My cat is being treated for inflammatory bowel disease. I am so worried. What is his possibilities for recovery?

He is approx. 12 years old (I rescued him). He has been neutered and declawed by a previous owner. He is a gentle, slow moving, sweet natured cat, not aggressive in any way. He seems otherwise healthy and his labs were normal and the stool test negative for parasites.

Asked by annie3195

6 Answers

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Annie, your cat sounds like a real sweetheart! Inflammatory bowel disease isn’t something that can be cured, but it can indeed be managed so he can live a normal life. One of the main parts of treatment is changing his diet to one that is highly digestible and hypoallergenic. It’s thought that as many as 50% of cats with IBD respond very well to just a change in diet and they don’t need any other treatment. Your vet will be able to recommend an appropriate food for your boy.

Other possible treatments are antibiotics (as it appears some cats are reacting to the normal bacteria in the intestines), immune suppressing drugs such as prednisone or prednisolone, and vitamin B12 supplements. Good intestinal parasite control is important so keep that up, and prebiotics/probiotics may help.

You may find that you’ll need to try a few different treatments or treatment combinations to find out what works best for your cat. However, dietary modification and appropriate medication usually result in symptoms resolving. | 01.13.16 @ 12:38
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$commenter.renderDisplayableName() — {comment} | 09.25.17 @ 23:58
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Answered by Ann
Yes, he IS a sweetheart!!! And I am so worried about him. My vet has tried Flagyl (no success after two weeks of therapy-) and a steroid shot (only 4 days ago) plus Dynagel. Nothing is helping yet. The vet put him on a gastroenterological diet two weeks ago. He is still having frequent bloody mucous stools, and often misses the litter box. He isn't eating well at all, and often seems uncomfortable. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Oh - we have done 3 stool specimens and all are negative for parasites. | 01.15.16 @ 21:29
Comments 2  
Ann — So sorry! I put my reply in the wrong place. | 01.15.16 @ 21:30
Dr Audrey Harvey BVSc (Hons), Veterinarian — That's ok, I seem to have found it ok :-) | 01.16.16 @ 08:27
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$commenter.renderDisplayableName() — {comment} | 09.25.17 @ 23:58
It sounds like you've been through a lot of stress trying to get this under control. It might be time for further diagnostics, such as an intestinal biopsy just to be definite about the diagnosis. I know you'll be worried about such a procedure in your senior citizen but elderly pets can undergo general anesthesia with careful choice of anesthetic drugs and intravenous fluid support. Your vet will advise as to whether your boy is ok for this. It's the best chance of finding out exactly what you're dealing with here, so you can make sure treatment is directly targeted at the cause.

One other thing - I have known animals to develop colitis due to stress or anxiety. Are there any potential stressors in your cat's environment? There's some info on stress in cats here - http://www.lovepets.com/stress-in-cats | 01.16.16 @ 08:26
Comments 4  
Ann — What I was told about a biopsy is that knowing the exact type of IBD would not change the treatment. Nor could I afford doing this. Yes, there is stress. My other cat, Peggy, is a problem for Oreo. She is 16 years old, had a hind leg amputated in 2003. She is a very small cat (about 7 lbs) but has a HUGE personality. At one point, she was only one of five cats in my home. I went through a very bad year in which I lost four of the cats to various illnesses and old age. She LOVED being the only cat! And when I brought Oreo in (I rescued him, just like I rescued her-) she was not happy. They are total opposites in personality. Oreo is mild, meek, completely not aggressive, where Peggy is tough, fierce. She isn't aggressive, but she does boss Oreo around. He seems a little afraid of her...he avoids her. I have tried several things to help this (one being brushing both with the same brush., to get their smells intermingled. Doing that helps a bit-). But I seriously doubt they will ever be pals. I try to give each one equal time, make each feel special I know they both feel loved and cared for, but they do not hang out together in any way. I am very concerned that Oreo isn't eating. Neither cat seems to care for the special GI diet the vet prescribed. Peggy is prone to allergies, so a year ago I switched to grain free chow. What I did today was mix some of the grain free chow with the GI chow and see if that helps both eat more. Last night Oreo had five bowel movements, all of them watery and mucousy and bloody. Two were outside of the litter box.. I now have 4 litter boxes, hoping to give him a wider choice of places to go, but doing that hasn't helped him not having accidents. Poor little guy. He must be very uncomfortable. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I feel better knowing that I can come here and unload a little. Ann. | 01.16.16 @ 14:13
Ann — I hope someone comes to answer me. I am so worried about him. He seems only slightly better now, but is still having loose bloody mucous stools. And Peggy, my other cat, has been sneezing for two weeks. Otherwise she seems fine. She has always been prone to allergies (skin, mostly) and I have to assume that is what this is, since I cannot afford to take her to the vet right now. | 01.26.16 @ 22:52
Dr Audrey Harvey BVSc (Hons), Veterinarian — Ann, I'm so sorry to hear that Oreo isn't well. The best person to talk to is your vet because they can give advice that's specific to him. I can only offer general comments about IBD, you're following the usual treatment protocols so it really is time to go back to your vet when your budget permits. | 01.26.16 @ 23:21
Ann — I just don't think he will have anything else to offer. He went over all the treatment possibilities, and we have tried them all. I'm so discouraged. I love this little guy so much. He was my buddy when I went through a very bad year when I wasn't well. He comforted me so much, and I want to give that back to him. Is there any hope here???? | 01.26.16 @ 23:37
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$commenter.renderDisplayableName() — {comment} | 09.25.17 @ 23:58
Dear Ann,

I agree with Dr Audrey that the best course of action would to consult further with your veterinarian if Oreo isn't responding to the current treatment plan. Unfortunately we cant make specific treatment recommendations online.

A definitive diagnosis of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) really can only be made based on evaluation of tissue collected by biopsy. The cell types found will indicate what type of disease is present and help to guide treatment.

More potent immunosuppressive drugs are available for unresponsive cases of IBD as well as new therapy considerations such as prebiotics / probiotics.

We wish him the very best, please keep us updated and we hope we have been of some help.



| 01.27.16 @ 00:25
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$commenter.renderDisplayableName() — {comment} | 09.25.17 @ 23:58
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Answered by annie3195
I am back again. My cat Oreo is not doing well despite everything I have tried. My main worry is he has lost a lot of weight. His haunches are so thin. I am scared I will lose him. I have tried canned food with probiotics mixed in. I even give him half and half milk. ANYTHING to help him gain weight. Nothing is working and he isn't eating enough. I use Advita, and Wholistic Probtioics, mixed with everything I give him. I have tried baby food (really disgusting stuff! Glad I am not a baby!) But nothing I do is helping. Please, please, give me some ideas. This cat is very special to me. I cannot stand the idea I might lose him. I cannot afford expensive vet visits, but I don't think a vet could offer much. Tell me I am wrong, and I will find a way to get him to a better vet. I switched the dry food to one high in fiber, and also give him moist food every single day. Most of that ends up in the trash can. Please give me some ideas here. This cat is one of the most sweet, loving, affectionate cats ever made. He is a "cow cat" - black and white, with unusually beautiful patterns on his little body. But it is his personality that gets me. He came to me at a time in my life when I needed someone to love. And there he was, abandoned, needy and hungry. I took him in and have never once regretted doing that. He is such a wonderful cat, and deserves better. Please, tell me what else I can try? | 06.22.16 @ 00:01
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$commenter.renderDisplayableName() — {comment} | 09.25.17 @ 23:58
Annie, I'm so sorry to hear about Oreo. I can see that you've worked really hard to keep him well. Unfortunately sometimes in spite of doing all you can to help a pet, the outcome isn't what you're hoping for. The other thing to keep in mind too is that pets have a limited lifespan and it's inevitable that we'll lose them, and we know that hurts.

You first asked about Oreo's problem over four months ago and it sounds like there's been no real improvement in his condition. All I can suggest to you at this stage is to consider a revisit with your vet because there may be some other cause of his condition other than IBD, and he may need a biopsy to properly diagnose it. That's really the only way to see if there's any other treatment options that might help.

The other alternative is to seriously consider his quality of life. Again, your vet will be able to help you to work out if life's still good for him from a quality of life perspective and what the best options are.

| 06.22.16 @ 01:32
Comments 4  
annie3195 — Thank you for responding. The plain truth is I cannot afford the biopsy route. My vet told me that even if they figured out the exact cause of his loose bloody stools, it would probably not change the treatment. All his symptoms point to IBD. Vomiting, loose stinky stool with blood/mucous, occasional accidents outside the litter box. His labs were all normal His urine was fine. Ever since I started him on probiotics, his stool have gotten more normal. But the weight loss troubles me. I went back to the store yesterday and bought a bag of HIGH fiber dry cat food. I started them both on it this am. Time will tell if it helps. Both cats ate it right away, which is a good sign. I have been through losing a beloved pet more times than I would like. One very bad year, I lost 4 of my 5 cats, to various problems. The last cat to go had IBD, and had become almost totally incontinent. I had to make the decision about putting her down, and I did just that. I still feel a little guilty about it, even though as a nurse, I know it was the kind thing to do. I would do it again if I had to but the thought sickens me. | 06.22.16 @ 13:24
annie3195 — I cannot afford to go the biopsy route. And, according to my vet, even if I did, it probably would not change the treatment. I am considering trying a new vet. But I seriously doubt this will make a difference. I came home today after work and found he had two accidents outside the boxes. Usually this only happens during the night. I am upset and more worried. The only good part of this was his two boo boos were pretty normal looking. I hold onto every bit of hope! Many of us out here cannot afford vets these days. The prices are crazy high. Its much like what is happening in human medicine. The quality of care has sunk, the prices have risen, to the point that many of us simply cannot afford our own health care, much less our pets. I find this utterly reprehensible in America!!!! | 06.24.16 @ 00:50
annie3195 — Back again, Oreo is doing fairly well. I put the Probiotics in all his food. I now give him canned food at least once a day and sometimes twice. His stool is more formed now, but he still has accidents. It is obvious there is blood in the stool. That I know is expected. My concern is - how do I get him to gain weight??? Someone suggested I get kitten food. Does this make sense to you? One other thing. I had read that pumpkin helps firm cats stool. I bought pumpkin baby food (no sugar in it, just pumpkin). Well, it seemed to help BUT he began having more accidents. I am guessing it was a "fiber overload." What can I do help this dear cat gain some weight? | 07.28.16 @ 12:38
Dr Audrey Harvey BVSc (Hons), Veterinarian — Hi Annie, glad to hear Oreo is doing fairly well. Kitten food is indeed higher in calories than adult food so it may help with weight gain. Because what you feed is important in managing IBD, if you're going to change the diet you need to do it gradually. So, over the course of a week or so, feed a little less of his regular food and add a little more of the kitten food until he's eating all kitten food. You might see a deterioration in his symptoms though. Another thing to keep in mind is that elderly cats can have a number of problems at the same time that can cause weight loss, such as kidney disease, hyperthyroidism and lymphoma. If any of them are occurring too, then feeding a high calorie food may not be enough to help. | 07.29.16 @ 00:13
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$commenter.renderDisplayableName() — {comment} | 09.25.17 @ 23:58
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