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Our cat is not eating and drinking very little. He has lost…

Customer Question
Our cat is not...

Our cat is not eating and drinking very little. He has lost a bunch of weight and very lethargic.

Veterinarian's Assistant: I'm sorry to hear that. Could be a lot of things that cause lethargy. The Expert will know how to help the cat. What is the cat's name and age?

Chubs, 7 years old

Veterinarian's Assistant: Is there anything else important you think the Veterinarian should know about Chubs?

He had a hairball about 3 weeks ago and finally coughed it up. He stays in the house most of the time and is neutered.

Submitted: 11 months ago.Category: Cat Veterinary
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Answered in 1 minute by:
9/17/2017
Cat Veterinarian: Dr. Kara, Veterinarian replied 11 months ago
Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 19,022
Experience: Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.
Verified

Hello, I'm Dr. Kara. I have over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian and I'd like to help. Please give me a moment to review your concerns.

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Cat Veterinarian: Dr. Kara, Veterinarian replied 11 months ago

I'm sorry to hear that Chubs is feeling poorly, weak, lethargic, losing weight, and now is refusing to eat, and drinking very little.

A loss of appetite can be related to eating something he 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, heartworm disease, hyperthyroidism (a tumor of the thyroid gland) and secondary heart or metabolic organ disease, primary internal organ failure (kidney or liver disease), or even infiltrative cancers such as lymphoma.

Sometimes if we see drooling or pawing at the mouth along with a lack of appetite this can be related to severe gum and dental disease or a tumor in the mouth.

Since he hasn't eaten normally for several days such that he is noticeably losing weight then I am very concerned about him. If he isn't drinking well either he will quickly become dehydrated, and as his liver breaks down fats for energy to live he may develop a type of liver disease called hepatic lipidosis. This is when the liver becomes overwhelmed by fat metabolism and is unable to perform its other normal functions. That alone can turn into a life threatening form of liver disease.

Ideally he would see a veterinarian today since this has persisted. Simple stomach upset should pass within 24 to 48 hours. They could examine him, run blood tests and possibly check radiographs and/or an ultrasound to evaluate him and know best how to treat him.

In the meantime they can administer injectable anti-nausea drugs and fluids to rehydrate him as supportive measures and prescribe an appetite stimulant like mirtazapine.

If you cannot have him seen for whatever reason today there are some things you can try at home until you can have him seen.

At home to try and settle his stomach and hopefully get him eating you can give either:

1) Pepcid ac (famotidine) at a dose of ¼ of a 10mg tablet per 5 to 10 pounds of body weight every 12 hours

OR

2) Prilosec (omeprazole) at a dose of ¼ of a 20mg tablet per 10 to 20 pounds of body weight every 24 hours

These are acid reducers and may help him feel less nauseous so that he will eat. They are quite safe and can be used long term if necessary.

You can use a medicine syringe to try and force water or broth into him 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 he continues to not eat he should see a veterinarian for an examination, diagnostics and intravenous fluids and supportive care.

Please let me know if you have any further questions.

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Cat Veterinarian: Dr. Kara, Veterinarian replied 11 months ago

Hello, I wanted to make sure that you didn't have any further questions for me, and I'd like to know how things turned out for your kitty. If you could give me an update that would be great, thank you, ***** *****

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