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Old 08-24-2011, 11:06 AM   #1
puffkin
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Steroid shots and cats?

Anyone have any experience with steroid shots for cats?

My 7 year old cat has always been a really picky eater and puker. She has gotten a lot worse since having her 11 teeth removed out 2 years ago. She lost a lot of weight, but seemed to plateau out around 9.5-10lbs which was ok for her size.

Her last visit was in February at the vet where she weighed 9.5lbs. I had her there last week and she is down to 7.5lbs and all skin and bones. The vet ran a bunch of bloodwork and urinalysis (including thyroid) and everything has come back clean. Her behavior hasn't really changed much. She just won't eat and when she does eat it comes back up. I have tried every food under the sun including all the premium foods at the pet store.

We are feeding her 3 small meals a day (with working FT that is the most we can do, on the weekends we do 4). IT is hard because we have another dog and cat to contend with who are pigs. We can't lock her alone to eat because that stresses her, so we put her on the counter and just keep an eye on the other two. We thought about a timed feeder, but have no way of preventing the other cat from getting the food.

The vet is now recommending trying a steroid shot. She thinks there is some kind of GI issue and problems with absorption. There are some risks with extended use of steroids (like diabetes) that I am worried about, but at this point she is pretty much starving herself. The vet did prescribe the Hills ZD prescription food and she has been keeping that down pretty well if given in small doses but I don't think it is enough to get her weight up. My DH is no help as he just sees $$$ and thinks she'll eat when she gets hungry enough. Ugh!!!
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Old 08-24-2011, 11:37 AM   #2
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My 8 year old cat Josie has no health issues but she has a flea allergy. She was miserable last summer, constant scratching and gnawing, pulling her fur out in huge clumps. Took her to the vet and he gave her a steroid shot. The relief was immediate. The vet told me that the steroid shot may give her relief the rest of her life or she may need to get it done once a year. Well, she started pulling out clumps of fur again, so it's back to the vet for another steroid shot.

How often do they want to give your kitty the shots? I know that steroids are not something you want to take all the time and that there are a lot of harmful side effects(for humans and for pets). Some of the side effects can be permanent and some temporary and go away when you stop using the steroids.

This website gives a little information on steroid uses and side effects. I hope you can find some relief for your kitty soon.
http://www.vet4petz.com/pharmacy/steroids.htm
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Old 08-24-2011, 11:47 AM   #3
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One of my cats is also a puker - our vet said that allergies (could be fleas, molds, seasonal like humans, dust - you name it) can cause gi inflammation in cats and recommended trying the depo-medrol shot. It worked like a charm for our Garfield. When he starts barfing repeatedly again (usually about every 2 months in fall/winter) we go get another one. It's a risk/benefit thing - the steroids increase the risk of some diseases, but if your kitty can't hold anything down that isn't good, either.

Hopefully your sweet girl will improve soon!
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Old 08-24-2011, 11:50 AM   #4
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My cat was on steroid pills for a while because the vet thought she had some GI problem and allergy issues going on. One day she just stoped eating and was very lethargic. All her bloodwork came out perfect so went this route since GI problems are difficult to diagnose wihtout being evasive.

It got her back to eating and I was later able to wean her off the pills after a few months. Depending on the dosage, it can be taken long term by a cat without harmful side effects.
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Old 08-24-2011, 02:56 PM   #5
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We are thinking it is going to be a monthly thing, at least for a few months until we can get her weight back up. Assuming that works, then the vet would try to wean her off. We have made even more adjustments to her food, and feeding procedures so hopefully all three things give her some relief.

At this point, we are pretty much out of options as nothing else seems to have worked and she is wasting away.
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Old 08-24-2011, 04:46 PM   #6
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Ours lost a bunch of weight, vet wanted to do about $3,000 in tests to find out if it was cancer, or other issue. We asked what the treat was for both......radiation once a week (at $250 each) and a steroid pill for cancer.......and steroid pill for almost every other issue.
We opted for the steroid pill, 1 a day to start. Now she gets a pill, skips 2 days, gets a pill, skips 1 day, repeat. We also switched her from only dry food....which was poultry.....and through the process of elimination, a diet of only fish based dry food, and canned fish cat food. Cats generally are only allergic to fish, not our cat, she's only allegeic to poultry.
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Old 08-24-2011, 04:57 PM   #7
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I am so sorry to hear about your poor kitty.

If the vet is recommending the shots, I think that is the way to go. Of course, you could always get a second opinion.

Our kitty is older than yours, she is around 13, and she weights around that 9.5lb mark, which is a good weight for her body.

She has had two surgeries to remove kitty breast cancer.

She also tends to get sick (puke) a lot, but her biggest issues are with her waste removal. We have been to different vets (I insisted on a second opinion when nothing was working), tried all kinds of foods under the sun (including the prescription diet foods) and supplements (from globy gels squirted into her food to fiber additives, etc). For awhile they even had her on kitty valium, but I hated that, she was wobbly, spaced out, and just generally seemed drugged all of the time. Plus it was an actual pill we had to give her, she hated that (she won't even eat cat treats!) and she also hated all of the sticky messy stuff (can't even remember what that med was) we had to squeeze from a syringe into her mouth.

But to answer your question about steroids, she has had kitty cortisone shots before. I noticed no abnormal side effects, and the shot did seem to help with some of the problems she was having at the time (as an added bonus, several years earlier when she had the breast cancer surgeries, she had a large patch on her tummy shaved and that fur never really grew back properly, and after the shot she had fur growth in that area again...not sure how they were related, but it happened).
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Old 08-24-2011, 04:59 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by puffkin View Post
We are thinking it is going to be a monthly thing, at least for a few months until we can get her weight back up. Assuming that works, then the vet would try to wean her off. We have made even more adjustments to her food, and feeding procedures so hopefully all three things give her some relief.

At this point, we are pretty much out of options as nothing else seems to have worked and she is wasting away.
Definitely in this case, the pros outweight the cons. It's the right thing to try. Good luck and keep us updated.
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Old 08-25-2011, 08:58 AM   #9
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Our cat gets steriod shots about every other month for asthma. She has been getting them for about 3 or 4 years now.
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Old 09-06-2011, 11:25 AM   #10
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Update:
She had her first steroid shot 12 days ago. She was really eating well over the first 10 days with no puking and eating most of her food. We have been trying to do 4 small meals a day with her. She was a completely different cat

She is scheduled to go back on Thursday for another shot. For the last 2 days now she has barely been eating again and yesterday she did throw up again. So it almost seems like the shot wore off because she is acting pretty much like before. It will definitely be interesting to see what happens after the second round of steroids.
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Old 09-06-2011, 11:29 AM   #11
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There is always the option of pilling her so it will be a more constant thing without the dropoff. Though I know how some cats love that.

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Old 09-06-2011, 02:20 PM   #12
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Quote:
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There is always the option of pilling her so it will be a more constant thing without the dropoff. Though I know how some cats love that.

Thanks. I think if I notice the same "drop off" after the second shot that I will ask about the pills. Right now I am not sure if the good results after the first shot were just coincidence or really from the shot. I guess we will know more after the second shot.
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Old 09-06-2011, 09:54 PM   #13
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My vet gave an injection of a steroid and sent us home with liquid steroid that he said to decrease after a few days. It made a world of difference. She was also losing weight and was skin and bones. Is your cat long haired? This is what I think was causing the throwing up (self cleaning--long hair??). We eventually lost her to kidney disease!
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