My 10-year-old male cat had to be euthanized on June 19 of this year. In February, he began to gag and vomit small amounts of food. He continued to be interested in food, but wasn't eating much. Gradually, he lost three to four pounds. My primary vet did X-rays and blood work and decided my cat had an "autoimmune" disease and would benefit from steroid shots every three weeks. My cat had bad breath, but the vet discounted dental issues. He had two shots, three weeks apart, and didn't seem to improve. So I got a second opinion. The new vet said that he had severe dental problems, but wanted an endoscopy done to rule out other problems. We gave him an abdominal sonogram, an endoscopy and more blood work. All tests were satisfactory, and I agreed to dental work. As my cat recovered, he began to eat again and gained 11 ounces. The dentist said he was healing nicely. A week later, he died.After his dental surgery I had purchased an over-the-counter spot-on flea product. Being between vets, my cat was not getting his usual medication, and I was concerned about his comfort. He began to display neurological symptoms that I did not recognize at first: He began to limp, gradually leaning to one side, seeming confused. This occurred over a period of two-and-a-half weeks. I thought he had hurt his leg, but right before I scheduled an appointment with the vet, he had a seizure in the middle of the night -- thrashing about, crying and leaving one pupil completely enlarged. He couldn't seem to regain his balance and was fairly non-responsive. I agreed to euthanize him and have been heartbroken ever since. I would like to know what you think of the treatment he received and if you think the flea product could be what killed him. Thinking the latter breaks my heart even more, as it was a poor choice.
M.C., Staten Island, NY Dec 27, 2009
I am saddened and frustrated about what happened to your beloved cat. Dental disease (which can lead to secondary diseases of internal organs and overwhelming toxic-bacterial invasion) is all too common in cats.The fact that the second veterinarian identified this as the probable cause of your cat's malaise is a telling point. But I question the additional costly tests. Many cats (and dogs) suffering from systemic complications of periodontal disease and gingivitis do not survive dental surgery. Your cat was in recovery, but not well enough to withstand the spot-on flea product that should never be given to even healthy cats and dogs, except as a last resort when safer methods of flea control prove ineffectual. To give such products routinely, even when there is no evidence of fleas in the animal's environment, is what the manufacturers advocate and more and more veterinarians now deplore.
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