Original Question: For the last 6 months our cat has been losing weight. At a year old he was 9lbs and he is now 7lbs. He saw the vet in September for swollen gums. He was tested for and given the vaccine for FeLV. Once they determined it was not FeLV, they gave him a codeine cream to rub on his ears. This helped reduce the swelling but the cream irritated his skin causing him to scratch all the hair from his head, ears and neck. He was then given Reactine to stop the scratching. He has started re-growing hair on his head and ears but has continued to scratch on his neck and under his chin. He has scabs on his neck and under his chin. During this time, he has continued to lose weight. He is now 7lbs. He spends most of his time sleeping in one spot and food has to be brought to him. He eats with Gusto but doesn't seem to have the energy to go to the food dish. The few times he does more, it seems to take a lot of energy as his heart is racing after. He no longer has swelling in his mouth but his gums are not pink - they are more grey. He also appears to be losing teeth and his breath smells like decay. (We do have a second cat - black female, same age but separate litter - and she is completely fine.) - Lisa
Thanks for your question.
Here’s the problem. I see a lot of symptoms and concerns that you have shared in your question. No matter how well you explain them, these symptoms can match a hundred different disease states and many are common in cats. Not only that, but there can be a few different issues occurring here at the same time and may not be just one disease.
Just to share a few of them….
Inflamed gums with tooth loss can be due to stomatitis, feline leukemia virus, feline immunodeficiency virus, calicivirus, herpes virus, or bacterial gingivitis.
An increased appetite with weight loss can be due to hyperthyroidism, diabetes, heart disease, gastrointestinal parasite or an intestinal disease to name a few.
To begin the investigation, I recommend that you start by performing blood work, urine testing, fecal testing, a viral panel and whole body X-rays. I’m sure this will give you some idea of what is going on and what is not going on. I fear that if you don’t determine a cause, you will delay treatment and the condition can worsen and cost you even greater expense for less success down the road.
I hope this helps.
Dr. Clayton Greenway