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Just an FYI for cat owners...

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
(Long, but important, please read!)

Hi all,

I recently lost my 1 1/2 yo cat, Tucker, to a condition called Feline Hepatic Lipidosis (aka Fatty Liver disease/syndrome). It is something I had never heard of until my cat became severely ill and was hospitalized.

You can find more info here: http://www.thecatsite.com/Cats/Cat_H...Lipidosis.html

The reason I am mentioning this is because it can happen so quickly and is so dangerous. Basically, a cat stops eating for whatever reason. Possibly stress, illness, etc. Their not eating (and/or an underlying illness) makes them feel sick which keeps them from eating, it becomes a vicious cycle of anorexia. Their body starts trying to metabolize their fat stores for energy and the liver cannot handle the overload. Then the liver starts to fail. At this point, the cat will die without aggressive treatment. Our Tucker succumbed to this illness in less than a week.

Please, I really hope everyone here will educate themselves about this illness. Keeping in tune with your cat's eating habits can be the difference between life and death in a very short period of time. It is imperative that you have your cat seen by a vet if they stop eating for more than a day. I cannot stress this enough. Maybe it will be nothing, but it is NOT normal for a cat to just stop eating and it is important to find out why and make sure they get the nutrition they need.

I see so many threads, "My cat won't eat", "My cat doesn't like his food anymore". No matter how it starts, cats often will not just start eating again. They go into a state of anorexia that is very, very difficult to reverse. Many end up needing force fed and/or feeding tubes.

One other thing I want to mention is that this strikes obese cats especially, for some reason. This is noteworthy because Tucker was a 'fat cat' and it is easy to just assume that the 'fat cat' is getting all of the food they need. And that their appetite will stay healthy. If they start losing weight, you are not as concerned as you would be with a thin cat because you just assume they could use a diet anyways. Any sudden weight loss should be treated as a red flag unless it is a slow weight loss under the direction of your vet.


Hopefully some of the more knowledgeable posters here will chime in with their thoughts and experiences with this. I just had to add this thread because I was unaware of this and because I have 7 cats who ate from a common gravity feeder, I wasn't aware that Tucker had stopped eating until it was too late. I took him to the vet on Thursday, he had exploratory surgery on friday to check for obstruction and he was gone saturday. It was truly devastating to our family. I hope to prevent another cat from having the same fate.

Thanks for reading this and I wish all of you and your furbabies long and healthy lives!

wendy

Forever in our hearts..... Tucker 6/16/04~2/18/06 (beloved 'brother' of Zoe, Shenzi, Fluffy, Freckles, Figaro and Jack)
post #2 of 15
Thread Starter 
I just wanted to expand on Tuckers story to give an idea of how quickly this can happen:

Sat, Feb 11: Tucker was behaving as usual, playing with our family and the rest of his cat 'brothers and sisters'.

Tue, Feb 14 (valentines day): Noticed that Tucker didn't seem himself, laying around more than usual and not interacting as much with the rest of the cats.

Wed, Feb 15: Tucker was still not acting himself, so I quarantined him to a room to keep an eye on him. Could not get him to eat warmed canned food and he drank very little. Noticed that his nose seem pale.

Thur, Feb 16: Took him to the vet. At this point, he was jaundiced (yellow) inside his ears, eyes and mouth. I would not have noticed this until it was pointed out to me. Amazingly. All I noticed is that he just didn't look right, you know what I mean?

He was immediately hospitalized and IV fluids began. His blood test results showed that his liver was not functioning properly. Xrays showed 'possible' fluid or gas in his abdomen, so he was scheduled to have exploratory surgery the next day, to check for a possible obstruction or perforation of his intestines.

Fri, Feb 17: He was looking a little bit more perky after recieving the IV fluids overnight. The surgery went smoothly, there was fluid in his abdomen but no perforation or obstruction. They inserted a feeding tube that went directly into his small intestines from his abdominal wall. The doctor said his liver looked very much like Hipatic Lipidosis, but they needed to rule out FIP (Feline Infectious Peritonitis) as a primary cause. They took biopsies of his liver, stomach, the fluid, his lymph nodes and his intestines (I think). The tests later revealed no FIP or cancer, but positive for HL...cause still unknown. He was really out of it when we visited him, due to the pain meds. I think he recognized us, but he really didn't interact much.

Sat, Feb 18: Vet called in the morning to say she was not happy with how he was not bouncing back from the surgery (he wasn't holding his normal temperature well) and he appeared even more jaundiced. She was hoping that the tube feedings would start to help him quickly.

We went in about 2:30 pm to see him and they took me right back. Right before I got there, he stopped breathing and then his heart stopped shortly after. They were able to stablize him after some effort, and he was starting to breath on his own with only minimal assistance. He then went into seizures and I made the decison to end his suffering as my husband held him. His body was just failing all around and I didn't want him to suffer any more. It was heartbreaking for everyone involved. He was just a baby...only 1 1/2 yo.

It was less than a week (from seemingly normal to death) for us to lose our buddy...our beloved friend, Tucker.

This is why I really want people to know how important it is to keep aware of your cat's eating habits. I just do not want anyone else's cat to go through what Tucker did.
post #3 of 15
I am sorry for your loss and he was so young. I have a cat who started with episodes of pancreatitis when he was only 18 monthes old and he is now almost three. It has always been a struggle to get him started eating again. After this last episode, even after he started eating again, for a couple of days I would have to get him interested in eating each time. It was almost like he had forgotten about eating. He couldn't come home from the vet's until he ate and they even capped off his IV and let me take him home and see if I could get him to eat. He acted like he felt fine and acted like he wanted to eat but he wouldn't go ahead and eat so he spent another night at the vet's. You did all that you could and maybe what happened to your cat will make others aware of just how serious this is.
post #4 of 15
I am so sorry for your loss

Cats are very good at hiding when they are ill or in pain so when you notice that they have stopped eating or their appetite isn't what it was, it really is important to get them to the vets as soon as possible. I've just read your paper - thank you for taking the time to document this for everyone

Thinking of you and your family at this tough time
post #5 of 15
Thread Starter 
Thank you both for your warm thoughts.

Denice, you reminded me of another organ they biopsied, the pancreas. It sounds you are dealing with what our vet told us we would be in for, if Tucker had lived. It is very difficult to get cats back on the right track when eating problems start. Good luck to you and your cat, sounds like he is a very lucky kitty to have you in his life!

Pui Hang, you brought up a very good point. Most animals do everything possible to hide pain/illness from those around them. Any sign of weakness can be deadly, in the wild. I guess that is an instinct they hold onto. This is why I started this thread. We are their only advocates and only we can monitor their health. It is really important to stay in tune with our furry friends and make sure to seek professional help if anything is out of the ordinary.
post #6 of 15
So sorry to hear this, RIP Tucker. I have read a few articles and this is one of my main concerns, so my cats are allowed to miss two meals, and then I start worrying and trying all sorts to get them to eat - I would rather over react than be faced with this awful disease. I also don't feed all my cats out of the same bowl so I can monitor who is eating what.
post #7 of 15
I'm sorry for the loss of your beloved Tucker. Thanks for your post. We also lost our beloved Simba 2 1/2 years ago because I also didn't recognize the signs. If I had known then what I've learned from this site, we may not have lost him and I often feel very guilty about it.

Hugs to you at this sad time.
post #8 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yosemite
I'm sorry for the loss of your beloved Tucker. Thanks for your post. We also lost our beloved Simba 2 1/2 years ago because I also didn't recognize the signs. If I had known then what I've learned from this site, we may not have lost him and I often feel very guilty about it.

Hugs to you at this sad time.
Thank you. And I can totally relate to the feelings of guilt for not recognizing the signs. I think that is the main reason I started this thread. I feel like raising awareness is the one thing I can do. If it only saves one person and cat the heartache of this sort of tragedy...I would be thrilled.

Unfortunately, I probably would have read something like this and though "not my cat, he LOVES to eat...he is overweight for goodness sakes" and not given it much thought.

I just hope to stress that this can happen very quickly. Cats do not say 'Hey, I didn't eat today" Often the symptoms of the disease are not even noticeable until it is too late. That is why it is so important to keep tabs on their eating habits on a regular basis. It is not my intention to make anyone paranoid and unnecessarily worried. Just to remind you all to stay aware and conscious of the fact that this can happen very rapidly and that noticing a lack of appetite from the start can mean the difference between life and death. With this disease, being proactive is critical.
post #9 of 15
I want to thank you for sharing your beloved Tucker's story.((((hugs))))
Without a doubt...this will save lives.
RIP sweet Tucker.
post #10 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by poohandwendy
Thank you. And I can totally relate to the feelings of guilt for not recognizing the signs. I think that is the main reason I started this thread. I feel like raising awareness is the one thing I can do. If it only saves one person and cat the heartache of this sort of tragedy...I would be thrilled.
Just a slight diversion - I lost a cat to mammary cancer last year, and I didn't know anything about it, so I wrote an article about it and it is posted on a few forums now (including this one). My reasons are the same as yours, so I just wanted to say don't worry about making anyone feel paranoid, there are certain illnesses that aren't well enough known, and raising awareness on them is an excellent thing to do, it is just a shame that it took such a sad event for you to be aware of it.
post #11 of 15
RIP Tucker!
My Bridge Kitty, Bud, also suffered from this. It took me 2 months of IV's and force feeding before he would eat on his own again. The vet actually told me to accept the fact that he would probably not make it, but my Bud was strong willed and did come back. I did lose him 2 years later to another illness, but I also cannot express enough on being in tune to how your kitties are acting.
Thanks for sharing your story, hopefully it will save some precious babies lives!
post #12 of 15
Wendy, writing this must have been very difficult for you, but you are doing a wonderful thing by helping others be aware. I didn't know either. You may have saved many feline lives. Thank you.

RIP dear Tucker.
post #13 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rockcat
Wendy, writing this must have been very difficult for you, but you are doing a wonderful thing by helping others be aware. I didn't know either. You may have saved many feline lives. Thank you
yes thankyou so much for sharing this heartbreaking story with us. No doubt by writing it you will help others out who go through a similar thing.

Maybe you could write a tribute for Tucker in the bridge forum so that we can all honour him there?

RIP Tucker
post #14 of 15
I am sorry for your loss.
post #15 of 15
What happened to Tucker could very well be what happened to my Sunni last June. Without a necropsy, it is impossible to say for sure. She had also been treated with an OTC flea medication, so I originally assumed that was what ultimately proved fatal.

However, even before reading your post, I had run across this liver problem during some research. The symptoms sound eerily familiar. Our biggest problem was, we were on vacation, and the friend who was taking care of Sunni was only coming in to feed, water and check on her. Within 4 days, she was gone.

Whatever her cause of death, the guilt over not being here for her when she needed me most still haunts me, will always haunt me.

Thank you for your post on this subject. Without it, I'm sure that many people would never even consider this disease or how quickly it can take your seemingly healthy cat and become a life-threatening situation.

My heart goes out to you. Rest in Peace, sweet Tucker. You were well-loved, sweetheart.
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