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Author Topic:   Any ideas what could have caused this? ***CAUTION*** may cause distress***
xanthe
New Member

Posts: 4
From:Victoria, Australia
Registered: Jan 2004

posted 01-22-2004 12:42 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for xanthe     Edit/Delete Message
*** CAUTION *** CAUTION ***
*** May cause distress to some readers ****

My kitten passed away recently, and I'm not entirely satisfied with the diagnosis and service that was given to him by the local vet. I have searched a number of sites to ask this question, and this is the closest thing I can get to getting a straight answer for the questions I want to ask, so please, if I have posted here when I shouldn't have, I apologise in advance. I also apologise if the following information may cause distress to some readers.

Webmaster/Webmistress: Feel free to pull this post if you deem it unnecessary to have this listed.

My family and I live in an almost rural area in Victoria, Australia, with the closest neighbour about 500 metres away. We have other cats, and have owned cats for as long as I can remember (I'm now 25). Early last year I took ownership of a dumped kitten (one of many, but I could only take him, unfortunately) called him Harry, and had a wonderful time showing him some fun. He has had all of his flu shots and other particulars, and was just like any other kitten his age should be (I believe he died before his first birthday). When I got up yesterday morning, he was eating and drinking normally, and went outside to chase the birds (he hadn't quite learned how to catch them yet). Less than half an hour later, when my dad went to leave, he found Harry at the back door, crouched down, gasping for breath, and couldn't lift himself up. Not knowing what was wrong, we first tried to feed him some water out of a saucer, and I had to lift his head for him to know that it was there. I'm not sure if it was paralysis or weakness, but he couldn't hold himself up. We have a step up into the back door, and he was crouched down into the step, like he was trying to get himself inside, but couldn't get up the step.

He had lost control of his bowels just after we found him, and in the car down to the vet, he lost control of his bladder a couple of times.

His tongue was very grey, not pink at all, and when I had hold of him, he was very limp. When we put him on the table at the vets, he was trying to pull himself around with his front left paw (this was his dominant paw) and had little use of the right paw, and no use of his rear paws.
We rushed him to the local vet, but he passed away less than ten minutes after we got there. The vet didn't do an xray, and he told us that he found that Harry's lungs were full of fluid when he tried to put a tube down his throat to administer oxygen. He checked Harry with the stethoscope when I first got him into the vet, and he said that his heart beat was strong, but said nothing of fluid on the lungs until later.

The vet told us that he had basically died from suffocation. When we asked the vet what could cause that in such a sudden way, he told us that trauma would be a likely cause, either from a dog attack or hit by a car (neither had occured, neighbours don't own dogs, and there was no visual damage to Harry letting us know that it was a car accident) He also told us that it could have been poisoning from rat poison (like Ratsac) but once again, we have no need for any poisins in the immediate area, especially for mice and rats, because another of our cats is a certified gold medal winner in mouse catching, keeping our rodent population near zero. We also asked the vet if a snake bite could have been the cause, but he said he didn't believe so.

Could anyone tell us what could have caused this? It was so sudden, and now, a day later, I wish I had asked for an autopsy, but at the time, I was in shock, and just wanted to take my baby home. Could it have been cancer? (even though he had no lumps indicative of such) Is there any plant life out there, that could have sprung up without our knowledge, that could have caused the conditions that I have described? Could it have been hereditary?

It's driving me insane not knowing what has caused this. I know how he died, but I haven't been given an answer as to why this has occurred to an otherwise healthy kitten.
Can anyone help me out with this?

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Yahdah
Member

Posts: 75
From:Sydney,NSW,Australia
Registered: Dec 2003

posted 01-22-2004 02:48 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Yahdah     Edit/Delete Message
firstly I would like to say how sorry I am to hear of your sudden loss of your little cat.
I know the feeling of just wanting to have a simple answer to ease your troubled mind, but finding out the cause of your kitties death can only be determined by an autopsy, and even then, the vet may not have seen anything that would determine the cause of the cat's death. Sometimes the answers can only be found under a microscope.

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lucidity03
Member

Posts: 201
From:Pittsburgh, PA, USA
Registered: Jul 2003

posted 01-22-2004 05:12 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for lucidity03     Edit/Delete Message
I'm so sorry. It sounds like you're trying to cover all of your bases trying to find out what happened.

The only thing I could add is... could the cat have gotten into anything like anitfreeze? Animals love and and it tastes sweet.

My mother-in-law's cat had similar symptoms before he died. He lost all bowel control, didn't move, and wouldn't keep anything down. It was concluded that he probably drank some antifreeze at a neighbor's house.

Once again, I'm sorry and I hope you find some answers.

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fleafly
Member

Posts: 996
From:sheridan, wy
Registered: Aug 2003

posted 01-22-2004 12:04 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for fleafly     Edit/Delete Message
Cats can suffer trauma without showing external signs. They can fall off of a roof or be hit by a car and sometimes you can't tell by looking at them.

The other thing I can think of is poisonous plants. A lot of plants are poisonous to cats and he could have eaten of them.

It may not be too late to ask for an autopsy.

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xanthe
New Member

Posts: 4
From:Victoria, Australia
Registered: Jan 2004

posted 01-22-2004 02:01 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for xanthe     Edit/Delete Message
Thankyou for all your condolensces. It means a lot

I don't think it could be anti freeze, because all of the dangerous chemicals that dad uses for anything is locked away in a cabinet, under lock and key. I don't even know where the key is for it!

My family has owned cats for over 40 years, and mum has said that she has never seen a cat die as fast as this, or in quite the same way. (that could just be Harry... he always was a pioneer!)

I don't think he could have fallen from any height, the highest we ever saw him climb was about 2 feet off the ground. He wasn't much of a climber. But that's not to say that it couldn't have been that.

I've thought about the plant angle. But would there be any plants that would cause a death so quick? I've been researching snake bites on pets, thinking that it could have been that (eastern brown snakes are common in this area) and all the literature I can find all state that a cat would last longer than Harry did, with slightly different symptoms.

I know I'm probably chasing my tail trying to find what's responsible, but I guess this is part of my grieving process. I think it might be my way of being close to Harry, without him being around anymore. Maybe I'm just not ready to let go yet, and when, and if, I can find an answer to this problem, I can let him go.

Thanks again for your kind words, and assistance. It means a lot.

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Samsintentions
Member

Posts: 944
From:Columbus, Tx ,USA
Registered: Dec 2003

posted 01-23-2004 04:42 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Samsintentions     Edit/Delete Message
You meantioned that he went out to chase birds.....could it be that he climbed a tree while chasing a bird, and fell?

Also, you meantioned paralysis of the hind quarters...It could have been a stroke. My grandmothers cat just suddenly fell over and couldn't move. A few hours later she could move one paw and that was it.
We recently had to put a dog down because of a stroke. The hind end was completely paralized and from lying down all the time, she developed fluid in her chest cavity.

I'm sorry for your loss, its very hard.

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fleafly
Member

Posts: 996
From:sheridan, wy
Registered: Aug 2003

posted 01-24-2004 11:58 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for fleafly     Edit/Delete Message
This site has in depth info on plants that are poisonous to cats:
http://www.plants-and-your-cat.com/html/poisonous_plants.html

Most plants cause vomiting and diarrhea, but there are several plants that cause sudden death.

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xanthe
New Member

Posts: 4
From:Victoria, Australia
Registered: Jan 2004

posted 01-26-2004 10:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for xanthe     Edit/Delete Message
Thank you so much fleafly! That list is going to give me a few hours worth of research, and I appreciate greatly that you have taken time to help me out

I never knew so many plants could be toxic. I guess you never know, until you see a compiled list like that.

Thanks again!

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