Falling, stumbling, problems walking, neurological signs (?) Help

NadiaRey

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I'm dying over here with worry. Gremlin, my 16 year old, went from mild neurological symptoms getting progressively worse (a tick in the paws during sleep became a shake while even standing or walking, making him loose footing) to all of a sudden falling repeatedly and being unable to stand back up on his own.

It all started with him having a crisis of some sort at the start of this week. On Monday, he vocalized loudly, seemed disoriented, suddenly backtracks from me approaching or anything at all, and the stumbling. He was barely able to walk (taking the first step from any standing/sitting position took him time, like he was scared to, and even if he walked, he was woobly). Also, trembling.

He was the same till Friday minus the trembling. And pupils are almost always extremely dilated. And just when I thought he was recovering or at least stable, then Saturday, yesterday, it got worse. He started falling: midwalk he would drop to lay to one side, unexplicably. At first I thought he was doing it on purpose but then seemed unable to stand back up.

He has even more problems walking now (there's no normalcy even after the first step). When falling, either lays still or raises and falls again. And he meows loudly to ask me away (in pain?) when I approach or touch him or if I try picking him up, but he's unable to stand if I don't. (I don't know if he's saying it hurts or if he just doesn't recognize who I am and is scared of me.) Voice is weird too.

Another disorienting thing is that he seemed to be recovering at times. Now it's Sunday night and I realize it's more like a recurrent thing. Purred this morning. Falls all the time at night. I feel it's getting worse always at night (cold? Now he's snuggling against the stove)

But he has no fever (3 visits to the vet confirms it). He has had only one day of vomit (Tuesday, twice). Only one time (yesterday) I saw mild diarrea. No loss of appetite. Drinks and pees a lot. No high blood pressure either (unlikely to be a stroke).


Vet notes:

I was being a pain in the ass to vets all week, first (monday) them thinking ear infection (gave him drops) but not doing any additional panels meanwhile. Then suspected inflammation of the neck (saturday morning, gave them an antiinflamatory). Went to emergency vets on Saturday night but they discarded it was an emergency (gave him some hepatic protector and Metoclopramide, thinking it might have been a bad reaction to an antiinflammatory given that very morning).

I wanted to give him a test for all neurologicalproblems-induced bacteria because I suspect all this started when I gave him some fish (he turned his nose up to salmon, but I insisted like an idiot). And many of those bacteria are fatal.

But as stated, Gremlin never developped fever or big diarrea or vomit, that's why the vets kept posponing checking those. And now I'm stuck because there're no labs until Thursday (it's a festive week and labs are all closed until then...I want to cry). Which is why I'm desperate.

It's been the whole week, all this time developping who knows what really. Because I haven't been able to do the panels or have any clue what's going on, even if it's treatable, I can't treat it. I'm between a rock and a precipice.

And that is the problem: we still don't know anything. Ear drops didn't seem to make any difference. And when we suspected neck inflammation and gave him antiinflammatories, got worse that very night. That's why my head vet now is worried the sudden worsening state was the result of the drugs and is hesistant to give him any treatment at all.
(*)Gremlin has a history of bad reactions to drugs, especially analgesics and anesthesia - in fact, the way Gremlin is acting now is very reminicent of how he was when after both times we subjected him to anesthesia, two years ago, needing aid to walk... The main difference is anesthesia gave him crazy vomits, and this didn't.



Speaking of analgesics, that's the other thing: I don't know how much *is* pain, and how much is just discomfort or disorientation (if he's scared if he doesn't remember me, or is frustrated/scared because he can't move around as he used to). So I don't know if I should be giving him a humane good bye to stop him suffering... or if there's still a prospect of recovery that makes this all worth it.

He does fall down and opposes getting help back up (not sure if pain is involved).

He's eating. He drinks water. If with difficulty, he still walks (some times on his own, some times assisted). He doesn't have a fever. He hasn't had more than a mild diarrea. This isn't your typical dying cat. That's why I don't know if he is...

On the other hand, if this is all due to pain, it's no way to live.

Please give me your thoughts and suggestions. Especially if you think you know what this is. Paralysis or pain? Do you know of a bacteria I should test him for? (Already saw the suggestion for Cryptococcus in another thread, thanks for that.)

Just. I need to get my ideas in order. To be sure I am not missing anything, that I got all information. If I must wait until Tuesday, then I want to know exactly what I'm asking Gremlin to be tested for. And also, I want to make sure I'm not being cruel to Gremlin.

Thanks for reading. Sorry for the long post. Thanks in advance.
 

WMM201

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I'm dying over here with worry. Gremlin, my 16 year old, went from mild neurological symptoms getting progressively worse (a tick in the paws during sleep became a shake while even standing or walking, making him loose footing) to all of a sudden falling repeatedly and being unable to stand back up on his own.

It all started with him having a crisis of some sort at the start of this week. On Monday, he vocalized loudly, seemed disoriented, suddenly backtracks from me approaching or anything at all, and the stumbling. He was barely able to walk (taking the first step from any standing/sitting position took him time, like he was scared to, and even if he walked, he was woobly). Also, trembling.

He was the same till Friday minus the trembling. And pupils are almost always extremely dilated. And just when I thought he was recovering or at least stable, then Saturday, yesterday, it got worse. He started falling: midwalk he would drop to lay to one side, unexplicably. At first I thought he was doing it on purpose but then seemed unable to stand back up.

He has even more problems walking now (there's no normalcy even after the first step). When falling, either lays still or raises and falls again. And he meows loudly to ask me away (in pain?) when I approach or touch him or if I try picking him up, but he's unable to stand if I don't. (I don't know if he's saying it hurts or if he just doesn't recognize who I am and is scared of me.) Voice is weird too.

Another disorienting thing is that he seemed to be recovering at times. Now it's Sunday night and I realize it's more like a recurrent thing. Purred this morning. Falls all the time at night. I feel it's getting worse always at night (cold? Now he's snuggling against the stove)

But he has no fever (3 visits to the vet confirms it). He has had only one day of vomit (Tuesday, twice). Only one time (yesterday) I saw mild diarrea. No loss of appetite. Drinks and pees a lot. No high blood pressure either (unlikely to be a stroke).


Vet notes:

I was being a pain in the ass to vets all week, first (monday) them thinking ear infection (gave him drops) but not doing any additional panels meanwhile. Then suspected inflammation of the neck (saturday morning, gave them an antiinflamatory). Went to emergency vets on Saturday night but they discarded it was an emergency (gave him some hepatic protector and Metoclopramide, thinking it might have been a bad reaction to an antiinflammatory given that very morning).

I wanted to give him a test for all neurologicalproblems-induced bacteria because I suspect all this started when I gave him some fish (he turned his nose up to salmon, but I insisted like an idiot). And many of those bacteria are fatal.

But as stated, Gremlin never developped fever or big diarrea or vomit, that's why the vets kept posponing checking those. And now I'm stuck because there're no labs until Thursday (it's a festive week and labs are all closed until then...I want to cry). Which is why I'm desperate.

It's been the whole week, all this time developping who knows what really. Because I haven't been able to do the panels or have any clue what's going on, even if it's treatable, I can't treat it. I'm between a rock and a precipice.

And that is the problem: we still don't know anything. Ear drops didn't seem to make any difference. And when we suspected neck inflammation and gave him antiinflammatories, got worse that very night. That's why my head vet now is worried the sudden worsening state was the result of the drugs and is hesistant to give him any treatment at all.
(*)Gremlin has a history of bad reactions to drugs, especially analgesics and anesthesia - in fact, the way Gremlin is acting now is very reminicent of how he was when after both times we subjected him to anesthesia, two years ago, needing aid to walk... The main difference is anesthesia gave him crazy vomits, and this didn't.



Speaking of analgesics, that's the other thing: I don't know how much *is* pain, and how much is just discomfort or disorientation (if he's scared if he doesn't remember me, or is frustrated/scared because he can't move around as he used to). So I don't know if I should be giving him a humane good bye to stop him suffering... or if there's still a prospect of recovery that makes this all worth it.

He does fall down and opposes getting help back up (not sure if pain is involved).

He's eating. He drinks water. If with difficulty, he still walks (some times on his own, some times assisted). He doesn't have a fever. He hasn't had more than a mild diarrea. This isn't your typical dying cat. That's why I don't know if he is...

On the other hand, if this is all due to pain, it's no way to live.

Please give me your thoughts and suggestions. Especially if you think you know what this is. Paralysis or pain? Do you know of a bacteria I should test him for? (Already saw the suggestion for Cryptococcus in another thread, thanks for that.)

Just. I need to get my ideas in order. To be sure I am not missing anything, that I got all information. If I must wait until Tuesday, then I want to know exactly what I'm asking Gremlin to be tested for. And also, I want to make sure I'm not being cruel to Gremlin.

Thanks for reading. Sorry for the long post. Thanks in advance.
Did anyone check your cat's eyes? I didn't see any notes about that? Permanently dilated eyes are one of the symptoms of glaucoma, and his retinas might be slowly being damaged by the pressure but worse some days than others. To me, because my cat went blind just this past month, it sounds like your cat has glaucoma and lost his sight. My cat had permanently dilated pupils that I didn't understand until too late. The crying when you touch him may be due to surprise because he was not aware you were there and approaching. If he can't see, even if he has some memory of his environment, he will be disoriented. If he can't see well, he'd be afraid or disinclined to move about much. He may be able to perceive light and shadow, making night time harder. Put out some night lights for him. If you haven't seen an Opthalmology specialist, get your cat to one fast. You need to ask your primary vet to do a pressure reading on both eyes ASAP. If they are high, you can start the glaucoma prescription eye drops to reduce the pressure and perhaps there is still a chance at restoring some partial vision.
 

silent meowlook

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Hi. It almost sounds like he through a clot. The weird meowing can be pain related. The not wanting to be near you can also be pain. I would get him to a specialist ASAP. An internal medicine specialist would be good idea. I wouldn't be giving the ear drops. Sometimes if their teeth are really bad they can get an abscess that can affect the ear but that is rare. FIV + cats often have bad teeth.

Where I live the fish in the local lakes have salmon poisoning that has caused some illness and death in dogs here. I do not think it is recognized in cats. It is caused by a fluke carrying the Neorickettsia Helminthoeca bacteria like organism.

I hope you are able to get some answers for your kitty. And I hope he is feeling better soon.
 

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It's all guesswork right now. Did he have any blood work done? If you can't find something obvious in the blood work, your next best test is a big one: an MRI. But that will tell you if there is a tumor, an infection, or if he had a stroke. My Krista had neurological symptoms that appeared overnight. Fell off the bed and threw up. Staggered around like she was too dizzy or too weak to get to her feet. In her case, the MRI revealed an inner ear infection so bad that they had to perform a surgery to relieve it. The specialist explained to me that ear infections can be particularly tricky to treat with antibiotics because it's technically outside the body. And if it is an inner ear infection, there is no way those drops will reach it without intentionally puncturing the eardrum. In other words, just because ear drops didn't work, doesn't rule out an inner ear infection.
 
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NadiaRey

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Everyone, thank you very much. I have good news. Gremlin has had a sudden improvement. And I'm not kidding with "sudden"

All but the original neurological(?) symptoms are gone: He can walk on his own (and doesn't do the backtracking before taking the first step thing), recovered most his motor functions, he is even able to jump again.

Eyes pupil contract and dilate (though the dilatation in the dark feel excesive?) and no loud vocalizations (just a somewhat cracked voice). He was breathing a bit funny for a while but I think that's better too. So overall, just better in every account.

He is still looking feeble, but still, you compare it to how he was before, and no kidding, it's incredible, a miraculous recovery. And such a relief. Though still I'm plagged with questions.

The weird thing is that this was monday: exactly a week since he first had this sudden symptoms. I have explained in another thread that I gave him a topical antiinflamatory + antifungal cream called cuadriderm. But I can't be sure this had anything to do with him getting better.

It's been a week now, btw. But I didn't dare announce he got suddenly better because I was afraid he would relapse. I still am. I have no bloody clue what set this off in the first place.

All your suggestions are good too. Yes, it still might be the ear. It might be his eyes (I'm going to a vet oftalmologist next). It might be neck inflammation. It might be fungi. Teeth infection. Or clot. In all of these except the eyes and clot and teeth, the topic cuadriderm should have helped alleviate the symptoms (I put it on the ears, so it should have helped clean the ear + killed fungi + reduced inflammation near the head). But, again, not sure if the cream was in any way related to his recovery. Just wondering if it might have helped, then that could give me a clue what this is...?

And I already abuse your goodwill after you already been so helpful with your suggestions and time, thank you again, it cannot be understated. I just wonder if I can ask once more for ideas. In regards to what this is. Honestly, yeah I'm ecstatic how I'm able to announce goods news at all, especially after what we went through that hellish week. But I'm scared there's a possibility, if I don't get to the bottom of this, I'm just standing by idly while whatever set this off continues to move in. If I do a new blood pannel, I need to know what I'm looking for. So... any ideas?

Thank you in advance.
 
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NadiaRey

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These are my main suspects, so far:
- listeria
- meningococo
- estreptococo pneumoniae
- cryptococo (fungi)
- Neorickettsia Helminthoeca
- ciguatera

In case of digestive system related illness causing neurological reactions: - campylobacter, - e coli, - coccidia


Does anybody has any experience with these -or another bacteria/fungi/other- that help discard or confirm (or add) suspects for a bloodwork test?

So far we only discarded leptospirosis (there were rats in my garden weeks ago.)
 
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WMM201

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NadiaRey NadiaRey that's wonderful that your kitty has improved! That's great news and must be a relief. Did your vet recommended a specific blood test for Gremlin or other tests? If you are doing a blood test, you check the white blood cells count to see if they are high in case Gremlin is fighting an infection somewhere. You could also ask for an electrolyte profile or look for the potassium, sodium or chloride, calcium, phosphorus to see if any of them might be high or low, since they can also cause weakness issues and even seizures. A T4 number for his thyroid would be good to know and that often is part of a senior kitty blood work. Blood pressure check would be useful if Gremlin does okay at the vet. But you don't have to do all these tests at once! Now that Gremlin is stable (yay again!), work out a list of priorities with your vet to see what should be tested first so that you guys can plan for keeping Gremlin feeling as good as possible. Or ask your vet if a referral to an internal medicine or neurology specialist would be useful (especially if any new symptoms come up). Good luck and I hope Gremlin keeps getting better!
 
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NadiaRey

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Sorry, just to answer this in more detail:

- Thank you so much, S silent meowlook ! That is exactly the type of suggestions I was looking for! ^___^
As you can see, both were added to the list to ask the vet about. You have no idea how much gratitude I feel right now, thank you.

- Furballsmom Furballsmom : I don't know if we have that here, but my vet works at the university as researcher. Honestly, she's the best option for a vet I could ask for.

Most specialists here are also veterinary university professors. Is there something in particular I could be doing?



- candacelynn9 candacelynn9 : we did two MRI back in 2020 when his neurological symptoms first started(*)

(*Meaning he had a first situation that seemed neurological, it got really bad, not as fast as last episode but deteriorated quickly: he couldn't jump and constantly fell when shaking his head or looking up... he was never quite the same but slowly regained stability, could jump and fell less. Also better mood. Not sure what brought up that improvement, maybe diet? Anyways)

First MRI was of the head and neck, but the neurologist didn't spot anything like a tumor or visible infection. Second one was of the lumbar region (hips and lower legs), but we didn't see anything there either.

Yes, that was two years ago and could probably do with a new MRI.

But there is an additional problem: Gremlin reacts very badly to anestesia. I mentioned Saturday he scared me shitless things got so bad he couldn't walk? Well, that's how he reacts to anestesia usually. Plus a lot of vomiting (had to go to veterinary IR last time)

So I want to avoid putting him under. Vet agrees. MRIs uses anestesia so we are between a rock and a hard place.

I get solace in the idea that, if it was a tumor, it would have shown with the first MRI...? And the symptoms would have gotten worse, not better? He *is* under special diet, and I know anecdotes of people managing tumors and even getting better with changing what they eat.

On the other hand, this particular episode, so sudden to hit, and so sudden to improve, doesn't sound like a brain tumor...? Melanoma maybe grows fast, but brain tumors are supposed to grow slowly. I don't know, maybe it's my own wishful thinking...

Sorry about rambling. I'm all over the place
 
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NadiaRey

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W WMM201 Thanks! Those are good suggestions.
I mentioned Gremlin was FIV+, so we do panels regularly. I know his thyriod and pressure is good, and no diabetes. And, well, his white blood cells are all over the place actually.

But it's been a year since we last checked minerals. I'll ask especifically for potassium, sodium, chloride, calcium and phosphorus.
 

silent meowlook

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OOOPS! I forgot this was you who had posted on my thread about cryptococcus, and I may have responded a little harsh with questions that I already know the answer to if I had added things up. Working emergency, I see so many avoidable owner mistakes that I am starting to have the mindset of "assume the entire world of cat owners is walking around trying to kill their cats every minute of every day."
 
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NadiaRey

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Hey, yeah, sorry about rambling on your thread. And yes, his pressure was good (we checked that Saturday, in the midst of his episode.)

Update: I'm starting to believe the reason he got better was a product called Neoblue that I started giving him in drops the day before the recovery. Neoblue is a preparation created by the CIV in Buenos Aires (Argentina) that contains blueberry (+rosemary, olive oil extra virgin, soya leticin, and potassium). It's prescribed for both FIV+ and cancer.
I suspended the thing just yesterday after I noticed he was stomach upset (and I was worried the Neoblue might be past the expiration date). And he just got worse today.
 

WMM201

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Oh no, NadiaRey NadiaRey I am sorry to hear Gremlin got worse today. Is it the same symptoms returning, or a new set of symptoms? Is Gremlin still on the Neoblue product, if it seemed to help before? I hope whichever tests you and the vet end up running you can find some cause for Gremlin's trouble.
 
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NadiaRey

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UPDATE: I'm going to copy-paste what I posted in silent meowlook thread:

silent meowlook, hello again. I wanted to drop by to let you know, you probably saved my cat's life.
Yesterday, I finally got the test results for cryptococosis (I insisted we did that test earlier but other things took priority for the vets), and he tested positive.
So all this time that I've been giving him BetaCort/Quadriderm (with the antifungal miconazol + corticoid antiinflammatory + anti-meningitis gentamicine ) preventively, I could have saved his life.

The vet now thinks the episode Gremlin had that week was cerebrovascular accident (CVA). And now cryptococosis seems like a likely trigger suspect (his pressure was never high).
He never developped lung/respiratory issues. (Just a nose whistling,that was but much later on.)
The Neoblue might have helped (olive oil is anti-inflammatory and anti-microbian too) but I have no doubt now the thing that made all the difference was the miconazol + betacortisol really.

So, long story short: if I hadn't read this thread, I probably would have lost Gremlin. Or never knew what was wrong, thus never treat completely it, and it could have caused a second CVA that this next time could be fatal.

I can't thank you enough.
 

silent meowlook

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I am glad you pushed the vets for the test. What treatment are you starting for it? Crypto can pass the blood brain barrier and then neurologic signs start. It is usually treated with fluconazole and in extreme cases Amphotericin B. Usually treatment will be for a long time.

Keep me posted. I hope everything works out.
 
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