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We have a cat that lived its first year or two feral. We've…

Customer Question
We have a cat...

We have a cat that lived its first year or two feral. We've had her for a few years now and would guess she could be 7-9 years old. A while back she started to have a strange loud hacking cough, most times followed by a clear, sticky phlegm-like oral discharge. This comes and goes. But, she has had very loose stool die some time now, and tends to not make it to the litter box in time. I viewed he almost diarrhea today and it appears to have some very small whitish specs in it. She has an appetite and eats, but has lost weight anyway. Ideas?

Veterinarian's Assistant: I'm sorry to hear that. Cats have coughing problems all the time but it is worrying. The Expert will know what you should do. What is the cat's name?

Delilah

Veterinarian's Assistant: Is there anything else the Veterinarian should be aware of about Delilah?

That's our concern right now and as descriptive as I can get.

Submitted: 8 months ago.Category: Cat Veterinary
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Answered in 3 hours by:
11/17/2017
Cat Veterinarian: Dr. Gary, Cat Veterinarian replied 8 months ago
Dr. Gary
Dr. Gary, Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 20,006
Experience: DVM, Emergency Veterinarian, BS (Physiology)
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Hello, I'm Dr Gary. I've been practicing veterinary medicine since 2007. I look forward to helping with your questions/ concerns.

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Cat Veterinarian: Dr. Gary, Cat Veterinarian replied 8 months ago

Coughing in cats is often due to one of a couple things:

1. Asthma: Feline asthma will cause coughing, wheezing and occasional episodes of respiratory distress. It is diagnosed with x-rays of the chest to look for inflammation around the airways and hyper-inflated lungs. Treatment is with aerosolized meds- a bronchodilator (Albuterol) and sometimes a steroid (Flovent). They are administered through the Aerokat spacer- you can see how this works at Aerokat.com.

2. Heart Disease- This is diagnosed on auscultation by listening for a heart murmur and also chest x-rays to look for an enlarged heart. An ultrasound of the heart is the diagnostic of choice and gives you a better idea of prognosis.

3. Pneumonia- This is also diagnosed on exam and then confirmed with x-rays. Treatment is with antibiotics and oxygen supplementation as needed.

I would guess that your cat has asthma and would start by looking for that.

The diarrhea could also be related as immune mediated IBD (inflammatory bowel disease) could be a concurrent disease process.

I hope this helps, let me know if you have any other questions.

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Customer reply replied 8 months ago
Waste of $22.
Cat Veterinarian: Dr. Gary, Cat Veterinarian replied 8 months ago

What other questions do you have?

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Cat Veterinarian: Dr. Gary, Cat Veterinarian replied 8 months ago
Hi,
I'm just following up on our conversation about your pet. How is everything going?
Dr. Gary
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Customer reply replied 8 months ago
She does wheeze a little bit, generally, but it is this occasional hacking that is one concern I expressed, especially, if it is tied to the major concern. She has a very loud hack ever so often, that is usually followed by phlegm being spit out.But, our major concern is her weight loss and continual diarrhea/very loose stool. She has an appetite, but mostly wants to lick the gravy off her food. She eats very little hard food or the soft canned food we give her.I tried to examine her stool the other day, which prompted my inquiry. Her stool had very tiny white specs in it. I noticed no worms or anything moving in this one examination.But, obviously, she has problems with her digestion which, I believe, is causing her inability to eat normally. And, perhaps, could even be associated with her trying to hack up something. I believe I have read about certain parasitic worms that cause these symptoms.
Cat Veterinarian: Dr. Gary, Cat Veterinarian replied 7 months ago

I understand the concerns. The one thing that would link the two together is allergies. The shock organ in cats is the respiratory tract. That's why we see signs of asthma as one of the more common manifestations. When we have GI signs associated with allergies, it's usually decreased appetite, weight loss and diarrhea. Occasionally we'll see chronic vomiting.

So, I would say allergies would be the main culprit here to explain the respiratory and GI signs. Moving forward, it's tough to know exactly what cats are allergic to. I usually try a hypoallergenic diet like Hill's Z/D or Purina HA to at least rule out food allergies. Another option would be Royal Canin duck and pea. That's a good novel protein that can sometimes cure allergic signs.

For the respiratory signs, you're usually looking at a combination of inhaled and oral steroids +/- broncho-dilators.

Here's a nice link on asthma in cats with more info:

http://www.veterinarypartner.com/Content.plx?P=A&S=0&C=0&A=665

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