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Will Larry be the same again?

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
Hi everyone. I had an account on here at one time, but it was either deleted or I lost the email address I had it with. I have 5 cats. Larry, Curly, and Moe are all 7 years old. Mommy (or MomCat) is, ironically, the mother of Larry, Curly, and Moe, and she is 8 or 9 (we aren't really sure). Basil is our oldest at 14. We have never really had any problems with our cats, except for Curly, who has had problems with urine crystals before. Recently, Larry stopped eating for some reason, so we took him to the vet. He was dehydrated, had lost weight, and was jaundiced (yellowing of the skin). We will get the tests back from the lab tomorrow to see if they can reveal anything more about Larry (vet thinks it's something called Hepatic Lipidosis). Larry was our nicest, most personable cat, but now he is very weak, and has almost a flat emotion. He will purr from time to time, but nothing like he used to (loud purr, rubbing his face on everybody and everything, etc.). I know that one of the treatments for this Hepatic Lipidosis is a feeding tube that hopefully allows the liver to recover and work normally again. If this is the case (or if it is anything else), will Larry ever be the same again? We will always care for him nonetheless, but it would be really upsetting to our whole family if he never returned to his old self. Thanks to everyone for any comments you can make in this case or if you know anything about Hepatic Lipidosis I would greatly appreciate it.

post #2 of 6
Hi Pat,

My cat Taco (who's now 15.5 yrs old) developed Hepatic Lipidosis 10 years ago. By the time the liver biopsy report was back and he'd been there at the vet hospital for 2 days (he wasn't eating and they didn't seem to do anything about that, and aggressive feeding is the ONLY way to treat HL), he was gravely ill. They didn't have a vet there who was able to insert the feeding tube and told me I'd need to drive 8 hours to a vet hospital in the U.S. (across the Cdn border) and have it done there. This was not even feasible; Taco was too grave, he'd have never survived the long car ride and I just didn't have the money (2 days at the vet hospital, including the ultrasound, liver biopsy, meds, IV, etc came to $2000!). In my case, the only option was to assist-feed him with prescription canned food (Hill's a/d), using a syringe, around the clock. They gave him a 40% chance of making it. He was so sick. But I couldn't give up. I've never seen a cat so gravely ill. Eyes so yellow, ears even yellow, no energy, throwing up, like a shadow of himself. I started off feeding him small amounts every 2 hours.....then over a couple of days I increased it to every 3, then every 4, then ever 6........to ensure he got a full can of A/D into him. I gave him meds to help with nausea. He got subQ fluids (i gave them) to keep him hydrated. I kept him in my spare bedroom so he had peace from my other 4 cats. In 2 weeks he was like another cat.........definitely on the mend! I had to start using an appetite stimulant to get him to want to eat. It was as if he'd forgotten how to eat on his own. I'd put the plate of canned down (fancy feast, which is apparently one of the tastiest to sick kitties) and he'd be interested, would sniff it, lick it, but it was like he'd forgotten "how" to eat it himself. The appetite stimulant helped. I'd sometimes put a little dab of food into his mouth until he got the hang of it.

That was 10 years ago. He's been an amazing cat since, back to his old talkative, curious, hilarious self. I've read so many similar experiences of cats w/ HL and once they start getting enough food into them (either by tube or syringe-fed) and are on the mend, they return to their old selves!!!

I hope this offers you some hope. Please do something quickly, though......the longer kitty goes without the proper food and enough of it, the more damage to the liver.............though luckily the liver is one organ in a cat that, even when damaged, can repair itself. Thank God!

post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 
Thanks a lot for sharing that with me. Larry didn't eat for about 2 days before we took him to the vet. After we saw her, they did the lab tests and we brought him home, and we have been syringe feeding him Hills A/D once every 2 hours (6 times a day) since then. We also give him 100mL of fluids the vet gave us under the skin twice a day. The lab results come back tomorrow and I am expecting it to be HL. Larry is by far not as ill as you said Taco was, though. He has no energy, and is yellow (hard to tell how much, since he is an orange cat), but has not been vomiting. He just seems very weak and doesn't have the personality he used to, and I was afraid he had lost it. Our vet did say she could give us some appetite stimulants, too, but to wait and see what the tests say first. She does have him on an antibiotic, "just in case."

Do you know anything about syringe feeding vs. having a feeding tube put in? I just want to know which one will help the most and most effectively and not harm him any more than he already is.

Thanks again for your story and your help. I have a lot more hope now that Larry will pull through and become his same old self again.
post #4 of 6
Taco is an orange cat, too!

With him, I could see a yellow tinge to the inside of his ear flaps, and the whites of his eyes were jaundiced. It was pretty pronounced.

That's wonderful that he's not vomiting, that's excellent! Taco was really lethargic for a good week before he began to perk up a bit (of course every cat is different). In Taco's case, he also had Pancreatitis and an inflamed and enlarged common bile duct.

How is kitty tolerate the feedings? I think the main reason people opt (or Vets suggest) the feeding tube is that a lot of owners find it difficult to syringe feed.......but really, at the end of the day, the most important thing is that kitty gets the required amount of A/D canned, and fluids, to help repair the liver. So if kitty is tolerating the feeds, keeping the food down, then is it really worth it to put him under a general anesthetic to have the tube put in? That's something I'd think about.

There are also supplements that you might want to consider, and ask your Vet about. Milk Thistle is one of them. I'm sure others here can tell you about others. Back 10 yrs ago I didn't know about either, I wish that I had. I did have him on some type of amino acid, though (Lysine? Hmm, just can't remember the name of it). Milk Thistle is excellent for repairing the liver. Your Vet might even know about it. It's so widely used and is known to have such beneficial effects on the liver that it's actually listed in the commonly used Veterinarian Medication Handbook (whatever the official name of this book is called).
post #5 of 6
Thread Starter 
Guess I spoke too soon. Larry did just vomit, but it was the first time in 3 days of syringe feeding, and it wasn't too much. Doing the feeding that way isn't too bad for me, but he hates it. Not that inconveniencing myself is a concern at this point. Whatever will give him the best chance of recovering is what I'll do.

Thanks for the suggestion of the Milk Thistle. I'll ask my vet about it when she calls tomorrow with the lab results. I just hope that it is only HL, even as serious as it is, that is affecting him. He is taking everything very well, too. The only time he has fussed at all was being fed. What a guy .

Thanks again for your advice, and best wishes to you and yours. Is Taco your only cat, or do you have others too?
post #6 of 6
Hi Pat,

Well if he's fighting it, I guess you have to consider how much it stresses him out? Taco didn't fight all that much initially, mostly because he was so weak I guess....but as the days progressed, he'd fight more...........feeding time was always such a mess! Towels on the floor, him wrapped in a towel, my pre-filled syringes ready to go, warm wash cloth handy.......many times I ended up wearing a lot of the stuff :-) I remember having to get better syringes, one with more of a long pointy tip to them......and I even had to cut the end off a bit so that the hole was a bit bigger....as sometimes the food would clog it up and then things didn't go so smoothly :-)

I have 4 other cats; Tigger, Cleo, Fuzzy and Spookie.

Back then, Taco went down to 16 lbs......that's the lowest he'd ever weighed. Once he recovered, he slowly went back up to 23.5! He maintained that weight for some time, despite the "lite" dry food the Vets would peddle off on me. I did free feed him, too....and that didn't help much as he lives for food and has always been a 'carb addict.' When he was a kitten, starting around 4-5 months old, he would watch as I'd bring the groceries into the house. I'd leave the bags on the kitchen floor while I went out to my car to get the rest. Took me a while to figure out I wasn't losing my mind; where were the buns I bought? the loaf of bread? Well, as it turns out, he would drag the bag of buns or bread down the basement steps and hide it in a corner and snack away. LOL

He developed diabetes 5.5 yrs ago but is very well regulated on twice daily insulin. Unfortunately he's dealing with cancerous tumors now; osteosarcoma of the soft tissue (tumor to his scruff). Had 2 surgeries this past spring to remove them but they returned They're pretty large but not yet impacting him at all. He's still his sweet, chatty, food-addicted self. Unfortunately for him, due to the diabetes, he only gets fed twice a day, just canned food....though now that he's got cancer, I do give him treats of dry food which he loves!!

he's the funniest cat; almost lost him so many years ago, he's been with me through thick and thin. He's my only male. He's been maintaining a weight of 18 lbs for a few years now. He's a huge framed orange cat, very long......big old barn-cat type.

Here's a couple of recent pics of him, in all his glorious orange glory :-)

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