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Welcome to our regular “Ask the Cat Doc With Dr. Lynn Bahr” segment! Once a month, Dr. Bahr answers as many of your questions as she can, and you can leave new questions for her in a comment.

Dr. Bahr graduated from the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine in 1991. Unlike most veterinarians, she did not grow up knowing that she would become a veterinarian. “It was a cat who got me interested in the practice and I am forever grateful to him,” said Dr. Bahr. Over the course of her veterinary career, Dr. Bahr found that the lifestyle of cats has changed dramatically. As the lifestyle of cats has changed, so did Dr. Bahr’s client education. In addition to finding medical solutions, she also encourages owners to enrich their home environments so that their cats can live long, happy, and healthy lives.

This new understanding led Dr. Bahr to combine her passion for strengthening the human-animal bond with her veterinary background and knowledge of what animals need and want to start her own solution-based cat product company, Dezi & Roo, inspired by two cats of the same names.

For more information about Dezi & Roo and their unique and innovative cat toys, please visit Dezi and Roo on Etsy.

Do you have a question for Dr. Bahr?
Leave it in a comment and she’ll answer it next month!

Protruding Third Eyelid

My 4 yr old Ocicat male has had his 3rd eyelid up more on than off for several months now . My vet could not determine a reason for this. He was given a shot of Convenia, he ran a low grade temperature and thought he might have been constipated from having a mouse, he does go out as we have a farm, his outings are brief and loosely supervised. We have had a neighbor male spraying from time to time and I have been using the calming spray inside and out. 3 months later the eyelids are still up more than down. Your thoughts would be greatly appreciated. – Marie Pyle

Hi Marie,

Thank you for reaching out to ask why your cat’s third eyelids might be elevated. You were wise to take your kitty to a veterinarian and I am glad to know nothing serious was found. While many illnesses can cause the third eyelid to show, it is more likely that your cat is dealing with Haws Syndrome, since he is otherwise feeling well.

No one really knows what causes Haws Syndrome, but it is believed to be related to an internal parasite infection like tapeworms. Symptoms may include elevation of the nictating membrane (third eyelid), diarrhea, occasional low grade fever, or reduced appetite. However, in most instances, all we really notice is the cross-eyed look associated with the third eyelid being visible. Fortunately, this condition typically resolves on its own given some time. However, it is a good idea to have your Ocicat treated with a broad spectrum dewormer to eliminate the possibility he is dealing with a tapeworm infection. Anytime I see this condition in my patients this is the course of treatment I recommend.

If for any reason your boy is not acting normally, losing weight, or has any other symptoms besides his third eyelids being elevated, please take him back to your vet for a recheck. Otherwise, you should expect this condition to resolve on its own soon.

Problems after general anesthesia

Hello, my cat came out of general anaesthetic ‘flat’ 2-3 years ago, and has never recovered. Her walking, claw retraction, and orientation are all affected. She has now stopped going outside to toilet and uses a litter tray. Is this likely to continue to deteriorate? What can we do? – Janice Davison

Hi Janice,

I am so sorry to hear about your kitty’s condition. Unfortunately, without more medical information I am unable to access whether or not this condition will continue to deteriorate. However, I would recommend you have your cat seen by a veterinary neurologist in the hopes that a proper diagnosis is made and a treatment plan formulated. Without a neurologic exam, anyone would be guessing at her prognosis. There might be the possibility that she could even improve rather than deteriorate but you will need to seek the help of a veterinary neurologist to find that out. I hope that is the case. Good luck.

Sore eyes

Hi can you give me some advice please? My cat keeps getting sore eyes please can you help Thank you. – Eunice Kane

Hi Eunice,

What is going on with your cat’s eyes? Your question is too vague for me to answer but I would love to help you out. Let me know what you mean by “sore”, how long the condition has been present, when did it start and has it changed and some details about your cat like age, lifestyle, and medical history. The more details I have the easier it is for me to assist you. Purrs and thanks.

*FTC Disclosure: The Conscious Cat is a participant in Etsy’s affiliate program. This means that if you decide to purchase through any of our links, we get a small commission. We only spread the word about products and services we’ve either used or would use ourselves.

26 Comments on Ask the Cat Doc: Third Eyelid Problem, Neurological Symptoms after Anesthesia

  1. My baby boy just had surgery (perineal urethrostomy). I brought him back home today. Is it normal for him to be lethargic still? He hasn’t tried reaching for his litter box and will just lay there. He is urinating where he lays. I just want to know if this is normal considering his surgery was 2 days ago. He’s drank some water but hasn’t really touched his food.

    • This is an older post, so Dr. Bahr won’t see your question. Please call your vet asap, this is not normal behavior two days after surgery.

  2. Same thing with my cat….Her third eyelid is still protruding 9 days after her tooth extraction and she is still wobbly and when she shakes her head, she knocks herself over. Doctor said it will all clear up in time, but this is just not acceptable to me. I will NEVER put my cat through this again, nor will my other cat get dental surgery ever! anyone else have this and how long til it cleared up?

    • It took my cat about 2.5 months to be back to normal. On occasion I still see her eye droop ever so slightly but I do consider her fully recovered. I too will be nervous if they tell me she has to have it done again. I also noticed some neurological/behavioral changes that lasted almost 6 months post procedure. She is over that now too but I am scared to have her go through that again.

    • We have been rescuing feral cats for well over 16 years now. From December 15, 2017 to February 28th, 2018, we had SEVEN cats that had to get a few teeth extracted to one had all her teeth out.

      Luckily, none of them had problems with anesthesia. But, I need to do research on CONVENIA. They give this 14-day antibiotic injection to lots of cats..but alot of ferals get it too. There is this Whole Cat Health Group and they say to never ever get that shot. Several people say their cats have died. I remember them saying even though it only lasts 14 stays in their bodies for a month or more. If they are allergic, there is no way to get it out.

      Our Charkey kitty is 13 years 5.5 months old and was healthy until a few days ago. Brought him in on this past Weds and he was there all day. No diagnosis. They sent the bloodwork out and it will be back 1-2 days. I said his kidneys need to be checked. She could have done it in house and she didn’t. She said he is not critical! I told her hes not eating.. I don’t need hepatic lipidosis. She gave him some anti-nausea drug and fluids on Weds late.

      Thursday comes and no word until after they close. She said his Kidney values are high…and she thinks it is a Acute Kidney Injury! She asked if he got into a toxic plant or medicine. No. She said it could be a kidney infection which is what she think it is now. She said if I can do sub-q fluids at home bring him back in Friday and they need IV fluids and antibiotics. I brought him in Friday and he was there 7 hours and his Bun went up, his creatine went down a little.She wanted us to bring him to the ER vet for the weekend but this vet isn’t our regular vet (she doesn’t know we have sub-q fluids and tons of cat supplements for kidneys) and I told her that would cost $2k and we just paid $1,016 for these two days…(and he should have been there Thursday….but she didn’t have the results). She said we could bring him home if we do sub=q, pain killer, etc.

      I got home and found no antibiotics and found out she gave him the Convenia shot. He was running in from out back (cat fenced small backyard with cat fencing) and jumped on the love seat. All of a sudden my bf is yelling “hes crashing..something is going on with him… he said its like a seizure,..” It was scary….and we thought he was dying. He got better..but I think its this Convenia shot. I could swear someone said not to give to a cat with kidney issues. He didn’t have them until now.

      I was going to say about the 3rd eyelid. One time this kitty Riley (he’s semi-feral and no way will he let you touch him) when he was about one year old….it looked like his left eye ball was gone! I was calling the vet…and my bf said I think his eye is missing. It was scary. It lasted two hours and then when we saw him next…it was back to normal. Someone said that can be caused by tapeworm infection. We never saw any.

      I remember getting an older feral cat neutered. He was Remington and FIV+. I picked him up at 5:30 pm. and I thought he was dead driving home. He did not wake up until 3:00 a.m. We think they tried to kill him because he was FIV+ and 8 years old. He survived and lived to be 16 years old Turned into a love bug…a ginger boy.

  3. Hello, my 9 month old kitty was taken to the vet 3 days ago for kitty asthma and possibly ear mites (Right Ear). Tests and scans were done, a cream was put in her ear & we were given steroids for her asthma. Before we Took her in other than some coughing fits and ear scratches she was perfectly perky happy and fine! The moment they Brought her out, her third eye lid on the right eye was out (first time ever) and she had crazy sneeze/coughing episodes. the episodes seem to have subsided as of now. We took her back in yesterday to check the eye and was told its just a symptom of the cream fighting the infection, it practically went away last night but is back even worse now today, plus her mood isn’t anything what she was before the first visit. Can anyone give me any insight or info on the eye situation and mood change please?! So stressed out because of this. #WorriedCatDad

  4. My cat had anesthesia for dental work 4 days ago. Her 3rd eyelid is exposed since. The doc said this is normal and will clear in a few days. It hasn’t yet and the eye is teary – looks like moisture not infection at this point. Other posts say this can take months to resolve. Are there any dangers in the meantime to consider with this? She goes outside during the days. She is also experiencing diarrhea I think from the Clindamycin. Will that clear up once she stops it? How long will it take for it to clear. I dread having to take her for this procedure again in the future. Her legs are finally steady now, but she was losing her footing a bit two days after the procedure. Makes me think it is neurological from the anesthesia. I am trying to avoid taking her back to the vet as it is extremely traumatizing for her.

  5. Hi Shannon,

    Yeap, I received it. It was supposed to take 4-5 days to get here but got here 3 days after that. I has to work with a guy named Suhail and he keeps in contact and asks how O’Mallley (he’s FIV+) is doing. I only started it 3 weeks ago and O’Malley has had weepy eyes before we started using it…and still has them and the vet gave us antibiotic drops.

    We are only half way through the first big vial and I just skipped the last two days. In the last week, O’Malley is acting like he doesn’t want to he has the flu. He’s got CRF and I’ve been doing Sub-q since August 30, 2018 every night. In January 2019, his Bun, creatine and even his TSH were high. The TSH was 4.6 and vet didn’t put him on Methimazole.

    He’s lost 1.6lbs in the last month and we are trying to figure out what is causing it. So she did all this blood work and now miraculously his BUN, Creatine are in Normal range and his TSH is 1.6. He gets EPOGEN once a week for anemia from the CRF and its at a great level.

    The vet felt his left kidney and said it is enlarged and it could be from CRF or could be kidney cancer. But, NONE of he blood work shows cancer. I just cured him of squamous cell cancer (diagnosed August 30, 2018) with Alpha Omega Labs cansema salve..and she checked his mouth Friday night and it’s not there. She said she is mystified what is causing the weight loss when the bloodwork is better than in January 2019. I had her make sure he doesn’t have “neutropenia” (low WBC>) because I read it can cause that and he’s fine. So, it might be RetroMAD1 that has lowered all these values… Oh, his liver enzymes were up in January too and now normal. The vet told him he looked like crap…because his third eyelids are showing and he has weepy eyes and the left eye got cloudy before this. It’s herpes inflammation and it can be cloudy in the morning, then at night clear, then cloudy the next day. We have had this with 3 FIV+ cats…this herpes inflammation that makes the eye look like they have cataracts or are blind. Lysine used to work..but one cat had to have an eyeball out.

    I’m going to try and fatten him up…

    I guess on my order the Biovalance paperwork was lost and the FedEx guy was being a stickler and he went on the internet and claims he found some website and this is a prescription drug. My vet didn’t know anything about it… and wasn’t writing a it didn’t need one in the end.

    The company, Biovalance, always answers back in a day or so. I think the guy that talks to me might be the co-creator of it. He said it takes 2-3 months before the virus disappears. The vet told me Friday to continue him on it…despite him losing 1.6lbs in a month.

    Anyway, they seem like a good company… always checking in.

  6. Tamara Terry

    I have a cat with FELV and I was going to buy RetroMAD1 for $300 also, just wanted to know if you ever received your shipment after it was held up at customs?

  7. As the owner of this site, I’d like to jump in and comment on a couple of issues:

    We welcome all reader comments as long as they adhere to our comment guidelines. Sharing experiences readers have had with certain health issues can be immensely helpful for other readers. However, as per our comment guidelines, I cannot always verify the veracity or accuracy of information or recommendations provided in reader comments. None of the information shared on this site, whether it’s in this column or in any of the other content on this site, and that includes reader comments, should ever be considered a substitute for veterinary care.

    With regards to Convenia, please read this article and educate yourself about this long-acting drug before you allow your vet to give it to your cats:

    • Ingrid;

      Hopefully I was not overstepping my bounds. Whenever something is suggested, by vet, doctor or others, I always try to educate myself regarding whatever it is and use reputable sites/sources. If/when these topics come up, I do try to share/provide additional information AND sources about these questionable treatments or products, so others can be better informed – in the end they can still make their own decisions, but they should consider all the negatives AND work with a qualified vet.

      Even if something is “safe” and (seems to) work for your cat(s), it doesn’t mean it really works or will for ALL cats!

      As noted in at least one of my posts, for our cats WE are their advocates and must be vigilant! That one time I agreed to Convenia was at pickup from a dental procedure and I didn’t have capability to do any checking. It SOUNDED reasonable, but now I know better. I was one of the lucky ones in that it did not cause any real issue other than not really treating the potential infection from tooth extraction!

      I don’t think most vets do this because they make big bucks on it (but it is certainly possible in some cases.) I think it is more out of ignorance (and perhaps ‘convenience’ or maybe to ensure the pet gets the “proper” dosage as many do not follow through, but it is the WRONG medication to use!) and/or the false perception that they have done this many times and had no adverse effects.

      The warnings on the paperwork are clear enough (see the link Ingrid posted – Dr. Pierson posts the enclosed warnings) but WE don’t get to see that. The quotes from Wikipedia that I posted were a direct copy/paste, enclosed in quotes and they pretty much mimic Dr. Pierson’s posts. On Dr Pierson’s site are her comments regarding Rx foods as well. As with people doctors, not one of them can know EVERYTHING about all medications (or foods), and based on a college class taken years ago, I learned that doctors were not (and is probably still true, but I cannot swear to it) required to take any pharmacology classes. Even if they do, there are SO many medications available today that it is NOT possible for any one person to know it all! They still DO learn most about many medications from those drug reps who deliver FREE samples, so they are WOEFULLY under-educated.

      The pharmacist can be your best friend in that regard, or you can look it up yourself at LEGIT sites (take anecdotal reports by people on social media sites with a grain of salt.)

      That said, part of my next reply to Tamara regarding two “holistic” or OTC/unapproved treatments is probably best to address to EVERYONE. This is in regards to Cansema and RetroMAD1, the first of which is very alarming! If Ingrid has no objection to me posting what I have researched/learned about these (I can email what I have drafted if you would like to review it beforehand Ingrid), I will post it.

      However to keep it brief for now, these are NOT proven treatments AND can be very detrimental to you or your cats!

      • P.S. Based on a second search regarding RetroMAD1, I did find an old post on this site with comments that became very heated over various treatments, including RetroMAD1.

        So, I would encourage the proponents of both Cansema and RetroMAD1 to NOT post anecdotal information AND to look these up yourself on REPUTABLE sites, Cansema in particular because it IS documented as a scam. Finding anything legitimate about RetroMAD1 is almost non-existent. Neither is FDA approved, and personally I would NEVER purchase something online, especially if it is “imported”, but not approved by the FDA. You have no idea what you are really getting (if you get it at all!)

  8. Hi. I care for a small group of cats in my neighborhood. I feed them and make sure water is available. I’m also in the process in doing TNR for them. My question had to do with a flea treatment. I’ve been told and have read that adding brewer’s yeast could help in repelling fleas by adding it to their food; however, when I’ve looked for pet brands, garlic or garlic flavoring is added. These are usually products marketed for both cats and dogs. Isn’t the garlic toxic for cats? The reason I read that brewer’s yeast is effective is that fleas don’t like the taste of the pet’s blood. I’m assuming it’s because of the garlic? I’m just trying a fairly inexpensive flea treatment that I can add to their food, since these kitties pretty much run the other way when they see me.

  9. I was also surprised by the nonchalant mention of Convenia. My sweet kitty died a painful death from this drug. The only reason I can think of for vets still using it for anything other that its labeled purpose is the huge profit they must be making from this drug. It is lethal in many cases and states this right on the disclaimer paperwork that comes with the packaging. Of course my vet never mentioned any of these adverse reactions before giving this injection. I now have “NO CONVENIA” on the top of my other kitty’s medical file.

    • Debi,

      I’m sorry to hear about the death of your kitty from Covenia. I know of many people who have rescued feral cats…and they have had to use Covenia because it you can’t get a pill in a FERAL cat’s mouth. These are people who rescue many feral cats and do not have one or two pet cats.

      Back in 2002, I had two pet cats, then in November 2004, I started rescuing feral cats from a soccer park where a guy said he was going to kill them. Covenia has NEVER been used on our cats until SIX of them had teeth extracted from December 15, 2017 to December 3m 2018 and none of them had any bad side effects.

      If you look at prescription drugs, I would see the same box with bad side effects. Therefore, I do not like prescription drugs and I try to find homeopathic remedies to treat the cats AFTER they have been to the vet if they need to. In fact, I used a homeopathic remedy called SMELLY MOUTH (its for sinus infections and teeth infections) on the nape of the neck of our late cat Jasper when he was in ER. He was congested and had green snot coming out of his nose. We had to bring him to ER vet and it costs $2,047 for two nights in the ER vet from July 21-23, 2018. The ER vet said he had a URI with pneumonia or bronchitis. They called saying that he might have one then two deflatted lungs and we might need a $495 ultrasound. Then, a few minutes later they called and said “No, it was water in the lungs.” Despite, saying he had water on the lungs and him being scared being there…they did IV fluids the whole time. I went to see him Sunday night and my bf on Sunday morning and he said he did not look good and looked like he was going to pass away. I went to see him at 8:30 p.m. and he looked bad Sunday night. All I had with me was Smelly Mouth from that I grabbed as I was going out the door. I did not have their pneumonia remedy or sinus congestion. At 9:30 pm., I dumped a bunch on the nape of his neck (supposed to do 3-4 drops several times in a row at first) and within 4 hours it was a miracle. The vets noted something about the owner put something in Jasper’s food but it wasn’t in his food..he wasn’t eating their wet food. It was the nape of his neck. They said he no longer was congested and when I picked him up on Monday morning the green snot was gone and his eyes weren’t gooey. They wanted me to take him to the regular vet at first because he hadn’t eaten. But, I wanted to see if he would eat at home. The regular vet was the vet tech to take out the IV catheter. I finally got him an appointment with our vet and it was a week or so later. The ER vet misdiagnosed him and our vet could just listen to his heart and told me Jasper has Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM- a very common heart problem in cats). I had never had a cat with it. She said we would have to do Lasix (which killed another one of formerly feral cats after another vet injected it in him in January 2013) two times a day and Atenolol transdermal ear gel. We got injectable Lasix and then the ear gel and it was extremely hard to get Jasper two times a day. I told her we are lucky to get him 6 times a week and not 14 times. He runs and hides. She said to do your best. Well we did our best and it’s hard when working with ferals that do not want to be medicated. On Thanksgiving Day at 5:30 p.m., Jasper was laying by the fire place, he went outside to get sun, then came and laid down on the floor. He lifted up his head an opened his mouth like gasping for air..and I was in the kitchen, yelled for my bf to come down and Jasper died! I swore I would look into HAMPL products for HCM if this ever happened to another kitty…,because I don’t like prescription drugs. Basically, he died from congestive heart failure.

      So, just like you we have had kitties that we loved and rescued from a crazy man that was going to kill them at the soccer park and we have kept them safe for many years only to have them pass away 10-12 years later from one of the many kitty illnesses they can get and we blame out old vet for some of the deaths by misdiagnosing Tyler a FIV+ kitty as being blind and he needs both his eyes out for $5-6k (he wasn’t blind and didn’t need his eyes removed) when the old vet should have felt his abdomen and would have felt thickening. He died on Christmas Day 2017 from intestinal bleeding from undiagnosed intestinal lymphoma. We had just transferred over to our new vet (the one we have now) only days before he died and she was running blood tests and was thinking he might have diabetes but he went anemic overnight and we had to pts at the ER vet on Christmas Day. I really don’t trust vets to tell me what is good all the time for our cats because we have had several bad experiences with the old vet. This new vet (well not as new since it was December 15, 2017) is compassionate, honest and does not try to milk money out of us by giving a Covenia shot because she works with lots of feral cats from rescue who will not be able to give oral antibiotics. When our cat Ciara was diagnosed with asthma in March 2019, she also had lingering issues with her mouth healing from having all her teeth removed on December 3, 2018. That could have been the “skin issue” that it was for..

      There are many drugs vets use that I would seriously consider not using. Also, vets make the majority of their money from vaccinations and selling prescription pet food. We don’t vaccinate the cats except when they are spayed/neutered and they don’t wander all over…they are in a cat -fenced backyard that is like Shangri-la for cats. No cats are jumping over from the outside and the only way they go out is out there or in a jogging pet stroller. LOL.

      P.S. I will send this FB site about Covenia to the vet…so she can read it. Thanks for all that info.

  10. Thank you Marge for getting back to me on your concerns about Covenia. Are you a vet?

    We just got this vet in December 2017 and we love her. Not going to get another vet at this time. The last vet we had for 13 years costs us lots of money and it was extremely hard to get a cat in for a visit….like a two week wait.

    I will be seeing our vet in about 2 hours from now with O’Malley. He is an FIV+ kitty that had to get teeth extracted in Feb 2018. Then, on August 30, 2018, he was lethargic and they did blood work and he has CRF. I’ve been giving him sub-q fluids every night since August, 30, 2018. He has now been getting EPOGEN injections for about 5-6 months by me. Plus, at the same time last August, she opened his mouth and he had “squamous cell carcinoma” in his mouth.

    She said the only treatment for that was Prednisolone and/or chemo and that it was a very aggressive cancer. Well, someone who rescues feral cats and is on a whole cat health group told me to try “Cansema salve” from Alpha Omega Labs in Ecuador. They have a friend that sprayed a solution of distilled water and cansema salve on their FIV+ cat’s fur 3 times a day for only 14 days and he licked it off and the squamous cell cancer went away. I talked to the vet about it and she said she had heard amazing things about “bloodroot” (cansema salve) and maybe if I wanted to do something homeopathic and see if it worked to try it.

    With O’Malley, he would not lick the cansema salve mixture off his fur. So, I had to syringe a little of the mixture into his piehole once a day. I did this for several months. He’s been back to the vet three times in the last 6 months and she checked and the squamous cell cancer is GONE.

    He is going into today because I saw a post on here a few weeks ago about RetroMAD1 for FIV+ cats and FeLV cats, He is FIV+. In the past 8 months, he’s been given T-cyte injections three times at a cost of $100 a shot. I wanted to get some of this RetroMAD1. I paid the $300 for it on April 26th, 2019. It got shipped out finally last Wednesday and the company Biovalance said it does not require a prescription.

    It was to arrive today..and now I got a call from Fed Ex and this shipment is held up in customs because Biovalance didn’t provide an invoice and not enough info about what it is. I stupidly told the guy its called RetroMAD1 and he looked on some other site (not this one..something like Animal Care for rescuers) and he said according to what he sees on there….this RetroMAD1 needs a prescription and that it needs FDA entry?

    So, now I guess his visit will be about this..too and got to find more info on it. He was going to get his HCT checked.

    Yeah, there is no way with 21 cats (there were more last year) that we could afford to bring them in for yearly dental cleanings. The vet bills last year alone were close to $25k. I spend $500/month on premium wet and dry food (even though dry food is bad for them) and they get raw too…and it carries over into the next month some times too.

    In addition, right now….I’m breaking into our stash of food and going up to Paradise, CA where the horrible November 8 2018 Camp Fire hit and killed 86 people, burned down 15k homes, killed thousands of pets and livestock. Here we are 6 months later..and there are close to 1,500 missing cats still in the burn zone. I’m helping keep a feeding station going for a cat that is missing and almost 16 years old because the owner is too lazy to do it. She’s only 14 miles away and its 300 miles Round trip for me…so it’s insane. I think I’m feeding BIG FOOT too and we think her cats is hiding out in the back of this house that is still standing. The owner is selling it now…and it has a sale pending. The ex-BFF of the owner hopes the new people are cat lovers and will let the fire cat rescuers in to see if she is back there because that is where she always hung out before and where her other cat was trapped before Christmas. Unfortunately, the old owner didn’t know that her other cat was trapped on his property and his mad about it. AC didn’t have permission. It was in his driveway. It’s a sad situation as there is Benzene in the water up there too and the cats need more water when it heats up. I found out charcoal powder removes benzene and they might be able to use it in the water system..but IDK yet.

    BTW, have you ever tried those enzymes you put in water bowls or Drinkwell Fountains for cat’s teeth? Someone I know swears they help alot. I should try some.

    Thanks for the info and I will say NO to Covenia..and depo-medrol….and….


    PLEASE do not assume that Convenia might be okay, or because it was “okay” once or even twice, it will always be okay. Convenia should NOT be used for anything other than what it is licensed for. Vets don’t always know everything (neither do we) and while they may have treated many pets with this drug and had no issues, it STILL is not intended OR licensed for other uses and one should ALWAYS get the information needed to make the right decision. YOU have to speak for your cat (or dog), YOU are his/her advocate, so YOU need to be informed!!!

    For those who have posted that their cats have had Convenia injections with no adverse reactions, consider yourself lucky. Although nothing untoward happened and may never happen to your cat(s), I will repeat and add to what I posted, quoting Wikipedia page on Covenia again:

    1) It is “licensed for the treatment of skin infections in cats and dogs.”

    2) “It is used to treat skin infections caused by Pasturella multocida in cats, and Staphylococcus intermedius and Streptococcus canis in dogs.”

    3) It should NOT be used for any other purpose (and may not treat anything else effectively or at all.) This is MY comment, not Wikipedia (only quoted items are.Wikipedia)

    4) “The antimicrobial effects last for 14 days following administration.” NOTE: HOWEVER it remains longer in the system residually. Giving a second dose after two weeks might compound the issue.

    5) “Adverse reactions can include anaphylaxis.”

    6) “In cats, adverse reactions may include vomiting, diarrhea, decreased appetite, lethargy, odd hyperactive behavior, and inappropriate urination.”

    7) “Other reported events in dogs and cats include death, tremors/ataxia, seizures, anaphylaxis, acute pulmonary edema, facial edema, injection site reactions (alopecia, scabs, necrosis, and erythema), hemolytic anemia, salivation, pruritus, lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea, and inappetence.”

    8) “Due to high protein-binding, it is not effective against species of Pseudomonas or Enterococcus.”

    9) “In cats, 99% of cefovecin is bound to proteins in the blood plasma.”

    REREAD #7 carefully!

    Also consider that while adjuvanted vaccines are implicated in sarcoma developing at injection locations, hence why vaccines are now (or should be) non-adjuvanted AND injected in the hind limb, NOT the scruff, ANY injection has the potential to cause sarcoma at the injection site. Cats get enough injections now, why add to THAT potential? My cats do not go out, so the only vaccine I allow now is rabies (after all kitten shots are done – those should/must be done), which is required by law except in special medical cases. I have NOT allowed my now 20 year old to have this one, starting last year. She is slowly going down the CKD path (first IDed in 2015), treated for hyperthyroid 2 years ago, lung spots IDed last year, so no way should she get anything if we can avoid it (ALL medications and even food can tax what is left of those poor kidneys!).

    Given all the POTENTIAL issues, I would be EXTREMELY reluctant to have this administered for ANY condition, even for it’s intended purpose. Just to be sure, understand that I am NOT anti-vax. I AM against unnecessary or ill-advised medications, especially if there is an alternative. This is ill-advised. Convenient?
    Sure – that is likely how it got it’s name. However, because it is LICENSED for skin infections, it should NOT be used for any other purpose and is usually not fully effective for other conditions. Human antibiotics are more refined now than back when penicillin was first introduced, and most are designed to target specific infections. THIS one, again, is designed for SKIN infections. On a different note, if I or my cats have NOT had a DEFINITIVE bacterial infection identified, I would NOT allow antibiotics of any kind – this is one reason why we now have a crisis with antibiotic-resistant bacteria! Too often vets prescribe antibiotics for ANY urinary issue – it should only be used if a specific bacterial infection is IDENTIFIED. Antibiotics will NOT treat non-bacterial conditions.

    Once Convenia is administered, you cannot take it back out of the cat’s system!! Daily medications can certainly cause similar reactions in some cats, but it will clear from the system much quicker when dosing is stopped due to any reactions that occur.

    As difficult as pilling or giving liquid medications to a cat might be, it would be better to struggle with that than with any of the alternatives (SEE #7 again!). IF your cat does react badly to this medication, you could be in for some serious vet bills, long lasting adverse effects or worse… WHY take that chance? While one can say it was used and there was no problem, one can also say it HAS caused problems for others and the potential IS there. Repeated injections can eventually cause a problem as each time the body may react more to the drug (my first few bee stings were painful, but I was okay. Subsequent stings resulted in allergic reactions, so I must be very careful about bees!)

    Just to drive this home more, I can relate my own experience with medication reaction. I can speak for myself, cats cannot. Despite this, I had no way to know that I would react negatively to Heparin, a standard blood thinner used SAFELY for a VERY long time and for MANY people. Typically the worst one might expect is platelet counts would go down too low (it is used to reduce platelets to prevent clotting when necessary), in which case the dosage can be adjusted. In my case, it was not used off-label, but my platelet count went UP, not down. A doctor from the lab came to my hospital room to tell me my count was NORMAL at admission and was now skyrocketing! Well, what am I supposed to do about that? YOU are the doctors. The only stuff going into me is what you all put in (torn esophagus, not even allowed to eat!) Injections are usually the back of the upper arm or abdomen. I was taking the arm injections, alternating sides (it WAS very painful!) until they bandaged the left side that was bleeding. I still had no clue what was going on and they continued to inject this daily. The LAST injection I chose the abdomen as the back of my right arm was black and blue marbles at that point and I couldn’t tolerate another painful injection there. End result of that? Pain and swelling in the abdomen, but I didn’t make the connection, nor did the doctor who examined me after complaint – he suggested a hernia! In reality it was a HEMATOMA, caused by this common SAFE drug! So finally the heparin shots stopped, and guess what? My platelet count returned to normal. While initial shots may have been fine, over time it snowballed.

    So, consider what might have happened to me if that Heparin came in a long-lasting version like Convenia. It very well could have caused major problems or killed me. Once medication is in your system and a bad reaction happens, it is difficult to remedy. If it is a long lasting dose, such as Convenia, it compounds the issue.

    (To drive home that vets don’t always know everything, mine wanted me to give Fosamax to one cat who had ideopathic (cause unknown) hypercalcemia. There was NO way to pill him, even scruffing didn’t work with him. I valued my skin, especially my face that he took a chunk out of once just trying to get him into a carrier for a vet checkup! In addition, I already knew what Fosamax was and refused to take it myself! Searching online I found a respected Endocrinologist who discussed this problem and one potential “cure” was to eliminate dry food. THAT was the method I used and it worked. The vet did read the blog I referred her to and was so amazed that this took care of the issue that she recommended it to other clients who were using the drug on their cats! There are comments posted about bad Convenia experiences here on this site, and several have been told by vets multiple times that this is fine, we do it all the time, no problems, etc etc. In the worst cases, they don’t even blame the medication. Sure, I can hit myself in the head multiple times, maybe without consequence, but eventually, or perhaps even once, I may pay the price….NO THANK YOU!)

  12. Dear Dr. Bahr,

    We’ve been independently rescuing feral cats since about November 2004 and thought we had encountered every feline disease known to vets and mankind. But, in 2010, one of these kitties named Riley was running in from the garage and one of his eyeballs looked like it was sunken in! My bf starts yelling for me to get downstairs..something is wrong with Riley’s eyeball. He thinks another cat might have scratched his eye out!

    I ran down there and it looked like his eye was gone. But, I called our old vet and made an appt but it wasn’t for a week. Only 2 hours after it looked like it was missing, his eyeball was normal! It has never happened again and he’s not a cat that one can easily catch and bring to the vet.

    We’ve had a former feral tomcat who was FIV+ and his eyes got cloudy, and we could use lysine and it cleared up, then came back, cleared up, then came back. Used the prescription medicine for herpes eye better but then his left eye bulged out in November 2015 and we had to get his left eye removed. We lost him in July 6, 2018 to intestinal lymphoma and he was about 16 years old then. I rescued him when he was out in the wild for 8 years. He was a sweet ginger boy named Remington. Now, we’ve had another kitty get the cloudy eye thing and the third eyelid thing and then it went away.

    But, the eyeball looking like it is sunken in…could that be tapeworms? I thought someone in the whole cat health group or somewhere mentioned they thought they read that some where. When I mention it to our newer vet (but it’s another cat visiting her), she acts like she has never heard of this. It freaked us out and Riley is one kitty who will not let you pet him. It’s weird because he is from a litter of 10 kittens from two sister cats I rescued and we adopted out 4 in pairs when they were 7 months old. In a few weeks, they will be 11 years old and luckily he’s never had to go to the vet since he was neutered at 4 months old…..They are all indoor-outdoor in little cat fenced backyard with a pond/waterfall, sunning shelves and cat tunnels.

    • Tamara;

      One should always be referred back to their vet (and if you get no help, consider changing vets) for issues, especially like this. Cats should always have yearly (minimum) exams, just to be sure everything is still working properly. They are not about to tell you what ails them!

      I never heard of this issue either, but just entering “sunken eye in cat” in the search engine resulted in links for Enophthalmos. I did not see anything about tapeworms causing this (long ago one kitten came with tapeworms and the worst result of that was FLEAS for everyone!) Since your cats do go outside, they should be getting flea and parasite treatments regularly.

      Do consider vet exam/treatment, especially if it returns, but you can learn more about this (and several related) condition. I would not consider this a “self-treatment” issue, but staying informed is good for you as the cat’s advocate! This link covers several eye issues, including Enophthalmos:

  13. My cats weight is 15.6 lbs; neutered; domestic indoor cat.Hes 10 yrs & 10 months old.Is wet food or dry food or combination of both better for weight loss??Any specific brand??

    • Has your vet told you that he is overweight? You should work with the vet if/when your guy needs to lose a few. Depending on his size and build, this may be an okay weight for him. Weight IS just one number. All other factors must be considered as well.

      My oldest was about 12.5 lbs before she lost weight due to hyperthyroidism and older age. Another was about 13 lbs or so, and a current young’un is probably in the same weight bracket as your boy. HE has a very large build, but I will have to ensure he doesn’t get any bigger!
      Most of the others here are more in the 9-10 lb range, but they are of smaller build too, so that is best for them.

      If he is indeed obese and needs to lose weight, I personally would refer you to your vet first, then recommend just canned food (or commercial raw) AND consider “exercising” him by having more play/interactive time with him.

      Read the ingredients of any foods you chose. Some, even/especially the “premium” brands have too many starches and “veggies” in them! Dry foods, especially if this is all a cat gets to eat, can predispose medical issues like obesity, diabetes, urinary tract issues, kidney issues, etc.

      Although it is still your choice, I personally would stay away from vet Rx foods (there are some that “target” obesity, but many are counterproductive.) They are also expensive, I do not like the ingredients used and often cats won’t eat them.

  14. Dear Dr. Bahr

    Within the last 3 months, I have lost 3 senior cats, all 15 years old, to cancer. One for Skin Cancer, one for Jaw Cancer, and one for Intestinal Cancer. What makes cats so susceptible to cancer?

    Thank you so much!

  15. Marie and anyone else considering using or being offered Convenia for your dog or cat:

    It isn’t clear why Marie’s Ocicat was given this medication. There was no mention of infection – without determining an actual infection, and preferably type, which would determine the right antibiotic to use, this should not have been used (enlighten us as to why the vet chose to inject this med?)

    This “long-lasting” antibiotic is SPECIFICALLY intended for skin infections. Often this is offered to people who have trouble medicating their cats (one injection and done vs daily pilling), BUT it should NOT be used for anything else other than skin infections, and even then it should probably be the LAST resort. Per Wikipedia: “It is used to treat skin infections caused by Pasturella multocida in cats, and Staphylococcus intermedius and Streptococcus canis in dogs.” See the Wikipedia page for more info, esp the side effects.

    The issue is the “long-lasting” part. Once injected, it cannot be taken back, so if the cat (or dog) has a reaction, how would it be treated? Oral meds can be stopped if the animal has a reaction, and the remaining meds in the system would clear within 1/2-1 day or so. Not so for Convenia – “long lasting” is reputedly 14 days (residual amounts could remain in the system longer.)

    My vet offered this once post-dental and we tried it. I knew nothing about it at the time, and would NEVER do it again (she offered again recently and I declined!) It DID NOT work, and we had to do the oral meds after the fact anyway. Having read about it later at and here, I would highly recommend you read up more on this medication before allowing anyone to inject this into your cat (or dog), even if they have one of the skin infections listed above. There are other better safer options.

    • We’ve been independently rescuing feral cats for well over 14 years. I’ve read about Covenia and saw the risks, but our vet has used it and it worked great for these kitties when they are still feralish and you can’t give them oral meds.

      One of our former feral kitties was recently diagnosed with “asthma” and our vet asked me “Have you ever had a kitty with asthma yet? (nope, and we have had 38 cats at one 21). She gave Ciara a depo-medrol shot (and don’t think any of our cats have had that shot) and a Covenia shot. I had to take her in 8 weeks later and she was given the same thing,

      I asked the vet if there was something else that we could use. She doesn’t know about homeopathics…. but knows I like them. She told me to look into something homeopathic for her. We’ve had great success with (HAMPL in Australia) for many diseases, illnesses…because you just put it on the nape of the neck or in their drinking water and it doesn’t harm other kitties. I saw they have something for asthma and didn’t order it yet. Someone else told me to look at “lung Gold” on We used several of their products in the past but I don’t think Ciara will let us put it in her mouth. But, on December 3, 2018, she had to get all her teeth extracted and somehow we got pain meds in her pie hole so there is hope.

      I asked the vet if I could put Vick’s vapor rub near her nose.She said no…but Do terra has some BREATHE Essential oils you could diffuse. But some of the fragrances of essential oil in that shouldn’t be used around cats and dogs I guess.

      I told her this last time, I don’t want to be giving her these shots again and she claims they are not harmful if we do them every few months. I swear on this whole cat health group someone said their cat got diabetes from the depo- medrol but it eventually went into remission (I’ve heard of female cats doing this).

      There is some AEROKat breathing mask for asthma…but it’s drugs too and I don’t think Ciara will let us hold her for 5 mins straight to do that. So, I’ll be trying more homeopathic remedies.

      P.S. We had SIX cats that needed tooth extractions from December 15, 2017 to December 3, 2018…and all of them got that Covenia shot too. 🙁 I’ve rescued a former feral tomcat FIV+ (have had 6 of these or more) and he came with one molar. The vet said he lost them in the wild. My bf is paying the majority of vet bills the last few years and he said “Why don’t more kitties with no teeth or one tooth show up for you to rescue?” My friend in VA said she had to get TWO teeth extracted in her cat and it was only $150 total. It costs at least $1,200 here in California. I might have to get a bus and drive them across country if more need teeth out because the vet already said two more need some teeth out and she hasn’t even seen all the cats yet. In 2018, it was a terrible year because we lost seven kitties in a year or so to intestinal lymphoma, kidney cancer, hyperthyroid, CRF, one to HCM, etc. Most of them were 12 years to 16 years old and were rescued after 4-10 years in the wild. I was at the vets over 100 times last year with all the vet visits (3 per each cat getting their teeth out) and finally I’ve had a little break.

      • Tamara;

        Although I posted again to everyone about Convenia, I have some specific questions/concerns/comments about your post.

        “She gave Ciara a depo-medrol shot (and don’t think any of our cats have had that shot) and a Covenia shot.” —- Seriously? For ASTHMA? Convenia is an antibiotic, specifically “designed” for SKIN infections. WHY would ANY vet consider giving this medication for asthma? And a second dose to boot!

        Getting advice from a qualified homeopathic practitioner may be okay, but just trying things on your own or having someone suggest something, no, I would NOT do that without researching it via legit places AND discussing it with the vet! There are many people products (like Vick’s) that are okay for us, but not for pets!

        Back to Convenia: “…she claims they are not harmful if we do them every few months.” Let her claim this all she wants! The remote chance of issues with this medication is enough for me to say NO. Especially for a condition that does NOT require antibiotics! No other discussion needs to take place and if she tries, repeat “No.” Just the fact that she is using this for something it will never treat, I would consider getting another vet!!!

        “My friend in VA said she had to get TWO teeth extracted in her cat and it was only $150 total.” That sounds suspicious… Generally they like to do some preliminary blood work, to rule out potential issues with sedation/anesthesia, then the cat needs the sedation, breathing apparatus, etc, so $150 for the whole thing? Not likely. $1200 is probably average – depends on location for sure, but it can be higher or lower depending on how many teeth need to come out. My most recent cleaning/extractions ranged from $800+ to over $1100.

        As to dentals – tooth resorption is more common than most of us know. It even happens to ferals (as you have seen!) Some people still hang on to the idea that eating dry kibble helps but it really doesn’t (again, consider your feral – he was likely eating a ‘natural’ cat diet, yet still lost his teeth!) The best we can do is get in the habit of brushing their teeth, but with most cats this isn’t a task for the faint of heart! There are too many here (and for you as well), most of whom would never sit still for me to do that, and without extra arms, that isn’t likely to happen. The next best is to ensure they get yearly checkups and, if needed, a dental cleaning. Tartar buildup leads to gingivitis which can lead to losing the teeth via resorption. Some cats just seem to be more prone to this issue. Cleanings also cost money, but probably less than extractions (if they are having extractions, xrays and cleanings should be done at that time too!)

        If it is any consolation, the first time I did dental cleanings, I stupidly scheduled everyone (9 at that time) during “dental month” – it cost somewhere around $8-9000 or more and tied me up for quite some time between trips to/fro and doling out meds! I took 3-4 in last year and 2 of those had to return again THIS year! I don’t recall the cost last year, but the 5 who had to go this year cost around $4000.

        Best of luck with all your kitties and keep practicing NO for Convenia!

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