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Cat liver problems. Is it worth getting a biopsy, and inserting feeding tube etc?

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
We recently took my cat snowy to the vets as he had lost a great deal of weight (he was a pretty fat cat in the first place)

They got his blood tests back and said it indicated liver disease. He had no appetite but i managed to get him eating a little 3 days ago. He is now eating but only very little about 5 times a day.

He went back to the vet today and he told us that he's still dehydrated, and has given us anti nausea pills. He said that he would usually put him on a drip, maybe give him a feeding tube, but snowy gets very resistant and aggressive when he is handled, especially by the scruff of the neck, and these things require maintenance. this would also make assisted feeding quire difficult i think

He also said they could operate on him and look at the liver to find out what exactly is wrong with it, but then there may not be anything they can do still.

so i think we could do these things, but he's not sure if its worth putting snowy through it, if at the end they may not be able to cure him. sorry to rant, but i'm very worried, and i get the feeling we/the vet could be doing more to help him
post #2 of 18
Ultimately, the decision is up to you. Last year I was in a similar position, except I had a diagnosis, though I wasn't confident in it. I decided to have a feeding tube inserted in my cat, Willow, to allow her more time for tests to verify the diagnosis (which in her case was FIP). The feeding tube really brought me peace of mind--I knew that she wasn't starving to death. It was much, much easier than syringe feeding her and I know it caused her less stress. She could and did fall asleep during some of the feedings.

I would talk to your vet and find out more about Snowy's prognosis. What tests have you had done so far, and did they indicate whether he has fatty liver disease (which is often the result of not eating) or some other type of liver disease? With fatty liver disease, the treatment is to get enough calories into the cat to prevent further weight loss and eventually to promote weight gain. If that is the vet's suspected diagnosis, a feeding tube could be very helpful.

Ultimately my kitty did have FIP and died as a result, but I am still glad that I had the feeding tube inserted. It bought me more time to make a decision with less stress to the both of us.
post #3 of 18
I would definitely enquire with your vet about what they reccomend.

Ask if they think your cat might have fatty liver syndrome. Symptoms are a dysfunctional liver, not eating, massive weight loss, lethargy.

The dysfunctional liver is caused by the not eating and it is a vicious cycle. The fact that your cat is eating is an EXCELLENT sign. Please please please try to encourage your cat to eat.
This is most common in overweight cats but can happen in any cat.

Check your cats skin, is it yellow? Again a sign of liver dysfunction and common in FLS cats.

The feeding tube is an excellent thing if your cat isn't eating, but if he is I reccomend getting the anti-nausea drugs, this will likely encourage your baby to eat more........ If the anti-nausea drugs work and get your cat eating more, chances are it is FLS and the only cure is more food and their would be no need to put your cat through a biopsy, however if your vet reccomends it, it is something to consider.....

Fluids through IV and subQ fluids always help a sick kitty feel better

Good luck and keep us updated
post #4 of 18
Im going through the same thing right now. Currently Im syringe feeding Arthur, and I want to tell you that the MOST important thing right now is to get food into your kitty. My cat should be about 18lbs and he should be getting 200cc of food a day. If you dont feed him he'll continue to lose weight and if fatty liver disease isnt the problem now it probabaly will be, it's because cats livers cant process their fat and become "clogged". Lots of vbs, def. talk to your vet about all your options. I'm looking into a feeding tube (waiting to hear from my vet) but it just sounds so awful : (
post #5 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by MonaxLisa View Post
but it just sounds so awful : (
I know it sounds awful, but unless your kitty is really good about syringe feeding, tube feeding is much less stressful and the less stress the better. The cat can relax calmly while the food is slowly pushed through the tube, rather than trying to get the food into the cat's mouth and then getting them to swallow. Syringe feeding Willow was very upsetting to her, and therefore to me, while tube feeding was easy (she often slept while I fed her) and it made our final days much better. She had an e-tube, which is pretty small, and I fed her a mix of Science Diet a/d and Rebound, per my vet. I would definitely recommended discussing the procedure with the vet.
post #6 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by cloud_shade View Post
I know it sounds awful, but unless your kitty is really good about syringe feeding, tube feeding is much less stressful and the less stress the better. The cat can relax calmly while the food is slowly pushed through the tube, rather than trying to get the food into the cat's mouth and then getting them to swallow. Syringe feeding Willow was very upsetting to her, and therefore to me, while tube feeding was easy (she often slept while I fed her) and it made our final days much better. She had an e-tube, which is pretty small, and I fed her a mix of Science Diet a/d and Rebound, per my vet. I would definitely recommended discussing the procedure with the vet.
Couldn't agree more.
post #7 of 18
A feeding tube should make things easier, not harder. You should be able to get the amount of food he needs down him. Live problems can be totally reversed Best of luck
post #8 of 18
Thread Starter 
thanks for all the advice. snowy is still eating a little which obviously is a good thing, but it seems like its just enough to keep him going, and its not going to be enough to put on significant weight unless he starts eating more. the anti nausea drugs dont seem to be working.

my main concern with the feeding tube was that he would find it uncomfortable, and knock it about. if the problem was irreversible i wouldnt want his last weeks to be in discomfort and constantly struggling. also me and my mum and dad are most likely to be at work all day in the day, does the feeding tube require much maintenance?

also i'm sure he could really do with being on a drip. the vet said his skin had lost a lot od its elasticity due to dehydration. is the drip something that is brought home, or does he stay in the vets when he's on a drip?
post #9 of 18
I had to syringe feed both my dogs when they were sick and it was a big ordeal, stressful for them and me and also very messy. A feeding tube is much less stressful at mealtimes and not messy. If I had the option I would have done a feeding tube for them in a second...
post #10 of 18
If you get a feeding tube inserted into the esophagus, it isn't painful or uncomfortable at all for the cat, and once you both figure it out it is very low maintenance. He might just have to wear a cone. As for the drip, he would have to stay at the vet, however you can get subQ fluids that got under the skin and hydrate your cat. They only take about 10 minutes to administer. Your vet can also teach you how to adminster them yourself so you can give subQ fluids once a day at home if you are comforable giving a needle.

Good luck and keep us updated.....
post #11 of 18
Prior to considering a procedure as invasive as a liver biopsy (which my holistic vet would never do for my dog because it is really invasive [she has liver disease, too]), I would consider having an ultrasound done.

I will tell you what happened in my situation, but this is for my 5lb dog, not cat, so maybe some things vary.

We found out via blood work that something was off with her liver. We put her on a liver diet while waiting for an abdominal ultrasound.

Meanwhile, we had a metabolic urine screening test done and sent to UPenn. It's a new test that came out not too long ago. Basically, all you need to do is to send a urine sample in to them. The vet needs to do this, of course.

From the urine sample I sent in, they found increased alanine and glutamine, which, according to their research and table I found online, indicates liver disease. Consistent with what the blood work told us.

Next, the point of the ultrasound was to check to see if there were any shunts or abnormalities seen on the outside of the liver. Nope, everything looked normal.

So, since we ruled out an extra-hepatic shunt via the ultrasound yet the other two tests showed liver dysfunction, my vet told me it would be pointless to put her through a biopsy because...the ultrasound didn't find anything abnormal on the outside of the liver, so chances are, the problem lies within. However, that would be impossible to cure or treat, except managed with diet and friendly liver proteins - you cannot really "fix" the inside of that organ.

Basically, if I chose to put her through a biopsy, we would find out what exactly is wrong with the liver inside, but that would just be information I can't really put to use to cure her, so I left it.

With a good liver diet and liver supplements, her blood work is now all normal.

In your case, I think the most important thing to do is to keep your cat eating. He can't fight the battle if he doesn't eat. And honestly, unless your vet is pretty darn sure the liver problem is fixable, I wouldn't do the biopsy at this point. He's already not eating and probably stressed...adding more stress via an invasive surgery might be too much for him to handle.

What HAS your vet told you so far about his liver problem? Aside from that a biopsy can/should be done. Did he offer you any other options or diagnostic testing?
Any liver supplements?
post #12 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Basically, if I chose to put her through a biopsy, we would find out what exactly is wrong with the liver inside, but that would just be information I can't really put to use to cure her, so I left it.
that is exactly what the vet told us. snowy did have a ultrasound aswell that revealed nothing. he hasnt offered any other testing

he is eating. some days not much, although i have started to leave food down in my room, shut the door so the other cat cant get it, and have snowy sleep with me. a couple of times i've got up and he has eaten quite a lot overnight.

the only thing he will eat is that fancy feast (called something different here in england). he wont eat the special food the vet gave us.

the vet has not mentioned liver supplements. what would people reccomend?
post #13 of 18
I am going through a similar situation with my Maverick. I took him in to the vet b/c he was leaking urine, and while I was there, I had the vet run a senior blood panel on him which indicated that there was something wrong with his liver. They suggested doing either an ultrasound or liver biopsy on Mav, but b/c of his age and due to the money situation, I decided to wait and see how he does on his meds first. I don't want to put him through any unnecessary stress.

Just what exactly is your vet doing for your kitty? Is he on any type of treatment? I'm certainly no expert and can't replace your vet's advice, but it was recommended to me by others who have gone through this that Denamarin is about one of the best drugs out there for helping to heal the liver. I asked my vet about it, and she ordered the stuff for Maverick. It's too early to tell if it's gonna help him any b/c he's only been on it for a few days, but maybe you could ask your vet about it, too.

I hope something can be done for Snowy. I know how you're feeling.

Many prayers & for you & Snowy.
post #14 of 18
Here's a link for an online support group for peeps who have cats which have liver-related problems.

http://pets.dir.groups.yahoo.com/gro...ec=dir&slk=130
post #15 of 18
Thread Starter 
Hi all. firstly would like to say thanks for all the messages of advice and support, and i'm sorry i havent bene keeping you updated

I'm sorry to say that we put snowy to sleep today. He went back to the vets last friday and she found a very large lump next to snowys liver, which was only going to get worse.

He was clearly uncomfortable over the weekend, and his poor little heart seemed to be beating extremely fast. we felt that putting him to sleep now was the best thing so he could keep his dignity.

i stayed with him as he went to sleep, held his head as he went off, which i'm glad i did. He has been buried next to hos favourite sunny spot in the garden.

RIP snowy, such a larger than life personality, and had so much love and affection inside him. I'll miss you mate.

post #16 of 18
I'm so sorry to hear about Snowy. I have been there, and I hope holding him at the end gave you the peace it gave me. I really felt a lot better when I knew my RB Smudge wasn't suffering any more. I'm sure Snowy knew how much you loved him and appreciated your loving care. and at this difficult time.
post #17 of 18
I'm sorry to hear about Snowy. He was a very handsome cat....I love his markings.
You did your best to make him comfortable and safe.
May his wonderful memories comfort you in this time of sorrow.
post #18 of 18
I am so sorry to hear that you lost your precious Snowy. I know it's probably not much comfort in your time of grief, but in your heart you know that he's not suffering any longer. Bless you for letting him go free.

RIP, sweet Snowy.
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