Pat and Alix,
I use a direct approach for various reasons. The number one reason is to be thorough and to re-connect an owner with their vet because it is the vet who is the only one who knows the cat's history/illness/treatment plan and advises accordingly. I never meant my direct approach to come off sounding as if I didn't truly care....on the contrary, feline health is my profession. Liver diseases are my specialty, primarily Hepatic Lipidosis. Having treated many cats successfully, I share my knowledge and training openly in the hopes of helping further.....owners can then verify with their vets and are encouraged by me to do so.
I was also quick and direct because there are warning signs in the posts. Food aversions lead to finickiness, which in turn lead to poor appetite, not eating, insufficient intake, eventually diarhhea and vomiting. Force feeding an HL cat is often very stressful on the cat...the cat is already compromised by not feeling well, nauseated, ill, depressed, under extreme stress, feeling every effect of the condition (note: stress is the number one predisposition to HL, followed by sudden or drastic weight loss, decreased appetite, poor hydration). When the treatment approach is not followed or consistent for whatever the reason, one can certainly expect failure. The primary treatment approach for the majority of HL cases involves agressive, consistent feeding with the proper diet geared for the condtion. In this case, as I mentioned, A/D, Recovery Formula and other similar veterinary diets are formulated for those specific purposes. It's not enough to have the correct balance of *nutrients* for a specific condition, it is paramount that the diet is formulated and given for the specific need. HL nutritional support demands high protein and calorie content....most commercial canned cat foods do not contain the proper ratio for that need (i.e., liver regeneration). Commercial canned foods may also contain a higher amount of fat (note: HL requires calories, not fat), and since the liver is already compromised with fatty depositis and lipids, fat content is the last thing an HL kitty needs to recover.
Once out of the critical stage, when lab results are normal and all health signs indicate recovery, then the diet can be gradually changed to a more appropriate adult maintenance diet, preferrably low-protein if kitty has a history of liver problems, kidney problems, etc. Each case varies, each kitty has different nutritional requirements based on general health condition, age, lifes stage and whether or not other health conditions are a concern.
The most common failure in HL is when the owner attempts to force-feed at home. Many problems can develop with this approach. Depression, insufficient intake of protein and calories, insufficient amounts on a daily and consistent basis, complications such as vomiting, nasuea, poor fluids support, secondary infections or even secondary organ disfunction can all result in failure of treatment. I'm not saying not to attempt to force feed at home, I'm saying that there is more risk in this approach as opposed to a parenteal feeding tube approach. Many owners are simply non-compliant and will fail to tell their vets if they change the treatment plan or take matters into their own hands. For this reason, it is important to have a working relationship with their vet so that every detail of the treatment plan is met accordingly and that problems are addressed immediately with the vet at the first sign of set-back or secondary illness. Finicky cats can often spell disaster, and my point is that a food aversion or attempting to use too many varieties can cause those aversions and will result in the above mentioned problems..................................Traci