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Poo issues related to kitty's liver?

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
My 8-month old male, Grabben, has been having poo problems ever since we got him (for about 6 weeks). It started with gas and diarrhea... took him to the vet and they suggested we de-worm him. So he has been de-wormed. The gas is gone, diarrhea isn't so mushy any more. However, when his poo comes out (sorry to be so graphic here), the first dropping looks decent, the second and third drops resemble the consistency of toothpaste, most of the time. Usually it smells pretty bad too.

He has been to the vet several times. They took blood tests and figured out his liver isn't in the best shape, supposedly because when we got him, he was malnourished. He has been on L/D food mixed with I/D for several weeks. He's also been on 2 weeks of probiotic. The probiotic seemed to help a bit, but the poo is still not looking as I think it should. He is no longer on the probiotic... his poo is still pretty much the same as it was while he was on it. He refuses to eat the probiotic anymore (almost impossible to force-feed it to him too) and it didn't seem to work as well as I thought it should.

I requested a Giardia, Coccidia and Tritrichomonas test from my vet. They said they would have to send the fecal sample off to a lab, and said that the parasite would probably die before they can test the sample... is this true? I don't understand why they are hesitant to test for this... they said parasites are very rare here (but he obviously had something when we got him!!)

Vet seems to think that he has a small liver problem... but I'm trying to figure out why the L/D food isn't helping and why they seem to think he does not have any form of parasite. They did a poop-swab and looked at it under a microscope last time we went to the vet, and it didn't reveal anything. Although, it is my understanding that the three parasites mentioned above wouldn't necessarily show in that sample.

He goes back in 2 days for more blood-work. My vet said he might need an ultrasound to look at the liver more closely too.

Grabben seems very healthy other than the fact that his poop isn't the best. I'm not sure what to do anymore at this point. I've spent about $1000 already, and his poo isn't improving - doesn't seem like we are getting anywhere with this... quite frustrating! Probiotic doesn't make much of a difference, and neither does the special food.

Does he just need more time to get better? Could the poop consistency be related to the liver? Could he have a parasite that the first round of de-worming treatment didn't fully wipe out? Is there any food I can give him to help his diarrhea (I tried boiled chicken once and that did not give good results at all in the litter box... and for the life of me, I can't find any pumpkin or squash in this country... canned or fresh). One final question: since the poop isn't full-fledged diarrhea, should I just take a chill-pill and give him some more time?

Sorry this is so long!
post #2 of 4
I don't know much about parasites so I can't offer help for that (there are other members who can give you lots of info about it; I'm sure one will post soon).

Your Grabben looks very much like my baby who has liver problems. IMHO I don't believe that there are "small liver problems" as your vet says. The liver is vital to your cat's health, so if the problem is indeed "small" you want to treat it before it becomes serious. Abnormal stools can be an indicator of liver disease. Since this has been a chronic problem for Grabben, you might want to consider doing the ultrasound. A biopsy can be done during the ultrasound as well (tiny samples of liver tissue are taken with a needle) to help get a definitive diagnosis. Try to find a feline specialist if possible, to do the ultrasound. You want someone with a lot of experience to do this test.

One thing that I've been using for my cat which has been very helpful is silymarin caps(milk thistle). Use silymarin which is bound to phosphatidlycholine, since it's best absorbed in that form (it will say on the label). I use a product made for people. There's also a product made specifically for cats (and dogs) from Nutramax call Denamarin. It doesn't contain as much silymarin as I feel my cat needs, but it does contain sam-e (S-Adenosylmethionine) so I use that along with the silymarin. Both of these are very beneficial for the liver. They both require pilling - they can't be mixed into food.

Since Grabben's 8 months old now and has had this problem since he's 6 weeks old, I don't think you're overreacting, and you shouldn't "just give him more time." Like you, I'd want to find out once and for all what's causing the loose stools.

BTW, I'm wondering why your vet is doing more bloodwork in just 2 days - what is he re-testing?

Good wishes to you & your adorable Grabben
post #3 of 4
Thread Starter 
Thanks for your great advice KTLynn!

Does milk thistle have any side effects? I'll definitely be trying to get my hands on that. Did your kitty also experience loose stools?

I should probably clarify that we've only had him for 6 weeks. His previous "owners" claimed he had no health problems... but then again, they didn't even live with him, but kept him in an empty, dark apartment with another kitty. We noticed the night that we brought him home, that something wasn't right and took him to the vet the next morning. So he's been on Hill's I/D for 6 weeks now. My vet recommended giving him special liver-enhancing food, so we added Hill's L/D for the past 3 weeks... (a mixture of both I/D and L/D). He's also had 2 weeks of probiotic.

Three weeks ago, my vet did 2 blood tests and a fecal smear. The fecal smear indicated nothing. The first blood test indicated everything was functioning properly except for his liver. The second blood test was just for the liver (I will have to ask the vet what the name of the test is, since I don't remember). This test indicated that the problem was not a major problem with his liver. The thought was that whatever was wrong with his liver could be fixed with the L/D food and a little bit of time.... but after 3 weeks, I really don't see an improvement.

The vet's assistant mentioned something about doing a B12 test tomorrow, and if that doesn't indicate anything, then Grabben will need to have an ultrasound.

I guess we'll see what happens tomorrow!
post #4 of 4
My kitty's had liver problems for several years, and does occasionally get loose stools. My vet suspects she may also have IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease) which can cause those problems. I wonder if this could possibly be Grabben's problem too. Sometimes problems with the pancreas, which is affected by IBD, shows up as elevated liver values. IBD can be difficult to diagnose, and you don't want to do a biopsy of the pancreas - it's very risky and dangerous. Sometimes vets make the diagnosis based pretty much on clinical symptoms.

Milk thistle is very safe to use with cats. There are no side effects. Just make sure to get the type of silymarin I wrote about in my previous post because that's the most effective. Since Grabben's just a kitten, he would get less than my adult cat. He would probably need only 50mg once per day. The silymarin capsules I buy are 120mg, which is a bit more than my cat needs. The capsules are also a little too large for her to swallow. I buy empty gel capsules, #3 size, and make homemade capsules for my cat by opening the 120 mg cap and filling the smaller capsule with the contents.

Poor little Grabben - what a heartless person his previous "owner" was - how could someone leave 2 cats alone in a dark, empty apartment?! Thank goodness they were rescued from that miserable situation. Obviously Grabben is very lucky to have you to love and care for him. I hope the other kitty is alright too.
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