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Watery diarrhea.

Species: Cat
Breed: not sure
Age: 11-15 years
My cat has had consistent diarrhea and vomiting for some time. Her vet began monitoring her weight loss, and she also began injecting her with fluids and B12 once a week. The weight loss continued. I found an article about coccidia online and asked that she be treated for this. The cat has now gained back a little weight and has some appetite, but still has diarrhea and vomiting. The diarrhea had been very watery and yellow, but now is a little more solid and has taken on the green color of the treats she is eating (about all she wants to eat these days, but slowly gaining interest in other foods again). Can you give me any suggestions as to what else I could check for? Is giardia a possibility?


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

I'm sorry to hear that Weasie is having these problems. Chronic diarrhea in cats can be a VERY frustrating thing to deal with.

It's interesting that she responded to coccidia treatment. It is uncommon for a cat of this age to pick up coccidia. I'm wondering if the treatment was an antibiotic like S-125. It's possible that she has something called SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth) and that the antibiotic helped temporarily.

SIBO is sometimes a component of IBD (inflammatory bowel disease). IBD is really common in cats, especially as they get older. It sounds like your vet was thinking of IBD if they were treating with B12.

I have found that most of my patients with IBD will need steroids of some sort, either by pill form or sometimes in injection every 4-6 weeks. (I prefer to use pills though.) You could ask your vet if this is an option. Cats handle steroids really well. For most of my patients I am able to get them down to a miniscule dose every other day.

Giardia is unlikely unless for some reason it is rampant in your area. I often will put diarrhea patients on a course of metronidazole which is a medication that treats giardia but also helps with intestinal inflammation as well.

The other thing that I worry about when an older cat has diarrhea is intestinal lymphoma which is a cancer of the intestines. Unfortunately the only way to tell the difference between lymphoma and IBD is to have biopsies done which is expensive and invasive.

I hope this helps. I would definitely suggest asking your vet about using steroids.

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.

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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.