Constantly hungry, itchy, black "gunk" on mouth and paws, diarrhea

Our 9 year old cat, George, seems very sick, but we can't seem to identify what is wrong with him. Some quick background. We found him wondering a farm road at 5 wks old and near death. He almost lost his left eye to a herpes-like infection, but we were able to treat it and continue to give him eye drops if it flares up. His digestive system has always been immature and he is sensitive to certain foods. He continues to be an indoor/outdoor cat and, for the most part, is a normal cat (as normal as a cat can be...). About 6-9 mos ago we noticed a few changes. He started eating constantly - even trying to eat people food, especially bread - which is nothing he has done before. We were feeding him upwards of 10 cans of food a day. He would eat, then immediately have diarrhea. Then back to eating. Around the same time we noticed black gunk around his mouth and his paws. He was constantly itching, grooming, and chewing at his paws. We took him to two different vets. Ran blood tests, twice. Did two different poop tests. All results indicated we had a healthy cat. The only thing we haven't done is an ultrasound. Nonetheless we did two courses of antibiotics, give him vitamin B shots 1x/wk, give him metronidazole 100 2x/day, feed him a daily probiotic, switched to the Royal Canin single protein food, and have some cleaning swaps for his paws. But he's still not back to 100%. It is painful to watch him suffer and his constant begging for food is driving us nuts (and into the poor house!). Attached are a couple of pictures of the back gunk on his mouth. We're at a loss and are really hoping others may have experienced similar issues.


RESPONSE:

When I quickly scanned your question the first thing I thought of was a tapeworm which could account for the excessive appetite and diarrhea. Another brief thought was feline acne which would explain the black around the mouth.

However, after reading all the details with vet visits and tests you provided, I believe it is something internal perhaps in the digestive tract. The severity of the symptoms suggest it is more than just intestinal parasites. Perhaps there is a tumor forming or an obstruction.

Although an ultrasound isn't inexpensive, it may be your best option at this point.

I'm sorry I couldn't give you a definitive answer about what the issue could be. I hope that an ultrasound will find the problem and wish you luck in getting George healthy again.

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