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Rapid weight loss.

Species: Cat
Breed: short hair
Age: 2-5 years
Hello Dr. Marie,
First I have to sadly say that I can not afford a vet visit for my outdoor kitty. Hes been pretty healthy for the last 3 years we have been feeding him but with in the last week we have noticed a fast weight loss.His 3rd eye is showing and thats how I could tell he is sick. Hes eating well and drinking well..but Ive noticed in his hind area hes a little wobbly.He also has an extended stomach (hes always had that) He seems a little lethargic and sleeps alot.My husband thinks its worms. Also about 2 weeks ago I gave him the hearts treatment for fleas and ticks on his neck..a couple of days later I noticed the fur was missing...and you can clearly see a tick head embedded in his skin...I dont know if its old or not. I just want to know if there is anything I can do over the counter for him...or is it time to just make him comfortable until he goes (tears). thank you


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

The symptoms that you have described do have me worried.

Parasites could cause the third eyelid elevation and possibly a little bit of a big belly but really should not cause significant rapid weight loss. Any time I see a rapid weight loss I am concerned.

In an outdoor cat, the risk of a virus such as Feline Leukemia, FIV or FIP is very high. My biggest concern for Kitty is that this may be FIP.

There are tick borne diseases that can affect cats but this doesn't sound like a tick borne disease.

Unfortunately if this is one of those viruses then there is no cure. If he were in my office, then I would likely do some blood tests on him to look for Feline Leukemia and FIV and also a general blood panel to give me hints about FIP. There is no one test that is accurate for FIP. But, these tests would cost you at least a couple of hundred dollars to do.

One thing that you could try is buying some over the counter medicine for tapeworms. Tapeworms can cause the elevated third eyelids and in some cases weight loss, but it is not usually severe. I don't believe that the Hartz treatment you did will cover tapeworms. If you are in the US then tapeworm medicine is available over the counter. In Canada it is only available by prescription.

But, if this doesn't work then there is not much that you can do. Ultimately it would be best to have a vet look at him if at all possible.

Dr. Marie.


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Disclaimer: Although Dr. Marie is a qualified veterinarian, the information found on this site is not meant to replace the advice of your own veterinarian. AskAVetQuestion.com and Dr. Marie do not accept any responsibility for any loss, damage, injury, death, or disease which may arise from reliance on information contained on this site. Do not use information found on this site for diagnosing or treating your pet. Anything you read here is for information only.

Customer reply:

Dr. Marie,
Thank you for your advice...it has helped me alot. :-))One of the most wonderful things about our neighborhood is the volunteers that pick up stray cats and have them nurtured. The cats become wonderful porch and yard companions. Sadly tho ...no one can afford the medications they need except flea and tick meds. Kitty has had a companion for the last year...who shows no signs of this FIP. WE have had a black cat come around in heat but I know Kitty stays far away from other cats. I will try the suggestions you gave on the worm meds...and keep him comfortable for the rest of his life. :--)) thank you Dr. Marie and God Bless you and what you do for us all.


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

You're very welcome.

I just wanted to mention that FIP is not directly contagious from cat to cat so one cat could have it and the other may not. When cats come in contact with the virus that causes FIP, only 5% of them actually will get FIP.

Regardless, I hope that things improve with the poor little guy. Thanks for helping him out.

Dr. Marie.



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Dr. MarieDr. 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.

Is an online vet visit just as good as a trip to your veterinarian? No! But, many times, asking an online veterinarian a question can help save you money. While Dr. Marie can't officially diagnose your pet or prescribe medications, she can often advise you on whether a vet visit is necessary. You can also ask Dr. Marie for a second opinion on your pet's condition.