Last year/earlier this year Rascal had digestive issues stemming from dry cat food, his allergy to ingredients such as wheat/gluten, and were 99% resolved by switching him to wet only, low carb canned cat food.
Since then he has gained back his weight (he had lost quite a bit from being sick a lot), his digestive problems are rare, and sandbox issues are better than ever.
So when he got sick this past week, and didn’t recover shortly afterwards, we knew something was wrong.
He became quite lethargic, didn’t eat or drink, didn’t sleep in his normal spots, and wouldn’t interact with us.
We force fed him some baby food and water, but by the weekend, knew we had to take him to the vet’s office. We started him back on antibiotics that we had on hand, approved by the vet treating Rascal at the time. Due to ownership changes at the animal clinic, that vet is no longer available but taught us many valuable lessons on cat nutrition and care.
A new vet at the animal clinic thought we needed to do another ultrasound on him (last year’s gave a lot of clues), didn’t agree with the idea of the antibiotics, but did agree he needed a blood test. She informed us that a test sent off site would give results for an additional test that they couldn’t provide in-house, but since it would not be complete for a few days, we opted for utilizing the blood panel that would be ready in 15 minutes.
I kept asking about what his weight was on record from his last visit, as he had gained some weight. The new vet kept forgetting to check his prior record.
Rascal’s exam found his temperature normal, the blood results indicated no kidney issues, but he had an elevated ALT (liver enzymes) count. This prompted the new vet to agree that the antibiotics would be beneficial. She also suggested a very small dose (2.5mg) of Pepcid AC for possible stomach acid, a dose of anti-nausea medication, a prescription for an appetite stimulant, and subcutaneous fluids. I finally asked the front desk to check his records for his prior weight. It was about 10.5 pounds. He was now at about 12.5.
When we arrived home, I decided to research what can cause the elevated ALT. Two things stood out as I read the article: Beef and cheese. What were some of Rascal’s favorite foods while he had been recovering earlier this year? Beef and cheese. Fatty foods, that no doubt added to his weight gain. Something the new vet never saw as a clue.
We delayed the appetite stimulant for a couple of days, not wanting to introduce so many things to his system all at one time. By Sunday his energy level started to rally, he was curious about food but would not eat still, and he was more alert. We kept feeding him baby food, gave him his antibiotics, and used a squeeze bottle to get water into his mouth. On Monday, we gave him the appetite stimulant and in less than a ½ hour, he was eating small amounts of whole food again. We are feeding him strictly chicken and turkey right now, some cat food, some fresh & home cooked. We have a supply of poultry & vegetable baby food in pouches, that we discovered at the store, now with a tube at the top which is quite handy for force feeding a pet.
If your pets (specially cats) vomit often, don’t eat etc, consider wet food only, with low carbs, and watch how much fatty food, such as beef & cheese you give them.
Keep track of your pet’s weight.
Baby food is an excellent food source during times of need.
Most notable is that they can have food allergies.
Pay for blood tests and consider ultrasounds. They are non-invasive and do not require sedation (which can be dangerous).
Convenience and old habits do not bode well for pet care.
Question EVERYTHING your vet tells you and use your instincts. You know your pet.