Cats with IBD. Symptoms & blood work?

victry77

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Hi

Just wondered if you have a cat with IBD or suspected IBD then what were the symptoms that made you take you kitty to the vet and how long had these symptoms gone on for?

Also, if your cat had blood work, what, if any, indicators were there in the blood results that pointed towards GI disease?

Thanks in advance. 
 

mrsgreenjeens

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With IBD, my understanding is that your cat is either vomiting frequently, or having loose stools or diarrhea frequently, or all or these issues.

Not sure if anything shows up in a blood test or not.  As far as I know, the only positive test is thru a biopsy. 

Maybe this article will help you:  http://www.thecatsite.com/a/inflammatory-bowel-disease-in-cats
 

emilyann

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My cat Buddy had Inflammatory Bowel Disease for several years. When he had flareups the signs were diarrhea, vomiting or both. If it was one or the other I used to wait 2 days to see if it would resolve, if not I called my vet. When they were both happening I would normally call after 1 day. I bought a small animal scale on Amazon to make a daily note of his weight, he was already a small cat and if he began to lose weight that was a bad sign. Since cats in general are small any weight loss in a short period of time is actually quite significant. 

There was a point where it got very bad, he was down to 6 lbs and it happened in a very short period of time. I had an ultrasound done and they said it could be Small Cell Lymphoma. There is currently no way to tell the difference between the 2 diseases without a biopsy, and even then there's no guarantee and it's also quite an invasive procedure. We increased his Pred to daily, changed his diet so he was not eating any dry food, only frozen raw rabbit (nature's instinct variety) or limited ingredient wet food. When I switched to the frozen raw it was like night and day. The diet really changed everything. I never had the biopsy done because between the diet and the Pred all the symptoms were being managed, so that's all that mattered. That being said, he would still get flareups, but adjusting the Pred dosage/frequency under the supervision of my vet kept it under control for years. 
 

artiemom

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My guy, Artie has IBD. I have written a "book" here and have asked so many questions.  I have learned so much about this disease..

Artie started by beginning to be extremely fussy about his food. Then I noticed he was vomiting a lot!! It got to the point that with some foods, he would eat, sit in front of me and just upchuck. That fast. 

The weight loss is what really clinched it. He was losing weight rapidly. My Vet tried everything she could think of, and they said Artie needed expert help. I had to take him to an Internal Medicine Vet. 

Artie did not have diarrhea, he gets constipation..strange, but strange things do happen to me. I guess this goes along with it. 

As mrsgreenjeans  stated; the only proven diagnostic way of deciding IBD vs lymphoma is a biopsy.

Artie did have an ultrasound, which showed some thickened bowel/stomach. 

I did have him go through the biopsy because I really had to know. Personally, I needed an answer. The treatment for IBD and lymphoma is pretty much the same; except the option of chemo is really not on the table if there is a biopsy. I am not sure if I would go the route of chemo if the situation arouse, but as least I have an answer.

IBD can turn into lymphoma. Then it may not. 

The treatment is a lot of anti nausea and anti spasmatic drugs, along with a steroid. Also a novel protein diet. Either prescription or a really good food. 

The novel diet is some type of protein which your cat has not had before. 

IBD seems to result from an allergy. By changing and staying with one novel protein, you are introducing something new into their system.

I also discovered that Artie is allergic to chicken. I associated his immediated vomiting after eating chicken. My guy is now eating rabbit; actually a mix of rabbit and pork--Nature's Variety. 

You can also try duck, venison, quail, buffalo, etc...

IBD is an extremely frustrating disease with many flares. Artie just went through one a couple weeks ago. I had to restart an anti-nausea drug for him. 

The treatment is to try to get them stable. That is really hard to do sometimes. My vet told me of a vet tech who had an IBD cat. She tried for years to get her stable for any extended length of time. Unfortunately, she was unsuccessful or the IBD just kept advance.. it is a very hard disease to handle---But it CAN be done..Have to have a lot of patience, and willing to do a lot of trial and error with foods and medications. You do need a vet who is very knowledgable about it. That is why I am seeing a specialist. 

Any advisors, please correct me.

Good Luck...
 
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victry77

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mrsgreenjeans ~ I know what you mean about diagnosis only being confirmed via biopsy. I just wondered if it also cause any abnormalities in blood work. I know low B12 and folate can indicate it, but obviously this can indicate other GI disease, too. Thank you for the link. 

EmilyAnn ~ Thank you for telling me about Buddy. Obviously he's symptoms were fare-ups as you say. I agree weight loss is very concerning and that's why I have taken my cat, Minnie to the vet, also IMO she was exhibiting symptoms of GI disease, but not anything I would class as flare-ups. Obviously the big worry is that it is lymphoma. I really do hope that management of Buddy's IBD continues successfully for a very long time to come. 

Artiemom ~ Thank you so much for the detailed response. I understand you educating yourself so much about the condition. To be forewarned is to be forearmed, so to speak. Artie's symptoms sound a little bit like my Minnie's. She also been such a small cat and has always been picking. But her picky nature could just get ridiculous sometimes. She would meow for food but didn't want to eat it. Also, she has a history of vomiting hairballs, which I stupidly thought was normal (as it was hairballs and not food) but have recently found out this can point to GI issues. Recently her appetite seemed to increase and she was actually eating everything I put out to her, but her weight had dropped from 3.1kg to 2.98. She looks like a little stick. 

She also had a little bit of weigh loss just over a year ago and at the time brought up a massive hairball. Vet couldn't pinpoint any issues and she put a bit of weight back on but has lost it again. Oddly, I also notice she had a little bit of hair loss. One area there was a definite small round red bald patch. The fur has since been growing back. Diarrhea has never been an issue. 

She was examined last week and bloods were drawn. Physical exam fine and bloods were fine (although these were just routine bloods), two of her kidney values were elevated but vet said in context with other results this does not indicate kidney issues. She vomited a couple of hairballs that weekend, so I called vet back and they are running the B12/folate/TLI on her blood sample. 

X-rays and endoscopy were also suggested on the back of the blood results. So, stressful. It's the weight loss that really worries me and I know that when cats have these symptoms about 50% of the time it is lymphoma. I can understand why you had the biopsies done. At least then you know what you're dealing with. Although, food is most certainly a minefield. 

Thank you. 
 

denice

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My kitty had his first IBD flare when he was only 18 months old.  His symptoms were the same as swallowing a foreign object, anorexia, vomiting stomach acid and constipation.  I went through several vets who just gave supportive care before getting a diagnosis.

The B12/folate blood test is a good indicator.  Patches had it done when he started loosing weight again.  They ended up just increasing his Prednisolone dose and he gained the weight back.

I didn't get a biopsy done but he has to date had two ultrasounds done.  One when he was first diagnosed and one when he had started loosing weight again.

IBD is a frustrating disease both to get diagnosed and to find what works for a particular cat.  The diagnoses is actually a diagnoses of elimination, sometimes even a biopsy is inconclusive.  I think the ultrasound is good to have done.  It isn't conclusive but there are strong indicators that will show up on an ultrasound.
 
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victry77

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Denice ~ Thank you for replying. Yes, I understand what you mean about it being a process of elimination. These B12/folate/TLI tests are going to take up to two weeks for results! So, at the moment it feels like things are at a bit of a standstill waiting for them to come back. 

EmlyAnn ~ Thanks so much for sharing the link :) 

Skufferk ~ Sorry to hear about Francie. How old is she and what symptoms was she exhibiting, if you don't mind me asking?
 

slufferk

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She is almost 7. Was having runny stool and always hungry. Was breathing hard and her lungs were filled with fluid. After testing, found she had Chylothorax, couldn't find the cause but found she had IBD and that could have contributed to the Chylothorax (makes no sense to me how it contributed).
 
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victry77

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Sorry to hear she has been unwell. Seems like we are sort of in the same boat. 

My cat Minnie just had her blood results back and her folate is low indicating small intestine disease. From what I have read, low folate indicates disease higher in the GI tract (vomiting) whereas low B12 indicates it is lower in the tract (diarrhea). Minnie has history of vomiting hairballs, but no  diarrhea. Her B12 was normal. 

She is getting an ultrasound next week. She also has lost a bit more weight which is worrying. At the minute I'm looking to treat it as IBD. Vet said given her age it would be unlucky if it was lymphoma and to not worry about that as such right now.

Now faced with a minefield of information to wade my way through. Thank you again EmilyAnn for posting your link. I shall read through it carefully. 

If anybody had any tips or do's/don'ts given your experience, I'm sure I would find that invaluable. Thank you. 
 

momenzie

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I'm going through something similar. Blood work showed low vitamin B count. Vomiting, diarrhea, lost half her body weight, however she still has a very strong appetite. I scheduled an appointment to get a 2nd opinion.

Any advice on questions to ask the vet? Thanks in advance.
 

tunabug27

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My response to this might be a little late. But my cat has sever inflammatory bowel disease. However, her experiences are slightly different from everyone else's. After talking to vets and specialists I have come to understand there are two types of IBD. The one that is just affecting the lining of the stomach, or has moved on to the intestines. How to tell the difference is, if your cat is just vomiting, hacking, and attempting to throw up then the cat has IBD in the stomach lining and generally is easier to handle. Then there is IBD that has affected the cells of the intestine. That type comes with diarrhea, and the vomiting. My cat has it in her stomach.

She was diagnosed over a year ago, since then, we have been using a new drug called budesonide. It is a steroid that actually works very well with cats that has little to no affect on any other organ in the cat body other than the stomach. It acts as a topical medication, since it's acts in one part of the body because it gets dissolved before leaving the stomach, therefore there is no harmful affects to the kidneys or else where. Budesonide doesn't have a lot of study on it, it's fairly new, it's also more expensive than prenesolone. Which I recommend you do not give your cats prenesolone (can't for the life of me remember how to spell it, but you get it). Prenesolone gives a cat a much greater chance of getting diabetes if on for long periods of time. My cat can be on budesonide for the rest of her life and it wouldn't affect other organs to develop additional health defects.

What I'm trying to get across is, IBD sucks, it is really hard to diagnose, but there is a way out of the headache which is all the vets and medication and food. My cat is on budesonide, has been for over a year, I never changed her diet, she acts like her normal self as long as she takes the medication every day. She eats normally, dinks normally, keeps a healthy weight and also put on weight after taking the medication. I have paid so much in very bills, and specialist costs to understand my cats illness, unfortunately it's permanent.
 

stephenq

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If anybody had any tips or do's/don'ts given your experience, I'm sure I would find that invaluable. Thank you. 
Lots already covered, i'll try and fill in some gaps.  My cat had mild IBD for years, then it became quite severe, we went the route of ultrasound/biopsy/prednisolone (plus diet, B12, cerenia for nasuea, sub Q fluids, probiotics) and he did very well for about 15 months, then briefly Leukeran (didnt tolerate it) when the pred and other steroids stopped working and then it was changing into a very rare internal mast cell cancer, and by the time we got that diagnosis he was out of time.

Bloodwork: not diagnostic for IBD, but needed to help rule out other things.  Without a biopsy (full surgical or endoscopic- tube inserted down throat) diagnosis is based on symptoms and treatments (a treatment that works is diagnostic)  

IBD vs lymphoma: it's not that there is a "X" chance of it being one or the other, usually it starts as IBD and then can change into small cell lymphoma.   When weight loss occurs and that weight loss can't be arrested by means other than steroids, it could still be ibd or it could have become lymphoma, and then the only way to diagnose is by biopsy, but if one is going to biopsy then it has to be done before  steroids are introduced.  Even with a neg Diagnosis on lymphoma at the time of biopsy, it can still become lymphoma later.  The treatment for IBD and lymphoma is essentially the same, at least until late stages when lymphoma patients can try Leukeran, so a biopsy may in some respects be more for those humans who really want to know.  If i had another cat with severe IBD i think i'd skip the biopsy and go right for the steroids.  Note, many vets will prescribe Leukeran for cats who no longer respond to steroid therapy even without a Diagnosis of small cell lymphoma, discuss this with your vet.

Another poster said they didn't recommend prednisolone.  It is not our job to specifically recommend or not recommend therapies on this site.  Every medicine has pluses and minuses, and the steroid they recommended, Budesonide while effective in many ways, is not without its own issues, see links below.

Your cat's weight loss is concerning as it suggests the inflammation of the GI tract has reached the point where your cat can't absorb enough nutrients to maintain weight.  This is where the steroids come in, they act to reduce inflammation and correct the absorption imbalance.    B12 injections, easy to do at home aid in nutrient absorption.

If the ultrasound shows enlarged lymph nodes, they can do needle aspirates of the nodes during the ultrasound.

Cerenia is a amazing drug for nasuea, a neural block that is very effective, my cat Simon was on it for the last 15 months of his life.  Also, he was also on prednisolone that whole time and never got diabetes....

http://www.ibdkitties.net/introduction-to-steroids-4/

https://www.vetinfo.com/budesonide-for-cats.html

https://www.vetinfo.com/feline-inflammatory-bowel-disease.html
 

tunabug27

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However many people reply, I do recommend talking to your vet about any sort of medications you put your cat on. Or new diets that you would like to try. However helpful people are, its best left to the experts to decide. I really hope all goes well with your kitty. Happy holidays! [emoji]128522[/emoji]
 
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