i had no access to an emergency vet so i gave him some of the pain meds they gave from surgery in case of emergency and in minutes this seemed to settle down his jitters. he ate another jar of baby food and curled into a ball and slept near me the rest of the night, it seemed peacefull, although it did seem like his breathing was a bit more labored. he would pur when i pet him. i had to wait until 8am for vet and put him to sleep, luckily he didn't have anymore seizures during the night.we also noticed one eye the other lid wasn't right and when you shined light you could see some blotches behind the eye. i assume he could still see a bit because of the way he moved around the room but obviously something wasn't right.i am just curious since all of this came on all of a sudden if i made the right choice? he was drooling towards the end with his mouth open breathing and tongue hanging out. every physical function was messed up from grooming, to eating food out of the plate to walking, etc. obviously some damage occured to his eye(s) even though for the last couple of days he quit squinting, he was actually sleeping allot with them cracked open and watery.does this sound like a case of disease vs. just a cat having seizures that may have been treatable? my gut is telling me we did the right thing. i noticed i gave him the pain meds a few times this last week and this put his body at ease more and he was more alert to being pet, etc. and his hunger would improve, so i assume some pain and discomfort even though all he wanted to do is roll up into a ball on a blanket next to us and sleep and purr.he wasn't stressed out and was actually alert when we woke him to go to the vet. they did it rather quickly with no problems so i feel like we did the right thing and our last vision of him will be pretty good since he had his eyes open and was alert.
Expert:  Dr. Amanda replied 1 year ago.

I am so sorry to hear that Punk passed away. Since he started having seizures, I would strongly suspect that he had brain cancer and likely cancer throughout his body. I think you made the right choice for him, ending the suffering that was not going to end on its own. I am also glad to hear that his passing was so peaceful, I truly believe that these guys, at the end of their lives, are aware of what is going on and are comfortable with it. And some I even think are grateful.

You can rest quietly knowing he is no longer suffering. He will always be in your heart and will be waiting for you on the other side of the rainbow bridge.

With much sympathy,

Dr. A