Reoccurring digestive related issues, vets baffled

Babypinkweeb

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Here I am again... Apologies for the long post but I don't want to leave out any possible leads. I leave a short summary here:

Boogie (11M, neutered) has been the healthiest cat I've ever met for 10 years and now this year has gone thru some digestive system related health scares, with literally no answers after thousands of dollars doing tests and exams (his numbers are all great). it started with repeated large hairball vomits during a month, followed by diarrhea/not eating and low energy/lack of affection. when I thought he was dying, he magically got better overnight. Vet and I are baffled and complete loss after doing every test including ultrasound.
Fast forward to October where a bad batch of his usual food may have caused smelly constipation/soft stool issues with red blood. After getting a good replacement batch, the stool no longer smells as bad but he is still having slightly soft stool with some blood. I have to catch and wipe him after every poop as it dirties his bum hairs. In the middle of that he got conjunctivitis which was fixed after eye drops. During this 2nd wave he still behaves normally and has lots of energy. Posting to asking for others insight in case there's something the vet and I might have missed. Thanks everyone in advance.

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Full detail:

May-July 2021:
I learned cats shouldn't be throwing up every few months (he is Longhair). Vet gave me hairball pastes and also suggested wet food which just cannot work for him. Long story but trust me when I say he will rather die than eat the many textures and brands I've tried on him. One event that started the summer health scare was multiple vomits in a month, with big hairballs each time. He also started having soft stools. I was practically going to the vet every week. X-ray, fecal exam, even a specialist coming to give him ultrasound showed literally nothing. It got so bad in July that he started showing no appetite. He would run excited to food and then just sniff and walk away. This is the food that a month ago he would gorge on. He ate so little and lost so much weight I thought he will die. Then one night before another appointment he just magically started purring, eating and back to his old self. At the vet appointment we were both baffled at his sudden recovery and thought maybe he just got over whatever that was. He slowly gains back the weight and happily plays with my other cat since mid July.

Fast forward to late October 2021:
I bought a bag of the same food he's been eating all year but noticed the kibbles seemed different. He was also less interested but still ate them. A week or 2 later I noticed be was pooping less often, and his poo was a mix of extremely smelly constipated and soft stool (no diarrhea) with a little red blood. I checked recent reviews and many long time customers seem to echo the same issue with the latest batch. I contacted the company and they immediately send over a replacement and made sure it was from a different batch. The new bag is the old texture and smell again and he is interested in eating it. However his stool issues remained for a month to now. There is no longer bad smell or constipation but the logs seem to be a little soft in spots if I squish it, and it still leaves soft smears on his butt hairs. He has no behavior changes, still plays like a maniac with my other cat, has great appetite and drinks water like usual. He got conjunctivitis 3 weeks ago but with eye drops it went away quickly. I have to basically stand guard watching when he poops so I can wipe his butt clean because I worry if him grooming his dirty butt caused him the eye issue.

My other cat is perfect in health and they are both indoor only. There are 0 behavior changes in either of them. I just dropped off a fresh stool sample again, and will bring him to the vet this Saturday.

Please help!!!
 

verna davies

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I'm most probably staying the obvious but do you brush him regularly, if you have the time, do it a few times a day. If the ultrasound and other tests showed nothing then it could be down to the food, try a different protein. Also he my benefit from a daily probiotic.
 

Mamanyt1953

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I agree with V verna davies . And start with the simplest things first! Brush often, and add the probiotics. If you don't see an improvement within 3-4 weeks, start exploring novel proteins, giving each one several weeks of trial. Any animal (including humans) can develop an allergy to any particular food at any time of their lives.
 
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Babypinkweeb

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I'm most probably staying the obvious but do you brush him regularly, if you have the time, do it a few times a day. If the ultrasound and other tests showed nothing then it could be down to the food, try a different protein. Also he my benefit from a daily probiotic.
I agree with V verna davies . And start with the simplest things first! Brush often, and add the probiotics. If you don't see an improvement within 3-4 weeks, start exploring novel proteins, giving each one several weeks of trial. Any animal (including humans) can develop an allergy to any particular food at any time of their lives.
I do brush him almost daily, usually when he's in his rare happy moods. Nothing much comes off of him these days in the colder weather tho. Because he eats dry it's slightly difficult to give him probiotics, as having it mixed on his kibble makes me much more hesitant to eat it. The freaky thing is I worry this stool issue is beyond probiotics at the moment as I gave him saccharomyces boulardii for 2 weeks mixed in a wet treat, and usually that firms thing right up but not this time.

I worry if will be difficult to find a dry food that is up to Dr. Elsey's chicken kibble quality in terms of low carb and no weird ingredients. I've also bought Epigen 90 but hesitant to swap food so quickly (also I believe that has chicken in it as well). The only other one is Dr. Elsey Salmon dry food but I know we shouldn't feed fish so much. The other protein flavors all have chickpeas.

He just pooped again right before his appointment. I ran his poop from 2 days ago to the vet as soon as he dropped it and it came back as negative. I'll share the poop pic here, but apologies for the nastiness. There is a little dry turd right on top of it with litter that I'm not sure is his or not. 20211204_070141.jpg
 

verna davies

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Just maybe something has unsettled his digestive system and he cant get it back on track. I had a similar incident with my cat recently, my vet gave him 7 days of metronidazole and it seems to have worked. Mine also had lots of tests and nothing found.
 
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Babypinkweeb

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Just maybe something has unsettled his digestive system and he cant get it back on track. I had a similar incident with my cat recently, my vet gave him 7 days of metronidazole and it seems to have worked. Mine also had lots of tests and nothing found.
Thank you for the fast reply! I'm just here freaking out inside since vet appointment isn't until an hour later. I looked up some chicken free dry food that seems decent for now just in case. Thankfully he is still his usual self outside of the poop issues.

I hope something like that can help my boy too. I will bring it up with the vet. It's extremely frustrating to pay so much and get negatives on all tests. At this point I'd rather just find a cause so we can start treating it rather than guessing and grasping at straws 😞
 

verna davies

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It is so frustrating, you hope that the next test will be the answer, glad its come back normal but disappointed that you still haven't found the answer. Ask your get about food for sensitive tummies. Let us know how you get on
 
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Babypinkweeb

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It is so frustrating, you hope that the next test will be the answer, glad its come back normal but disappointed that you still haven't found the answer. Ask your get about food for sensitive tummies. Let us know how you get on
He was prescribed the same medication as your cat for 7 days, as well as more fortiflora (it never did much for him before, and he doesn't even care for it...) When I brought up food sensitivities, they brought up Hills. Our vet is wonderful and so is another local vet I visited once but it's frustrating as I really do not want to get that kind of food for my boys. If the medicine doesn't improve his situation permanently I will look into LID food that are better quality on my own. Fingers crossed we don't have to come to that since he's already been thru enough this year.
 

verna davies

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I hope the meds work for you this time, you should see a difference in a couple of days. It might be worth trying to get a sample of some LID foods, I emailed some manufacturers and got a few. Also ask if you can get a full refund if Boogie wont eat it even though the packet/box is opened, some have this return policy.
 
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Babypinkweeb

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I hope the meds work for you this time, you should see a difference in a couple of days. It might be worth trying to get a sample of some LID foods, I emailed some manufacturers and got a few. Also ask if you can get a full refund if Boogie wont eat it even though the packet/box is opened, some have this return policy.
Yes I am def going to do that. For now I want to run the medicine course first and don't put too many changes on him for now. Thankfully most of my local shops offer some kind of return policy on opened food.

And don't forget...we have an entire forum on cat nutrition, should you need to use it!
Oh you don't have to tell me twice! 😂 I probably spend a greater part of my 2021 just absorbing so much info there!
 
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