Sick Kitty
October 10, 2012 9:55 AM   Subscribe

Can you help me figure out what caused my cat to have an allergic reaction?

My 3 year-old cat, Tahlia, was very sick last night. She vomited several times and seemed to lose control of her bowels, leaving a messy trail throughout the house. I took her to the emergency vet and he noticed that her ears and the skin around her eyes had turned a pinkish color. He said it must have been an allergic reaction to something that caused the GI. Shots of antihistamine and anti-nausea and a huge bill later, we took her home and she seems to be perfectly fine.

We have another cat and two dogs with no issues. I've kept Tahlia confined so that we can keep an eye on her litterbox usage and water levels. I searched everywhere for something toxic that she might have encountered, but couldn't find anything. We've had no changes to her food lately and all household chemicals were safely out of reach. She has never had a health issue before. Now I'm scared to let her out into the house for fear that this will happen again.

Has something like this ever occurred with your cats? Do you have any suggestions for what she may be allergic to?
posted by galvanized unicorn to Pets & Animals (10 answers total)
When you say you found no toxins, are you including house plants and flower arrangements? I just went through a scary as hell bout of lily poisoning with my two, so my mind goes there first (and as I found out, not everyone knows about lilies or flower toxicity in general).
posted by Medieval Maven at 10:17 AM on October 10, 2012

I'm not saying this to scare you, but only to provide a perspective from someone who went through the exact same thing and had an unpleasant discovery as a result.

My 11yr old cat had a very similar chain of events. I also took him to the e-vet. They also told me it was allergies. They also gave him anti-nausea and antihistamine. They (allegedly) did a blood panel to arrive at this treatment decision. They told me he was allergic to something and had some stomach upset but was otherwise "fine" and this wasn't anything to be concerned about in the long run.

8 months later, he had a bad night and he was taken to the vet in the morning. They did an x-ray and found he had seriously progressed cancer and it would be kinder to let him be at peace than to try any extraordinary measures. From what they described, this should have been detectable by the e-vet, particularly with the diagnostic panel they said they ran.

Because of this, my suggestion would be to take her to a cat-specialist vet and have a full diagnostic exam done. It won't be cheap and you might get a clean bill of health in the end, but would at least provide a baseline for future comparison. And if something more is wrong, it could well be what helps you discover it. Also, the vet can give you ideas about potential allergens and talk you through the new fears you have for her safety.

Wishing a full recovery and continued health to Tahlia!
posted by batmonkey at 10:19 AM on October 10, 2012

Any houseplants around that she might have nibbled on?

Also, do you use Resolve carpet cleaner? I've heard of it causing seizures in cats.

Does she go outside at all? If you live in an apartment, does she ever get outside into the hallway?

I hope you find the root cause. Seconding batmonkey if you have the funds to do it.
posted by Currer Belfry at 10:21 AM on October 10, 2012

When I've taken my cat to emergency vets, the standard operating procedure has been to follow up with our regular vet. I think this is the first thing you should do. He or she can decide if you need to do a full examination.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 10:23 AM on October 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

Did you put flea drops on them in the last week or so?
posted by wwax at 10:38 AM on October 10, 2012

I agree with PhoBWanKenobi. What batmonkey describes is very sad, but it is certainly possible that the two events were entirely unrelated to one another and that there was no error on the part of the emergency vet. Allergic reaction is a clinical diagnosis, not made by blood tests, at least in humans, and most types of cancer do not show up on a standard set of blood work (which is usually blood counts and electrolytes, so would only potentially reveal blood cancers or leukemias).
posted by treehorn+bunny at 11:04 AM on October 10, 2012

Yes - I want to be clear, my example is absolutely from an outlier position and I hope I couched it that way sufficiently. But very glad to clarify again to be certain.

It was simply the last thing I'd ever expected to happen after being told they'd done a full diagnostic work-up including manipulation of the stomach and bowels to feel for blockages and that he was fine, and I never, ever want another person to have that experience if our experience can possibly help prevent it.
posted by batmonkey at 12:02 PM on October 10, 2012

Thank you for your help! We don't have any houseplants and haven't done flea drops in a while, but I'm pretty sure we use Resolve carpet cleaner. I had no idea about the problems and will be tossing it. Based on PhoBWan's suggestion, I just made an appointment with our regular vet. For now, I will keep my fingers crossed that this was a one-time event.
posted by galvanized unicorn at 1:43 PM on October 10, 2012

Also, I want to thank batmonkey for sharing that experience. I'm so sorry for your loss. That must have been awful!
posted by galvanized unicorn at 1:45 PM on October 10, 2012

Just a difficult lesson I hope no one else has to learn the hard way.
posted by batmonkey at 9:58 PM on October 10, 2012

« Older Too much white noise from speakers!   |   How to address fear of ending up with another... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.