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Saturday 25th of November 2017

Histoplasmosis - personal experiences

Histoplasmosis experience by - Brandi
Eastern Texas

My 6.5 year old cat began showing symptoms of anorexia and mild dehydration and slight lethargy. Nothing too abnormal for her, as she would do this about once a year. i was just going to nurse her through it at home. But about 5 weeks into it she began having mobility problems. She lost "power" in her rear limbs and was simply unable to jump one day. Her symptoms just went downhill from there. She ate less, drank less, and was unable to walk within a couple of days.

This occured over Thanksgiving weekend (2007) so we took her into the emergency clinic at the Texas A&M Vet Teaching School the Saturday following Thanksgiving. They sent us home with Clavamox (an antibiotic) and said that she just needed to come back Monday, but that she was not dehydrated.

We took her back the following Monday because now her front legs were also not working. The feline internist immediately admitted her into kitty ICU for three days for IV fluids. She was dehydtrated, had severe anemia and very low blood cell counts. They fianlly diagnosed her on the second or third day after an ultra sound. Her spleen and liver were both enlarged. They asperated her liver and found the histo organism. They also found lesions on her spine that they assume is histoplasmosis as well.

They put her on Voriconazole and a e-tube for feeding and administering medications. She is currently at home where we are caring for her the best we can. She is currently on seven different medications.

She has been sick now for one month and has her up swings and downfalls. She is currently very weak and can't walk farther than three feet, but she is trying. Her neurological symptoms come and go: they get worse and then get somewhat better. They are recommending that we give up on her, but she is not in pain and is still bright-eyed.

At our most recent vet visit we learned that the anti-fungals don't kill the established fungal colonies, it only aids in protection against new ones from forming. They are totally reliant on the sick cat's immune system fighting the infection. They did not tell us that until yesterday. So I have started her on a course of echinacea and goldenseal to help boost her immune system. Since then she has been on an upswing but I don't know if that is due to the herbs or just the rythm of the infection.

My advice is to do your own research as well and ASK ASK ASK questions. YOU monitor the clinical signs, because as the pet owner you know what is normal or abnormal behavior for your individual animal. They (the vets) do not. Hopefully I will have a positive end to this story to post soon.

Histoplasmosis experience by - Sylvia
West Texas

12 days ago, I noticed that my strictly outdoors 11 year old cat didn't want to eat her ration of canned cat food. I picked her up and had noticed she had lost weight. I brought her in to examine her and I noticed her respirations were about 40 per minute - higher than my other cats which were about 25 per minute. The next day I took her to the vet. Blood work was all normal other than mild anemia and positive for corona virus(insignificant titers), Her chest xray, however showed what looked like histoplasmosis according to the vet. She was started on ketoconozole 33 mg twice a day - she weighs 6 and 1/2 pounds.

Now, after ten days week of treatment, she seems to be breathing a little better. (30 - 35 breaths per minute) but she still will not eat more than two to three small bites on her own. I have to syringe feed her baby chicken mixed with vet prescribed vitamines and minerals... along with KMR 2nd food (a thickened version of kitten milk replacement. She is lethargic and sleeps all the time but will slowly walk around outside, and scratch on scratching posts when I take her out for fresh air. She does not seem to be loosing any more weight and I think I am keeping her well hydrated (when I pull up the skin over her shoulders, it falls quickly back into place) so I think I am feeding her enough.

I was wondering if anyone knows how long I can expect to wait before she begins showing an interest in eating and starts to feel better. Thank you

Histoplasmosis experience by - Sylvia
West Texas

Update........ My cat began feeling better after 3 weeks of treatment. She is breathing better and acting back to her old self. However...She still won't eat any more than a teaspoon full of food a few times a day, but then that might be because I am supplementing her with 5 ounces a day with syringe feedings. She is due to see her vet next week for a chest xray. I will ask him what we can do to improve her apetite.

Histoplasmosis experience by - Sylvia
West Texas

Update........... My cat has been on ketoconazole for two months now and is almost back to her old self. Her appetite has returned and I now only syringe feed her 1 to 2 ounces of KMR while administrating her medication. She has been on supplemental vitamins during the past two months as well. Her chest xray done last week, however still shows a pattern indicating histoplasmosis. And her breath sounds are still slightly raspy. Her vet wants her to stay on the current treatment for another two months. After which we will check another xray

Histoplasmosis experience by - carol
woodville, texas usa

My male cat has been sick for the last three weeks. They ran tests and blood tests but only found a sore throat and fever. He will not eat or drink. I am force feeding him with an eye dropper. We have had several different rounds of antibiotics as well as a round of vitamins that looks like black tar. He is up and down as far as walking, mostly his back legs are giving way. He gets nauseas when I bring the food I have designed to feed him, but will let me eye drop it. The only thing bad has been he has thick mucus, I thought this may be due to allergies so I have been giving him a round of benedryal that seems to be helping some. Has anyone else had these problems? I am desperate. I feed him chicken broth warmed and mixed with cream of wheat or malto meal for fiber and cool it with pediolight so he does not dehydrate further. They want to do a barium solution and xrays but I don\\\'t think this is his stomach. Is this what symtoms everyone is having with this disease? Or do I still need to research further? HELP. Thank you.

Histoplasmosis experience by - Sylvia
west texas

Update.... It is now Novenber and it has been 9 months since my cat was first diagnosed with histoplasmosis and began treatment. We stopped her ketokanozol(sp?)in June.
She has gained her weight back, has a good appetite, no longer has any breathing difficulties and seems to be a perfectly healthy 12 year old cat.

Histoplasmosis experience by - Kay
Oklahoma City

7 month old kitten died of Histo 6 weeks after showing symptoms. Indoor kitten may have caught fungus during remodeling. First symptoms were lethargy, stopped eating, feet and legs hurting. Histo test one week into treatment(showed neg for Histo antibodies.) Kitten had tested positive for feline leukemia at 6 weeks but two follow up snap tests were negative. Single x-ray (prone position)showed small mass in lung. Did bronc scope which showed secondary bacterial infection which was treated with antibiotics. Ultrasound came up with nothing new. Blood work was in normal range. Finally had to have feeding tube. After 6 weeks of "Fever of Unknown Origin", vet diagnosed as FIP (based on new x-ray and new view of cross section of cat.) Had reddish brown eye discharge for 2 weeks which vet attributed to bronc wash. Finally labored breathing and breathing through mouth. Took her to ER where Doctor did DIGITAL XRAY and it was extremely clear she had fungus. Smear showed Histo. We had to put her to sleep. GET A SECOND OPINION!!!

Histoplasmosis experience by - Andrea
Columbus, OH

My cat started by looking merely lethargic. After a few days we took her in. She showed no "symptoms" of anything. She was given a B12 shot, fluids, and appetite stimulants. She continued to get worse over the next few days, went back and got a diagnosis of pneumonia. FIV and leukemia negative. Improved somewhat, finished two antibiotics. Started breathing quickly, still low energy but functioning. Several weeks later took her to a new vet. Several x-rays and tests later found a swollen lump on her tail and perceived infection in one tail bone. More antibiotics. Stopped walking and seemed to be in pain when walking, lots of yowling when moving and I had to take her to litter box. Back to vet for more x-rays, pain meds and new blood test. Came back positive for hemobartonella (called something else officially now) started on doxycycline. Pain when walking continued and seemed to worsen. Left her at the vet while we were out of town. Vet found swollen hocks on her back legs - more x-rays indicated broken bones in each front paw and lytic bones all over her body but lungs looked basically ok. Second vet at the practice brought her case to a vet at the university hospital who suggested either lymphoma or histoplasmosis. Positive for histo. Unsure what to do and the costs associated but decided to try treatment. She is now on an antifungal oral and gets IV treatments 3x per week. Still on pain meds and doxy as came back still positive for hemobart. We are reaching the point where we are unsure whether to continue treatment and whether we are actually helping her or not. She has been ill for 3 months now and it may be time to let her go. Do whatever you can to avoid spreading this disease, we are financially broke and heartbroken.

Histoplasmosis experience by - Marina
Dayton, Oh

Our cat Bo started acting lethargic and losing weight. We took him to our regular vet at least once a week over the course of a month and went through rounds of antibiotics, steroids and pain meds along with xrays. He continued to lose weight, began limping and one of his eye began to swell shut. The local vet was unable to determine the cause so they sent us to a specialty clinic where they diagnosed histoplasmosis. He has been on itraconazole (compounded from capsules) for almost 2 weeks with really no improvement. We are having a hard time convincing him to eat anything. Hopefully he will start to turn around soon.

Histoplasmosis experience by - Martha
Wichita, Ks.

My 7 year old cat has been battling histoplasmosis since October, and it is now almost the end of March. Symptoms included fever, lack of appetite, troubled breathing, and generally feeling "punk." Since he is strictly an inside cat, we did the dance of antibiotics, differing diagnoses, etc. until he was definitively diagnosed as having histoplasmosis. His weight has fallen from 16 pounds to 11 over the months.

Itraconazole, specially formulated at a vet pharmacy, did not help. When he became lame in one hind leg and began hating to be touched and handled, we decided to add amphotericin B to the mix. He has finally started acting better: his fever is gone, his appetite is better, the lameness has disappeared, and he is acting much more normal. We are about to finish the course (about 4 or 5 weeks of thrice weekly i.v. treatments)of the ampho B, and we hope that he continues to improve when he is back to the itraconazole alone.

This is a horrible disease: hard to diagnose, harder to treat, and expensive to the owner. My cat started out young and healthy, and he is a beloved family member, so we decided to go whole hog on his treatment. There have been several times when I considered euthanasia, however,and we still are unsure of the outcome.

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The information contained on this site is for the sole purpose of being informative and is not and should not be used or relied upon as medical advice.
Seek the advice of your vet or other qualified pet care provider before you decide on any treatment or for answers to any questions you may have regarding a feline medical symptom or medical condition.

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