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High Liver ALT values in what seems to be a healthy cat!

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
Hi everyone, hopefully someone can shed some light on my situation,

My cat Rampage just turned a year old in April. Ever since she was fixed (at approx. 6 months old) we've been having her blood tested because the vet told us when she was fixed that her ALT liver values were high. I just had her checked on Friday and they currently are 188, and my vet even consulted with another vet and he got a reading of 196.

My vet is dumbfounded. Rampage is 8 pounds, eats well, very active, the only weird thing is that she likes to chew things, eg. cardboard, thin wires (which we've hopefully put a stop to), and she's very vocal. She literally tells us if things aren't right (ex. There's a spider on the wall, her litter box needs to be cleaned, she wants a treat or fresh water) Like she will cry until we do what she wants, or sometimes she cries for attention.

This is the first cat I've ever had, I grew up around dogs, so this is a huge learning process for me. The vet did say that 5% of cats do have high liver values and this is normal for them, and that Rampage might be one of them but he really couldn't tell me anything. He told me not to worry, which I'm not really, I'm just curious if anyone out there has ever run across, or heard of the same thing.

Any feedback would be appreciated. Thanks
post #2 of 7
Hi! My cat, Grabben also had high ALT levels just like Rampage. He was also about the same age as your cat when his blood was tested (7 months old). My vet explained that my cat had high ALT levels (332 U/L) because he was malnourished when we got him. We think he had a parasite of some sort because he responded to de-worming medicine. Hence, the parasite was robbing him of the nutrients he needed. However, his liver levels remained high for a couple weeks after the deworming. He ate Hill's prescription L/D food for a couple of weeks. This brought his liver levels down from a high 332 U/L to a still slightly elevated but more normal 126 U/L.

I think elevated liver levels could mean more than one thing. Perhaps your vet will agree with the prescription food. An ultrasound is another option.

Best of luck to you and Rampage!
post #3 of 7
Congratulations on your first cat!!!
I can tell already you'll be great at this!

My kitty has had high liver values for years - it was first discovered on a routine blood test. It turns out she has liver disease, cholangiohepatitis.

Just to put this into perspective for you, my cat's last ALT level was 521.
Normal is up to 100, so while Rampage's level is high it isn't terrible, but it certainly bears watching. It's interesting that the ALT is the only elevated liver enzyme she has.

Liver values can elevate for a variety of reasons. Obviously some type of liver disease can cause it, or trauma to the liver. Inflammatory bowel syndrome will sometimes manifest itself with higher than normal liver enzymes.
Remember that everything your cat eats, drinks, and breathes goes through her liver - it's the body's cleansing system, along with the kidneys. That's why you want her to have the highest quality food, clean water and a clean environment (cigarette smoke and aerosol room fresheners for example, can be a problem). The less "garbage" the liver has to process out, the healthier it stays.

Since you mentioned that Rampage eats things she shouldn't, it's possible that the liver had a reaction to one of those things that irritated it. Liver values change slowly, so don't get bloodwork done again too soon. Wait another 6-8 weeks, unless your cat shows signs of illness. It's certainly a good idea to monitor this to make sure it isn't an early warning sign of a more serious condition. And kitty-proof your house so Rampage doesn't eat anything else she shouldn't!
post #4 of 7
Thread Starter 
I knew joining this site would be a good idea.

You both have given me insight to some sort of explanation for this.

7_Angel: We got Rampage from the humane society and she was the runt of the litter. She also had a parasite pretty much when we got her that we found out about because my boyfriend and I contracted it too... worst 2 weeks of my life! I forget what it was called now but they had told me it was fairly common in cats that come from humane societies. I think I'll try switching her food. I've seen the stuff you're talking about so I'll try that.

KTLynn: I never realized that stuff in the air would be a factor. I'm definitely going to be more aware of that now for sure. I was thinking of buying a little air cleaner anyway, but now I definitely will.

Thanks to both of you for the help. I really appreciate it.
post #5 of 7
Well, this may appear to be insignificant compared to whatI'm reading above, but Cee Cee, who lived outdoors for at least 2 yrs, near a 4 lane highway, until she was rescued by me in 2003, has always been healthy (took her in yearly for her exams) until last exam -- everything was ok, including fecal test, but when I then brought her in 3 wks later for dental work, they found a heart murmur.

An echocardiogram showed her heart murmur was a "3" out of "6".

Then when I said "She's lost a pound in one month" (no one at the vet's had noticed it, even though it was on line one of her chart....) -- they did a sonogram, found nothing. She had dental work -- had 2 teeth extracted -- poor kid -- in the space of one month, all this stuff happens. Then when I picked her up after the extraction, they told me -- her ALT values are high-- (209) -- bring her back in 4 weeks for a re-test."

So in the meanwhile I fed her nothing but the very best cat food I could find -- normally she would eat Fancy Feast canned (and a friend's cat lived for 23 years eating nothing but that) -- but I bought PetGuard Beef and Barley, and fed her that for several weeks, adding a little Fancy Feast becuz my budget can only take just so much (I spent $1900 on her Vet visits and dental surgery so far) -- I even added Milk Thistle powder to her food to help clear her liver.

Nothing worked-- her ALT values are now 292.

I called her usual vet (I'd been seeeing a different vet becuz of schedule conflicts on my part) and asked her to read CC's chart and get back to me about CC's liver, and possible treatment options.

Thank you in advance for your input.

Ace

Oh-- one more thing --When I get home from work and from my commmute, I "disinfect" my shoes before I go into my apt with a spray bottle filled with 3/4 water and 1/4 unflavored mouthwash. I also use that kind of solution to wash the floors and I spray it into the cat's litter box and then wipe off with a paper towel every time I scoop the litter (I use "commercially available cat litter made from newspaper pellets and I totally empty the box each time I scoop the litter) -- I try to keep the cats away from any overspray -- could this soltuion of water and unflavored mouthwash be harming Cee Cee???
post #6 of 7
It sounds like CeCe is at least 8 years old, right? Did the vets check her thyroid values? Her symptoms are a classic presentation of hyperthyroidism in an older cat--weight loss, heart murmur, elevated liver values (due to the body's increased metabolism as a result of high T4 levels). Other commons signs would include increased appetite and thirst, increased vocalization, and restlessness. If they have not checked her T4, I would ask them to do so along with the kidney values if they haven't done so already.
post #7 of 7
I think you may have hit the nail right on the head!!!

I WILL mention this to her vet-- however, CC's bloodwork in March showed no abnormalities-- and at that point, there was no indication of a heart murmur (which was discovered 3 weeks later, in April) either....! (Vet oversight perhaps???)

She is at least 8, maybe 9 yrs old -- who knows-- she'd had at least 2 litters of kittens by the time she "found" me on a cold rainy day (I was not even in my home state at the time!!!) and her whole colony was rescued and TNR'd -- so yes, Thyroid MAY be the case -- and why oh why don't the vets tell me these things???!!! The vets never even NOTICED that CC had lost more than a pound of weight in between her first (March 14) and 2nd (April 14) vet appointment (this year -- trust me all my cats get their physicals and se ethe vet at least once a year)

She is ALWAYS hungry, is more restless than ever, (altho she always did scurry around like a maniac ever since I got her in 2003, but her health exam results always came back positively great)

She DID gain 11 ounces since May 14 -- up from 5.9 to 6.4 pounds. Once a week I put a little bit of Olive oil in her foodies so it digests a little slower.

Anyway-- I have had to see 2 different vets since March at the same hospital becuz her usual vet keeps wierd hours -- welll... I will just have to take time off from work to go back to seeing her usual vet -- becuz THIS woman is so much more mellow and EASY to talk to!!



To be contin-mewed........
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