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Sick Savannah help?


Savannah Adult
Hi, I'm the owner of an f5 male savannah, Bennie. When we received him at 4 months old, he was doing well until early September where he began getting his adult teeth in at around 6 months old. He has been listless and not eating as much as he usually did. Mid September, he became a little bit worse. He was congested and his third eyelid was up and I decided to take him to the vet.

Our vet diagnosed him with an upper respiratory infection and Bennie was prescribed an eye ointment and an antibiotic along with two shots to help him along. When he came back home, he was a bit more energetic and ate some but then he seemed to become sicker again. A week after the first visit, I took Bennie back to the vet again and she prescribed an antivirus because it could be Feline Herpes. He was given a new medication and an L-Lysine supplement for him.

To get him to eat, I've tried every trick in the book from tempting him with tuna water, warming up his food, trying out baby food, and trying cheap canned food like Friskies that our breeder has told us to try. However, all he does is drink up all the juice and not eat any of the solids. Bennie's still not very energetic and he mostly lays in his catbed all the time. Whenever he walks, his back legs seem to be weaker than usual (maybe his leg fell asleep from laying down all the time).

Does anyone have any tips for me? I hate to see him sick and tired like this but I've done everything the vet has told me and everything that I've researched online but Ben hasn't been improving from his sickness for two weeks now. Could teething be part of the problem? How long do these symptoms usually last?

Thanks beforehand.


Staff member
I don't think teething has anything to do with it...have you let the breeder know how sick Bennie is and that he is not eating? Is he losing weight? Has he had any testing done?

I am so sorry Bennie is sick and we will try to offer you all the advice, help and support we can...

Brigitte Cowell

Staff member
Do you think Bennie is congested at all? Usually the only reason a cat stops eating when it has an upper respiratory infection is because of blocked sinuses...if a cat can't smell the food they will not eat it. So if his nose IS blocked then you can try either putting in a steamed up bathroom to help or using Neosynephrine nasal drops in one nostril to unblock it.

Another thought is that the antibiotics are actually making him feel nauseous. You can try giving some Pepcid AC to settle his stomach. You could also ask the vet for something like mirtazapine which in cats acts as an appetite stimulant.

In terms of eating, if he's wanting to just drink up the juice...then try taking the canned food and whizzing it in the food processor with more water..make it all soupy, then he might lap it up but he's getting more of the food with that liquid? Or try chicken baby food (make sure it is only chicken with no added onions or garlic), warm it up a little and offer it on a spoon to see if he will lick that up.

Otherwise, I might be inclined to think that something other than the URI is the cause of the listlessness and lack of appetite. You might think about doing a Coronavirus titer just in case...


Savannah Adult
@Admin: Yes, we have contacted the breeders and they've suggested ways to help him eat. I've tried all of those and he still hasn't eaten much over the past few weeks. The only test the vet has done on him so far is an eye test to check for ulcers, which thankfully, he didn't have.

@Brigitte: He is congested--he always has to bring his nose very, very close to the food in order to sniff for taste. He has been eating some of the mashed up canned food luckily for the past few weeks, though he always leaves around half or a quarter of his usual portion. He was always a picky eater and switches between the homemade diet and supplements that I make for him and canned food. The baby food did work for a while at first but then I think he got sick of it. He always likes something for a while ever since I got him and then refuses it, so I always have to try a new flavor of canned.

Thank you guys so much beforehand. I'll take him to see the vet tomorrow and ask him about the coronavirus test and see if I should keep him at the clinic for treatment instead of at home since he seems to do a bit better after vet visits.

Could it be a throat infection, like a sore throat? It doesn't seem like he wants to swallow anything solid.


Staff member
What is most bothersome to me is that his hind legs seem weak. When the vet listened to him did he hear any hint of a murmur? HCM can cause congestion and can also cause clots to form in the heart that can then shoot off to travel down an artery that supplies blood to the spine causing paralysis or partial paralysis in the lower extremities.

If you think this is because of an infection I would suggest running an upper respiratory PCR so that you know exactly what you are dealing with. What antibiotics have you given him? I might point out that the three bacteria that the URD PCR tests for can all be treated with doxycycline.

If you haven't already done so you might want to run a full battery of blood tests including a CBC, CMP, thyroid function tests, and UA to see if you can detect abnormalities that might give you a clue as to what is going on.

I will keep my fingers crossed that you figure out what is going on with Bennie and find a solution for him!


Savannah Adult
When my vet listened to him, she didn't find much wrong with his chest. Everything else seems to be fine except for the fact that he is congested and lost his appetite for most things.

I'll relate these things with my vet and see what she has to say on them.

Thank you Patti!


Savannah Adult
The Vet got back to me and told me that he had a very high chance of being positive for FIP. We keep no other cats in our home.

Can someone give me a brief explanation on this disease?


Savannah Super Cat
Very sad to hear your kitten is not well. I sincerely hope it is not something like FIP.