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PostPosted: Mon Jan 16, 2017 6:05 am 
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Bengal Kitten

Joined: Mon Jan 16, 2017 1:37 am
Posts: 2
Hi everyone,

I'm seeking information and advice for a probable IBD diagnosis. I have a 13-1/2 year old spayed female, Sapphire. She has been healthy for the majority of her life - we have really been lucky with her - save for intermittent blood in her stool when she was a kitten and the occasional UTI.

Earlier this week, Sapphire stopped eating. She was on a grain-free diet - primarily, Blue Wilderness, with some Solid Gold rotated in when she got bored. She refused to eat, no matter what we put in front of her, including morsels of red meat or tuna, which she usually goes wild for. She became lethargic and dehydrated quickly. We took her to the vet on Wednesday - blood work, physical exam, stool sample unremarkable. She was given an anti-emetic for nausea - she had no vomiting or diarrhea - and subcutaneous fluids for rehydration. The doctor told us to give her whatever we could - deli meats, baby food, etc - just to get food in her stomach. If she ate little over the next 24 hours, she would have to undergo an ultrasound on Friday (the vet's office is closed on Thursday).

Sapphire ate little to nothing the next day. She was even more lethargic than before, her weight reduced drastically, and her breathing appeared labored. We didn't think she would make it through the night and took her to the Emergency Department, where she was admitted for supportive care and additional testing (ultrasound, x-rays, redux of the blood work, T4, etc). She was administered IV fluids and valium as an appetite stimulant the first day; she ate the GI prescription diet food (canned) that was given to her. The next day (her day of discharge), she was given mirtapazine, another appetite stimulant, which she will take over the next 8 days.

Ultrasound revealed gastroenteritis, which the doctors presumed is due to IBD. We are not certain yet whether the IBD is autoimmune or due to allergies. Other tests were unremarkable, with the exception of a low heart rate, enlarged pancreas, and slightly elevated white cell count, all of which the doctors said are secondary to the suspected IBD.

Sapphire is now home, thankfully, but not doing much better. She will not touch the prescription canned food samples we were given - Hills i/d gastrointestinal health and Purina ProPlan EN gastroenteric. She nibbles at the Hills i/d dry food; she's not eating nearly enough of it to sustain her, and I would honestly rather not put her back on dry food. I've been giving her poached chicken thighs. She eats a few small pieces, then walks away...then walks around meowing because she's very obviously hungry, and I give her more. Even with the appetite stimulant, she's barely eating.

The next step would be endoscopy to confirm or rule out IBD, followed by treatment with steroids. The idea of treating with steroids scares me, and I am willing to try anything to avoid that outcome. I have read that bengals are susceptible to IBD or, at the very least, GI issues. These articles invariably lead to accounts and testimonials of a raw diet controlling IBD symptoms. I'm wondering if anyone has experienced what I've described with your own bengal(s) - and what type of diet helped. We have tried every high-end, grain-free, commercial food on the market, including ones dubbed "holistic." Sapphire will eat the food for a few weeks, then stop. I'm nervous that we're running out of options since she won't eat anything at this point.

For the last several weeks, she was on a canned seafood kick, the stinkier the better. We have since eliminated all seafood assuming it might have caused an acute allergic reaction. Two years ago, she was prescribed Royal Canin urinary SO after a particularly searing UTI. The high gluten content in the RC food did a number on her, and that's what led us down a grain-free path.

It's tortuous to watch her wasting away. We thought we would have to put her down last week, and our hearts are breaking in a million and one pieces at the prospect. We feel like we're chasing our tails - no pun. We mentioned to the doctors the potential for a raw diet and admitted to giving Sapphire small amounts of raw steak as a treat every now and again, and we were essentially shamed and made to feel irresponsible. We really don't know where to turn at this point. We're happy to comply with the endoscopy for an accurate diagnosis - we want to do anything to keep Sapphire healthy. But it's very clear to us that the team of doctors is not enlightened with respect to raw feeding. We don't want to go through all of this to get a diagnosis but no treatment plan, other than steroids.

I hope some of you can help. We really don't know where to turn anymore.

Thank you,
Danielle


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 16, 2017 11:00 pm 
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Asian Leopard Cat

Joined: Thu May 23, 2013 2:21 pm
Posts: 8016
Welcome to the forum Danielle. I am so sorry you're having to go through this. When a kitty stops eating, you get them to the vet after 24 hours. Fatty liver disease can start after 48 hours and it can be fatal since it cannot be reversed -- that's always my first worry and my vet agrees.

When that happens, I syringe wet food into my bengal's mouth several times a day. Asking him to eat when he's not feeling good is not going to work. He has to get some nutrients in him, so that's what I do.

IBD is pretty common in cats. Naturally, your best source of information is your vet. There is a lot of info online and that may just create questions for you to ask your vet, which is a good idea. The thing is, Sapphire isn't feeling very well and she has to eat to get her strength back. Know that most cats do a raw chicken diet -- not steak. I've honestly never heard of a raw steak diet for a cat.

It is heart wrenching, I know. You've had quite a bit of testing done already. Putting her on a raw diet isn't a real issue as long as the diet is complete (crushed bones, heart, liver, etc). The issue is whether or not she will eat it. Cats seem to go downhill very rapidly and we do our best to save them and bring them back, but ultimately, it is the cat that has to decide to eat.

Bengals can live a long life but 12 to 16 years is the norm. I have been in your shoes with a domestic cat who had diabetes and went into kidney failure. Two insulin shots a day, 2 subQ fluids a day. It extended her life, but eventually, she simply became worn out and no longer wanted to eat. She was 17 years old we knew she was telling us it was time. I'm praying your Sapphire isn't there just yet. Just know that if you feel your vet isn't working with you on a solution -- there are other vets, even specialist vets. But, the longer Sapphire goes without eating enough food, the weaker she is going to get, so I hope she perks up very soon. Please keep us posted.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2017 2:24 pm 
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Asian Leopard Cat

Joined: Sat Oct 31, 2015 9:44 pm
Posts: 673
Hi there, sorry to hear about your problems with health issues, I have been there myself with my previous bengal Frosty.
It started when he was around 2 years old suffering with diahorea and vomiting, he had all sorts of tests before coming to the conclusion it was probably IBD.
The vets said the only sure way to confirm it was a biopsy from his intestine, he had this and it was positive.
He would not eat or drink and lost half his body weight, it was terrible to see all his bones sticking out but we had to wait for the biopsy operation to heal before starting him on steroids, the reason being that steroids prevents proper healing,so he was kept in and put on a drip to keep him going.

We then found out it was one of the worse cases of IBD they had seen in a long time and he had to have chemotherapy tablets, probiotics and a vitamin B12 injection once a month, I had to give the rest of the tablets twice daily which he was very good with.

He put back on the weight but we had lots of relapses where he was rushed back to the vets at all hours day and night and had to stay sometimes for weeks at a time, these were very difficult times.

This went on until he was 5 years old then one day he collapsed at home and we rushed to the vets they thought it was just the IBD playing up again and gave him more meds and sent him home, I knew it was something more as he was all hunched up and looked in pain so I took him back again, this time they scanned him and found he had a rupture in a part of his intestine, we chose to operate they found it had turned to cancer.

They took out the part of the intestine that was bad and reconnected it all, they had to wash out his abdomen twice a day as infection had leaked through, I visited day after day.
Then they sent him home but he didn't seem right, next morning I noticed he had wet in his bed and looked at me as if to say he'd had enough, I called the vet to the house to put him to sleep, he was only 5 years old.

I was heart broken as we had been through so much together, apparently most cats can live a reasonably good life with IBD I think my poor boy was unlucky, this was 5 years ago and I still miss him terribly.

Although I have 2 beautiful babies I will never forget my first.

I hope you get your babies health under control, good luck x

_________________
Clare
Magic (brown spotted boy born 31 March 2012)
Pearl (seal Lynx Point girl born 1 October 2015)
Bristol, UK


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2017 6:27 pm 
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Asian Leopard Cat

Joined: Thu May 23, 2013 2:21 pm
Posts: 8016
Clare, what a touching post. Frosty went through so much. Cats are supposed to live a long, healthy life. I am so grateful you have Magic and Pearl now. I hope this has somehow helped Sapphire's owner.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2017 7:43 pm 
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Bengal Kitten

Joined: Mon Jan 16, 2017 1:37 am
Posts: 2
Thank you so much for your thoughtful and touching comments. It's heartwarming to hear stories from fellow bengal owners, even when those stories are as devastating as Clare's, because it reaffirms the oceans we will traverse to ensure our precious kitties' health and safety. We took Sapphire to her vet for a checkup yesterday. After receiving additional subcutaneous fluids to combat lingering dehydration and a shot of antacid for residual nausea, she is eating voluntarily. Her blood panel revealed no elevations in her liver enzymes. Our vet is working with us on a nutritional plan, and she is open to incorporating raw to achieve a dietary plan that is individualized for Sapphire. Needless to say, we are extremely relieved. It was terrifying for a few days, and we were steeling ourselves against the prospect of losing her. Thank you all for your concern and advice.

Clare, my heart breaks for you. I know exactly what you mean about the deep connection with your first. I've had cats (and dogs) before and likely will after Sapphire. No animal will ever occupy as much space in my heart and mind as she has. She is as close to a human soul as an animal can get, and she has changed me indelibly. I have made end-of-life decisions for my mother and grandmother, and experienced the deep doubt, fear, grief that inevitably follows. With a beloved bet, that experience is indescribably more searing. Just know that Frosty knew how much you loved and helped him. XOX


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2017 11:29 pm 
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Asian Leopard Cat

Joined: Sat Oct 31, 2015 9:44 pm
Posts: 673
Thank you for your kind words both of you, even though this was 5 years ago it still brings me to tears to talk about it and I thank God my 2 lovely babies I have now are healthy.

I cry when I read of people losing their lovely companions, my babies especially Magic is so much of a comfort to me.

My hubby and I are going through a difficult time at the moment with health issues, he is having lots of scans and tests as they have found a shadow in his lung which may be cancer, very scarey as he has never smoked in his life.

Magic seems to know when I am upset, he cuddles up on my pillow at night resting his little face on mine as if to to tell me everything will be OK.

Pearl is still young so she just runs around doing silly things that make me laugh.

_________________
Clare
Magic (brown spotted boy born 31 March 2012)
Pearl (seal Lynx Point girl born 1 October 2015)
Bristol, UK


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2017 11:02 pm 
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Asian Leopard Cat

Joined: Thu May 23, 2013 2:21 pm
Posts: 8016
I am happy to hear Sapphire is improving. Please keep us posted.

Clare, I am so sorry to hear about your husband and pray the tests and scans shows nothing serious. Will be praying for him.


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