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thinwhiteduke 11-11-2008 03:11 PM

Sick cat...
Hello. I'm sure I'm not alone w/ individuals seeking out help in finding answers to health-related issues w/ their cat, but I'm getting a bit disconcerted about an issue or two or three that I'm having w/ my oldest domestic shorthair, Pez.

He's between 13-14 y.o. and has been treated for hyper-thyroidism for almost 2 years now. He's also been a larger, girthier cat (as much as 22+ lbs or so). I've applied a doseage of a transdermal methimazole to his inner ear twice, daily. After the initial report that his levels were in the 12-13 range (most cats s/b about 4 or so), the treatment, after 3 months, had his levels cut almost in half. So, there was def. progress being made.

Flash forward to a few months ago...

As I've been treating him w/ this gel to his inner ear for the last 18 months or so (w/o having gone in for checkups since last summer), I had noticed a significant weight loss to him. He was also vomiting every now and then after eating, and I would see a strong amt. of discharge coming from his eyes. He would also retreat to underneath a particular chair he liked and stay there for long periods of time. Eating would be minimal, and he would drink/urinate more, but his feces was normal looking as well.

I found a dr. who was able to make house calls, and he's been out every other week or so to administer anti-biotics, hydrate him (only once), and check his temp. which has ranged anywhere from 102.1 - 103.5. His thyroid levels are back up in the 12 range as well (explains the abnormally fast heart rate, also) He had a significantly high white blood cell count which was telling us that he was trying to stave off an infection. The numerous tests that were performed on him (blood/thyroid panels) also showed that it's not his kidneys, liver or diabetes.

The next step, according to the dr., is go in for x-rays. It makes sense, since even a dr. can only tell so much, but is there anyone out there that has some other insight to what it could possibly be? I've also heard that a condition in one of his aortas may be giving him the fast heart rate (endocarditis?). He also didn't seem to think it was a tumor (after feeling his underside for a great period of time)

The dr., who's seen most, if not all ailments in felines, is puzzled greatly by this one. Even fellow dr.'s are a bit perplexed as to why he's not responding well to the anti-biotics (I have no idea the specific names of the trtmnts, either).

Unf., I've been preparing myself that he may not be w/ me much longer w/ all this uncertainty, but I've certainly not given up on him yet. He's still very much an alive cat and no "signs" of pain are noticeable (save for the retreating to under the chair).

I just can't keep putting band-aids on the situation anymore, though. But I'm also wondering about self-healing and that cats can somehow manage to treat themselves? This seems a bit too severe for self-healing, though. I don't know if the trtmnts are even helping because there have been no signs of actual progress, but at the same time, he hasn't gotten worse.

Thanks for your time...I've only been a wreck for the last 3 months.


krzekmaya 11-12-2008 09:15 AM

Hi Bob & Pez, welcome! :mrgreen:

I'm Maya, the mum of 6 spoiled furkids ;)

The situation is very confusing, apparently except for the hyperthyroidism
all seems to be Okay; I don't know what to say... :confused:
Did you consult another vet? I think a second opinion can help you in this case. :roll:

Good luck & keep us posted,

thinwhiteduke 11-12-2008 11:14 AM

Good morning, Maya.

After the visit last night, his temp. was down by half a point (102.4 or so), but for the last few visits, the dr. had been feeling his underside to check certain organs (spleen, liver, stomach) for any abnormalities.

Well, last week he said he had felt something near his stomach, but didn't want to necessary alarm me; he said that sometimes when he feels what he felt, it could be poop that hasn't come out yet. Last night, he felt it again and that he was pretty sure it was a tumor near the top of his stomach.

That would explain everything, really. I'm taking him in for x-rays this weekend to find out what else may be going on inside his little body.

And he's given me 2 bad options if it really is cancer.

1. Have surgery which is at least $1,000. It wouldn't surprise me if it was more, depending on where else the cancer may even be, or if it is solely confined to his stomach. I would never put him through any type of chemo or radiation, either.

2. Ride it out. Watch his development and see how his "quality of life" becomes. Have the vet come out once a month to determine if he should be put down and stop any further suffering if it seems as if he's deteriorating.

Believe me, I'm not one to be selfish and let the poor thing hang on for his last gasp so I can enjoy his company for as long as possible. But right now, aside from the occasional vomiting, he's very much alive, imo, but I guess only the x-rays and the dr. can truly determine that.

I guess the thyroid medicine doesn't mean a damn thing to him now.

Does a 2nd opinion even matter at this point? I think the x-ray is what any other dr. would do.

And all the "woulda coulda shouldas..."

krzekmaya 11-12-2008 12:27 PM

Hi Bob, good morning for you (it's already evening here) :roll:

If it is cancer, I'm very sorry for you two. The two of you will suffer on a different manner. :( I'm sure you know what I mean.

I went through this situation twice & I'm still asking myself if the surgery was the answer. I learned that if an animal get it, sooner or later
will lose the battle, no cure at all. :(

So Bob, I wish you & Pez good luck & please keep us posted, Okay?
Do you have any Pez pics for us to see? :confused:

thinwhiteduke 11-12-2008 12:35 PM

He's lost so much weight...:(

krzekmaya 11-12-2008 01:19 PM

Aww, he's fab, God bless him! :p
I hope with all my heart he will get well soon, he's lovely! :-D

Two of my kits (the older one, Domino & the tiny one, Dino) are also black & white like Pez; you can see them in my gallery as well as my two angels that are waiting for me at the Bridge. :(
Domino lost weight also because he's suffering from a heart disease (enlargement of one of his heart chambers that provokes arrythmia) and he's medicated for the rest of his life.
Hope to hear from you soon.

Bye for now,

Max24 11-15-2008 10:29 PM

Feeling your heartache
Greetings Bob & Pez!

I read your post with confusion also. I must admit, I don't have any experience with hyperthyroidism, but I do have some experience with fear of the unknown.

One of my cats, Hannah - 11 years old, is hospitalized at this moment and will have a feeding tube placed on Monday. It all started with a lesion in her mouth and a tooth extraction, then she became anorexic and lost about 3 lbs in a short period of time. Subsequently, her liver started to fail.

I know what you are feeling. How far to we go to make them happy and comfortable? I have been torn all week as to which avenue to take. Truthfully, last Monday night I was ready to euthanize her. They had put her on steroids and her electrolytes were so whacked, she couldn't hold her head up. I expressed my feelings to her doctor, and she replied "not yet, there is more we can try". Once she was off the steroids and holding her food down, she looked much better, and that gave me hope. I actually got her to play a bit this week.

I was apprehensive when the doctor suggested the feeding tube. The main reason I agreed is that I will be able to bring her home and give her the feedings here. Also, I will be able to monitor her daily in her own environment. It's hard with just the hour a day hospital visits.

I'm sure Pez will give you the cues you need, as Hannah will with me. We know our furkids. As long as Pez is holding his own, there is hope. Maybe the "self-healing" you are referring to is nothing more than our love for them.

Keep me posted.
Hannah's Mom -Max

krzekmaya 11-16-2008 07:43 AM

I know very well what you two, Max & Bob are feeling & I wish you good luck with these two nightmares :roll: I also hope the two kits will be healthy soon!!!! :p

thinwhiteduke 11-17-2008 11:50 AM

Max, thank you for sharing your story; that seems even harder to bear than what I'm dealing with right now, and I hope that she takes well to the feeding tube. Please let us know how things go.

My situation didn't fare all that great, unf. I brought Pez in for x-rays on Sat. and after they had taken 2 diff't angled x-rays, it was shown that he did have a tumor somewhere near his stomach. It appeared as if the mass was a bit nebulous, as it could possibly be near or on his spleen, pancreas, intestinal area or anywhere in-between. All other vital organs looked good (kidneys, liver, heart).

What disappointed me is that the x-rays are unable to tell if the tumor is malignant or benign. Even an ultrasound wouldn't be able to discern one way or the other. So, I was given 3 options:

1. Cut him open, find out where the tumor is, specifically (has it metastasized or not), and is it operable to remove it all. Surgery would be roughly $1,000-$1,200 and wouldn't guarantee anything. It could be a good thing or it could also be a bad thing. Dealing w/ a hyperthyroid condition as well, if he were to be put under, it could prove to be riskier for him to come out of it. His heart has an arrhythmia issue and it may shock him to be put under anesthesia.

2. An even riskier option was to insert a needle near the stomach to extract some of the cells of the tumor and test them to see if they are malignant or benign, but then the risk is posed if he were to pierce a pus pocket, accidentally, it would be like toxins coarsing through his body almost immediately.

3. And the last option, which I think I'm going with, is to have him run his course of life and monitor him to see how he's doing. I'd been feeding both my cats dry food all their lives, but the dr. sent me home w/ some special wet stuff that may be easier to digest because he still throws up about every 36-48 hours.:(

The dr. also said that if and when he stops eating is when it may be time to make a decision I don't want to make, but I've been preparing for this and crying more than I've ever cried before for the last 2+ months; I just want to make sure I make the right decision as a pet owner and just know when it's time. I opened up the wet food the dr. had given me and he scarfed down what I had put in the bowl for him, but about 8 hours later, he threw it up. I just have to think that throwing up the wet stuff may not be as hard on his throat coming back up as the hard food. I don't know, I'm just making decisions I feel is right for him and will do anything to make him comfortable.

Tonight, I go to the store and p/u tuna in a can which he goes spastic for. I figure I should spoil him as much as possible because every day I come home from work, I'm grateful as hell that's he's still with me, but I know he may not be one of these days.

Thanks again to you all for kind words and supportive spirits.

Of course, my other worry is Cabi (my 8 y.o.) who has been around Pez for all his eight years. W/ Pez gone, I'm wondering how he'll take to it.:confused:

che 11-17-2008 12:09 PM

Hi Bob and the gorgeous Pez,also Max and Hannah,your stories are so tugging at my heart,I wish you all the best of luck.Lots of love and furry hugs from me and my gang.xxxxx

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