Calicivirus with ulcers. Will not eat, how often to syringe feed..

iluvcats4ever

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My 4 year old cat Tini started drooling very heavily and I took her to the emergency vet.  After ruling out chemical burns and electricity the diagnosis was Calicivirus and she has ulcers on her tounge.  They gave her pain medicine, something to coat the ulcers and subq fluids. I rescued a litter of kittens and their mom in August, and I am positive they brought it in.  Regardless, I took her to her regular vet the next day and he gave her steroids and antibiotics. 

Her drooling stopped and she wants to eat but can't I guess it hurts too much..  I started giving her food, water and cat sure by syringe yesterday.  I have been giving her food and liquid every few hours.  How often/much should I be giving her.  I don't want her to die.  She absolutely hates being syringed but I don't know what else to do. 

I just got back from Walmart and got meat baby food, tuna and salmon to see if any will tempt her, have to wait 1 hr after her medication. 

If she isn't eating tomorrow she will have to go back to the vet.

Has anyone dealt with this virus?  Do you know how long it takes to heal?

She is so sad and so am I.

Thank you for any help.
 

mrsgreenjeens

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I have, luckily, never dealt with Calcivirus, but @GoHolistic has an older cat who had (has?) it who also developed the ulcer on his tongue.  She said in one of her posts that her Vet gave Boo a Fentanyl pain patch which apparently helped enough with his pain that he began eating on his own.

Anyway, did you ask your Vet about time frames?  How are her lungs?  Usually calcivirus effects their upper respiratory functions.  Is she breathing ok? 

As to her eating, she needs to consume at least 2/3 of her normal daily calories to "maintain"...more if possible.  Have you tried watering down form of soft food (possibly pureeing it if it isn't already in a smooth form) so she can simply lap it up easily and not have to worry about anything rough on her tongue.  The only problem with adding water is you then need to make up the volume with more food. 

If you go back to the Vet, see if they have recovery food,it's highly palatable, and very smooth.  It usually works well with just a little water added if you need to syringe feed,  It's also got extra calories and vitamins to help our furbabies recover from illnesses.  Science Diet's version is called A/D.  I'm sure Royal Canin and Purina have their versions too.  Depending on your Vet, they may have one brand or the other.  These foods DO require a prescription, so if nothing else, your Vet could write you a prescription and you can buy them at Petsmarts that have Banfield Clinics inside (at least I know you can get the A/D there) 

 

catwoman707

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Hi,

Anytime you foster cats/kittens, your resident cat needs to be protected, since there is just no telling where they came from and the viruses they carry.

FVRCP vaccines will usually protect them, but are not 100%, close though!

Because your cat is 4, she has an adult immune system, which is a big plus!

The first time the virus hits her as now, will be the worst by far.

Once these ulcers heal, it will never show up like it is now. It may never show again, or if so, it will be much milder.

As far as how much to syringe, I highly recommend chicken or turkey baby food diluted with water or pediolyte. OR canned like Wellness because it is very smooth and pureed and will go through a syringe tip much easier.

She needs to consume 1 can (5.5 ounce size) a day, minimum is about 3/4 can. About the same amt of water/pediolyte, or a bit less.

If it's baby food it should be 2 jars a day.

This should only be needed for a short period, days. The ulcers get to a point where they are no longer as painful, but until they begin to heal are extremely painful.
 

goholistic

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What @catwoman707 said is very true...at least in my household. After I adopted Caesar and Sebastian, they gave calicivirus to my resident cat Boo despite being vaccinated. It affected him in less than a week and it was his worst (if only) flare.

I came home from work and couldn't find him. He was hiding under the bed and drooling profusely. He would not open his mouth and would not eat or drink. I took him in the next morning and the doc showed me the large ulcer on his tongue. She said they are very painful. They gave him sub-q fluids, an anti-inflammatory of some sort that I don't remember, a Fentanyl pain patch that @mrsgreenjeens correctly mentioned, and to start him on a double dose of l-lysine which he continues to be on at a maintenance dose.

The Fentanyl patch lasts for three days, and avoids messing with the mouth any more than necessary. It definitely helped because he wanted to eat when I brought him home. It did take some time for the ulcer to heal. After three days and the pain patch wearing off, I could tell he was still in some pain, so I took him back and they put on another patch. I would say it took at least a week for the pain to subside and perhaps two weeks for the ulcer to completely heal.

ETA: This article has a section about how long an active flare / infection lasts and it seems right on point with the timeframe I experienced: http://www.vcahospitals.com/main/pet-health-information/article/animal-health/feline-calicivirus-infection/4132
 
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iluvcats4ever

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Tini is eating again!!  The crisis is over.  Thank you all for your responses, you all know when you have a sick cat you go into panic mode.

When I took the kittens and mamma into the vet he ran tests to make assure they were healthy, I realize now that you can't test for everything.  The kittens and mamma had no contact with my resident cats until the kittens were 8 weeks old and they all seemed very healthy as did the mamma. I had no reason to believe anyone was sick.

i ended up keeping two of the kittens and the mamma.  My vet told me that even if I vaccinated my cats they still could get this virus.

I am never sure what the right thing is with vaccinations. Mine always had their kitten vaccines but not the yearly vaccine and they lived to 17, 19, 16, 17, 14 and I have a 15 year old currently, so it didn't seem to affect them too much.

This is truly one of the worst things I have experienced with my cats.  It was so horrible to see her in so much pain. 

Thank you all again for your answers.
 

momto3cats

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I'm glad she's doing better! 

The calicivirus vaccine doesn't necessarily prevent cats from getting sick. It reduces the severity of symptoms and length of the illness. The feline herpes vaccine is similar. I wish vets would tell people this. As it is, you have to go looking for this information, or be surprised and unprepared if your vaccinated cats get sick.
 
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