Monday, May 17, 2010

A kind soul. Dysphagia in the cat: - a case of FORL?


A lady e-mailed to me regarding a cat whose owners sought help online as they had spent some money at a big veterinary practice. Now they had no money. So the kind soul enquired whether I accept payments (by the owner) by instalments.
I accepted the case.

Cat 5 kg. 5.1 years. 39.2 deg C. Very painful throat.
Difficulty in swallowing food for 1-2 months

"My cat eats a bit, drinks a bit but stops after a few seconds," the owner said.

Cause of dysphagia (difficulty in swallowing).
Sedation: Zoletil 100 at 0.05 ml IM sedated this old cat without problems. Isoflurane gas anaesthesia via mask was necessary to do a proper examination of the throat. I know that the owner would not be able to pay. However, I would not just give some antibiotics and send the cat home as there was something wrong with a cat not able to swallow for two months. Anaesthesia was costly but it needed to be done. In this case, there was a big ulcer at the side tooth PM4. Dental scaling and the right upper canine tooth was fractured and extracted. (see picture below).

Only the right nostril discharged pus. This was a case of right nasal sinusitis
Not surprisingly, only the right tonsil was inflamed and enlarged. I palpated he throat. It was very painful. Poor cat. He would die if he was not treated.

The owner said the kind soul would pay for him when I billed him. Obviously the kind just referred him to me. For the sake of the cat, I did not demand payment. I accepted $50 from him and I hope that the cat would be back to normal with the oral medication and after dental work.

The kind soul wanted to help the cat by seeking out a vet who might accept payments by instalments. The kind lady did a good job as the cat recovered fully after the dental work according to the owner who came 2 months later. Cats suffering from FORL (Feline Odontoclastic Respiratory Lesions) needs dental work to go back to normal as they have great pain inside the mouth.

2 MONTHS PASSED. The couple came back for medication without the cat. "The cat started eating the next day. He put on weight. He was OK for the last 2 months. Now he has some sneezing. My wife could have infected him."

"It is difficult to diagnose what's wrong without seeing your cat," I was happy for the cat who had been suffering for the last two months. Due to financial reasons and the recession, many owners simply ask for repeat medication. The vet has to advise accordingly. "It is not the tablets that work," I said. "There needs to be a proper examination."

The cat came in for an examination because the medication did not work. He suffered from an upper respiratory tract infection and high fever. This was likely to be due to a viral infection as he had the freedom to wander outdoors.

Two months after the first consultation, the cat had to come back.
He had cat flu. Vaccinate your wandering cat to prevent cat flu
if you can't keep her or him at home
He had never been vaccinated. "A 20% loss of weight," I told the owners. "This is serious." I taught the owner how to open the mouth to examine for ulcers and how to give the oral medication and electrolytes as he wanted the cat to be home.

Many Singaporean cat lovers permit their cats to stray outdoors. Vaccinate your cat yearly to prevent the common respiratory and other viral infections. Yearly dental checks help your cat to live longer.

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