Species: Cat Breed: Domestic Shorthair Age: 2-5 years
My cat Miss Fitzgibbons who is 3 years old has suddenly become quite weak. She is still eating and drinking, although in smaller amounts than she used to. She is no longer grooming herself and is missing or avoiding the litter box. I have not had an opportuninty to view her feces or her actions during bowel movements ( we're a multi cat family). When urinating, she shows no signs of distress and the stream is strong and the amount is quite good. Upon inspection she shows no signs of trauma, but has a tenderness when firm palpation is applies to her very low abdomen. She has what looks like a possible mild discharge at the vulva, but as I said, she has not been gooming. We recently had houseguests who brought their dog and two cats. She was very frightened of the dog, and would not come downstairs to eat. As a consequence she lost a considerable amount of weight in the two weeks they were with us. She did also get fleas from the cats, but that was easily controlled and seemed to have no deleterious effects. She is not feverish and shows no symptoms of upper respiratory infection. She is a domestic shorthair rescue who has been with us since 10 weeks of age. I would appreciate it if you would give me an idea of how to help her to regain her sleek and curious self. (I really do love her!)
Dr. Marie replied:
I'm sorry to hear that your cat is not well. It really sounds like she is quite sick.
Is she spayed? If not then I am quite concerned she may have a serious infection in the uterus called a pyometra. This is treatable, but she'll need surgery in order to get better.
It's also possible that she has picked up disease from the fleas. Some fleas carry a blood parasite called hemobartonella. This can cause extreme anemia and make a cat very sick. It wouldn't cause a vulvar discharge however.
Weight loss almost always means that there is a serious medical problem going on. If you do think that it started after the stress of having animals in the house, it's possible she has a condition called Fatty Liver, which is very serious as well.
It's also possible that she has an abscess somewhere, perhaps from an altercation with one of the other pets. This can often be treated with antibiotics but sometimes needs surgery.
There really is nothing I can suggest for you to do at home, but I would highly urge you to have your vet look at her as soon as possible. I really hope she is ok.
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Thank you Dr. Marie,
She had liver and kidney failure. I chose to euthanize her so that she would not suffer unneccesarily.
Dr. Marie replied:
Oh, I am so sorry to hear that. It sounds like you made the right decision.
Dr. Marie is a veterinarian who practices in a busy animal hospital in Ottawa, Ontario. She created Ask A Vet Question as a resource for good, accurate veterinary advice online. Dr. Marie treats dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rats. She has been a vet since 1999.
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