FIV+, Stromatitis feline, Advice please

hisbelovedJune 27, 2013

I adopted a 5-6 year old calico manx from the local animal shelter 6 days ago. (She came in as a feral stray, gave birth to one kitten, was spayed, then slowly calmed down and became domesticated. She was in the shelter for over a year, 14 months.) She is up to date on most shots per the shelter and received a mircrochip the day we took her home.
I took her to the vet two days ago because she was refusing to eat or drink, lethargic, will not groom or play. This is not abnormal to her behavior we witnessed in the shelter. In the times we visited her while waiting application approval, she was always sleeping, burrowing into our arms, responsive to our touch, very affectionate. Could not meow.
She tested FIV+ at the vet, temp of 104+, has an awful case of Stomatitis, weighs 8 pounds and is bony. She has a weapy left eye vet said might be respiratory virus. (next day we confirmed with the shelter one of the cats in the community area with our cat, was just diagnosed with a respiratory virus). Vet very gingerly (because I had children with me) cautioned putting her down. No possible way I can do that without at least trying!!!

I have managed to get her to eat small amounts of tuna water, then larger amounts and finally a little bit more tuna pulp, although it aggravates her Stomatitis. I have managed 3 doses of Clavamox into her since the vet visit. Her appetite is slowly increasing, and we heard a very faint meow for the first time this morning! She uses litterbox (same litter at shelter) one time a day. I can not get her to drink unless I "paint" water on her lips from my fingers.
my questions:
Anything better I can feed than tuna? I am worried of sodium putting strain on her kidneys. One friend mentioned plain meat babyhood, watered down to consistency that will not hurt her Stomatitis. She also mentioned chicken broth to water it down, make it more palatable... again, question of sodium content though?
would tuna packed in oil be better for higher calories? or worse since she is getting a lot of her water from the tuna as is. Vet said she was NOT dehydrated, so I am leery of messing with doing oil instead of water. Also worried oil might make her lick insides of her mouth more to "clean it off" and aggravate the Stomatitis. She is refusing wet cat food because it causes her pain every time she eats.
ANYTHING else I can do for her?
She is very very sick. vet cautioned I only buy one box of antibiotics incase Alice did not make it to next week. yesterday i was worried she was not going to make it through the night, after I found what appeared to be diluted, dried blood on the bed cover and on the floor by the bed.
Overall we are seeing a very small improvement, but it is so touch and go. Vet also cautioned treating Stomatitis and seeing improvement does not mean she may not succumb to a different virus or infection that we don't know about yet. If she makes it to next week, I am to drop off a fecal sample to test for parasites same time I pick up second box of Clavamox. ANY ADVICE? ANY encouragement at all?
We love her dearly and desperately want to give her the loving home she's never known.
Sorry this is so long, thank you very much for taking time to read and respond.

Mrs. V.
P.S. we do have a second cat, 18mon DSH male, neutered, UTD on shots. We have kept them separated from day one to allow a slow intro. So very thankful as it prevented possible biting altercations before we knew she was FIV+. We also adopted him from the same shelter last year. He is scheduled for his FIV test 4-6 months from now just to be sure. Any advice for trying to care for a FIV+ cat in a two-cat household? (Shelter does not test for FIV, so they did not know she was positive, otherwise they would not have adopted her to a house already with cats)

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Well, it sounds as though your vet has totally given up on her. If you feel she has a chance, I would take her to a vet that specializes in treating cats. I say this because a 'regular' vet nearly killed my rescued kitten by saying she had a respiratory virus, put her on typical antibiotics and for over a week would only tell me my cat was 'not thriving'. I took her to a cat specialist and she was found to have ear mites, giardia, and an URI. With a compounded med my cat turned around within 36 hrs.

I question the vet saying your cat isn't dehydrated when she's not drinking any fluids. It sounds like she needs some sub-q fluids and a different approach to treatment.
There are cases of false positives of FIV so either way, I'd seek out another vet and get a second opinion.

For feeding, try pureeing her cat food, or the tuna, in order to keep her eating and getting some liquid in her until she sees another vet.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2013 at 7:14PM
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FIV is likely correct, but really nothing to do about that... have to concentrate on treating the stomatitis if you want your cat to improve.

First of all, you noted she is in pain, which is always the case with feline stomatitis... so you might have your vet prescribe her pain meds. That won't take care of the stomatitis, but it will make her feel better and she might eat better (tuna is a VERY bad diet for cats and can quickly cause some very serious malnutritional problems). Buprenex is a great pain killer for cats with an excellent safety margin. Most cats feel a LOT better on pain meds and will usually start eating a balanced canned diet.

Secondly, to adress the stomatitis itself, you may need to see a dental specialist, or at least someone with good dental skills. All the teeth have to be removed if you want any hope of resolving the stomatitis. 80% of the time, this takes care of the problem... sadly 20% of cats only get somewhat better, but ALL get at least somewhat better.

You may need to put her on immunosuppressants, since the stomatitis is an immune malfunction disease. These drugs have their own side effects, so I would try to use them minimally and get rid of the teeth first... but if you have to, keep her on these meds (better than being in constant pain).

This is a very common condition and a very frustrating one as well sometimes. You are not alone.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2013 at 9:47AM
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Like lzrddr wrote, the only somewhat effective stomatitis treatment is complete tooth removal. And if you think you might do this, don't give kitty antibiotics or steroids as cats who have not received those types of treatments seem to respond best to the tooth removal.

We had to have this done for a stray we took in a couple years ago and he is doing quite well now.

We did have to take him to a veterinary dentist because in order for the procedure to work, the tooth sockets have to be left completely clean of root debris and infected tissue has to be removed.

If you do decide to have his teeth removed, don't let them talk you into leaving some of them. Someone else I know let her vet leave some of her cat's teeth (in addition to giving the cat steroids and antibios prior to removal of some of the teeth) and the cat got worse and worse and eventually had to be euthanized.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2013 at 9:53PM
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