fluid in the abdomen

telnaga

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I took my cat Patch in to my vet (I've only been seeing them for about a year though) when I noticed her stomach was getting round and tight. She is around thirteen years old, and is generally lethargic and has a sensitive stomach and likes to pee outside the litterbox, but was generally healthy otherwise, including in all the tests we'd gotten her recently (to try to explain her bathroom behavior.)

They took her in to see her while my girlfriend and I waited in the car. My girlfriend was nervous because the last time she took a cat in for a bloated belly, he died the same day. Patch was seeming a little unwell, but not extremely, so I thought it'd likely be something minor and told my girlfriend she wasn't going to die. But when the vet called me to talk about what she was seeing and thinking, it was immediately clear from her tone that she was gently breaking very bad news. Adding an xray to make sure, it was determined Patch's abdomen was full of fluid. The vet said it could either be severe organ issues, or possibly cancer, but her money was on cancer especially with Patch's age. She recommended, if we want, we could get an ultrasound at another place to try to find the root, but it'd likely be hospice care either way, watching for quality of life slippage (chiefly difficulty breathing due to increasing fluid) and deciding when to put her down. She gave her a few weeks to a couple months.

I've made an appointment in two days with another vet for a second opinion, just to make sure. And I made an appointment for an ultrasound, but the closest they had was Jan 12th. Patch has been especially lethargic since she got home, and with little appetite. I'm really scared for her. She means a lot to me and I thought I'd have more time with her.

Is my vet probably right? Is she on her way out? Looking online, I'm seeing stuff suggesting the fluid can be drained surgically, and can also come from treatable conditions... Has anyone here had experience with this symptom?
 
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Jcatbird

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I can’t really tell you what it is with Patch but I have an older girl that is a rescue start getting a bloated belly. Immediate vet check! As it turned out, she had an internal abscess. It did require surgery but she is still with me two years later so, don’t give up! Is Patch spayed? If not, make sure they know that as it can lead to some female problems. It may be something along that line so, I think getting a second opinion is an excellent idea! Please do keep us updated. :alright::vibes::redheartpump: Don’t give up!
 

FeebysOwner

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Hi. As far as I know, the vet ought to be able to drain some of the fluid from the belly without requiring actual surgery. They did that for my Tawny a long time ago and it was a very brief in-office visit to accomplish it.

I would check into that while you are waiting for the 2nd opinion appointment. Regardless of what the cause might be, it will give her some relief in the interim.
 

AbbysMom

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I had a cat with this issue and they were able to drain the fluid via syringe. They also sent it out for testing. Good luck!
 
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telnaga

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The second vet said they weren't sure they could drain safely because of her age and her recent weight loss... they gave us diuretics to help, though, and if that helps her start eating more again, maybe we can get her to the point where she can get surgery, because they also found a mass in her chest just with feeling around. If she hasn't somehow bulked up a little bit in a week or two, before the ultrasound appointment... that's probably it.

The bright side is she's been having the time of her life. We've been mixing a bit of freeze dried chicken into her food; I built her a little two-story cardboard house (with steps, and fluffy fabric lining the floor) that she loves; while she doesn't like her carrier or the vet she actually loves car rides and after she gets out of the vet I just hold her and let her look out the window. We're lovin on her and brushing her and gently pulling a blanket over her wherever she lays down. I'm going to try to take her outside on some of the warmer days this week
 

Ravynn

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My girl was on Furosemide for 6 months (she had suspected heart failure) and she lost muscle mass and got quite skinny but she was still jumping up and down until she got too frail towards the end.

I would try out some wet food if you haven't already, my girl thought that was a lot easier to eat because it was a little difficult to eat dry food and chew that much with the fluid.

I hope the diruretics work :hearthrob:
 

kittenmittens84

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Kitten food can be helpful for older cats trying to put on weight since it’s so calorie dense! When my cat was underweight from being sick we also supplemented his food with a 1/2 tsp of nutrigel every day, lots of cats love the taste and it has extra calories. They sell it at most pet stores.
 
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telnaga

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I would try out some wet food if you haven't already, my girl thought that was a lot easier to eat because it was a little difficult to eat dry food and chew that much with the fluid.

I hope the diruretics work :hearthrob:
Thank you <3 she's already only on wet food, she's never been able to stomach dry, so no issues there

Kitten food can be helpful for older cats trying to put on weight since it’s so calorie dense! When my cat was underweight from being sick we also supplemented his food with a 1/2 tsp of nutrigel every day, lots of cats love the taste and it has extra calories. They sell it at most pet stores.
As soon as I read this I went out and bought some kitten nutrigel, she LOVES it more than anything else I've ever seen her eat, she was licking it off the plate long after the bit I dolloped out was gone. thank you sm for the recommendation, we've been trying to fatten her up with just freeze dried chicken but this is way better
 

misty8723

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Not the same issue, but we had an older cat who we found had cancer. The vet we took her said take her home and make her comfortable, maybe 3 months tops. The second vet said she was otherwise healthy and a good candidate for surgery. She lived another two years after the surgery. My point is, don't give up hope just yet. Prayers for little Patch.
 
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telnaga

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she's been obviously having a hard go of things, having trouble walking, stumbling, and very little energy, having to take breaks after small bits of activity. but the diuretics and nutrigel have helped. there was about a week where she just lived in her dark, safe little cardboard castle (and I'd put in a microwaveable heating pack, and set my laptop outside facing in with a video of birds playing... she hasn't been able to look out the window for a long time, and right when this happened I'd gotten her a window perch, but she can't use it now, so this was the next best thing) and only came out to eat, drink, and use the nearby litterbox. but a couple times this last week she's surprised us by barreling out of her castle at the sound of food prep, coming into our room and jumping into the bed, or wandering into the living room and working up the energy to jump on the couch til i find her and lift her up. had a quick exam at the vet the other day, and she's been losing a bit of fluid. she's been a sweetheart through all of this. we're having an increasingly hard time feeding her, even with the nutrigel, which is doubly bad because she won't finish even the small amount of food her meds are mixed into. i've figured out she's far more into it if i mix it with warm water and make it a soup, though, which is good because she needs more hydration anyways.

her good days have bad moments and her bad days have good moments. its hard to know where it's going, but... two different vets have said there's probably no way out. we'll see what the third says at her ultrasound in 2 days. this might be a wild conception but I've always felt like vets have a tendency to not recommend fighting the relatively serious things, and it might be because the average pet owner can't afford/doesn't want to pay for the treatments. or maybe, yknow, if they say "you can fight this", the owner might just go home and think they can handle it by themselves and then the pet wastes away and it's worse for everyone. it's really hard to know if I'm doing the right thing or not. I've never really been in this position before, because I grew up in a family where we treated our pets more like replaceable goldfish, but Patch has always been my cat and now that I'm "on my own" with her she's a part of my new family. and ive spent years trying to undo the damage of her previous imposed lifestyles... worst case she still had a better life toward the end
 
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