Cat Not Eating - All Tests Normal

tqr220

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Hoping someone can help me. My 2 year old domestic short hair (female spayed) has had a progressively worsening appetite since 5/17 culminating in her totally refusing to eat on 5/25. We have offered her every brand, texture, and flavor of wet food imaginable. We’ve also offfered dry food, and added things like warm water, probiotic, and crushed up tuna cat treat flakes to no avail. She isn’t vomiting, regurgitating, gagging or having any litter box issues. She is still active and responsive, but definitely looks like she’s in discomfort. We had her on Gabapentin for suspected mouth pain for awhile, but she will no longer take that either.

She has tooth resorption, and in February she had several extractions done but hasn’t been quite right since. She’s been in a few times to get checked out, but nothing has ever come of it. In early April she had dental and full body x-rays that showed nothing abnormal. On 5/20 she had a full physical, full abdominal ultrasound, and full CBC Chem panel. Nothing showed up at all - all values were normal, no inflammation, no IBD, no pancreatitis, no kidney issues, nothing.

We’re desperate for answers because we know she’s at serious risk if she stops eating for too long. We’re hoping to get her back to her vet today or early tomorrow, but I don’t know what else they may be able to offer that we haven’t done already.
 

FeebysOwner

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Hi. Hoping one of the members on this site that has dealt with dental issues comes along soon and offers their input. But, at first blush, I would seek out a second opinion and share the dental x-rays, preferably with a vet who specializes in dentistry - especially if your current vet does not. This sounds like a few cases on this site where there were pieces of tooth material left behind. And, ask about another form of pain meds for now - perhaps transdermal?

In the meantime, see if there is anything in this article that you haven't tried yet in terms of getting your cat to eat at least a little something. I highly recommend trying baby food meat (Gerber Stage 2 or Beechnut) as it is so soft it might not bother her to lap some up. It is not nutritionally complete, but it is a start to getting a bit of sustenance in her.
How To Get Your Cat To Start Eating Again – TheCatSite Articles
 

mrsgreenjeens

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I agree with FeebysOwner FeebysOwner that it must be something in her mouth, especially since you said she hasn't been right since she had several extractions in February AND since you said even the Ultrasound came back normal.

Each time you've taken her in lately, have they done a thorough exam of her mouth? Of course, if there is still a piece of root or tooth left in there, it might not show up unless they do another mouth xray, which will require her to be anesthesized. When she WAS eating a little bit, how did she look when chewing? Did she seem awkward, like it was hurting her? That might be a clue. I have a cat with tooth resorption and always watch him closely since his last extractions just to see how he eats. Once they start, they typically occur on more and more teeth
 
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tqr220

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Mod Note.. merged thread to keep all the information in one place.

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My two year old calico Cleo has had poor appetite since having dental extractions done in February of this year, but recently in the last 3 weeks has become lethargic and depressed. She has had dental and abdominal x-rays, abdominal ultrasound, and blood work done, but everything has come back completely normal. We’ve tried Gabapentin and Onsior to no avail, and after starting Prednisolone she actually started doing very well for a week. That quickly went away though, so we took her to an internal medicine specialist who seemed stumped as well. She recommended a brain MRI and an endoscopy, but didn’t seem confident that either would lead us anywhere.

she is urinating daily, and has no diarrhea. She vomits the occasional hair ball once a month or so, but no gagging or regurgitation. No limping, lameness, or poor coordination. The only other symptom is overgrooming around her anus/base of her tail. We’re at our wits end about what it could be and hoping someone may have some insight ir experience with a similar case.
 
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tqr220

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She has had a dental X-ray done since her extractions. It was in April when her full body was done, but they said nothing was there that would cause her to be in so much distress. In her chart they did note that a few teeth were left behind that had very mild furcations, and one with a very mild root lesion. But they said it wouldn’t be enough to cause any significant discomfort, and every time they or we examine her mouth she never really reacts in a way that she seems to be in pain.
 

John Perram

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I'm sure you tried different wet foods. If cat food does not appeal to her, try baby food. Gerbers chicken beef or ham or turkey. Just to get your cat eating.

Baby food

For cats vitamins etc
Virbac Rebound

It took awhile for me to get my rerun eating again but I got her eating cat food again after a 3 month struggle.
 

StanAndAlf

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I would get her anal glands expressed and checked over, just to make sure the overgrooming isn't being caused by an issue in that area. I think an endoscopy might be a good idea, to make sure everything is fine in her digestive tract.

Is it possible she is associating eating with the pain she felt after her dental extractions? Are you feeding wet or dry at the moment? Trying an appetite stimulant might be something to think about, if you haven't already, just to see if she forms a positive connection with food again, if that is indeed the issue and not something medical.

Does she tend to stress a lot? Something like Feliway might help ease stress which can cause depression like symptoms, and contribute to lack of appetite. Just trying to rule out non-medical problems, just to narrow things down hopefully. Has anything changed in your life since before the symptoms started?
 
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tqr220

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Trying to answer everyone at once, thank you for the responses. She hasn’t totally given up on eating. We can usually get her to eat enough over the course of a day, but it is taking an incredible amount of work to encourage her. We’ve tried every brand, flavor, and texture - wet food, dry food, and even adding probiotic or flavor enhancers. She’s just never excited, and when she does eat its only difficult nibbling at a time. She hasn’t lost any weight though and has never been dehydrated on her labs.

we have had to use mirataz on and off, but it never seems to make a huge difference. I would be okay if it was just the difficult eating thing, but she has become so withdrawn and disinterested in playing or affection that has me really worried. She was a very anxious cat when we adopted her and she gets pretty shaken up from the vet visits, but she has tons of cat scratchers/furniture, beds, toys and so on to keep her stimulated. We also keep her routine exact every day and try to minimize stress. We’ve brought this up with the vet also but neither her vet or the specialist believed that it is anxiety related. We’ve shared tons of videos of her demeanor, eating, and movements, but outside of the difficulty eating nothing has really stood out.
 

daftcat75

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I would get a second opinion on the dental x-rays. With FORLs, if they left roots or root fragments behind in previous extractions, that can be enough to cause discomfort and eventually put her off eating. Another possibility, if the extractions were done asymmetrically, that the teeth still present are biting or rubbing into the opposing lip or gum where teeth were removed. General vets are jacks of all trade. But they certainly are not dental specialists. They have about enough training to identify teeth that need to be extracted and perform those extractions. But more complicated jobs like cleaning up root fragments, filing down canines, or removing healthy teeth because they are irritating the opposing lip or gum is generally beyond the abilities and experience of a general vet. For that, you'll need a dental specialist. FORLs is nasty business. You and your cat would be best served by finding a specialist who is willing to remove her remaining teeth now rather than waiting for them to go bad in their own time. You'll save your cat a lot of trouble in the future and you'll probably save yourself some money because you won't be paying all these repeat vet visits and duplicate costs like x-rays and anesthesia each time she goes in for more extractions.

The bad news is that dental specialists are few and far between with very long wait times. I would get stinky fish flavored wet food to entice her to keep eating until you can see a specialist. I would beg your vet or a second vet to do what they can even if those problem teeth don't look like that much of a problem right now. I would ask for an appetite stimulant. And if all else fails, I encourage you to consider a feeding tube insertion until you can get her to a dental specialist or a vet who can provide another explanation.
 
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tqr220

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I would get a second opinion on the dental x-rays. With FORLs, if they left roots or root fragments behind in previous extractions, that can be enough to cause discomfort and eventually put her off eating. Another possibility, if the extractions were done asymmetrically, that the teeth still present are biting or rubbing into the opposing lip or gum where teeth were removed. General vets are jacks of all trade. But they certainly are not dental specialists. They have about enough training to identify teeth that need to be extracted and perform those extractions. But more complicated jobs like cleaning up root fragments, filing down canines, or removing healthy teeth because they are irritating the opposing lip or gum is generally beyond the abilities and experience of a general vet. For that, you'll need a dental specialist. FORLs is nasty business. You and your cat would be best served by finding a specialist who is willing to remove her remaining teeth now rather than waiting for them to go bad in their own time. You'll save your cat a lot of trouble in the future and you'll probably save yourself some money because you won't be paying all these repeat vet visits and duplicate costs like x-rays and anesthesia each time she goes in for more extractions.

The bad news is that dental specialists are few and far between with very long wait times. I would get stinky fish flavored wet food to entice her to keep eating until you can see a specialist. I would beg your vet or a second vet to do what they can even if those problem teeth don't look like that much of a problem right now. I would ask for an appetite stimulant. And if all else fails, I encourage you to consider a feeding tube insertion until you can get her to a dental specialist or a vet who can provide another explanation.
thanks so much for the reply. Think our wires got crosses, but we have been able to keep her weight on and hydration steady with persistent effort. Her primary care vet has been amazing, and she actually is very experienced in cat dentistry. She’s been great with Cleo and a previous cat we had, but I thinI a second opinion on it certainly isn’t out of the question. She made us aware it was likely that Cleo would need more extractions in the future, and currently she does have some uneven extraction sites if that’s the right way to describe it.

she constantly has a hard time getting comfortable laying down, is regularly hunched over, and then add in the lethargy we can’t shake the sense that something is bothering her. We had hoped the NSAID or Gabapentin would have helped her, but it hasn’t seemed to be the case. We’re just trying to cover all of our bases before we subject her to any additional procedures, especially any that require anesthesia
 
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