Exploratory Surgery for my cat


I"m at a crossroads and I'm so upset I just need others advice. I have three cats all sister who I adopted from a resuce. My baby girl Peony who is not even two had chronic diareah for the age of 4 months to 7 months. She was the runt of the litter and has always been smaller than her sisters. My vet tried many things included changing her food ect.. After one series of things we did they assumed she had IBS which they say is rare in a kitten but possible. She seemed fine as fine could be until this Nov which she was just over one. In Nov she started vomiting 5-10 times a day. They gave me anti vomit meds, steroids the works and it works for about a month and then stops, and the cycle starts again which it did this April with a vengence. At this point all xrays and blood are still normal.. In April her vomiting shots duration stopped working. She began to vomit weekly again as oppose to monthly. My vet in turn was stumped. She sent me to another vet for a second opinion about a month ago. After doing the regular things, fecal exam, x rays, Her blood work came back with a white blood cell count of 40,000 with bands ( immature blood cells) They were shocked as normal count for a cat is 5000 to 7000. So after major injeciton of anitbiotics and two more blood tests her white blood cell count as of today is only at 25,000. If for one minute I take her off of any meds she becomes almost a kitten to suffering for words. So now they want to do exploratory surgery. I had a long conversation today with my vet who said she is willing to do it but she doens't know if it will help. She is leaning toward cancer or I think she said fep which has no cure and no diagnosis and will reslut in death, some type of birth defect for lack of better words.. The other vet thinks she may have eaten a string. Which I highly doubt and wants to do an ultrasounds then exploratory is we see nothing. I don't kwno what to do. I don't think I can cry anymore but I still am. I'm at $2000 now and still no answer. I can't put her down if they can cure it but how can I cure her if no one knows. I asked my vet if the surgery will give me answers and she said yes and no. I can open her up and see something and put her down then. Or we may not see anything and then we can pump her with steriods again.. My poor kitty is so lethargic, she is now become mean to her sisters. She just wants me. I know no one probably knows the right anwer but I guess i needed to just write it down. I feel so bad for Peony's sisters I know they know she is sick but won't come near her anymore..:(:(:( What am I suppose to do. When do I say enough is enough for her.
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{{{Karenvictoris}}}I'm so sorry you and your kitty are going through this. It's so frustrating and upsetting when our fur kids are suffering and no one can figure out how to help them.

Exploratory surgery does seem drastic. I'm not sure what I would do in that situation. I think I'd go with the ultrasound to see if there is some mass or foreign object that can be identified.

You said the vet had tried changing her food: did she try a limited-ingredient diet for allergies?
Thanks Kathryn. Yes, her diet is a d/d diet consisting of just rabbit and green peas. Before that when she was little they had her on a grain free diet hoping she had a grain allergy. I've been sitting with her all evening. She gets up and lays near me but won't lay on my lap anymore. I think it hurts to bad. I'm miss her coming and licking my face at 5 am. Never thought I would miss that but I would give anything if she did.
I'm so sorry about your kitten.:( With such a high white count, I'm suspicious that she still has a major infection and that her meds just were the wrong ones. I would get the ultrasound because that is minimally invasive. That might tell you if what you have is a birth defect or some problem with the intestines (blockage?). I do worry that any kind of surgery would just be too much and would kill her anyway.

Let us know how it goes, hugs,

I agree--ultrasound. My friend had exploratory surgery for her cat and nothing. Actually after all of that her cat got well with no definitive diagnosis ever being made. The dread disease you mention is FIP. There is a blood test to test titers for this and while it is not definitive it can give you some information. I lost a young cat to FIP years ago and still can cry thinking about it. Is there a vet teaching hospital university anywhere near you? One of my guys is in the hospital today having his teeth removed because of stomatitis. I had to take him to a vet dentist board certified. This was a struggle so I understand what you are going thru. Yes I too just received a $2000 bill that made me wince. There is CareCredit which some vets accept and gives you anywhere from 6 to 24 months to pay without interest. I am so sorry for what you and your kitty is going thru and wish you all the best.
Thank you Phyllis, I'm up bright and early today waiting for the vet to call. They were suppose to have a conference between the two of them and let me know what their next move is...
Hi Karenvictoria, I am so, so sorry about your kitty. It's such a hard decision. I had to make a difficult decision with my 22 year old Basha. But in your case, I would do the ultrasound but if they find nothing, unfortunately you may have to face a very difficult decision. Just remember think about your kitty, her quality of life, right now she is not a happy kitty. Also, you have done a lot, it seems to me that you have done everything you can to help your kitty; it shows that you love her very much. So think about her and what she is going through. I had to put Basha down in October, I miss her very, very much but it got to a point where her quality of life was pretty bad. Again, your kitty is much younger than Basha but ask yourself do you want her to have a life with so many health issues? Hang in there, I know it's a very hard place to be; we get so attached to our pets. Take care and hugs to you and your kitty.
Margarita, thanks so much for your kind words. I'm so sorry about your kitty as well. I"m still waiting for the vets to call and tell me somthing but no such luck. I hate the waiting to at least here somthing concrete. I've been so waying my options and I have just this gut feeling she can't be fixed. I think I've known all along but just will miss her face and her little things she does to make her her. :(
I am so sorry for what you are going through. I lost my beloved 5 year cat last year. I had adopted her and her sister when they were tiny kittens. They are all white cats. Neither one was completely healthy from the very start, they both had issues, but different issues.

Jasmine is no longer here, she had pica very bad (where she would seek out non-food items to eat). She ate a string when she was a kitten and the vet had to make her throw up. The string never resurfaced in either direction. Don't quite know what happen to it. I had to go through the house constantly making sure there was nothing she could get into.

She couldn't digest any kind of cat food. She would belch constantly after each meal, and many times she would throw up bile later on. She was always constipated, she went small amounts only a couple times a week. I read everything I could and finally put her on a partially raw food diet (which I prepared every week) this really helped alot!! For 5 years I had her pretty much under control. But she still belched alot, which is not normal. She was a terrible eater, skipping meals here and there. I had to hand feed her on occasion to get her to eat.

Eventually last year she stopped eating all together and I took her to the vet. They did bloodwork and said she seemed ok maybe just an upset stomach. I took her home and that night, in the middle of the night she went into cardiac arrest. I rushed her to the vet, where they tried to save her for hours, I couldn't watch her suffer anymore so the vet put her to sleep. I didn't know I could cry so much!!! She had a short life and she couldn't have been loved anymore than she was.

Whatever happens, just know that you have done everything to try to help her, and she is so lucky to have you as a mom!! Linda
Linda- Thanks for sharing. I feel your pain in your words even now. Waht a good mother you are. I'm so happy to have shared what I did above and that so many of you are responding with your own stories. It helps me to know that I'm trying my best as all of you have. I just keep wondering what if this or what if that.

My vet never called.. I called them and left a message but nothing. :mad::(
I know I'm coming into this late but have you considered a second opinion? I wouldn't say it but I think loyalty to a particular vet or clinic can really get in the way. It doesn't mean our present doctor is incompetent it's just that it's sometimes good to have a different bunch of eyes (and brains) looking over our pets (and ourselves). You already know the vets you have now don't really know... a different vet, on the other hand, may have read something about this or seen this before and have an idea what to do. Good luck.
Stacey- My vet actually sent me for a second opinion to a nearby Animal Hostipal to get their take back in April. They re -ran all the tests and he is the one who wants to do the ultrasound while my vet still wants the explore.

I stopped down at my vet the other day after no phone call. I know they were busy.. She was doing surgery when I went in but my vet had me come in the back with her while she was doing the surgery. She said both doctors discussed the case and now they both think the explore is the way to go. there were many reason why ect.. I told her to be very upfont with me because at this point I'm about to break mentally and physiclly. She said our best hope is that somthing foreign is in her small intestine, otherwise they agree there is no hope. All tell tale signs seem to present fep. So we are going for the explore on Wed bright and early. She said I could be there the entire time and we could talk our way though it. I pray they find something becasue I will have such a hard time letting her go. I don't think I can do it. So we are loving her this weekend. they are only giving her 30% chance of making it. But a chance is a chance because at this point I feel like I don't have even a 10% chance without it. If there is somthing there then I will be so happy....because then we might have a shot to fix her....
Sending you and your kitty positive vibes. I hope they do find something that is fixable. I'm sure the not knowing and the waiting are both difficult.
We recently went through something similar. 10 yr old cat mysteriously started vomiting - inappetance, the whole shebang. She was very, very sick. After all tests returned normally - she ended up in the hospital for two nights.

At the end of two months, we still had no answers. We went to a specialist, where they did an ultrasound for further diagnostics. Nothing found. An endoscope was the next step. But we did not want to stress her further.

I kept her alive with anti-nausea meds, appetite stimulants, and assist feeding with syringes. She and I developed a little routine, and got pretty good with it. Idea being, help her keep food down, get enough calories in her, so that we had time to get whatever it was figured out.

We never did figure it out. But, she is alive and seemingly well today, three months later. We just needed time. One thing that I believe was the turn-around for her was when I, after my own research and doctors approval, started adding 1/4th a tablet of Pepcid to her routine. She very soon after that started to come around and I slowly started taking her off things and slowing her assist feeds. I offered her food that she enjoyed (per the vets recommendation) as the most important thing was to get her to eat on her own again.

She had four vets examine her and an online vet talk me through everything. She had xrays, several series of blood work and an ultrasound. Nothing was found.

I pray my story brings you comfort as well as hope.

One final thing, perhaps I missed this, but has she had a thorough dental exam? It is not uncommon for dental problems to be life-threatening (but readily resolved).

Best of luck to you and your family.
Botteki, I'm glad to hear you've been able to find a way to help your kitty and that she is doing better.

One final thing, perhaps I missed this, but has she had a thorough dental exam? It is not uncommon for dental problems to be life-threatening (but readily resolved).

I second this recommendation!

My dearly departed Scooter, who was diabetic, went through a period when he was throwing up a lot, lost weight, and otherwise was doing poorly.

The vet (a new partner in my regular vet's office) examined him, did several tests, and even after a CT scan, didn't find anything...until (several hundred dollars later!) she decided to look at his teeth, and found that there were several rotten ones (his upper 'fangs,' which you would THINK she would have looked at earlier:mad:).

Removing the teeth solved the problem, but Scooter had refused to eat at the vet's, so they were feeding him through a tube, that I had to continue to use at home...or so they thought, as after one messy feeding, he decided that he wanted to eat...probably because he was home).
I forgot all about the time my Bootsy was puking and sick. Someone's always puking up something over here but when she curled up and hid in a closet all my other cats were freaking out. I got her to the vet where she stayed over night, on i.v. fluids. They never did find out what was wrong with her but she was suddenly fine the next morning and she never got sick again.

The dental exam is probably a good idea but, like botteki said, sometimes you just have to baby them through it. Meanwhile, I'm saying prayers and sending positive {{{vibes}}} to you and your baby.
Thanks everyone who is responding to this thread. It really is comforting to have this type of support.

On a new note, the above posts are so ironic because yesterday Peony stated to act normal. I mean normal normal. She has not vomitted in three days and is currently running around like there is not a thing wrong with her. What the heck. So I'm calling the vet in the am and telling them I want to be seen but I don't want the surgery just yet and see what they say. Wish me luck. I feel my baby coming back to me...:D:D
So glad to here she has started to improve. Adding my well wishes for her into the mix. Hope she continues to improve. :)

I cancelled the surgery for tomorrow. Instead we are going for just a visit and put her on some last shot meds. She threw up this morning but at the same time she found a treat that fell on the floor from the other two sisters, so I'm thinking that was a trigger. Right now she is being nice to her sister and is even sharing the bowl with them again...

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