Henry W. – Chicago, IL
Male, Domestic short hair tabby
Born in 2006
Diagnosed with IBD April 10, 2013
First Entry: May 18, 2013: Henry is 7 years old and has showed symptoms of IBD starting at the age of 6 in 2012. I noticed that Henry started eliminating outside the litter box but did not have diarrhea when his symptoms first started. For a long time he would eliminate “droplets” of semi soft/liquid poop on items that were left on the floor in the laundry room (where his litter boxes were located). Plastic bags were especially his favorite. It was like tar when it dried and very hard to clean up. I made sure not to leave any plastic bags lying around as this would invite him to leave droplets. At this time I also turned to the Internet and started doing research and it sounded like he was marking. I began to experiment with different types of litters, litter boxes and increased the frequency of cleaning’s. I noticed with each change he would use the litter box more but after a couple weeks he would go back to leaving droplets around.
Six months after the first symptoms appeared, I noticed that the droplets he was leaving now had mucus and/or blood in them. It was alarming and I knew something was not right. This was more than marking. The vet ran a blood test and fecal test and everything came back normal. The vet suggested I put him on prescription diet: Hills I/D. I was willing to give it a try and hoped that was the answer. Things were okay for a couple months, not perfect. And he was still going outside of the box, but for the most part he was going inside the box but it was not solid. I gave the food some time to work but noticed he was not getting better. I bought him a probiotic (Vetri-Mega brand) as well and he was on it for a few weeks but I saw no difference. So we went back to the vet.
At this point he was still a healthy 12 pounds and had not lost weight so his condition was not alarming to the naked eye. He was the picture of health, besides the diarrhea. This time the vet gave him a de-wormer just to eliminate that possibility and she also wanted me to try the antibiotic called metronidazole, just in case it was a bacterial infection that was not showing up on the blood work. I started him on the once a day dose and after 10 days he was still the same. I called the vet back to say he had not improved and I think she sensed the desperation in my voice. I was starting to feel helpless. She suggested I try amoxicillin, because sometimes one antibiotic works better over the other and it was worth a shot. Thankfully, 5 days into the dose, his diarrhea cleared up and he had almost solid stools (not perfectly solid but as solid as I had seen them in a while). I thought finally he was going to be better. All was actually good for about a month. Then it started to slip again.
In March of 2013 things took a turn for the worst. His stools were pure liquid and I felt helpless. He had gas all the time, he would run to the litter box and make a huge mess, it was awful. I literally thought he was going to die. We went back to the vet again. The vet told me what my options for further diagnosis were: x-rays, more blood tests, ultrasounds and biopsies. We both felt it was important to start eliminating things. So we started out with an x-ray. The x-ray showed that he had a lot of gas in his large intestine but no tumors or anything else visible. At this point we started suspecting IBD but without a definitive diagnosis she did not want to treat him with steroids. I decided at that point I would schedule an ultrasound as well to see what that would show so we could treat him properly. Because my vet doesn’t do ultrasounds, I had to bring him to an animal hospital an hour away from home. It was going to take me a week to get an appointment so in the mean time since the antibiotic worked so good for him, we put him back on it until we could get the ultrasound. The vet also suggested I stay on Hills I/D food.
Henry’s ultrasound on April 10, 2013 showed he had thickening of his intestines which they said is most likely indicative of IBD. I was happy to have some answers but sad at what his future would be. My regular vet said that the vet who did the ultrasound was very intrigued with Henry though because his diarrhea clears up with the amoxicillin. He suggested we do a full GI panel to eliminate a potential pancreatic enzyme deficiency. We did that test and that came back normal. I started to do some mega researching online on the topic of IBD in cats. I didn’t want to put him on a steroid if I didn’t have to (but of course would if needed) and I was also desperate to learn everything I could from other owners dealing with the same problem. What I first found was on the topic of food. First off, I felt extreme guilt that I had been feeding my cats what I now consider poison for the first six years of their life.
I had no idea grains were so bad for cats. I fed them Iams, Science Diet and Fancy Feast their whole lives. Even the Hills prescription diet I was feeding them was all made with grain fillers. After a good solid week of researching, I decided to take him off the Hills and switch him to Nature’s Variety grain free diet. I toyed with going raw since people have had great results with raw but I wasn’t ready to go there just yet. I wanted that to be an option if other options did not work. Nature’s Variety is made with 95% protein and no grains or gluten. I bought the duck and rabbit canned food and the duck and turkey kibble plus raw boost for their dry food. During my research I also came across a blog (can’t remember what blog but I wish I could give them credit) and someone had said they started their IBD kitty on supplements from a vet nutritionist who has a website and a kit specifically for IBD. That piece of information was a life saver, literally, which is why I am anxious to share it with you. The website is www.Askariel.com.
I started Henry on both the Power Probiotic and the Soothing Digestive Relief that they offer. The change was almost immediate. Within two days of starting the food and supplements together he had solid stools! I am happy to report that it has been six weeks now since his last bout of diarrhea. I almost look forward to cleaning the litter box now because I am excited to see what he has produced. I pray that it stays this way and he continues to be healthy. I know every cat is different but I urge other people to give it a try to see if it helps their kitties. It’s still too soon to tell if this will last forever but I am very hopeful.
May 27, 2013: Henry has been turning up his nose at his wet food all week. He doesn’t want to eat any of it. Since that is how I give him his supplements, he also hasn’t been getting those in his system. Therefore he has been vomiting at least once a day for the past 4 days. I’m assuming not getting the supplements is the reason why. I went out a couple days ago (May 25th) and bought some different flavors of his canned food (beef and chicken flavor). I also bought Blue Buffalo Wilderness salmon and duck flavored wet canned food as an option just in case he was sick of the Nature’s Variety. He refused to eat the beef or chicken Nature’s Variety and refused to eat the Blue Buffalo duck flavor but he LOVED the salmon flavor. However now I have created a monster and all he wants is the salmon flavor food. I tried mixing the salmon with the beef and he turned his nose up at it tonight. I can’t outsmart him. I read that giving your cats fish is a no-no though as it creates issues with their kidneys over the long run. They can also become addictive and refuse to eat anything else. Which I think is the case with Henry now. However, I’m thinking if that’s the only way to get the supplements down him then its better than nothing. He is still having solid stools which is a big positive. I just have to figure out what food he will eat besides the salmon and hope the vomiting subsides.
June 5, 2013: No vomiting in a week. I found out by trial and error that he doesn’t want to eat the soothing digestive relief supplement I put in his food. He must not like the taste anymore. He will however eat the food with the probiotic added to it. That must not have a taste to it. I did notice that his stool was a bit soft when I cleaned the litter boxes last night though. This is the first soft stool I have seen him produce in 2 months so I am hoping its just a one time thing. I am going to keep an eye on him and try to add in a little bit of the soothing digestive relief again so we don’t have a full flare up of the diarrhea again. Hopefully he will eat some of it.
June 28, 2013: Henry has had a rough week and unfortunately he is not out of the woods yet. He has been vomiting a lot this past month. I started giving him Pepcid AC to settle his stomach. It worked for about a week and then it stopped working. On Monday June 24th Henry regurgitated his dinner a few minutes after eating it and then refused to eat anything for a few days after that. He turned his nose up to everything but acted like he wanted to eat. I tried everything, even yogurt and baby food. He would not eat any of it. On Thursday June 27th, Henry was acting lethargic and listless. He wouldn’t get off the couch in the morning and it was not like him. I was extremely worried and took him into the vet as soon as they opened. The vet gave him fluids for dehydration and ran a bunch of tests including X-rays, blood work and fecal test. She could not find anything wrong accept one of his anal glands was impacted which she emptied. She gave him a shot of Penicillin and suggested he spend the night at the vets for observation which I agreed to. This morning (June 28th) she called to tell me that Henry had not eaten and had diarrhea. This was such a disappointment given the fact he had not had diarrhea since April. She suggested I take him home and see if he would eat in a familiar environment.
The vets can be stressful and make matters worse. I thought it was crazy but agreed to try it. Once Henry got home he went right to his food dish and ate a few bites of kibble. Not nearly as much as I would have liked him to but a little is better than nothing. The vet wants me to keep him on amoxicillin for 7 days and 1/4th tablet of Pepcid AC a day. What is so frustrating about the whole thing is not having any answers. I tried to give Henry some wet food tonight and he refused to eat it. He also refused all treats. So he literally had maybe a teaspoon of food all day. I also went out and bought different canned foods and raw food. I’m willing to try whatever works. I’ll have to experiment with everything to get him to eat. What is even more strange is that my other cat Max is also refusing all food today and had diarrhea this morning. Now I don’t know if he is sick too. Maybe its a virus that is affecting both of them? I called the vet and told her and she said to put him on the antibiotic as well so that is what I am doing. This week has been so stressful for me. I’m just hoping things improve this weekend. Its breaking my heart in two to see them sick. Especially when there is nothing you can do about it.
June 29, 2013: I called the vet this morning and I told them conditions haven’t improved and both cats are still on hunger strike. They had me bring them both in right away. They examined them and saw they are both dehydrated. Max actually had diarrhea right on the table which I was actually happy about so they could see what I was talking about. The vet was worried and said she wants to keep them both over the weekend to give them fluids, antibiotics, pepcid etc. They said they will also administer an appetite stimulant to see if they will eat anything while there. I’m so hoping they can get over this. I’ve never been more worried in my life.
June 30, 2013: The vet just called to tell me both Henry and Max are doing better. Henry ate a bit of Kibble both yesterday afternoon and this morning. Yay!!! She also said he was in a good mood and was purring and rubbing against her so he must be feeling much better! Max on the other hand hasn’t eaten. She said he was down one pound yesterday when I brought him in but with all the fluids he was up about 6 ounces this morning. He is a small cat weighing normally 9 lbs so losing a pound is detrimental to his health. She is going to try to get him to eat with the appetite stimulant again today. She said he was in a good mood as well though and as soon as he saw her come in he was meowing and purring. She also decided to start them both on metronidazole today. She believes its a bacterial infection in their GI tract. They both still have diarrhea. I just hope Max eats today. I’m sure he is a nervous wreck being there which is probably why he wont. So at least I feel better after talking to the vet this morning knowing they are showing signs of improvement, especially Henry.
July 1, 2013: Henry and Max are finally home! They are doing good. I just watched them both chow down on some food and Max is chasing a fly around the house. Im so happy. They still have loose stool but not as liquid as it was before so it’s getting there. Hopefully this will all be behind us in a few days. It feels good to have my fur babies home where they belong.
January 27, 2014: Henry is doing great! Better than I could hope for. He fluctuates between 14 and 15 pounds now. He is on Wellness Turkey and Turkey & Salmon wet food only. I feed 4 small meals a day (every 6 hours). Luckily he is completely controlled with this grain free food. I had tried different brands in the past that did not work for him and this one was the miracle I was looking for. His bowel movements are always solid and he never throws up (which really wasn’t ever an issue in the first place). I don’t even have him on any holistic supplements either. I feel like he is doing so good I am just going to continue doing what I am doing. I did meet with a new vet in November who comes to the house. The vet said he looked very healthy. Henry was so less stressed being in his own surroundings which made me feel more at ease as well. Time will tell if I stick with this vet. Its too early to say. It was just a check up and I haven’t had to call him for an emergency yet (knock on wood). Now that I said all of this hopefully I don’t jinx Henry’s good health! I am just very blessed that Henry seems to be responding to a change in diet.
December 1, 2014: I honestly have nothing to add other than he has been stable for a year. No flares or hiccups or anything (knock on wood).
October 7, 2015: Henry is doing great and still medication free. No supplements and I only feed Wellness canned turkey and Orijen cat and kitten kibble.
September 20, 2016: Henry is stable. He had a flare up of diarrhea a few months ago and my vet and I decided to put him on a short treatment plan of Prednisolone to get everything under control again. He was put on .5 ml everyday for a week and then slowly tapered it down to nothing over another couple weeks. He luckily has been fine ever since. He still eats canned Wellness Turkey and Orijen dry. Through many trial and errors I learned he can’t tolerate many other foods if any. He’s too sensitive to too many ingredients. These two foods seem to suit him well and keep him stable. I don’t give him any supplements or any medicine.