Our sweet Himalayan is sick-any suggestions?

by Sally Whittington
(Westminster, MD, USA)

Baby with her new friend Beaca

Baby with her new friend Beaca

Hello,
I currently own a Himalayan kitty, "Baby"(chocolate seal point), which I bought approximately 8 years ago from a breeder in Maryland. Unfortunately I have lost connection with the lady I purchased Baby from, and I am unable to ask her my current questions.
I thought I would take the chance to reach out to a few cat specialists who may offer a word of advice to us. In late August last summer, Baby became ill, and has battled her illness off and on since. She became so sick in March, that our family was saying their goodbyes every night before bedtime thinking she wouldn't make it through the night.
To summarize briefly, about 2 years ago baby had a horrible bladder/kidney(vet didn't indicate which) infection which created her urine to be so concentrated, the sample I took to the vet was crystalized. She had always eaten Purina One chicken and Rice, but the vet switched her to Hill's Prescription for bladder health. Then, in late August last summer Baby became lethargic, stopped grooming, drooled excessively (dark, sticky, fowl smelling), stopped eating, and sat with her tongue sticking out. This behavior then when off and on until December. The vet ran bloodwork, and said her vitals look good. She lost approximately 3 pounds though over the year, and has a small lump on the roof of her mouth. The vet then diagnosed Baby with mouth cancer.(no biopsy taken) From December until March, Baby's health declined further. I treated her with pain meds, 2 dozen different types of cat food to see what she might try to eat, and whole foods.
Suddenly, in April, Baby just made a complete turn around and was right back to her healthy behavior and activities. It was such a shock to our family, and we were SO happy. Unfortunately, last week Baby started with the excessive drooling again, and stopped eating (she wants food-she cries for it and sits at her bowl) I try to syringe feed her as much as possible.
Our vet is puzzled, she does not think she could have this "relapse" behavior if she was suffering from mouth cancer. She gave her a shot of an antibiotic and a steroid yesterday (no change yet). She recommends making an appointment to have a dental cleaning.probing done; although she says her gums look pretty good. Ugh.
I have Googled and Googled until I think I might go crazy trying to find information which matches Baby's symptoms. I have read about Polcystic Kidney Disease being prevalent in Himalayans, and I mentioned this a few times to the vet, but she did not think that he kidneys were a problem.
I thought I would go out on a limb and run her story by a few Himalayan professionals to see if Baby's symptoms sounds like PKD or perhaps something I am unaware of.
I truly appreciate your time, and hope I can find a cure for our Baby.
Thank you,
Sally Whittington

RESPONSE:

Hi Sally, I guess I’m also going out on a limb suggesting this because I’m not a vet, but when my Himalayan cat Bandita had a similar occurrence, she ended up having 6 teeth removed. The dark smelly fluid she drooled was actually mucus & pus mixed with blood and the odor was the infection. She needed a teeth cleaning, so prior to the procedure they did X-rays and found dental absessation that was extensive. Antibiotics can’t resolve this condition so the two options were root canal or extraction.

This “below the surface” infection was wreaking havoc on her health and making her very sick. After the extractions she was given DepoMedrol which is a long acting corticosteroid that helps to control inflammation of the mouth (stomatitis).

As for PKD, a lot of cats with PKD will never develop kidney failure so you won’t see the symptoms and their blood test will show normal until 2/3 of their function is lost. But there is an Iohexol Clearance Test that will show results a normal blood test won’t. My Bandita was tested for numerous things such as PKD but her problem was eventually liver cancer and I lost her at 9 years old.

Himalayans are predisposed to mucous membrance problems. With Bandita it was always her mouth had problems and eventually her liver cancer finished her. With her brother Diablo, it was always the membranes around his eyes but he was with me until he was almost 16. As much as I loved my Himalayans, I now have “rescue mutts” that impress me all the time with their resilience and hardiness by fending off a lot of health issues quickly.

Two of my articles are relative to your topic: Feline Kidney Disease and Cat Teeth Diseases that may cover what I didn't cover here.

I encourage you to double check for PKD by having the Iohexol Clearance Test. Plus, take another look at the dental issues whereby X-rays will show beneath the surface’s visible indicators. And…lastly, good luck to you and “Baby”...who looks adorable.

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