Living With a Cat with Inflammable Bowel Disease or IBD

You found me because you're probably going through the IBD Blues and don't know where to turn. I've just about had it and was almost pulling my hair out. I wish this disease on no pet owner. My cat is adorable and only 10 years old. I was almost ready to have him put down because I could almost not take it any more. Eating, not eating, wanting to eat, and not eating, vomiting, then a few good days, diarrhea then normal stools. It's enough to drive a person mad!

I brought him to the emergency hospital in March after he stopped eating. They did their $2000+ job. You have to pay before they even look at him. Thickened intestinal walls and an enlarged heart showed from the ultrasound. So they put him on steroids. If I wanted to spend another $3400 for a biopsy, they might be able to tell me a little more, no guarantees anything else would show. I figured, let's see how it goes with their recommendations before spending any more $'s.

So they sent me home Flagyl, Prednisolone and Mirtazapine, a PTSD Veteran's psych drug which acts as an appetite stimulant in a cat. It worked. Only for a few months. I stopped the Flagyl as it's an antibiotic, he hated it and it didn't seem to do him any good. After a while, the Pred didn't work any more, either. I tried from 15mg to 2.5mg a day. He is also on MethylCobalamin B-12 Shots, 1 a week for 6 weeks then one a month thereafter. His level was 145, very low. Nothing would make him eat. It seemed when he had food in his stomach, he acted normal and had normal BM's. Even though he was eating VERY well during the good times, he was still losing weight. Whenever he stopped eating, he had diarrhea. Go figure.

Every day he follows me around, looks at me and wants to eat. Everything I give him, he rejects. It really wears on you. You want to help him, but you can't. It's enough to push you over the edge. Trying to get him to eat and heal him is now my full time job.

This month, December, 2012, he stopped eating again and had a bloody stool. Back down to the Emergency Hospital. So, another $2,000 later with a biopsy and another ultrasound, we've determined he has IBD and not Leukemia, but they couldn't be sure because they only took a small sample of his intestine and cancer 'could' be lurking somewhere else. Luckily, the bloody stool was from a tear near the rectum and not cancer. The other good news was that his colin was normal and no longer thickened. So part of him improved.

Again they sent me home with more Pred, Flagyl and Mirtaz and now Lukeran, a cancer drug because it helps with IBD at times. Same old tune which didn't help the first time around. All costly drugs that are used for humans, also.

I kept thinking, how much quality time would he have to live with those drugs? Chemo and Pred, two strong steroids that stop cell growth and a psych drug which makes him wonky. The liver is so tiny and can only process so many toxins, and the kidneys, they won't tolerate much, either. No life for a kitteh or a kitteh owner. There was an ominous cloud of doom hanging over my head.

Then in the middle of the night, I awoke remembering I have 4 natural health books on cats. Why didn't I think of that before?! So the next day we sat down and went through them all.  There in front of me was a protocol to try! Hope at last! At least is is something other than toxic drugs. I got to it immediately! (This disease is a series of hopes and disappointments)

One think that I knew would be helpful was a special recipe using Slippery Elm! I've used natural meds on myself whenever possible and was knocking my head against the wall for not thinking of this $2000 ago. Better late than never.

I am currently on this journey and decided to write about it as I go along. I don't know if this will work or not. I started this on Sunday, December 16th. I ended all the drugs cold turkey that day. So far, he is sleeping a lot, but he hasn't vomited. That is a BIG deal. He isn't eating a lot, but he is eating. That is a BIG DEAL, too. He still has diarrhea, but the stools have a bit of substance to them.

I don't know if this holistic protocol will work, but it's my last and his last hope. I will be back to either update this or start with a new page as this journey progresses, or doesn't progress. It's a grand experiment.

Stay tuned...........

12-20 Update.... he threw up twice and has diarrhea again. Sigh. So now he's back on Pred as well as the natural diet. I will let you know everything I am doing if he stabilizes. If you want to know now, please comment below and I will give the full protocol.

12-24 Doing very well. No vomiting, he's hungry, bright and eating. No Mirtaz. Eating all on his own. I'm changing his food every few days. He's getting used to taking the slippery elm. What a good kitteh.

Stay tuned.......

12-25 So far so good. Eating, not standing hunched over, bright, slightly formed BM's. Still a 'bug' position once in a while, but major improvement. No Mirtaz. I'm hoping he stablilizes.

12-29 Still wanting to eat and eating. This is truly amazing. I can no longer feel the bones in his back. He is putting on some weight. His BM's are almost all solid. I am thrilled. Got my fingers crossed that this lasts.

1-4  He still has very soft BM's and still wants to eat and is eating. I'm feeding him Instinct rabbit and duck right now mixed with 50-60% sweet potato and white potato, chlorella, a little raw chix liver or veal liver. I am starting to fast him by cutting him to 3 meals a day instead of 4. The consensus is to cut them in half, but they admit it's tough on the owners. At least he's gained weight. The eye smudgy he always had in his right eye is gone. Don't know if this will last, but my fingers are forever crossed for him.

1-4 I just posted the diet I have him on:  http://chris-wrinn.blogspot.com/2013/01/recipe-for-cat-with-irritable-bowel.html

1-13-13  He seems to have his inflammation back. I am so disappointed. He's slowed down his eating. I was hoping this upswing would continue. I'm heartbroken :(

1-16 Took him back to the ER and they did some labs. They gave him Cerenia (anti nausea) and it seems to be working today! YAY! At least for now. He's wanting liver like crazy. I wonder if there's something in liver that he is lacking. Maybe it's the B-12? We found out that clumping litter is a no-no, so we changed back to clay. Any suggestions, please post!

Also, I found this AWESOME site that has a ton of information on IBD. http://www.ibdkitties.net/index.html Please check it out!

1-29  I had to give him the Mirtazapine on the 17th to get him jump started again. He also had to take Cerenia. BUT...... I am trying what worked for me. HCL with Pepsin. So far, no drugs and he has been stable and wanting to eat. No potato with this, either. His energy has picked up. I hope it lasts. My ND told me that people take the purple, alkalizing pill, which sends a signal to their stomach that they need to make more acid. Acid digests protein. Then they get caught in a Catch 22 where they have to take even more purple pills to counteract the acid their body keeps churning out. My naturopath had me on 15 capsules of HCL with each meal and after 1.5 years, my body didn't need it any longer. It was amazing. And the docs wanted me to take that purple pill. So glad I listened to my ND and not the allopathic doc. Cats eat meat, but many of the cheaper foods have a lot of carbs in them. I hope this works and will keep you updated. Seems good so far. Keep your fingers crossed for him.

2-14 He is doing incredibly well. I stopped the HCL after about a week b/c I saw him burping, so if you try HCL, be careful and monitor him closely. I can't believe how well he is doing. I will update if there are any more problems or if he takes a dive. So far so good. Keep keeping those fingers crossed!

4-15  He's doing well. I'm now only feeding him Royal Canin Hypo Allergenic or any kind of quality Rabbit, Royal Canin Duck, Royal Canin and Nature's Balance Venison as well as a little fresh, organic liver (chicken, beef, or calves). I've started cutting down the Pred and he's down to 3/4 tab once a day instead of a whole tab. As soon as I see the 'bug' or 'meatloaf' position, he gets the cyproheptadine or mirtazapine. I wish it would completely go away, but it isn't. At least he's gaining weight instead of losing it.  

End of summer:
Sorry I haven't been around. I am disheartened to say that I finally had to put my precious friend down. We both made a valiant effort and we're both not suffering anymore. I'm exhausted, too exhausted to think about another cat at this time.

If your cat has this disease, I wish you the strength to deal with it and the best of outcomes. <3 p=""> 

Comments

  1. I wish you the best. I understand watching, caring, treatments....Did it for the past year and a half. My girls were goin on 14....

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    1. It's almost a full time job. I know what you went through. So far, my cat seems to be stabilized and doing better. Time will tell. I'm hoping to start to wean him off the pred in a few weeks. Thx for the well wishes for sure!

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  2. I would be interested to know what books you consulted.

    Won't go into details now, but my cat who just turned 16 was recently diagnosed with possible IBS. Several things have been tried, to no avail. I was referred to GI vet.

    Recently I started to get more aggressive with natural stuff: some powdered Vitamin C, finely ground bran and a bit of garlic. Also some probiotics to try and help replace the good bacteria killed by antibiotics he was prescribed. And slippery elm syrup before meals.

    For several days late last week I gave him a bit of psyllium with additional water. After 2-3 days he actually produced a stool that looked nearly normal. But then I stopped, because I had husks and was worried that I was not grinding them finely enough. Decided to wait until I talked to GI vet.

    Visited GI vet this am. I mentioned that still no improvement. I also mentioned slippery elm and that the one stool that was "better" was after several days of psyllium. To my surprise, he didn't discount that.

    Ultimately, no more antibiotics or laxative. Going to try psyllium, etc. for several days and see how that goes. Otherwise will need ultrasound and then steroids, etc. Which I definitely do not want to do. I think drugs like that are a temporary fix.

    I also mentioned how fluids seemed to make him feel better for several days (I asked for some every visit). And requested some again today. I also requested that I be allowed to take some home and give them to him every 4-5 days or so. He said yes and I did a trial run with a tech to make sure I remembered how to do it.

    So we shall see.

    I am relying most heavily on Anitra Frazier's The Natural Cat. I have most of the ingredients now except for bran (what I have is too rough and all I have is a hand grinder) and digestive enzymes. Which I think might help. He has continued to eat, but has been slowly losing weight past six months. Could be that he is losing ability to fully absorb nutrients.

    One thing I think is very important: fluids. He was very sluggish/weak past few days. Subcutaneous fluids seem to go to work almost immediately. I wish I had a video of him this morning as opposed to after he came home. Moving much better, more vocal.

    Again, would be interested to know what you are doing as well as status of your cat.

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    1. HI, I am so sorry you have to deal with this beast. I wouldn't wish it on any pet owner. The New Natural Cat is my main book, but she called it Irritable Bowel Disease. That was before it was called Inflammatory Bowel Syndrome and they separated the two. Her recipe is really for IBD. The other place I liked was http://www.holvet.net/slippery_soup.html from the Holistic Vet. I swear by Slippery Elm. Run out and get some. I use a syringe and if you face the cat on your lap and put it under his upper lip a little at a time, it works very well. That's the one thing that made a big difference. I'm still not out of the water yet, but there's been an improvement. I'll take it. If you come across any tips that work. Let me know.

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    2. Well, if it is indeed IBD or IBS (wasn't really aware they were different things--will have to research that), at least my cat eats.

      Will check out the site you mentioned. Have been giving Slippery Elm for about a week now with a syringe. Fortunately he is a pretty good patient. He tolerates it much better than the antibiotics, as long as I am patient.

      At least he is off the laxative/antibiotics.

      But it's early days yet. I am not expecting to see improvement right away.

      Will let you know how it goes. Although your cat seems to have more problems: lack of appetite, longer term problems, etc..

      Can't believe your vet bills. I live in DC and go to a "hospital" that is often criticized for higher prices (but it's nearby and open 24/7), but nothing like what you were charged. Of course they have done less (bloodwork, x-rays). Your place seems to go for the intensive/expensive stuff right away.

      Will report back in 2-3 days. Will check blog to see how your cat does.

      I plan on making the super chicken soup/broth tomorrow. If nothing else, sounds as if it would be good for people!

      Indio777

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    3. I drink the chix soup myself for tendon issues I had from taking fluoroquinolone antibiotics. In fact, I was doing that before I found it for the cat. LOL. It's supposed to help. Can't hurt, for sure. Yeah, people are complaining about the cost of our animal hospital costs. It's crazy. They won't take him in unless you pay it up front. If they don't spend the $'s, they'll refund you when you pick the pets up.

      I wish you the best of luck. Keep me updated.

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    4. I just wanted to say, so sorry for your loss. They r like r own little children. My cat is about 12yrs old n she has Ibs or Ibd for yrs n was put on prednisone for yrs. We finally got her weened off. However, I have to make sure what she eats is not high in potassium,n magnesium. She will sneak into the dog food n then were off to the vet for antibiotics. I really have to watch her. She eating dry Prescription ID and canned pate Merrick cat foods like chicken, turnkey n beef only. Knock on wood so far she good. She has lost a couple of lbs but seems always hungry withing 4-6 hrs. So, now I feed her small portion at a time. Hopefully, no more weight loss. Again, so sorry for your loss

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    5. Thank you, Anon. So very sorry about your kitty.
      I just got this article today, that the FDA has admitted there is arsenic put in chicken feed. And you know they're selling it to pet food companies. So our little guys are eating carcinogenic arsenic when they eat anything chicken. Can you imagine?!!!! No wonder there is so much IBD out there.
      http://www.collective-evolution.com/2013/08/16/fda-finally-admits-chicken-meat-contains-cancer-causing-arsenic/

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  3. I just posted the diet I have him on.

    http://chris-wrinn.blogspot.com/2013/01/recipe-for-cat-with-irritable-bowel.html

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  4. I have read all of your blogs and posts, I'm so grateful I found you, I swear we have the same cat. The distress of my cat and I living through this is almost unbearable. I have been using all your tips, I am do grateful. One more thing I have good to treat the diarrhea is "Dragons Blood" I pray for miracles for my baby too, add sometimes the suffering I see is to much, but she keeps bouncing back. Thank you again for your posts, it's helping

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    1. My heart goes out to you, it really does. I still miss my little guy. Thx for the tip! Hope your sweetie keeps bouncing back. The feeling of the indigestion must be horrid. Slippery elm was a God Send to my little guy.

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    2. Thank you for your reply. At least there is support of people who "know", out there

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  5. Wish we all 'knew' a lot more.
    Hugs.

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