IBD cat, no food sits well with her, no clue what to do next.... please help!

alzycat

TCS Member
Thread starter
Adult Cat
Joined
Mar 16, 2015
Messages
173
Reaction score
209
Location
Canada
Hey everyone! I've posted a few times about my cat Yoshi over the years, and I'm hoping you all can help me out again. This is a long post but please read & help me if you can! I don't know what else to do.

Health summary: Yoshi got really sick with vomiting, not eating, & diarrhea in 2016. After a bunch of trips to the vet & no issues identified, we found that she either has IBD or small cell lymphoma. We decided not to do a biopsy since she wouldn't be a good candidate for cancer treatment anyways, so we put her on Prednisolone & she has been on it ever since. She was given a prognosis of 6 months at the time of her diagnosis, and here she is, 5 years later, still going (somewhat) strong. We've basically concluded that it must be IBD since cancer would have taken her by now.

Food history: When all this happened in 2016, Yoshi was primarily a dry food grazer. I was just a teenager at this time so I really didn't know much about cat nutrition. After her diagnosis, the vet recommended Royal Canin's GI High Energy canned food. I kept her on this for pretty much 3 years, and she definitely improved, but still had chronic diarrhea. Again, I didn't know much about cat nutrition so I didn't realize that her food could be playing a large part in her health problems. She still went for check-ups every 6 months & everything was fine & dandy, aside from the chronic diarrhea. Around 2019, I decided to try switching her food after I started researching cat nutrition on my own & saw that the vet food she had been on for years had a ton of questionable ingredients. I switched her (gradually, over about 10 days) over to Natural Balance's LID Duck & Green Pea canned food, and she definitely improved in the first few weeks, but then the diarrhea returned. Again, everything else health-wise was fine, just chronic diarrhea. I did try other food in between then & now, but it all made her much worse than the Natural Balance did (vomiting with diarrhea). I decided to stick it out with the Natural Balance since it seemed to be the lesser of the evils, & I really didn't have access to better brands with my limited budget & small town pet store selection.

I moved to a new town in November 2020, & I found out that the local pet store had Tiki Cat After Dark, which I had read about being a "holy grail" for cats with digestive problems. Even though it is insanely expensive & I still can't really afford it, I decided I would try it & just find a way to pay for it if it ended up working for her. I slowly transitioned her to it, & after a few days, she started having really bad bouts of vomiting, so I stopped giving her the Tiki Cat. This was obviously frustrating since this was supposed to be the magical food that solved all my problems. I resumed the Natural Balance, & kept researching different brands to try. My pet store also carries Stella & Chewy's, so I decided to try their turkey pate. I transitioned from the NB to S&C's, & everything was actually going well for about a week- her stool darkened to a dark brown & was finally solid. I was so happy, but the solid stools only lasted a few days before the diarrhea resumed. I held out for another week or so on the S&C's, but the solid stools did not return. At this point, I went to my pet store to pick up more of the S&C's as I planned to keep her on it a bit longer to see if the good poops would come back, but it turns out they have a really difficult time keeping it in stock & the warehouse is almost always out, so it's not a reliable food to feed her exclusively as some weeks they just don't have it. It's way more expensive to order it online, so that isn't really an option for me. I decided to transition her back to the Natural Balance while I tried to figure out what to do next.

I had heard all about feeding raw for IBD cats, & I did try it with Yoshi many years ago for a couple weeks, but I decided last week to finally give raw a try as her primary food. I bought the Stella & Chewy's Freeze Dried Dinner Morsels (Duck Duck Goose), & started the transition once again. Well, I'm a few days into the transition today, & I woke up to diarrhea all over my bed & poopy paw prints all over my apartment. Obviously this doesn't sit well with her either.

I really don't know what to do next. The Natural Balance still gives her diarrhea, but it seems to be the only food that doesn't induce vomiting or messes all over my apartment. I'm a student with a very limited budget, so I can't keep going through all this food & spending ridiculous amounts on high end brands. I'm not very comfortable with the idea of making my own meals for her, & I'm also a vegetarian who gets pretty sick from meat, so I'm not comfortable handling a ton of raw meat. I think that I should avoid foods with carrageenan, since I know that's a no-no ingredient for IBD cats (though it is in the Natural Balance), & I'm pretty sure that chicken doesn't sit well with her since she has had the worst reactions to food with chicken as the primary ingredient.

What do I do!? Try another raw brand? Stay with the canned food but just try another brand w/o chicken or carrageenan? Other brands I've researched but not yet tried are Nulo, Petcurean, Performatrin, Nature's Variety.... should I keep going with trying other brands or stay with the "lesser of the evils" Natural Balance? I hate that my cat is uncomfortable & going through her life with chronic diarrhea. I just want to relieve this for her but nothing is working :(
 

Maurey

TCS Member
Adult Cat
Joined
Jan 21, 2021
Messages
153
Reaction score
177
Before anything else, two thoughts -- firstly, a fairly common side effect of Prednisolone are diarrhoea and vomiting. Has the vet ruled it out as a potential cause for her continued issues (i.e the switch to one of the foods she's had in the past may have helped her, before her medication caused symptoms again)? Secondly, I'd highly recommend consulting either a trained holistic vet, or a trained vet nutritionist, if you haven't in the past -- in my experience, your average vet practitioners have very little experience with formulating diets, and cat nutrition in general.

Regarding raw food, I do personally believe it's a great choice for most, if not all cats, but I do think consulting with a professional, since she's had so many issues with food in the past, would be for the best. That being said, imo, Stella and Chewy are close to bottom of the barrel in terms of what's available for raw food commercially, so it may be worth looking into other sources, or having a professional help you with a homemade diet.
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #3

alzycat

TCS Member
Thread starter
Adult Cat
Joined
Mar 16, 2015
Messages
173
Reaction score
209
Location
Canada
Before anything else, two thoughts -- firstly, a fairly common side effect of Prednisolone are diarrhoea and vomiting. Has the vet ruled it out as a potential cause for her continued issues (i.e the switch to one of the foods she's had in the past may have helped her, before her medication caused symptoms again)? Secondly, I'd highly recommend consulting either a trained holistic vet, or a trained vet nutritionist, if you haven't in the past -- in my experience, your average vet practitioners have very little experience with formulating diets, and cat nutrition in general.

Regarding raw food, I do personally believe it's a great choice for most, if not all cats, but I do think consulting with a professional, since she's had so many issues with food in the past, would be for the best. That being said, imo, Stella and Chewy are close to bottom of the barrel in terms of what's available for raw food commercially, so it may be worth looking into other sources, or having a professional help you with a homemade diet.
Thanks for the reply! Yes, I'm aware of Pred side effects.. she is on the lowest dose for maintenance (2.5mg/day) & the vet has never discussed taking her off of it, so I'm not sure if they would be keen on taking her off it... they have mentioned it as a side effect but they haven't discussed it being the cause of her issues. I don't think they'd be very receptive to me suggesting taking her off it...

As for the holistic vet, how do you think they would be able to help beyond what I've researched (not a rhetorical question, I genuinely had no idea they even existed)? It's easy enough to find the "bad" ingredients I should be avoiding... what kind of advice do you think they would have that would be better than a vet?
 

Maurey

TCS Member
Adult Cat
Joined
Jan 21, 2021
Messages
153
Reaction score
177
As for the holistic vet, how do you think they would be able to help beyond what I've researched (not a rhetorical question, I genuinely had no idea they even existed)? It's easy enough to find the "bad" ingredients I should be avoiding... what kind of advice do you think they would have that would be better than a vet?
Holistic vets are more commonly trained in nutrition than your typical GP vet, and may be more easily accessible in your area than nutritionists (it's the opposite case where I live, but I've heard that tends to be the case in the States). Generally, holistic vets are fully accredited 'normal' vets, but they specialised in holistic care -- diet is a major component of that. Also, I've heard that they're generally more positive towards raw or homemade diets, though don't take my word for it -- I live in a country where raw feeding is, as a general rule, viewed positively by vets.

So realistically, nutritionists are ideal, but holistic vets may be more accessible, while still (typically) being trained in pet nutrition. Could you perhaps get a referral from the vet you normally see to someone who specialises in nutrition, whether that's a nutritionist or someone who practices more holistic vet care? May be a good place to start!
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #5

alzycat

TCS Member
Thread starter
Adult Cat
Joined
Mar 16, 2015
Messages
173
Reaction score
209
Location
Canada
Holistic vets are more commonly trained in nutrition than your typical GP vet, and may be more easily accessible in your area than nutritionists (it's the opposite case where I live, but I've heard that tends to be the case in the States). Generally, holistic vets are fully accredited 'normal' vets, but they specialised in holistic care -- diet is a major component of that. Also, I've heard that they're generally more positive towards raw or homemade diets, though don't take my word for it -- I live in a country where raw feeding is, as a general rule, viewed positively by vets.

So realistically, nutritionists are ideal, but holistic vets may be more accessible, while still (typically) being trained in pet nutrition. Could you perhaps get a referral from the vet you normally see to someone who specialises in nutrition, whether that's a nutritionist or someone who practices more holistic vet care? May be a good place to start!
Oh okay, thanks for the info! I'm actually in Canada & vets are definitely not receptive to raw in my area. I did look it up & there are some holistic vets in the major city about 30 minutes from my town, so I'll definitely look into it.
 

ladytimedramon

TCS Member
Adult Cat
Joined
Apr 29, 2020
Messages
266
Reaction score
194
Also have you tried a veterinary internist? They seem to be more specialized than your GP. My cousin the vet said the difference between a GP and an internist is 5 more years of college training. When my cat was having a different issue, the internist found what the GP could not.
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #8

alzycat

TCS Member
Thread starter
Adult Cat
Joined
Mar 16, 2015
Messages
173
Reaction score
209
Location
Canada
Also have you tried a veterinary internist? They seem to be more specialized than your GP. My cousin the vet said the difference between a GP and an internist is 5 more years of college training. When my cat was having a different issue, the internist found what the GP could not.
I have not tried to find one, but thanks for the advice! Were you referred to one by your vet?
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #9

alzycat

TCS Member
Thread starter
Adult Cat
Joined
Mar 16, 2015
Messages
173
Reaction score
209
Location
Canada

ladytimedramon

TCS Member
Adult Cat
Joined
Apr 29, 2020
Messages
266
Reaction score
194
I have not tried to find one, but thanks for the advice! Were you referred to one by your vet?
I wasn't referred to a specific one. All he said was "See a veterinary internist". Delilah's problem was an ovary remnant causing her to go into something like heat every other week. We knew it was there due to hormone testing. He did an exploratory and couldn't find it. Internist did a sonagram, found a miniscule piece of ovary located behind a kidney, referred me to the right surgeon, piece of ovary removed, Delilah is a happy cat. I wish the GP had referred me before the exploratory surgery so I could've saved my baby from one of the surgeries.

I'm sure you could find one and ask if they require a referral, then ask your GP for one.
 

cataholic07

TCS Member
Super Cat
Joined
Jul 28, 2014
Messages
1,003
Reaction score
1,192
Any wet food must be carrageenan free for IBD, this is very important as that can cause stomach inflammation which can lead to worse issues. Have you tried Rawz, or Hounds and gatos? I would actually get another ultrasound done just to ensure it isn't worse and is now GI cancer. It's possible its separate issues too she could have food allergies on top of the IBD. Have you tried any that have no poultry in it?
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #12

alzycat

TCS Member
Thread starter
Adult Cat
Joined
Mar 16, 2015
Messages
173
Reaction score
209
Location
Canada
Any wet food must be carrageenan free for IBD, this is very important as that can cause stomach inflammation which can lead to worse issues. Have you tried Rawz, or Hounds and gatos? I would actually get another ultrasound done just to ensure it isn't worse and is now GI cancer. It's possible its separate issues too she could have food allergies on top of the IBD. Have you tried any that have no poultry in it?
I haven't tried those brands (they're not really available in my area- one pet store in the town next to mine sometimes has it in stock but it's pretty unreliable). I'm actually trying a food with absolutely no poultry in it right now & she's doing a bit better! I also started giving her S Boulardii about 3 days ago & for the first time in like months she had a solid poop today! She's also only been going #2 1-2x a day instead of 3-5x since we started the S Boulardii. So things are hopefully looking up!
 

Mrcclms

TCS Member
Adult Cat
Joined
Aug 18, 2018
Messages
175
Reaction score
70
Have you tried cooking raw turkey breast

cleaning it from all fat and tissues

boiling it and then blending it to make it a pate'

and add those powdered supplements (no eggs!) in it ?
 
Top