4105307 tn?1369531432

How do you tell if a cat is in pain?

My 11 year old kitty with cushing's disease  has survived and has been a happy cat the past 3 years. For 2 years she has been on insulin 2 times a day, currently 8 units each time. 4 days ago the vet opened a Retrobulbar abscess at the back of her mouth, the probable cause of her bulging eye and third eyelid showing. Without her normal drinking and eating her BG went down to 58 and twice we gave her karo syrup. We gave her 4 and then 6 units to adjust to the amount she would eat. It now reads 240 after she ate about 2/3 her normal breakfast and received 8 units. Today she has started breathing with her mouth open, and the rate was 26 breaths a minute. Otherwise she just sleeps and doesn't want to be held. We plan to see the vet day after tomorrow. Her time is probably close. She's had all the symptoms and has reached the stage where her hind legs are too weak to get on the bed, even with her own stool. My husband thinks she will know when the time comes and will go peacefully. I'm not so sure.  
10 Responses
874521 tn?1424116797
i'm so happy to read your dear kitty is improving.....I will send you 2 veterinary sites with info and links to tons of stuff on Diabetes...most of which you probably already know, but never hurts to learn more.
thanks for updating us, I appreciate that and hope she continues to improve:)


4190741 tn?1370177832
my vet told me that cats are very stoic when it comes to pain and illness.
Mine just spent some time in emergency care/hospital and her main symptoms waere refusal to eat and hiding along with mouth breathing
and extreme tiredness.  I didn't want her to suffer at all and  I got her in and was told she was close to death, at 3 years of age I made the choice for care and she is now back to normal.  

I don't know what the answer is really in your case. In most cases the
vets will tell you that as long as your pet is still a active part of the family,
it is sometimes better to just let nature take its own course.

Good luck to you....

4105307 tn?1369531432
Thank you for your story. I'm happy your baby came through her critical time at the vet. You were a good pet parent to get her help in time so you have happy years ahead. It helped for me to summarize what Tink has been going through. I have always said as long as she is a "happy cat" we will continue with her care.  Until this last trip to the vet she still got excited about treats and enjoyed being held (on her terms of course). We made it through the weekend and today. She has her appetite back and I take her extra water when she stays lying in one place a long time. Hopefully she will regain more energy after the antibiotics have done their job. We'll know more after her vet appointment tomorrow.

4105307 tn?1369531432
It's a blessing to have Tink responsive again. Her appetite is back strong as ever and her third eyelid is better. If it continues to improve (vet gave her a shot for swelling) he won't have to suture her eyelids together. She even got up on the bed last night although she is still very weak (she has a stool of her own). She seems happier once more regardless of how much pain she has been through. You must be right about how stoic a cat can be. I'm guessing she will find a way to tell us when she's had enough.
874521 tn?1424116797
bless her dear little heart, she is a fighter despite all she has gone thru...you are a good mommy.
Cats can hide pain and we have to be very aware of the signs they are giving us....even very ill kitties will eat/purr and appear happy. Has your Vet suggested any pain medication for her? Was that a shot of steroids the Vet administered?
If so be aware these are only temporary fixes...you will see some short term improvement than the symptoms will reappear unfortunately.
I know the feeling of wanting 'just a bit more time' with our loved little companions, but I do hope in your heart you will know when she's had enough and her quality of life is no longer there, than it will be time to do what you have to do for her...a very hard decision to have to make and my heart goes out to you and Tink as well.

I will share a link with you that you will find helpful....♥

4105307 tn?1369531432
Thank you for sharing your comments and the link. At this time she is doing better...her eye is much less swollen. The third eyelid problem is actually cherry eye, more common in dogs than cats. The gland of the third eyelid
becomes visible as a red, oval bulge protruding just behind the edge of the third eyelid. It has been changing and gradually shrinking. Tink seems happy again but still her energy comes and goes. She is really good when we wash her eye and put in medicine. If needed there is an animal eye specialist about 90 minutes away. We dont want to have her sedated again unless absolutely necessary. With cushings it takes longer to get better and we are hopeful, especially when she makes it up in the bed to wake us up for breakfast!
4105307 tn?1369531432
Thanks for the sites, one I've been to and a new one. For a couple of years I have copy/pasted lots of info into documents by subject. Much of it has been about cushing's disease since it usually leads to diabetes. We home test and have a vet who hasn't had experience with feline diabetes or cushings, but he is close by. Tink has never shown ketones and I understand that is a really bad sign. Her insulin dose has increased from 2 to 8 units since we began. The only problem with low BG was recently after sedation and oral surgery mentioned in my first post. We've kept karo syrup on hand all this time. We've been fortunate to have her this long as cushing's usually limits life to a year or less. I'll try posting her photo when I get on my desktop PC. I'm guessing you also have a diabetic cat?
874521 tn?1424116797
wow you are one very organized and thorough person, good for you!!!

You sound like you very much know what you are doing....I'm the same when it comes to my kitties, I learn all I can including whats best in regards to diet, medications, treatments and anesthesia as needed.

I learn all I can and not jump blindly to what any Vet tells me, and believe me I have a good Vet that I trust very much, but he is willing to listen to my knowledge too. We don't always see eye to eye.

There are many Vet recommended products, diets and medications that aren't good for cats....so everyone has to do their homework.

No I do not have a diabetic kitty, never have. The knowledge I have is very limited on diabetes thats why I give out sites that I trust to reply to questions I know little of...

keep up the good work that will keep your kitty in as good health and with you as long as possible, and thats what all our ultimate goal is isn't it.

keep us posted, we are pulling for her too:)
4105307 tn?1369531432
I've added some photos. We're doing better and she sees the vet Tuesday to find out if her cornea has healed so antibiotic ointment can be stopped.
4105307 tn?1369531432
Her eye will need more time to heal.  Vet says diabetes and cushing's disease slow down healing a lot. Changed to 2 different eye drops 3 times a day. Scratch on her eye is still visible when he uses a special light to see her eye. Muscle wasting in her legs is more visible and she sits or lies down a lot. But...she is still happy and loving. She does really well getting medicine in her eye.
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