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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 29730
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience.
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Cat looks bloated, lethargic, but wide-eyed, not eating

Customer Question

Cat looks bloated, lethargic, but wide-eyed, not eating much, drinks water - what is wrong?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.

"Bloated" abdomens are usually effusive (filled with fluid) in 16 year old cats. The fluid can collect secondary to right-sided heart failure, both hepatic and renal insufficiency, infection such as from the FIP virus, and the inflammation associated with neoplasia (cancer) in the abdominal cavity (an important differential diagnosis). Scotty's vet will want to thoroughly examine Scotty. If fluid is suspected, a small amount can be aspirated out of the abdomen and analyzed for its physical characteristics and cellularity. You should prepare yourself for an unfavorable prognosis. Effusions always indicate serious disease.

Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.

Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.

Assuming I'm correct, all of the causes of effusions are eventually terminal. The best scenario would be right-sided heart failure and a diuretic might prolong Scotty's life. Of course, every day is a gift at his age and so we're not not talking about extending his life for an appreciable time. Please continue our conversation if you wish.