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petdrz, Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 7373
Experience:  Over 30 years of experience in caring for dogs and cats.
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My name is ***** ***** and I have a cat that is rapidly

Customer Question

Customer: My name is ***** ***** and I have a cat that is rapidly losing weight, she's in her teens, tests show no kidney, diabetes or thyroid issues. High bilirubin level and other ups/downs on her CBC. Her appetite is excellent and energy level slightly decreased, poor hair coat. She is still quite happy but I don't know what to do for her.
JA: Thanks. Can you give me any more details about your issue?
Customer: Amylase & urea nitrogen also high, platelets low, Lymphosites low, zero basophils, Monocytes low.
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Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Cat
Expert:  petdrz replied 1 year ago.

Hello and thanks for trusting me to help you and your pet today. I am a licensed veterinarian with over 25 years experience and would be happy work with you but need a bit more information in order to better assist you if you don't mind.

How high was the urea nitrogen? Do you know what the creatinine levels were?

Was a urine sample checked? If so, do you know what the specific gravity value was?

Is she doing any vomiting?

Thanks and I will respond further after you reply. There may be a slight delay while I formulate and type a thorough response or I may be offline, but if so, I will respond as soon as I am able.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Urea nitrogen 37, creatinine 1.2, bilirubin .6, Platelets 36, Amylase 2095. She is not vomiting, no urine sample was drawn, unable to confirm stool quality (4 cats) but appears normal. Started her on an iron, vitamin supplement today. Is a chronic condition that has been ongoing for several months. My vet wants to treat for tapeworms but isn't sure what is going on.
Expert:  petdrz replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for the prompt reply.

This is a very common scenario in cats and it is likely that there is disease present, but that it is hiding very well. Most of the time with the symptoms you describe and results so far, the most likely location of the problem is the GI tract. Some cats have a low grade flare up of pancreatitis which can be a challenge to confirm as it is not always evident on routine bloodwork. Along with that, many of these same cats also have a degree of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) or even slow growing intestinal cancer. Unfortunately, either of these can be present and there can be no other abnormalities noted on bloodwork, xray or even ultrasound, although these tests should be run to rule out other conditions that present with the same symptoms. There is a specific GI blood panel that can be requested and if abnormalities noted, can lend support to either pancreatic or intestinal disease. The only way however, to confirm the diagnosis is with a biopsy of the intestine. This can be done via endoscope, but is better performed with an exploratory surgery. The problem with this is that many cat owners are not willing to pursue the diagnosis by these means. It is for that reason that many cats are "suspected" to have IBD or GI cancer as the cause of their weight loss and anorexia once all of the other easy to find things have been ruled out.

I suspect that may be where you are at with your cat. If that is the case, you can discuss with your veterinarian the pros and cons of proceeding with a biopsy to confirm the diagnosis. Even if you choose to not go the route of biopsy, she may benefit from a course of corticosteroids. There are other medications and supplements used to manage IBD as well. Steroids help many cats with either of the two conditions to gain weight, but if there is intestinal cancer, the result may be short lived. If cancer is confirmed with a biopsy, she may do better with other chemotherapeutic drugs to put her in remission for a longer period of time. If the cause is IBD only, you may be able to decrease or even stop the steroids after you see improvement. Biopsy and confirming the diagnosis is often a better choice, but not always feasible for every case. Work with your veterinarian to decide what is best for you and her.

Here are a few links you may find informative.

intestinal lymphoma

inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)

feline pancreatitis

I hope this is helpful. Please let me know if you have ANY other questions. My goal is to give you 100% satisfaction and if you are not yet satisfied, please reply so I can clarify for you.

My posted replies are for general education only and not meant as a diagnosis. Only after a thorough veterinary examination can a diagnosis for your pet be made and specific treatments be advised or medications be prescribed.

Dr Z

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your input and suggestions. I will not be looking to have a biopsy or anything intrusive done with the kitty as she's in her teens and frankly, with 3 other kitties and 3 horses, cost does factor in. I do like your idea of trying her on steroids to see if I can get some weight back on her. She seems happy and eats like a horse so I'm also not ready to give up on her.Do enjoy the rest of the weekend and I'm going to stick with supplements and hopefully, steroids to improve her condition, if only for short time. Thanks again.
Expert:  petdrz replied 1 year ago.

You are most welcome and I hope things go well for her.