Cat with cerebellar hypoplasia, chronic diarrhea & eye infections

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Purred: Tue Jun 26, '12 7:40am PST 
We are on our last...I don't even know what to call it, with our CH cat Fiddle.

We've had her for 2 1/2 years now, since she was a tiny 2week old kitten. The problems began from almost day one- she had diarrhea & had to be treated for coccidia, wasn't learning to walk properly and got diagnosed from a very expensive ER vet as having CH, and in her adulthood, suffers from constant eye infections.

She was tested for herpes virus and for cysts in her eye, both of which came back negative, and was finally given steroid eye cream (to no avail). Teramycin seemed to do the trick, and recently we switched her to Tobramycin when the local feed store stopped carrying the former. It keeps the inflamation at bay, but it seems the tissue remains slightly inflamed even when we're extremely rigorous about applying it day and night. The instant we stop applying it- we have a squinty, weepy-eyed blind cat.

We had her declawed (on our vet's reccomendation, please don't flame me for this) because he initially suspected the eye issues were being caused by her scratching her own eyes up. I waited nearly 3 whole months of constant eye medication with relapses as soon as we stopped treating her before I gave in. It was not an easy decision, as her agility was already limited by CH and I was scared of what might happen if we damaged her feet like that, but I didn't know what else to do. Fiddle seems to be a first everything for our vet, so I have a feeling he was out of his element as well. Needless to say, the problem persists, and now I've got a declawed CH cat with even more limited mobility than before.

My husband hates her, and I can't blame him. This is because she has the less than charming tendency to defecate outside of her litterbox. We clean her box nearly every day, and yet she will still go behind the fish tank, in the middle of the hall, or on the floor right next to the box. We have been forced to keep her in the laundry room during the day, for fear of coming home to puddles of dried fecal matter. However, that doesn't seem to help, as often as soon as we let her out in the AM she runs off somewhere to leave a nice squishy present. It used to be light colored, almost like baby poo, but now it's dark and tacky- I think this has something to do with her food, as we've noticed our 'normal' cat also has darker stool.

We're feeding her Wellness canned grain-free turkey formula. Before that, she was on Blue Buffalo Limited Ingredient turkey and potato dry food. When she was on the dry food, she occasionally had loose stool, but I'm not certain it was as frequent as it is now.

I have no idea what we're doing wrong. The vet has made noises that we may have to take her to a veterinary optometrist about the eyes, and besides prescribing some truly foul Science Diet soy-protein based sensitive stomach food has largely been unable to help with her gastrointestinal problems either. I'm tired, and stressed, and my husband is sick of it, and quite frankly I'm sick of him complaining, as I don't really enjoy dealing with her constant issues either. I'm sorry if someone out there gets angry for me saying these things but I am on my last nerve. I can't keep dealing with this, and we've already poured thousands of dollars into medical care for this animal, seemingly to no avail. I feel like I can't even enjoy her company any more- she hates being held because she assumes she's going to be medicated, and when she's out I am usually cringing mentally and waiting for the next messy disaster.

I am pretty sure my husband wants to have her put down or try to find a rescue to take her (which is laughable given most rescues can barely find homes for NORMAL, HEALTHY cats, much less our little trainwreck), but he won't say anything because he knows I wouldn't let him. What on earth is wrong with our cat? She's UTD on shots, flea preventative, and has been tested for nearly every nasty under the sun and the results all came back clean.


It's all about- me.
Purred: Tue Jun 26, '12 9:56am PST 
It's perfectly understandable that you are frustrated and aggravated by the situation. You've done so much for her and you feel like you're getting nowhere. The only advice I could give is that it seems like it's time for a new vet who may have a different perspective on things. Is there a veterinary school you could take her to? They have usually seen everything. I don't know much about irritable bowel disease, but Lacy and Finney's mom has a good website that talks about it. ibdkitties.net. Maybe your kitty is suffering from that. Good luck; I'll purr for you.


Purred: Tue Jun 26, '12 10:13am PST 
Thanks, yeah, I just feel like I'm at my wit's end here. We ARE actually dropping her off at a new vet closer to the house tommorow for a second opinion. She'll be staying all day for her exam and some tests. He's, I believe, going to do a fecal to check for coccidia/giardia again as well as hopefully a cytology/culture on some of her corneal cells. I think our vet already has done a DNA test for FHV-1, but if that isn't on her paperwork from them I might ask them to do that as well.

I just keep seeing dollar signs and it's giving me a headache, lol. Although if it can cut back on some of the insanity at home, it'll be worth it. As far as IBS goes, her food is grain free so I was hoping that wouldn't be the problem? I don't know. I have some raw food frozen that I bought but never tried on her because I didn't want to make her more irritated...

Oh, and there's a vet school but it's an hour and a half away. Given her penchant for having horrible explosive wet stool on car rides exceeding 15-20 mins, and the fact that the last time I know of someone going to them it cost over $800, we're trying to reserve that as a last-ditch option.

Edit: and also, why is it so hard to find a vet that is well versed in feline nutrition? If I get told that dry food is 'better for my cat's teeth' or that Hill's Science Diet is a good food for sensitive stomachs I'm going to scream! How did you guys manage to find good vets?

Edited by author Tue Jun 26, '12 10:23am PST



My mom works at- MARS Petcare US
Purred: Tue Jun 26, '12 10:41am PST 
I would have to agree with Monster. I would get a second opinion. Sometimes with a cat that has problems it helps to find a feline only practice in your area. The American Association of Feline Practitioners is one place to look for one. Their website is www.catvet.com. Don't get me wrong there are also WONDERFUL vets that see both dogs and cats. So don't rule those out either. Good luck!! And we'll send purrs your way.


Purred: Tue Jun 26, '12 10:50am PST 
Hmm, I used their website and unfortunately the nearest 'cat-friendly' vet is over 3 hours away...

Yeah, a cat friendly vet that reccomends Hills Science Diet. confused

Edited by author Tue Jun 26, '12 10:52am PST



It's all about- me.
Purred: Tue Jun 26, '12 3:54pm PST 
Bojangles, I worked at an animal shelter for several years as well as for two veterinarians, so I know when a vet is handing me a line of b.s. I keep abreast of as much as I can in terms of feline medicine and behavior and I don't hesitate to let the vet know that (in a nice way, of course!)

When I moved to my present location, I had to find a new vet. I tried the practice that my employer took her dog to and was very lucky and happy to find young, competent women who are not in the least condescending or dismissive, always listen to my questions and ideas, always offer to do additional reading and research about an issue, always call me when they say they will and always lay out the various treatment options and their costs. So I would say those are things to look for in a vet. You could also ask if they go to conferences or continuing education classes, publish, etc., ask if they've heard about (whatever) to gage whether they're really interested in keeping up to date.


the orange one
Purred: Tue Jun 26, '12 6:09pm PST 
ask your new vet about lysine, it might help with the eye infections.


I still suck my- thumb...
Purred: Wed Jun 27, '12 10:09am PST 
Coop's mom here. Coop has the herpes virus, and he suffered from non-healing corneal ulcers as a kitten. (He had them when I brought him home.) We did go to a veterinary ophthalmologist, and she treated it with drops, a gel, and -- believe it or not -- a kitty contact lens. The lens allowed the medication to permeate, but it also protected the eye while it healed.

Coop takes lysine daily for the herpes. And it does keep the symptoms to a minimum. And he hasn't had an ulcer breakout since he was a kitten.

As for finding a good vet, with us, it was trial, error and luck. With my first cat, we went to several different vets in Manhattan...but then just happened to find our family vet by luck when I moved to Brooklyn. He had a coupon in the local newspaper, but he ended up being a godsend for both of my boys. He's brought both of them back from the brink on numerous occasions. And he's the vet who recommended the ophthalmologist for Coop.

Good luck with your second opinion! It's so frustrating when you're trying so hard.

Coop's mom


I may meow to- you if you're- worthy
Purred: Wed Jun 27, '12 2:47pm PST 
It is very frustrating when you try so hard to help & nothing seems to work. See what this new vet says. 2 things, I noticed mine had diarrhea when they tried Welness perhaps it is a bit rich. Also you might try a little bit of plain pumpkin. It does help with firming things up. Or Eagle Pack probiotics. I would check out IBDkitties.net - it will tell you about the EaglePack. It was a miracle for Smitty who had digestive issues when we found him. Not saying Bo has IBD, but there is a wealth of good info on food & tummy troubles on there. I have a feeling that it is a combination of things causing the problems, so see what the vet says, and tackle one thing at a time. I know you love your kitty - please keep us posted on what the vet says. purrs hug

Arthur (Miss- You!- '93-'09)

Bucket of Fuzz

Purred: Wed Jun 27, '12 8:23pm PST 
The pooping on the floor is most likely caused by the diarrhea. When a kitties start associating the litterbox with pain, they'll try to avoid the pain by avoiding the box.

Arthur developed chronic diarrhea during the last few years of his life and started going on the floor as a result. Once we got his symptoms under control with medication (prednisolone), I used lots of encouragement and positive reinforcement to get him using the box again, and he used it like the good boy he really was for the rest of his life.

Has your vet talked about using medication to control the diarrhea? It could at least relieve her symptoms while you search for the right dietary changes and give you the chance to get her using the litterbox again.

I agree with Maizy about the pumpkin and Cesar about the lysine! way to go

As far as other home remedies go, Bea recently had a bout of diarrhea, too, and we tried a supplement called "Fresh Digest," which has enzymes for digestion and a prebiotic. Her diarrhea did clear up, though I can't say for certain that the supplement made a big difference. I don't think that it possibly hurt, though!

Sending purrs for sweet Fiddle! Please keep us posted! hug

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