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I can't really speak to the situation of the vacation plans. I would say that of course you are bound to be wondering what you will do if she is still incontinent when you get ready to travel. I don't know, but a lot of people board their pets at the vet when they travel, and most vets can express bladders, so hopefully it won't be a problem as long as you explain to the vet.
Much as I am used to nursing my pets, it would be a lot for me to wake up to a wet cage, unhappy cat, and have to bathe her 3x a day when I have plenty of other things to do, so I can understand this is not a situation you would want to continue long term. I think the answer may be medication, or at least that might be the next thing to try. They have meds to relax the sphincter if she is too hard to express (you used to be able to but now find it difficult) and they have meds that can help the bladder contract, which might make her able to manage on her own. I think you might want to talk to the specialists who treated your cat and see if they think medication is worth a try. If you can express her before going to bed, you won't have this to wake up to.
I am kind of questioning why she has lost so much weight. I hope she is OK other than this bladder issue.
As for being overwhelmed, yes, very. Many people feel that way the first weeks or months with a handicapped pet, it sort of takes over all your time and thought for a while. Then you get into a routine you can handle. Right now you are trying to ride the waves while she has had various issues (diarrhea, etc.) and have not hit a calm spot yet. You are still working the bugs out of your routine or trying to see if there are changes that will make all of this workable. The intense searching for a better way is part of it. All I can say is, this is common, it can take weeks of fine tuning to get a program you know you can live with longterm, but keep at it and don't give up, you will get there.
I expect she's losing weight from the surgery and trauma; my Koi is still losing weight weeks after his surgery to fix the contractures in his foot.
- Bendy Kitty
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I'm not sure I understand what they mean by a neurologic bowel. th eonly other thing i can think of is that there might be some surgery to remove the affect portion of bowel, but that is not going to be cheap.
i don' tknow what kind of diet you have her on, but a low residue diet coudl also make a difference.
Meet the cats at Bendy's Home http://www.alittletlc.com"
You can use other milder meds than cisapride. Cisapride might be useful for the short term, but for long term you can try lactulose syrup. This is commonly given to a cat with a history of blockage, it is easy to give, inexpensive, and my pets like the flavor. When a cat is chronically blocked, the intestine can become stretched (a condition called megacolon) and that can require surgery, however you would need to do an exam (probably x-ray) to see if that is what you are dealing with. In some cases, when a cat is very constipated, the only thing that can pass is any "diarrhea" that goes "around" the blockage, hence the diarrhea, and the vomiting from being overly full. I would be hopeful she is just simply very constipated (obstipated) through inactivity and meds.
Something you can learn to do pretty easily, is massage the colon to mobilize waste toward the exit. You shape your hand into a lobster claw, place it on her abdomen, find the colon (you will find something surprisingly hard) and squeeze it a little. You will find the long single "chain" of waste will actually break into shorter pieces within the colon when you do this, and it won't be surprising if something comes out in the process. There was a person here who had a cat show up paralyzed and very backed up (constipated), that with help voided 13" of feces, and after that the caregiver got her regulated. You do not have to give up.
EDIT: Correction, here is the link, it was 16". She found the cat already injured, it was dragging itself and had not had care, so she had to get the bowel regulated. This is a description of how she cared for it and got it emptied.
http://www.handicappedpet.net/helppets/ ... =10&t=5033
Please don't feel sad. I know you are only thinking of her happiness and you trying to do what is best for her, but I believe this situation can be remedied.
I’m so sorry that you and Sweetie are going thru this. I know it is a scary thing for both of you. Try to stay calm as Sweetie will pick up on your stress. I know it is hard right now, but try to be patient because it often takes a long time for things to get better, especially for an older cat. You’ve already seen her urine continence return. Give the bowels time to heal.
Right now, you may need to have Sweetie sedated and have her cleaned out. As someone said, the diarrhea may not really be diarrhea, but rather she is so impacted right now the only thing that will pass is what little water is in her colon. Constipation is not a good thing to let go for very long because it can lead to mega colon.
Diarrhea can also be caused by antibiotics – for my cats clavamox is almost always a problem by the 3rd dose. Some cats if given too much cisapride can also have diarrhea and cramping.
http://www.veterinarypartner.com/Conten ... A=2014&S=2
Side Effects If too great a motility effect is created, diarrhea and cramping may result.
There are two excellent yahoo groups dealing with megacolon and irritated bowel disease (IBD) but both groups address other gastro-intestinal issues. Both groups are very compassionate and very up to date on treatments, suggestions and tips. They also offer the emotional support that cat parents going thru something like this need.
The weight loss bothers me, but some of it could be from just the stress of surgery recovery. However, if she is impacted, she is very uncomfortable and cats with constipation will not want to eat. The cisapride is to help move the food thru the digestive system, but usually it is used in conjunction with lactulose which is a stool softener.
What diet do you have her on? Each cat is different when it comes to diet and keeping things moving – some do better on a high fiber diet, others find that a low residue diet making smaller feces passes thru the colon easier. Either choice should be the highest quality diet you can afford. The food should be preferably without grain, but most especially corn. The food should have no dyes or preservatives in it. Canned food is much better than a dry diet because of the higher moisture content. Many people on the IBD and megacolon groups have found that a ‘raw’ diet almost totally clears up their constipation and/or diarrhea problems. It used to be you had to make it yourself, but now many pet stores offer a high quality frozen variety that you just slice as needed.
It is imperative that the stool be kept from getting hard and dry. If Sweetie is dehydrated I would talk to my vet about giving her subQ fluids for awhile. (you know how to check by liftin skin at back of neck. The skin of a hydrated cat pops right back. But if it goes back slowly Sweetie is very dehydrated. )
I know you’ve seen your vet and a surgeon. Surgeons are very good at what they do – surgery – but they are not really good with ‘after care’ suggestions. You, I’m sure, like your vet very much, but all vets can’t be good with all things. Possibly Sweetie’s condition is not one of his strong suites and he is at a loss of what else to suggest. Maybe you could consult with a second vet that he might be able to recommend who is more versed on cats with paralysis and intestinal issues.
I know you are frustrated right now and very worried, You are scared and upset that Sweetie is so uncomfortable. It seems like it has been a long time for her to recover, but it’s only been a little over 8 weeks and it doesn’t sound like you’ve been helped much with the different things that might help Sweetie and you.
As others have said, there are different medications you can try, low residue foods that Sweetie might pass more easily, extra hydration if she is dehydrated. You can have her little bottom area shaved by your vet, especially if she is long haired, and that will help with odors and ease of giving her a bath and drying her. She can wear baby diapers part of the time when she is out having family time so that your home is kept cleaner. She can spend the night in the kitchen or a small tile bathroom that is easy to mop if she has an accident. There are many things that can be done and people here will help you with that by letting you know things that have worked for them.
Please give it some more time. Talk to your vet and if he doesn’t know, ask him to suggest another vet who may have more experience with Sweetie’s condition. Consider joining the mega colon and IBD yahoo groups. Even if you aren’t comfortable posting at first about Sweetie, it gives you access to their archives which often are a wealth of information and links posted by others.
Do stay here with us and do post of your concerns. This is a very compassionate and experienced group of people all of whom have been where you are now. It was hard at first and we too were scared and frustrated, but thru the friendship of the posters here we made it thru it. Now many of us care for several cats or dogs with paralysis or incontinence. (Sweetie is walking, right?).
Spiritcat and the Mooseheart Mumpkees of southeastern Texas
I do not have the kind of knowledge and experience the above people have, but I wanted to say that if the cat does not absolutely have to be put to sleep, I, or perhaps someone else like me that lives closer to you (since I don't know where you live?) would cat sit for the trips you mentioned if that is one of the main problems. If I live too far perhaps there is a forum on this website where someone else could be found? I would certainly try the theories mentioned above and if finding someone to cat sit for the upcoming trips helps afford you the time to pursue these ideas I hope you will consider that. Feel free to private message me. I live in Reston, Va.
They have helped me with my own issues in the past and their help has been invaluable!! Sounds like you are feeling a little more hope...You can always come here when you need more, or have any questions at all! Glad you found someone to help with care when you travel - I figured there had to be others willing to do that whether professional or a friend or local young person who loves animals and can be taught whatever is involved...
Anyway, good luck to you and your sweet cat
I for one would love to see a photo! If you need help maybe go to the technical forum and they can help. I know they helped me with that sort of thing before.
All the suggestions you got above are great & proven to work a lot of the time. I am glad you are going to start her on lactoluse. Since she has not passed any stool in a week, I think a return to the vet is prudent to see if she needs a 'clean out' & ask for some Sub Q fluids. Then start her on a raw "BARF" diet(google it) available to make at home or purchase premade or a no grain diet, ie Wilderness by Blue Bufflo or Taste of the Wild. Both available as can food & dry. I'd stop the Metimucil as she is blocking up with it, maybe not drinking enough. Try the lactoluse with the raw or grainfree diet, try putting an ice cube wrapped in a damp paper towel to her anus & keeping it there for a couple of minutes to see if that stimulates her to poop, if not, the 'lobster claw' manual manipulation does great ( I had a cat that was a stray that had been hit by a car & I expressed his bladder & about 75% of the time his bowel, he lived 13 yrs with me until he got lymphoma, responded to chemo. gave me another great year of company had a reoccurrence of lymphoma that did not respond to chemo., nothing to do with rear paralyisis or incontinence, he was estimated to be 17-18 yrs). Hopefully you will find the routine, diet & meds that work out for Sweetie & you all. Maybe mixing some probiotics in her raw or grain free can food would help...
Best of Luck & Wishes,
Ps. Let us know, before her issues are 'older' like no poop in 2 days rather than a week. There are as Karen said, some very experienced, knowledgable & compassionate people on this forum to help you, if at all possible with Sweetie.