Chronic diarrhea has persisted for years

jessemanning

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Hi everyone.

Our cat, Puchi -- a tabby / Russian Blue mix, according to one vet -- came to live with us around four-and-a-half years ago. He belonged to a cousin's grandfather, and when he passed away, Puchi was rehomed several times in just a matter of weeks. We finally were able to adopt him (from his most-recent owner who, after two weeks, wanted to get rid of him because he wasn't getting along with the other cats or her kids) and brought him home in February 2017. Because of his many homes and how his original owner came about having him, we don't know how old he is but suspect somewhere between 10 and 12.

Puchi is one of the sweetest, most-gentle cats I've ever known (although I can see him not getting along well at first with other cats ... but he did fine with our other cat after a few weeks of integration). He also has chronic diarrhea.

Puchi on bed.jpg


I noticed this on his very first night with us. I chalked it up to nervousness and having been moved around so much in a short period of time. But the diarrhea never went away. Our vet put him on some prescription medication (unfortunately I cannot remember what it was), and while it seemed to help some, his stools were still very soft, and the pills were difficult to administer: so large they had to be broken into three or four pieces, then forced down his throat each time.

After a few months, we didn't really see any purpose in continuing the medication and stopped. Puchi's litterbox was outside on a screened-in porch at our previous home, so we rarely noticed the awful smell that accompanied every BM. Nine months ago, we moved, and the litterbox had to be placed inside. The severity of his diarrhea is now very apparent.

He doesn't appear to ever be in any pain. Only a handful of times over the years have I ever noticed blood in his stool. Different veterinarians have never been able to identify anything wrong despite blood tests, stool samples, and general exams. He just has horrible diarrhea. Every single time he uses the litterbox, he's leaving between 1/8 and 1/4 cup of what looks like butterscotch pudding. And every time is loud -- Puchi actually farts like a human every time he goes.

I've tried probiotics. They did nothing at best; one seemed to make things even worse. I've switched his diet -- we went grain-free several years ago (mostly for the other cat's stomach) and tried several variations of Blue Buffalo. A recent switch to duck flavor had him going five or six times per day. Most recently, I switched him to canned food: Friskies prime filets. He's going fewer times per day, but it seems even more watery than it was before. Poor Puchi sometimes steps in it and tracks it around the house, and he's always got a dirty butt which means he occasionally leaves prints on carpets or beds that he lays on. And those few occasions when he's gone outside the litter box are absolute messes to clean up ... particularly the time the Roomba ran over it.

He has lost weight. When we got him, he was 23 pounds. Today, he's closer to 17 or 18, though we've attributed that to a grain-free / healthier diet and scheduled, portioned feeding.

I'm not sure what else to try. Is there a particular type of food that is better for these situations? Is there a test that I haven't done, or some likely culprit that's causing this that we need to test? While Puchi doesn't seem to be particularly bothered by his diarrhea, I'd sure like to find a way to make things better for him -- healthier, less-frequent stools.

Puchi on box.jpg
 

FeebysOwner

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Hi. Puchi is adorable! Have you had a full fecal PCR test done? It not only looks for more parasites than the standard fecal tests, it also looks for various bacterial/viral issues as well. Aside from that, he might have food allergies - which are very hard to nail down. But, you might talk to your vet about an LID/novel protein food to start with (rabbit, venison, for example) and see if that helps at all. Those are starts at any rate.

Hopefully, other members will come along soon with other ideas.
 

daftcat75

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Handsome boy!

It could be a number of things. Not every vet runs every test or the correct tests.

While there is a fecal float test with a stool sample, that one only looks for parasites. There is another more expensive diarrhea PCR test that will look for microbial infections that the fecal float test does not look for. If he hasn't had a diarrhea PCR test, that would be a good place to start.

Another test I might recommend is the test for EPI (exocrine pancreatic insufficiency.) It's not a common condition and so it's not a common test either. In EPI, his pancreas would not be producing sufficient amounts of digestive enzymes. This could account for his chronic cow-pies especially if they smell awful. It's a blood test.

Has he had an ultrasound? If not, I would recommend that too to determine if he has IBD or GI lymphoma. Chronic diarrhea can be a symptom of either.

There could be a dietary component to this as well. Wet food will be easiest to determine this as the collection of inappropriate ingredients is much higher in any dry food than even your worst franken-wet-food. I would start with non-fish flavors of Fancy Feast Classic Pates, Sheba, or Friskies. I know. I know. These are often considered lower quality foods. But they are popular with cats. Wet junk your cat will eat is still better than quality wet food he won't eat and always better than any dry food you can feed. Rawz makes single protein pates with simple, sensible recipes. It is the gold standard for IBD and allergy cats for determining these kinds of sensitivities. You can write to Rawz and they will send you samples. Also some of the online retailers sell by the can as well as the case making it easier to buy just a few different cans to try.

Finally, this page has some things you can try while you are getting to the bottom of this (so to speak. 🤦‍♂️ )
My Cat Has Diarrhea - What Do I Do?

Cutting to the chase, I would order some of this:
Vitamin Shoppe

A lot of cats like the taste of s. boulardii. You may be able to use this as a topper/mix-in with whatever wet food you are trying to get him to eat.
 
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daftcat75

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Things that gave my Krista diarrhea e.g. things to look for in his current diet:

1. Glucosamine/chondroitin and things that contained natural sources of these like green lipped mussels or arthritis supplements like Cosequin.
2. Xanthan gum. This makes smooth foods smooth. It also makes poops smooth. It's not found exclusively in smooth foods though. Many treats or pill pockets have xanthan gum in them.
3. Carrageenan/agar agar. This one didn't cause diarrhea as much as abdominal discomfort. But it's still something to look for. If you have a choice between foods that contain these and foods that don't, skip them whenever possible.
4. Chicken, fish, or egg proteins. This was a long investigation as part of managing her IBD. I know you said you tried "duck" and it made matters worse. Some duck recipes have several other proteins including chicken and/or fish. When looking to eliminate a protein from a diet, you really need to eliminate it all the way down the ingredients list. Sometimes it is as tricky as "poultry byproducts" in Fancy Feast which is another name for organ meats from chicken and other poultry (turkey, duck, quail, etc.)

Figuring this out from a dietary perspective is quite the rabbit hole to disappear down. I would start with an ultrasound, the test for EPI, and the diarrhea PCR because dietary changes can make matters worse. As you already know.
 

maggiemay

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All excellent replies with great information. I would for sure have the vet do more definitive tests and watch for triggering ingredients in his food. If you want something to try that has been very successful for many cats with digestive problems such as IBD and pancreatitis, as well as those times any cat has an episode of diarrhea, you might want to try DiaGel for cats, it’s available from many vets, as well as on Chewy and Amazon. Very impressive reviews. Of course, every cat is different, but it may help your beautiful boy. I use Pro-Pectalin for times such as during antibiotic use, if the meds cause diarrhea. It contains kaolin, apple pectin and probiotics, no chemicals. It has always worked well for my kitties. Of course, this is simply treating his symptoms, and hopefully your vet can discover the cause of the diarrhea.
 
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jessemanning

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Hi everyone! First, I want to thank all of you for the thorough and very thoughtful responses.

An update on Puchi: we had some very thorough testing done, and he's got stage 1 kidney disease, so the vet recommended a special diet along with regular B12 shots. We'll start that soon. However, we also had an ultrasound done and believe we found the cause of his chronic diarrhea.

Puchi's colon is around 1/3 the length it should be. With such a short colon, he doesn't have nearly enough time to absorb much of the fluid that's in his stool. We've had him on Hill's Gastrointestinal Biome for over a month, and while it seemed to help firm things up initially, he's back to having very watery poop (though only two or three times a day now). And unfortunately, he's gone from 18 pounds in February to just under 14 today.

He still seems very happy -- a little more spry and active due to the weight loss, and still keeping his days packed with naps, laying in the sun, begging for treats, and headbutts. He even participated in our apartment complex's pet costume contest for Halloween, staying for 10 minutes before he decided it was time to go home.

IMG_4714.jpg


Besides the new diet, the vet has told us that there's not much to be done for this type of disorder. But I'm open to any additional thoughts or suggestions you all may have. We got to the bottom of one mystery and now face another! Thanks as always for your incredible input.
 

maggiemay

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Hi everyone! First, I want to thank all of you for the thorough and very thoughtful responses.

An update on Puchi: we had some very thorough testing done, and he's got stage 1 kidney disease, so the vet recommended a special diet along with regular B12 shots. We'll start that soon. However, we also had an ultrasound done and believe we found the cause of his chronic diarrhea.

Puchi's colon is around 1/3 the length it should be. With such a short colon, he doesn't have nearly enough time to absorb much of the fluid that's in his stool. We've had him on Hill's Gastrointestinal Biome for over a month, and while it seemed to help firm things up initially, he's back to having very watery poop (though only two or three times a day now). And unfortunately, he's gone from 18 pounds in February to just under 14 today.

He still seems very happy -- a little more spry and active due to the weight loss, and still keeping his days packed with naps, laying in the sun, begging for treats, and headbutts. He even participated in our apartment complex's pet costume contest for Halloween, staying for 10 minutes before he decided it was time to go home.

View attachment 401256

Besides the new diet, the vet has told us that there's not much to be done for this type of disorder. But I'm open to any additional thoughts or suggestions you all may have. We got to the bottom of one mystery and now face another! Thanks as always for your incredible input.
Precious little Puchi! Having been through absolute hell trying to get Fritz’s diarrhea under control, I can tell you that in his particular case, neither the DiaGel nor the Propectalin worked. So I made it my mission to find something that would, and I succeeded. Petwellbeing BM Toneup Gold for Cats took about two weeks to completely work, but it has absolutely stopped the diarrhea. BM Tone-Up Gold - for Loose Stools in Cats. Amazon carries the product as well. Fritz is diabetic, and he too had rapid weight loss. This amazing product has worked so well for him, and it has no side effects like pharmaceuticals do. I have to syringe the drops into his mouth, he won’t eat his food if it’s mixed in. I hope this herbal formula works as well for Puchi as it has for Fritz. He now goes once a day like he always did. I highly recommend it.
 
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