help with a sick kitty

I woke up this morning to a sick kitty. Phantom usually wakes me for his daily dose of kibble, but today he was laying in bed, pretty apathetic. His breath was on the stinky side, more so than usual. Work called so I had to go in and work for a few hours. When I got back, he was in even worse shape than when I left. Apathetic, lethargic, wouldn’t eat etc. I took him to the vet, and bloodwork was done, apparantly they couldn’t get a urine sample, but the tentative diag. was hepatic lipidosis, cause unknown (due to lack of funds to do ultrasounds, x rays, etc.). The vet informed me that it was quite possible to have to spend 1-2k and perhaps still not come up with an answer.

The decision was made to bring our boy home, have a final night with him, and take him back to the vet tomorrow to have him put to sleep. Since then, I’ve been reading online like mad about this condition as much as I could. The major concern from the vet was that we didn’t know what was causing him not to eat without a signifigant outlay of funds, which I just don’t have. In my reading, I came across some information that suggested that something as simple as a kitty cold could cause the onset of this condition, which then just self-perpetuates. I remembered that earlier in the week Phantom had been sneezing, and had a serious case of goopy watery eyes (which this website gave as a kitty cold symptom).

I really really don’t want to let my boy go, and if I had the beaucoup bucks to spend on him, nothing would stand in my way of exhausting all avenues of diagnosis and (hopeful) cure. Since reading that site, I ran out to buy a syringe and pedialyte to try and force feed him, hoping to help overnight untill I can get back with the vet to ask further about tube feeding a hepatic lipidosis cat. I’m prepared to feed on whatever schedule I might need to follow, anything I need to do… but my question is: Anyone here with knowledge of this disease, am I just chasing after a lost hope? He was quite jaundiced when I took him into the vet this afternoon, but seems a slight bit less so now. Can I help this cat from home?

-a long time lurker, crying over her baby-

IANA veterinarian Will be in a few years if all goes well, but I still gotta warn you that I really don’t know what I’m talking about. But, I do have 2 years as a tech at a cat only clinic, so I can tell you what I’d tell a client as a technician. Here goes:

Hepatic Lipidosis is what happens when cats lose weight too quickly. So, anything that reduces how much food your cat is taking in or how much exercise they get can cause it. Yes, this could be a head cold. It could also be internal infection, loud construction noises outside, kidney failure (maybe), tumors, liver problems, new people in the house, you name it. Just what might be wrong also change based on the age of your cat, any other symptoms (like the sneezing: did it impact his eating? How long was he sneezing? did he get any meds for it?) and whatever else might be going on (new food? new carpet?) You’d be amazed at what some cats will find offensive enough to stop eating. Things are someone more concerning if he’s jaundiced.

As for the pedialyte: probably won’t hurt him provided you can get him to drink it without breathing it in. Forcefeeding fluids on a cat is hardly ever recommened because it is so easy to make them breath it in and cause more problems.

If you are unsure about tomorrow, ask your vet her opinion about regular (daily) subcutaneous fluids and force feeding. How useful this might be depends on how your cat looks, so your vet is the best person to judge that. If you are really concerned that you’re not getting all the info, see another vet. Be prepared to pay another visit fee so the second vet can get a basic idea of how your cat looks.

Best wishes.

He’s a 10 year old, overweight cat… About 2 weeks ago, we changed him to a weight management food, which he really didn’t care for much. We did try to ease the transition from food to food by mixing in the old diet with the new, increasing the % of diet food over the course of a week or so. The sneezing lasted a few days, but didn’t seem to impact his eating too much, although he wasmore lethargic than usual, which I just attributed to him feeling a bit under the weather- and he wasn’t under a vet’s care for the cold. <kicking myself>

<tech hat on>
Don’t kick yourself.
Seriously. Even if you had done everything in the world, there is never a gaurantee that something couldn’t have happened.

Here is what I’d ask any other client. Remember, all of this is conjecture since I can’t see him or how he is behaving.

What kind of diet food? How much were you feeding him per day? Does he seem to like it?
Exactly how fat is he? Do you remember what the vet weighed him at? Take a look at this chart at tell me where you think Phantom falls. What was he eating before? How much?
Has Phantom done anything else unusual? Diarrhea, vomitting, anything like that? Has he been passing urine and stool in the usual amounts, frequencies, colors, consistancies?

How is his behavior? Aside from the lethargy, have you noticed any limping, unusual crying, sudden lack of interest in play, anything odd for him? Has anything new or different been going on at home? Move the furniture, change his dish, things like that?

When you took him to the doctor, do you remember them seeing anything else on his labwork? You mentioned jaundice. Did they remark about anything else?

Hi Dear, I understand your grief. Having many cats in this old lifetime I’ve learned a few things. First check the labels on all the cats foods, and look for the ingrediant ASH. Ash in any form can clog your kittys kidneys and lead to major organ failur(sp?). Believe it or not all manufactuers of cats foods know this and yet many continue to use this filler in the cheaper brands and especially dry cat food! Symptoms of ash posioning are litter box missing, bloody or dark urine. or straining and not passing any. The pedilite is a great idea, but as suggested, use caution to not drown him/her. might I suggest a very mild laxitive if there have been no bowel movements in 48 hours. Our vet tech here can respond (Please) whether this would be a good idea or not. If so, be prepared for a mess to clean up by hand. Sometimes an intestinal blockage can cause problems…OH! I just remembered reading a news story not long back about DIAMOND DOG FOODS causing liver and kidney deaths in dogs. Over 100 dogs have died behind this food. Yahoo news was where it was posted some time in the last two months…couldn’t hurt to check the manufacturer of the food. The poison in the dog food was akin to antifreeze. This is too long, but I do wish you and kitty the very best. sending prayers for ya both.

<resume tech hat>
Technically, ash in pet food is all of the mineral left over after nutrient analysis is done. It can be problematic in large doses and under certain circumstances, but is not itself an evil thing.

The poisoned dog food Tinkrtoy was refering too was actually a case of aflatoxin contamination. Aflatoxin is produced by a certain type of mold that can infest corn and other grain. The link is a release from the FDA, but googling aflatoxin+dog+food will get you all the info. IIRC, there weren’t any cat cases reported. The info I can find in the books I have at hand suggest that aflatoxin poisoning generally presents clinically with suddent onset liver and kidney problems. It seems likely that, since you had at least a partial blood panel done, some indication of other things besides hepatic lipidosis would have turned up. My WAG, aflatoxin poisoning is unlikely in this situation. Again, complete WAG.

I’ll wait for your post back to see if Phantom’s other symptoms suggest anything.

He was weighed at 17 lbs today, the heaviest he ever was was 24 lbs, I’d say he was 19-20 lbs within the last month. I looked at that chart, and I’d say he’d fall between 4-5 on there. No Diarrehea, one vomit tonight, and he hasn’t urinated or defacated today that I’ve seen (since I’ve been home from work at least) His urine usually had a quite strong smell to it in the past.

No limping, or crying either before, or currently. He never was much for playing (hence the obesity, I’m sure) No other changes/stress in the household other than the new food. Right now he’s just kinda huddling, and being quiet. He won’t purr.

As for the vet… jaundice, his glucose was high, but she seemed to think that was related to the liver issue. I asked about diabeties, and she didn’t seem to feel that was a possibility. I don’t recall the rest, and his discharge paperwork doesn’t say…

Thank you Pullet! It was very sweet of you to look up the artical and I appreciate the correction. I remember the vet warning me about the ash thing when my favorite puss was stricken with kidney problems, many years ago.:smack: Still thinking healing thoughts to AV8trix and Phantom. :slight_smile:

oh and the new food was Iams Adult Weight and Hairball control.

About how much of the Iams Weight control were you feeding to him? And how much of the old food? I think you said that you took about a week switching him over to the new food, is that right?
Almost forgot the most important question: Indoor or outdoor?

3 cats in the household, so it’s kind of imprecise to say how much he was eating out of the daily portion, but for the 3 of them I was putting down approx 3-4 cups a day, I’d say. One of the cats has an anxiety issue with empty food bowls, so I had to be sure to always have food down for that one.

As to the mix, started out about 50-50, then lessened the old food gradually down to about 15-85 mix.

He started his life as an outdoor cat, but has spent the last 8 years exclusively indoors.

How’s the body weight on the other cats? Where would they rate on that chart? Any one else had any other problems, even if they are different problems from Phantom?

food anxiety boy is about a 3, Phantom’s brother is about 3-4

And thank you… even being able to talk online about this at least occupies my mind a little better than just circular worrying :smiles:

I mixed about a cup of pedilite with about half a cup of iams kitten chow… It’s difficult to get him to swallow straight pedilite, I’m having a little more luck with the blender stuff. I’ve gotten about 10 ml in him of that. I don’t know if I ought to try more, or no.

Okay, sorry for the 20 questions, but I have slightly more to go on now. Again, without actually looking at him, I can’t begin to give whole answers. I can only tell you what I’d suspect if someone gave me Phantom’s case history as a homework project.

That he has hepatic lipidosis because of too rapid weight loss is high on my list. The food itself is less likely to be a problem since the other two cats seem ok. Since he’s been an indoor kitty for a while, some sort of contagious disease like FIV, FIP, FeLV or worms is less likely, but not impossible. Do you recall if he has ever been tested for any of these recently?

Without seeing him and without any other information, my first suspicion is that he didn’t eat enough of the new food to give gradual weight loss. Going from 20 pounds to 17 pounds inside a month is pretty fast for a cat. The clinic I worked at aimed for 0.25 pounds every 2 weeks. The fact that he could have eaten whenever he wanted (as opposed to only feeding him certain amounts) suggests that he didn’t like the food well enough. Might be the food change coincided with something else, like a sore tooth or eating a noxious bug, and the end result is he didn’t like the food and so didn’t eat enough. Maybe the cold started everything. Might be it just wasn’t his cup of kibble.

I think I’m going in circles, something you really don’t need. Like I said, talk to your vet in the morning about fluid therapy and force feeding. If it is even an option, which will depend on how he looks, then it will mean days, maybe weeks of hourly care by you. If you want to try something tonight, see if he’s willing to eat all treats kind of food like chicken meat, tuna and tuna juice. You get the idea. Warm it up in the micro for just a few seconds so it smells really good. Give him a heating pad set on low (or micro a ziplock of water) to sit on for the night so he’s nice and comfy. And then the both of you try to get some sleep.

Best wishes

P.S. I have to go study for an exam, but I’ll check back here in a couple hours if you have more questions.

thank you so much for takeing the time to respond to my scatterbrained-ness… I’m going to ask more questions of the vet in the morning, and in the meantime I guess I’m going to keep trying to sryinge him a ml. at a time or so. I hate adding to his stress, but I think I need to try, rather than sit here and look at him.

Thank you so much :hugs:

Found this here:‘hepatic%20lipidosis%20%3D%20Cats’

PLEASE do not go read this right away, it could be depressing and I want you to hold on to positive thoughts for you both. Here is the good stuff from the page, hope it helps:

Therapy of Feline Hepatic Lipidosis
aggressive supportive and symptomatic care.

In addition to standard supportive and symptomatic therapy for animals in
hepatic failure (fluids, oral neomycin and/or lactulose, vitamin supplementation), we
combine force feeding of a reduced protein diet (feline k/d) either as meat balls or a gruel
if the animal will tolerate that method. If we have to fight the cat to force feed it, or it is
too depressed for that method to be effective, we feed them with a 3 or 5 French diameter
soft rubber nasoesophageal catheter. Commercial canned cat foods cannot be blenderized sufficiently to get them to pass
through these small catheters. A nutritionally complete liquid diet for use in humans
(Ensure-HN, or Impact) has worked well as nutritional support in many of these cats.
This diet must be mixed 50:50 with water to get it to flow easily through the catheter.
The catheter must be flushed with water after each feeding to keep it from plugging. We
attempt to administer the total daily caloric requirements for these cats by this means.
The cat will have to be fed small quantities multiple times per day. If large volumes are
administered, vomiting often results. Diarrhea may develop due to the high fat content of
these liquid diets. We start with 2 to 3 ml/lb/feeding initially and gradually increase this
volume until 2.5 to 3.5 ml/kg can be given at one time.

Recovery in these near terminal cats is not a rapid process. We have maintained
several cats on forced alimentation for 8 weeks or more, until they began to show an
interest in eating. Such cats will look unhealthy for quite some time before they start to
make any obvious clinical improvement. Once they start eating on their own, the
prognosis is good. The author firmly believes many more cats can be saved with
persistent effort. Several survivors looked like they were not going to turn around after 3
or 4 weeks of effort, but through perserverence, these cats are now totally normal. They serve as a reminder not to quit too early in the treatment of this disease. Biochemical
recovery is also slow to become evident. A number of these animals have been back to
eating on their own yet chemistry profiles were not significantly different from those
obtained at the height of their illness. Idiopathic feline lipidosis is potentially completely
Diabetes is the only other major cause for lipidosis that occurs with any frequency… This looks like you were on the right track at the vets with your questions. You may want to get a second opinion too, this vet may be inexperianced, lazy, or just greedy, I can not imagine that I as a lay-person could learn this much in 15 minutes and She would not recomend any therapy other than euthinasia! Or more very expensive tests.

Am still grieving the loss of my old dog after 5 years… I can and will help you a little with the vet bills. Please don’t give up too soon. Don’t have much but would love to do this in “Frankie dog’s” memory. Check out my profile, am an old gal in texas and not some goofy perv trying to mess with you. :slight_smile:

Well, I keep feeding him slush about once an hour, only about a ml at a time now, I don’t want to hurt him with overfeeding him. I may be imagining it but he seems at least slightly more aware and alert, he looks up at me when I call his name, as he wouldn’t before.

I’m going to call the vet as soon as they open this morning and ask the questions that I’ve come up with tonight. If nothing else I hope to understand the options a bit better. I’m also going to drive down and see if I can get the results of his bloodwork so that I might have something in hand to at least call another vet to ask if it’s really too late for Phantom, or not.

Thank you dopers, from the bottom of my heart for reading and responding to this post… as you can see from my post count, I’m a dedicated lurker, although I read the boards nearly every day. I’ve come here in the past so many times, perhaps not to post, but to seek answers for questions so many times, and have nearly always come away from the search armed with more information, and often with a measure of comfort that I wouldn’t otherwise have.

I’ll post here when I know more, for good or for bad… and thank you once again.

I made the mistake of reading this and then trying to do my studies. I don’t know if I’m going to remember any of those abdominal vessels now.

Forgive my bluntness. You are going to be the victim of all the things I’ve wanted, but never had the guts, to say to someone’s face.

Tinkrtoy, you’re going to have a rough time in life if you play armchair quarterback, particularly with fields like medicine, where the choices depend so much on the situations. You and I have no idea of how the conversation went in Phatom’s exam room. You and I have no idea of how he looked when he was there or how he looks now. We have no idea of av8trix’s financial situation or personal complications. We do know that more expensive tests were proposed, but not doable at this time. This is a really common problem and does not indicate any sort of fault or lack of caring on either side. We can also guess that the veterinarian is a person, and that av8trix is a person too. People sometimes forget things or have miscommunications between one another. This does not mean that they are evil or greedy or stupid. It means they are people. Odds are good that they are trying to do what they think is right for the situation. And the only people who can judge the rightness of a dicision made in a given situation are the people involved.

I am thrilled that you want to help av8trix, and that this desire to help stems from a wonderful relationship you once shared with a beautiful creature. But don’t let your grief cloud you with hate, even as it drives you to kindness.

That sounds like a wonderful plan, av8trix. Looking at your location and knowing that it’s 3am in California, I guess my advice about getting some sleep is out :slight_smile: Can’t win 'em all
Keep us posted.
Best Wishes and hugs