Cleo's Progress

One Cat's Struggle with Feline Hepatic Lipidosis



Monday, April 14, 2008

I think this was feline hepatic lipidosis, too

Several years ago, before Cleo got sick the first time, an ex-boyfriend of mine put his cat to sleep because it had liver failure and lymphoma. In retrospect, I think the liver failure was probably feline hepatic lipidosis, just like what Cleo had.

This cat — whom we'll call Charlie — was a pretty big cat. I didn't think he was necessarily overweight, because he had a huge frame, but everyone was always telling his owner that he was. So his owner decided to put him on a diet.

Charlie started to lose weight slowly at first, then faster and faster, until (of course) he stopped eating. His owner took him into the vet, and they decided (for some reason I can't explain) to do surgery. Then they realized he also had cancer in his lymphatic system, and advised his owner to have the cat euthanized (which he did).

I can't help but wonder now about the decisions the vet — and Charlie's owner — made about poor Charlie's treatment. I have a feeling that the liver failure was actually feline hepatic lipidosis, or fatty liver disease — which is, remember, a reversible condition. The cause could have been the diet, or it could have been that he was feeling sick because of the lymphoma.

Either way, I'm not sure why the condition wouldn't immediately have been recognized as feline hepatic lipidosis, and why they would have needed to open the poor cat up.

Anyway, when Cleo developed fatty liver disease in late 2005, I told Charlie's owner. Remembering his own experience, I'm sure, he said to me, "I'm sorry to hear that," sounding as if Cleo were already dead. I told him I was force-feeding her, and tried to tell him the hepatic lipidosis is cureable, but I remember that he didn't seem to want to hear it.

Maybe seeing me do everything I could to save my cat made him feel guilty about his own decisions, or angry at me for doing something different — I don't know. Just don't make the same mistake that Charlie's owner made — fatty liver disease is a completely reversible condition, and although it's not easy, your cat IS worth the effort!

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