Cleo's Progress

One Cat's Struggle with Feline Hepatic Lipidosis



Thursday, January 15, 2009

Fatty liver disease: Don't lose hope

One recurring theme I see in readers' emails to me is that they are freaking out, sick with worry, etc.

Reader, if your cat has fatty liver disease (a.k.a. feline hepatic lipidosis), don't lose hope!

Fatty liver disease is extremely curable. The key is getting enough high-protein food into your cat every day. There is room for error, though: I think most of the time I only got three-fourths of Cleo's quota into her every day, and she still recovered just fine!

Nursing a cat back to health from feline hepatic lipidosis can be heart breaking. The liver failure causes nausea, which makes them throw up a lot. It's natural to get upset when this happens and wonder if they'll ever get better. But don't lose hope! Feed as many small meals as you can to try to avoid vomiting, but don't worry about it too much when it happens. Cleo threw up on a daily basis, and she still recovered!

As I'm trying to show with my series of success stories, this isn't just Cleo's story. Tons of cats and their owners survived fatty liver disease. Your cat can too. Just hang in there!

50 Comments:

  • At February 13, 2009 at 3:41 PM , Blogger samantha said...

    I'm glad I found your site! I'm sooo worried about my cat. I know he isn't eating enough and I'm not very good at force feeding. However, you're blog has some good information about this disease and it has given me some hope. :)

     
  • At February 17, 2009 at 10:18 AM , Blogger Becky said...

    Happy to find your site! I'm in the middle of countless vet visits right now for my 5-year old. While in my mind, I'm pretty convinced that he has FLS, the vets are shying away from doing the tests to find out...and it's making me so angry! But it's good to read your story and the stories of others who have gone thru this. Right now I'm struggling with the decision of having a feeding tube put in...not sure I want to take on that vet bill if he continues to accept force feedings.

     
  • At March 3, 2009 at 10:18 PM , Blogger Dharma said...

    don't do the feeding tube if your cat takes the force feeding. my vet wanted to do it but i didn't and he's still alive today. he had fatty liver disease in oct 2008 and after 2 months of force feeding him, he finally ate on his own and is doing much better now. he's still alive!!! it was looking bleak but i'm glad i force fed him.

     
  • At March 3, 2009 at 10:25 PM , Blogger Katharine Swan said...

    Eeek! I'm behind on responding to comments, clearly. Sorry everyone!!

    Samantha, I'm glad my blog has been helpful. You will get better at force feeding -- trust me! Let me know how your cat is doing.

    Becky, I don't know why on earth your vet would hesitate to do the blood tests. What ever happened with that?

    I completely agree with Dharma, by the way. DO NOT permit them to insert a tube if you are doing okay with force feeding. I think that surgery is extremely stressful on the cat, especially considering that they are usually already pretty weak by the time they are diagnosed with FLS.

    The vet wanted to hospitalize Cleo and insert a tube, but I was firm about wanting to keep her at home and force feed her. I think it made a big difference.

     
  • At April 9, 2009 at 9:12 AM , Blogger Kay said...

    My dear baby, Cici, recently diagnosed with Hepatic Lipidosis.
    She is a beautiful diluted calico that we have had since kittenhood.
    We rescued a puppy in November 2008 and our cat started hiding and looking very thin. I took her to the vet and upon examination she wasn't jaundiced, but she was dehydrated and received IV fluids. The vet did a very extensive blood work-up on her and called a day later with the results Fatty liver syndrome. The vet was very pessimistic of the outcome and said that I should hospitalize her and have her receive a feeding tube and even if we did that there were no guarantees that she would pull through. I am so glad I found this website....it definitely gives me hope, since it feels like I have been in a whirl wind of hopelessness and despair over this diagnosis.
    Cici's liver enzymes are high. Her AST was 118, ALT 435 and Alkaline Phosphatase was 218. She also had a high red blood count.
    Bilirubin was with normal range and she wasn't jaundiced upon physical exam. I was just wonder what other stats some of these cats have and would like to know if this is considered the early stages or is more advanced.
    Thanks again for this encouraging website.

     
  • At April 18, 2009 at 9:45 PM , Blogger Liz said...

    I lost a cat to FLS a year ago. He was in the vet's for 3 weeks, getting force fed. He wouldn't stop throwing up because it was so stressful for him. He wouldn't get better and we ended up having to put him down. This was my first experience with the disease and now, exactly one year later, our Zoe has it. This time I chose to have the vet insert a feeding tube. I have to say that I am happy I did it. She doesn't mind it at all and it's cleaner and less stressful for her. I own my own business and take her with me every day so I can keep her on a routine. I also give her SubQ fluids which really peps her up. This site has been so helpful to me. Just when I think I'm doing everything right, she vomits and I feel like there's no hope. Reading everyone's stories has eased my mind and lets me know it's all part of the proccess and it will take time and patience.

     
  • At May 20, 2009 at 4:08 AM , OpenID no1ogic said...

    My 3 month old kitten is struggling, not eating a lot, awful lethargic, we were told to give her milk 5 times a day and water every 2 hours, as well as letting her eat when she wants.

    She put on weight, then lost it, then put it oon again, but all of her weight seems to be in her stomach, the vet thinks it's all fluids, she seems really lethargic all day, she shakes SOMETIMES after eating.

    The vet said her liver isn't developed properly and did some blood tests. I'm currently waiting for the results but I don't know what exactly it is she has? I've tried googling but can't seem to find it.

    Does anyone know? The last thing I want in the world is to put her down.

    My email is nologic@hotmail.co.uk and I'll check back here...

    Thanks a lot.
    Joanne.

     
  • At May 20, 2009 at 4:57 PM , Blogger katt said...

    joe has had fatty liver for 6 years

    now at 9 they tell me he has a tumor maybe cancer and the vet is sure its related to the fatty liver
    dis has any one heard of this before

     
  • At May 21, 2009 at 12:19 PM , Blogger Katharine Swan said...

    I have a lot to respond to! I'll do this in order...

    Kay, please let us know how Cici is doing. If I'd seen this in time I would have advised against the hospitalization and feeding tube. So far the only cat I know of that was hospitalized for fatty liver didn't make it. I think the stress is too much for them, personally. Unfortunately, I never paid much attention to the stats with Cleo, but this commenter talks about her cat's stats!

    Liz, I think I exchanged a couple of emails with you a while back. Let me know how Zoe is doing, please!

    no1ogic, I'm sorry to hear about your kitten. I have no idea what could be wrong. Remember, I'm not a vet, just someone who has had experience with FLD. It sounds like your kitten probably has something really wrong with her. Hopefully the vet can find out what it is. Good luck!

    And finally, Katt -- Really?? Your cat has had fatty liver for 6 years? As in, you've been force feeding him for 6 years? I've never heard of that before. Also, I haven't heard of fatty liver causing a tumor -- usually a tumor (or another condition) causes the fatty liver, because cats often stop eating when they don't feel well, and then their liver shuts down. I have to admit, I'm a little confused about your situation, so I don't think I can help you -- but feel free to clarify if you think you can!

     
  • At May 31, 2009 at 4:08 AM , Blogger Donna said...

    My 10-year-old cat Apollo is going through the same thing. After a week at the vet's being force-fed, he has now been home for just over a week. The force-feedings are horrible and he is not happy with me after each one. I've been feeding him about 4 times a day with a syringe and I was happy that he was keeping everything down, up till now. Just yesterday he was really lethargic all day, and I was woken up every hour since 3:00 am with him violently retching over and over. Not much is coming up, mostly saliva, but he is making some weird little noises when he vomits. I'm soooo scared and worried that this is a setback when I thought he was on his way to recovery by keeping his food down.
    I don't know what to do....since it's the weekend, my vet isn't open, but I don't want to take him to emergency if the vomiting is just part of the process and we will get through it.

     
  • At June 1, 2009 at 12:10 AM , Blogger Katharine Swan said...

    Donna, I emailed you earlier but I just saw your comment. It appears that Apollo has gotten worse since you emailed me. If the retching is extremely frequent or if it's worse than anything you have seen so far, then yes, you might want to take him into emergency. However, I can tell you that FLD causes a lot of nausea. When Cleo was sick she was start retching at the smell of food, and she threw up after at least one force-feeding almost every day.

    Of course, the weekend is over now so if you haven't already taken Apollo in, your vet should be open tomorrow. Please let me know what happens.

    Also, I hope you'll take my advice from my email, and have your doctor look into what could have caused this. The travel is a possibility, but it doesn't sound like you're sure that would make him stop eating, so it is certainly possible that he already wasn't feeling well from something else and that's what caused him to stop eating.

     
  • At June 7, 2009 at 3:28 AM , Blogger Jennifer K. said...

    I’m going through this with my cat “Bubba Sue”. The problem is Bubba Sue was recently treated with antibiotics for an apparent sinus infection, and she had already begun to eat less before that because, as we now know, she wasn’t feeling well. The antibiotic treatment went on for two weeks, finishing this past Friday, with two successive, different meds, because the first didn’t seem to help. The second seemed to take care of the infection, but towards the middle of the second week (about last Monday) she stopped eating entirely, and within a day or so after that did not seem to be drinking at all, either. It was all downhill after that.

    My vet advised me on our second visit, when he prescribed the second antibiotic, that she may have developed FHL as a result of being older and overweight, in which case she wouldn’t get better from the antibiotic and there was nothing further that could be done, as FHL was fatal. I was (obviously) frightened by this information, and I prayed that the antibiotic would be all that was needed to fix her up. When she began refusing to eat at all and really started to deteriorate after that, I feared the worst. I got online and started "Googling" FHL to see if she had the symptoms (which she did and does) and I found this site, amongst others. To my utter surprise, I learned that FHL is actually treatable and curable -- contrary to what my vet had said -- and I began reading as much as I could to understand what I could do to help my cat. Based on what I read, I tried giving her diluted wet food through a syringe –- and she took it easily, and without resistance, and she seemed marginally better that night. But, I was concerned that I needed to feed her more and a better quality food to reverse the fatty liver and I needed some further advice on this. So, when we returned to the vet this past Thursday, and he began examining her, I was about to ask him about a recommended feeding plan. Before I could even get to that, he started giving me “the speech” about knowing when to let a pet go, not prolonging their suffering for our own selfish needs...” blah, blah, blah. He didn’t seem to want to hear anything I had to say about what I’d found online about the success rate of treatment or FHL. He still insisted that it was fatal; that once the cat started showing symptoms it was too late.

    I stood my ground, however (with tears of anger and frustration welling up after he left the exam room), and he begrudgingly gave me two 60-cc syringes and two cans of Hills SD kitten food, with instructions to mix it with Pedialyte into a paste and feed 120 cc of that daily. He made it plain, however, that he thought I was wasting my time, and that I was dragging out the inevitable. It doesn’t help that some of my immediate family members also seem to think the same thing (they all think I baby my animals too much as it is). I’m cautiously hopeful because my cat is mostly eating on her own, after only three days of the feeding regimen, and is drinking some water, again, as well. But it’s still touch-and-go; she is still very weak and she seems to have also completely or mostly lost her sight over the past two weeks. She also seems a bit delirious at times, and I’m worried about hepatic encephalopathy.

    There are questions I have that I don’t feel I can ask my vet -– he seems to have written both me and my cat off, at this point. And because I live in a rural part of Texas, there is not another qualified (or, frankly, affordable) vet for a couple hundred miles round-trip. Also, I’m self-employed so my budget is quite limited, and I can’t afford any sort of drastic measures or intensive care (e.g., no feeding tube, no surgery). It’s all on me.

    So, to make a long story short, I really feel I’m fighting this uphill battle alone, and I could really use some support and advice from others who have been through this.

    Thanks, and sorry for the long post,
    Jennifer

     
  • At June 7, 2009 at 10:51 AM , Blogger Katharine Swan said...

    Oh, Jennifer, I know what you are going through! Being self-employed is a good thing, though, as you have some flexibility with your schedule. The people I've talked to who have strict work schedules find it challenging to spread out the feedings as much as they should.

    I think it's time for a new vet. If he is this heartless about FHL, will you ever be able to trust his advice again? Find a vet that will sell you a special food that has a high protein content and a thin consistency. I think what I used was called Hills A/D, and that seems to be what everyone else here has been given. If she is drinking on her own the pedialyte is probably not necessary -- and if she is not, you may need to find out about taking her in to a vet for fluid injections, or (if you are comfortable doing it yourself) see if you can find a vet who will sell you an IV bag and needles to do it at home.

    Be sure that you give Bubba Sue as much as you can of her daily quota of food each day, and don't get too discouraged if she starts throwing it up -- nausea is a symptom of FHL and most cats do throw up. If you feed smaller meals more frequently, rather than trying to cram everything into a few big meals, you can minimize the vomiting a little, but other than that I wouldn't worry about it too much. The important thing is to keep getting food in her -- some of it at least will stay down!

    Please feel free to email me or comment again if you have any questions. I'm not a vet or anything, but I've been through this so I might be able to offer some advice and support.

     
  • At June 10, 2009 at 3:37 PM , Blogger Jennifer K. said...

    Katharine:

    Thanks for your e-mail on Monday.

    Bubba Sue had a pretty good day, Monday. I was able to get almost a full 5.5 oz can of Science Diet kitten into her in four feedings, spread out to about every 4 hours during the day. She seemed much more alert and responsive that night, as I put her on a towel on the couch next to me, and she held her head up and purred at the sound of my voice and from me petting her. She was also sitting up and walking without being wobbly. And I weighed her and found that although she hadn’t gained any weight, neither had she apparently lost any more. She seemed to be holding at 15.5 pounds.

    When I got her up yesterday (I had a meeting, so I had to start a bit earlier), she was pretty alert and responsive then, also. I watched as she went to the bathroom in the flowerbed in the backyard all by herself. But she had no interest in the wet food, straight or diluted, and she kept swallowing hard as if she was nauseated. I kept trying over about an hour and a half before I had to give up and get ready to leave for my meeting. This was around 8 a.m.

    I tried again around 1 p.m., and she ate almost a quarter of a can -- her usual portion from the day before -- with a little diluted food added on top as “gravy”, so I was hopeful. But, she didn’t eat any more of the wet at the next two feedings – although, at her last feeding attempt, she did eat a few pieces of dry food on her own.

    I also bought a few more cans of the wet yesterday from my vet, and he seemed to encourage me to continue, so that was good. I told him I was worried that she wasn’t drinking water again, and he told me that it was good if she would drink on her own, but as long as she was eating the wet food – which is 70-80 percent water anyway, she should be getting adequate fluid so she wouldn’t get dehydrated. Her fur has been looking much better since the weekend; very shiny and soft, and didn’t have that “shriveled” look as she did the week before, so I decided we must be OK there. But when she didn’t eat on her own that night, I knew we were probably back to force-feeding.

    I got her up a bit later today, and started trying to get her to eat about 9 a.m. I had some trouble with the syringe, so it took a long time. I finally got her to eat about 20-25 ml of “formula” before she’d had enough, and just wanted to go back to sleep. I didn’t want to push her too much, and thought any amount was good to start, so I thought I’d try more with her later feeding. I started trying to wake her up around three, and got the food warmed and strained more so I wouldn’t have as much trouble with the syringe. She also sounded “phlegm-y” when she purred, so I gave her a couple ml of water from a smaller syringe, which she wasn’t terribly happy about, but I went slowly. I waited a bit before I tried giving her some of the mix from the syringe. She kept turning her head, but I was gently persistent.

    I got a dab in her mouth, and she immediately retched as if she was going to be sick, although she didn’t actually get sick. I felt terrible, and I just let her lie back down at that point, and decided logon and see if anyone had any ideas about how to deal with the nausea. If I can’t even get the syringe in the side of her mouth without her gagging, I don’t know how I’m going to be able to feed her. I’m really starting to lose hope, here, and I’m getting further guilt from other family members about this.

    She really seemed to have improved, Monday, I was feeling like there was some hope. But she’s been on a downward spiral since yesterday, and I don’t know what to do at this point. I don’t know how I am going to be able to feed her, and I’m starting to feel desperate. Any suggestions on how to deal with the nausea?

     
  • At June 10, 2009 at 3:51 PM , Blogger Katharine Swan said...

    Jennifer,

    What do you mean, your family members are giving you guilt? They'd better not be pressuring you to put her down. This is a highly curable disease. Ask if they'd like to be euthanized for a broken leg. GRRRRRRR

    Rant over!

    Now for a different sort of rant. You have GOT to make sure you get enough food into her, nausea or no nausea. THE ONLY WAY YOU CAN GET RID OF THE NAUSEA IS TO GET HER WELL AGAIN. In other words, if she didn't feel sick, she'd be eating on her own, and you wouldn't have a problem. But the failed liver is making her feel sick, and in order to jump start the liver, you have to keep stuffing food into her -- despite the nausea!

    So if that happens again where she won't eat all day, DON'T let her go to bed hungry -- you're only delaying her recovery. Force feed her at least once before you go to bed.

    Ideally, though, you ought to be force feeding her any of the daily quota that she won't eat on her own. I'd give her until mid-evening, and then start force feeding her so that you get a couple of feedings in before you go to bed.

    Remember -- she won't eat as long as she's feeling sick, but she has to eat in order to stop feeling sick -- so you're going to have to help her if she won't eat on her own!

     
  • At June 13, 2009 at 10:45 AM , Blogger Jennifer K. said...

    Hi, Katharine:

    I'm sorry it took so long to get back with you. I started to respond a couple of nights ago, but we had a major phone and Internet outage in our area when a line was cut, and we didn’t get service back until the next day. Since then, I’ve been so bogged down with work and dealing with kitty, I hadn’t had the chance.

    We’ve had to go back to force-feeding, and I was so discouraged by the incident of nausea Bubba Sue had on Wednesday, and I left her alone for the rest of the day and let her sleep. I did manage to get two feedings into her before we both retired for the night. I found that if I held her more upright during the feeding procedure, it seemed to help. Thursday and yesterday, I was able to get her to take about 3/4 of her daily quota.

    But now the latest problem is that the syringes I’ve been using are not working properly anymore. My vet gave me two 60ml syringes with the larger tips, and I was under the impression I would be able to reuse them many times over. But I started with the first, and used it for about a day and a half, before it started becoming really hard to insert and move the plunger within the tube. This is the case whether it’s empty and clean or with formula in it. I switched to the second, and, again, after just a few uses, it started sticking and jamming. I tried putting a bit of cooking oil on the rubber tip of the plunger, thinking I could lubricate it, but that only worked a little bit, and the plunger started sticking again after I let it sit for a few minutes to get the food ready. I’ve tried more oil, but that didn’t make much difference. I may try some spray-on cooking spray. (By the way, I only put in the amount of food I need at each feeding and I do not store the food in the syringe between feedings.)

    This problem with the syringes is really frustrating me, and it’s causing what should be a fairly easy procedure to force-feed my cat to take about 2-3 times as long, to the point where she’s either becoming uncooperative or falling asleep and letting the little bit of formula I do get into her mouth just dribble out. I can see she’s quickly losing ground again because I can’t get the food into I need to. She’s becoming weaker and more lethargic. And I’m getting exhausted.

    Should I be using a new syringe every time? My local feed and animal supply store didn’t have the syringe with the size tip I need. My vet might be able to give me a few more, but what about the long term? I’ve priced syringes of this size (and even a bit smaller) locally, and they actually cost more than the food. How many syringes do you go through if you’re force-feeding for several weeks at a time?

     
  • At June 13, 2009 at 3:39 PM , Blogger Katharine Swan said...

    Jennifer, that's a really good question about the syringes -- I'll have to address that in a blog post sometime!

    Yes, I also found that the plungers in the syringes stopped moving easily after a few uses. It does make feeding very frustrating, because it takes so much force to move the plunger, and then you accidentally get a huge glob of food (and a lot of air) in the cat's mouth.

    I seem to remember that if you hold the syringe under warm/hot water for a little while before you feed her, and heat up the rubber seal a little, it should move more easily for the feeding. You'll have to do that before every feeding, of course, as it's not a permanent fix.

    But in general, when I was feeding Cleo I did switch to a new syringe periodically. I probably went through 1-2 syringes every week. Talk to your vet -- mine didn't charge me for additional syringes. You may be able to get more from your vet at no charge, as well.

     
  • At June 13, 2009 at 5:10 PM , Blogger Jennifer K. said...

    Hi, Katharine:

    It’s been stressful enough just dealing with a sick kitty, but these “technical difficulties” were compounding things. I’m breathing a bit easier now, though, after a couple new tactics. Here’s some of what I’ve tried so far today.

    I went ahead and used the light cooking spray on the rubber tip when the syringe was still wet after rinsing it, and moved the plunger up and down to coat the inside of the tube. It still sticks a bit, but I’ve found a way around this by loading only 15ml or so of food at a time, so I can get better leverage on the plunger. Now it takes much less pressure to move it and I’m not getting the sudden globs anymore. I may have to obtain more syringes down the line, but this seems to be working for now.

    Another trick I discovered is that if I angle the tip of the syringe more towards the front of my cat’s mouth, the food goes directly onto her tongue instead of dribbling out the side of her mouth and getting wasted. The more food that goes inside my cat the better!

    I also broke her 30ml dose into two parts (she’s supposed to have a total of at least 120ml / day). I did one 15ml feeding earlier and was letting her rest on my lap, when I got a phone call, so I gave her the second 15ml about 30-45 minutes later. She’s sleeping now, and I’ll try giving her the last two feedings today about the same way. Both times I let her sit in my lap with her head propped on my knee for a little while before moving her to the bed I’ve made for her in the kitchen, so she is less likely to “spit up” – we had a close call with the first feeding of the day, when I put her to lie down too quickly and she started to gag and was almost choking trying to keep it down. Letting her lie in my lap with her head above the level of the rest of her body for a bit first really seems to help avoid this.

    I guess some of it’s just a matter of trial and error. Hopefully some of what I’ve figured out will be helpful to others, too.

     
  • At June 13, 2009 at 11:53 PM , Blogger Katharine Swan said...

    Jennifer, I'm glad you figured out the syringe thing. It sounds like you're finding a force-feeding routine that really works for you and Bubba Sue. I'm so pleased to hear it!

     
  • At June 16, 2009 at 12:34 PM , Blogger Jennifer K. said...

    Katharine:

    I wanted to write and thank you for your support and encouragement you’ve given me -- and many others, as I’ve seen -- and give you an update.

    Sadly, my cat, Bubba Sue passed away in her sleep sometime between midnight and early this morning. She had been eating more and each day, and seemed much more alert and in good spirits the past few days. She was also much more mobile, despite having lost her sight, and just yesterday I was really feeling she had turned the corner and was going to recover. So it was quite a shock to find her this morning, already gone. But, I am fairly certain she must have had another more serious, undiagnosed problem -- perhaps a brain tumor, which would account for her blindness and a few other neurological symptoms I’d attributed to the FHL -- that ultimately led to her death. Much of what I’ve read online about FHL indicates that it is usually secondary to another problem, and I think that was the case with Bubba Sue. I don’t believe she suffered, and I was glad that I had an extra couple of weeks with her, and had I not found your site and a few others when I did, I might have given up all hope and reluctantly allowed the vet put her down when he wanted to, two weeks ago.

    Instead, she died at home (in her sleep, it appears), in one of her favourite resting spots on the back patio under a big oak tree. Even some of my family members who were initially skeptical about my perseverance (stubbornness!) treating her FHL are now glad that she had the chance to get a bit better and spend more time with her family before she died. All things considered, that was really the best way.

    So, I wanted to thank you again, for your support and encouragement, and say please keep up what you’re doing -- it makes a difference!

    All the best to you and Cleo, and to everyone else here who is going through a rough time trying to help a furry loved one through FLS.

    Love, Jennifer and Bubba Sue

     
  • At June 16, 2009 at 1:09 PM , Blogger Jennifer K. said...

    P.S., If you or anyone else is interested, here are the public links to photos of Bubba Sue I've posted on my Facebook page. (These were taken about a week ago.)

    http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=1147880&id=1586912905

    http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=1147881&id=1586912905

     
  • At June 16, 2009 at 1:19 PM , Blogger Jennifer K. said...

    P.P.S., Or on Flickr, for anyone not on Facebook...

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/25102468@N07/3633491070/

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/25102468@N07/3632678387/

     
  • At June 16, 2009 at 7:03 PM , Blogger Katharine Swan said...

    Jennifer,

    I think you are probably right, and there was something else wrong. I was surprised about her losing her vision when you mentioned it, and it would make sense that something else caused some of her more extreme symptoms.

    Also, looking at the photos you took, she doesn't look like a cat that is starving to death. I think you did the best you could and there was just something else wrong that you couldn't fix. But I fully agree with you -- at least she got to spend a couple extra weeks with her family, and like you said, she died happy and comfortable and at home. She had a very good mommy to make that possible for her.

    Do you mind if I use the picture of Bubba Sue grooming in a short post, a little tribute to her?

    Don't worry, my blog is definitely not going anywhere. I've received so many positive responses, and helped so many people since I put it up. I'm glad it gives so many people hope.

     
  • At June 17, 2009 at 11:31 PM , Blogger Jennifer K. said...

    Katharine:

    Thank you so much for your kind words. Bubba Sue was not only special to me and my immediate family but was also loved by friends and extended family spanning several states who would frequently ask after her, and it’s been my duty to break the sad news to them over the past couple of days.

    Bubba Sue charmed everyone who met her -- even those who wouldn’t consider themselves “a cat person”. She was certainly “a people cat”. She had the sort of sweet disposition which would have probably made her an ideal therapy animal in nursing homes or children’s hospitals, as she was very gentle giant who was happiest sitting in someone’s lap getting petted (if not eating -- or both at the same time if possible!). Although I have several other cats, each of whom I love dearly, Bubba Sue was remarkable and unique enough that I even considered creating a blog for and about her (as things stood, she already had somewhat of a local fan base, so to speak). I don’t know how old she actually was, as my family adopted her as a stray, but I feel fortunate that about five years of her life was spent with us. It seems longer, and yet, at the same time, far too short.

    As a side story about how she got her unusual name: we originally called her “Big Bubba”, for obvious reasons, and we thought she must be a neutered male. However, the longer she stayed with us, we noted how she befriended and mothered one of our other (male) cats constantly and her personality traits were such that we started to suspect she must be a female. About that time, my mother joked that we should rename her “Bubba Sue”, and there was also the reference to Johnny Cash’s song “A Boy Named Sue”. So, that’s how she got her name. (Incidentally, she was so overweight that even our vet had trouble finding the actual ... ahem ... “evidence” ... either way.)

    Just thinking of that story and remembering makes me smile, and Bubba Sue had a way of making everyone smile. It’s been very difficult for me to accept that she is gone, and so suddenly at that, when I was certain she had so much life left, if she had just been able to recover from her illness. I never had my vet run the tests to formally confirm that she had FLS, but she had nearly all the symptoms (minus the jaundice), and she was responding to treatment over the past few days. I don’t know what else was wrong and what ultimately caused her death, though I strongly suspect she may have had some sort of a tumor. But I truly believe that if FLS had been the sole, greatest threat to her health, she would have recovered in the next couple of weeks or so, and I’m grateful your blog was here to give me the support I needed in order to try to help her as best I could.

    Yes, please feel free to use either photo of Bubba Sue in your post. It would be lovely to have a tribute paid to her, here, after the support I received, and if in some way it helps someone else visiting your blog, it would also give me a little bit of solace.

    Jennifer

     
  • At July 6, 2009 at 11:57 PM , Blogger Nancy said...

    Hi there. Glad to find this site. My 5 year old cat, Bandit, had to be taken to the emergency room when she was hiding and lethargic. There I found out she had something wrong with her liver and she was given fluids. The next day I went to the regular vet and he doesn't know what is wrong with her, other than something wrong with her liver. I had been away for about a week and when I came home I picked her up and noticed she had lost quite a bit of weight. I am treating her as if she has FLS. She has been getting daily subQ fluids at the vet, who was nice enough to let me come by during the July 4th holiday weekend. I wondered what others have done about fluids. The vet told me today I could go to every other day for the subQ fluids, but it is hard to do with my work schedule and it is expensive plus it is stressful for Bandit. Any other ideas would be welcome. I appreciate the support. This is a very tiring and worrisome disease. After a couple of days Bandit seemed a little better but since then she has seemed to stay about the same. She is liking the force feeding with a syringe less and less and tries to hide from me when I hold her and feed her. Thanks for the help. Nancy

     
  • At July 24, 2009 at 5:10 PM , Blogger Kelley said...

    My cat has been sick for 29 days. I am force feeding him and he seemed like he was getting better but now he seems the same if not worse! I did bring him to the vet near the beginning of this illness and was not told he had fld for sure. I am afraid to bring him back now cause he seems so weak and they do not really want to help they feel he should be put to sleep. I did not think that was the case at first but now maybe they are right! Today he has thrown up with every feeding. Oh it is so disheartening. Am I doing the right thing by him or just prolonging his agony? Is this normal for a cat with FLD to still be so sick or do you think it is another problem? Please let me know what you think. Thank you very much your site has been a great support for me so far in this battle. Kelley

     
  • At July 25, 2009 at 4:02 AM , Blogger Jennifer K. said...

    Kelley, when I read your post, I had to write.

    I went through the same thing with my cat about 6 weeks ago. Something that might help you: I found if I put my cat to lie down too quickly after syringe feeding her, she would start to gag and choke, and I would panic. So I started just holding her sort of upright, cradled in the crook of my elbow with her head against my chest, and then I'd gradually let her lie down, but still keeping her head above the rest of her body. I would pet her and talk to her soothingly, and she would actually start purring and fall asleep like this! I would do this over a period of about 15-20 minutes after the feeding, and it really did seem to help. She was then able to keep the food down with no problem, and I was able to move her to her bed and let her rest comfortably afterwards.

    I also went through the same "guilt trip" thing with my vet, and I live in a rural area of Texas where the next closest vet for me is 20 miles away, or I would have probably gone to someone else much sooner. My vet, like yours, was pressuring me to have my cat put down, and there were times when I was so exhausted and disheartened I was afraid I would give in. For this reason, I, too, was reluctant to take her back -- which, in hindsight, makes me rather angry that I was made to feel that way. It was that lack of support that led me to start corresponding with Katharine here. In fact, I feel I spent so much energy fighting my vet's negative influence and focussing on the FLD itself, I think we missed the opportunity to get to the bottom of what was causing her to stop eating in the first place, and my cat ultimately did not survive. (I also think there were other mistakes that were made on the part of my vet, including the medicine he initially prescribed to treat what we thought was an infection, and which ended up actually making her sicker. Thus, I don't know if I can trust him again, and I am seriously considering taking my other cats elsewhere for acute care in the future -- and this man is a friend of my family's.)

    Just remember, vets are human, too, and they CAN be wrong. And like all doctors, they are *supposed* to follow the Hippocratic Oath: "First, do no harm." If your vet is quick to opt for euthanasia as a "solution" like mine seemed (seems) to be, that's not exactly honouring that oath, is it?

    Had I to do it all over again, I think I would have tried harder, earlier, to find another vet who was more supportive and willing to work with me. I think that might have made a HUGE difference in the outcome and my cat might still be alive today.

    If there is someone who can recommend another vet for you, and you can call and talk to them and see if they'd be willing to take you and work with you, I would urge you to very seriously consider it -- and soon. Don't wait until your cat gets too low and reaches the point of no return.

    One last thing, if your cat has an appetite or is at least taking the force feedings without too much fuss, then that is something positive and I wouldn't give up yet. But most definitely I would look into what might be causing him to stop eating in the first place, because it might be something treatable but fatal if left alone.

    Hang in there; I and many others know exactly what you're going through. You're not alone. :)

    Best wishes,
    Jennifer

     
  • At July 27, 2009 at 12:54 AM , Blogger Katharine Swan said...

    Jennifer, thanks for responding while I was otherwise occupied, and giving Kelley some hope. :o)

    Kelley, as I'm sure you can tell from reading this blog, a LOT of people feel the way you do when dealing with fatty liver disease. When Cleo was sick I did find information that said it could take as long as 2 months for a cat to start eating on their own, so the month your cat has been sick for might not be as bad as it feels!

    I can give you some advice, but ultimately it'll be your decision what to do. I would be sure to find out how much food your cat should be having a day, set a daily goal, and try to reach it as often as possible -- even if he throws a lot of it up. Chances are some of it is at least staying down, because Cleo vomited A LOT and she still recovered. But getting enough protein is the key to your cat's recovery, so you really can't afford to be timid about force feeding.

    Jennifer also gave some really sound advice about your situation with your vet. It's important to have a vet you can trust. My vet totally supported me throughout Cleo's recovery, and that made a huge difference for me. Also, what she said is right -- you need to have a vet so that you can determine what caused the FLD to happen in the first place, if you can't identify an environmental cause. In most (if not all) of the cases I've heard of where the cat didn't make it, the cat had (or was suspected to have) something else that was interfering with a full recovery.

    Feel free to comment and keep us posted, or email me if you'd like. I know from experience how upsetting it can be NOT to have anyone to talk to. I'll help you through this as much as I can!

     
  • At December 8, 2009 at 11:07 PM , Blogger thatwave said...

    I have a vet appointment tomorrow, but I wonder if anyone has any ideas. I have taken in a cat that had hepatic lipidosis. She was very yellow and very sick, but started making a very speedy, miraculous recovery. Her bilirubin went down very quickly and her other numbers bounced back rather well. She stayed in the emergency clinic almost a week with no vomiting and she was home for almost two weeks with no vomiting, Her first check up visit showed her numbers were improving though not as dramatically as at first. She was normal range in almost everything. Now, in the past week, she has started spitting up regularly. This started right when she started drinking on her own again. She is drinking a normal amount, but spits up afterwards. These are very small amounts, usually a teaspoon at most and mostly water with a tinge of food. She is taking her feedings very well and we've been able to increase her to her full daily diet as recommended by the vet. We began treatment just over three weeks ago and she was making great progress until just under a week ago. Other than the spitting up, she continues to do well. She's regained strength, energy, her previous habits, grooming, etc. She still won't eat on her own. What could be going on? We never found anything underlying the hepatic lipidosis, but she was with a pet sitter when this started, so we figured that was what started it. The pet sitter and her previous owner ignored it and she was almost dead when I took over three weeks ago and got her to a doctors. Now I'm scared there is something underlying. She is also being fussy in her litter box and going in over and over to scratch, but is having regular urine and bowel movements. This cat was previously healthy but obese.

     
  • At December 20, 2009 at 11:08 AM , Blogger Jeffrey Haase said...

    Recently took 4 year old cat to vet. Utilized feeding tube, following instructions on daily amounts. Suspected of dealing with fatty liver disease. Any time line till they want to eat on their own again, let me know your thoghts.

     
  • At December 20, 2009 at 11:31 PM , Blogger Katharine Swan said...

    Hi Jeffrey. You said you suspect fatty liver -- but you don't know for sure? The vet can determine whether the liver is functioning properly with a blood panel. I'm surprised they would have put in a feeding tube without one.

    I've heard cats generally take one or two months to start eating on their own. Their liver has to start working well enough that they no longer feel nauseated. Cleo took four weeks, but I've heard of some cats taking considerably less time -- and others taking considerably more. I just talked to someone the other day whose cat took four and a half months, but I think that's a really extreme case.

    In general, I'd say to expect it to take between one and two months.

     
  • At February 8, 2010 at 11:32 PM , Blogger Liz said...

    Hi! I want to thank you for this great site. I have been torn by many emotions on what to do with my sweet tuxedo kitty, Samantha aka Sammi. Since reading your site I feel so much hope. I took Sammi to the vet on Saturday and she was diagnosed with fatty liver. Reason: unknown but I suspect my boyfriends new puppy who would come over regulary and stay the night stressed her out. Anycase, she was a very muscular chubby cat and started to loose weight. When I took her to the vet she weighed 8lbs. I was quoted anywhere from $1000 to $1500 to get feeding tubes on her and felt very pressured to make a decision soon. I couldnt imagine letting my cat continue to starve while I was making a decision so I asked the vet if there was any special food to give her while I thought this out. He gave me one can of Hill's A/D and no instructions on how to feed her. I had to do the research and get the syringes etc. He did give her an appetite stimulant and I was very pleased to see her eat a little on her own for a day and a half. I have been trying to feed her one syringe which is a half ounce every 3 hours getting about a 5oz can of food into her a day. I have called and emailed the vet for advice but he has not returned my call...hmmm?
    Anyway is this enough food? How much should i try to get in her a day?
    I do not want to loose this sweet snuggle bug and it is killing me inside on what to do. I want so badly to save her but I dont know if I am doing it right. I even bought some catnip to help incrase her appetite but she has shown no interest.
    Any advice and encouraging words greatly appreciated. Thank you!

     
  • At February 8, 2010 at 11:47 PM , Blogger Katharine Swan said...

    Liz, you are doing a STELLAR job. A full can of food is indeed what you should be getting into her, and feeding every 3 hours is also perfect. Great job! I am so impressed! Honestly, it doesn't sound like you need the feeding tube -- you are doing just fine without it, so why put your cat through that?

    Is she still eating anything on her own or did that subside? I haven't heard of people having much luck with an appetite stimulant until their cat is well on the road to recovery. The liver failure actually makes them feel nauseated, which is why force feeding is necessary.

    It can take 4-8 weeks of force feeding before a cat with fatty liver disease will start eating on their own, but if your cat is showing any inclination to eat it may actually be less for you. Just keep pushing the food until she starts eating reliably on her own.

    It's unfortunate, but many vets don't seem to know much about fatty liver disease. I hear so many stories about misdiagnoses and unsupportive vets. Your vet even sounds peeved that you didn't get the expensive surgery done. If you don't feel you can trust your vet to advise you and help you through this, I would suggest getting another vet. You will probably need to do some tests along the way to track her recovery, and if you're not positive it was the puppy, you might want to check for what else could have caused this. A good vet you can trust is a necessity when dealing with something life-threatening such as FLD!

     
  • At February 9, 2010 at 7:12 PM , Blogger Liz said...

    Hi Katharine!
    Thank you so much for your response! I am so glad to know I am doing well. Sammi has gained 2lbs since Sunday as of this morning so that is a pound a day.
    I will continue feeding her and she did well with the appetite stimulant but now she is not eating on her own. I am giving her all she needs. I agree with you about the vet. I am upset he has not returned my phone calls or email. In the beginning he seemed very nice and gave me his cell to call on Sunday (his day off if I need anything) but I feel he is only after my money. Sammi is stil lethargic but I am determined to keep her alive and make her well. I will keep you posted on the progress!

    Thank you again Katharine! Your site is saving my sweet Sammi and keeping me hopeful! (((Hugs)))

     
  • At February 9, 2010 at 8:31 PM , Blogger Katharine Swan said...

    Liz, 2 pounds in 2 days is fantastic! Congratulations!

    I am glad you are finding the site helpful. That's why it's here -- I started out just posting updates for family and friends when Cleo was sick, but I got so many responses that I decided to keep it up even after she recovered!

    Keep us posted on Sammi's progress, please!

     
  • At February 10, 2010 at 11:51 PM , Blogger Liz said...

    OMG! Sammi is eating on her own now! She was diagonosed 4 days ago! I offered her some treats (usually she comes running) and lately she has been so disinterested. Today I shook the bag and she slowly came. I fed her one adn she ate it and then I gave her about 10! I also put the wet A/D food out and she took a few bites. I have only had to force feed her once today and the rest of the day she ate enough.

    The vet finally responded to me via email about my request for a prescription for appetite stimulant he also suggested I give her two more prescriptions one called Denosyl and one called Actigall.
    I plan to pick them up tomorrow.

    I am so excited!!

    I will continue to give you updates.

    If anyone else is reading and at a loss...this really does work. I almost put my cat down because I was not educated on this disease and had given up all hope until I stumbled upon this site for my research.

    Katharine! I am so happy you run this site. I truly feel blessed and you have helped so many.
    Thank you Katharine!

     
  • At February 11, 2010 at 12:02 AM , Blogger Katharine Swan said...

    Liz, I am so happy she's eating! Usually FLD doesn't clear up that fast, so I suspect you may have caught it really early. Either that, or those appetite stimulants the vet gave you really helped! Be sure to keep an eye on her and make sure she continues eating enough, and force-feed her if she doesn't -- you don't want her to slip back into being worse again.

     
  • At February 11, 2010 at 10:29 AM , Blogger Liz said...

    Thank you Katharine! I will keep a good eye on her. I havent even given her the appetite stimulants yet so hopefully I caught it early.
    I am prepared to force feed her if she wont eat.

    She doesnt go to the food herself which is interesting. I have to bring it to her to eat.

    After she eats she then paws the floor around the bowl as if she is burying it. Cant figure that one out?

    I will continue to keep you updated.

     
  • At February 20, 2010 at 3:21 PM , Blogger Kristen said...

    I just found this blog site. At first, I wanted to just read the posts but after seeing how helpful and supportive everyone was, I felt inclined to join in and share my story about Shadow (a.k.a. Mr. S). Shadow was diagnosed with FLD back in late December. I've spent the last two months force feeding him, which he's really good about, and giving him subQ fluids daily. It's been a roller coaster and the more I read people's stories about FLD, the more I'm understanding that the roller coaster is part of it. A couple of weeks ago, I thought he was getting better but this past week seems to have taken us backwards. He's now started throwing up every time we feed him. The thing that I've found most interesting is that many times he'll throw up 2,3,4, hours after he's fed. When we first started treatment, we were giving his a shot of anti-nausea (chlorpromozine) but that did not seem to be doing much good. Of course the constant throwing up has left me wondering if what we're doing isn't working and if it's just time to put Mr. S to sleep. I don't want to give up, but I also don't want to prolong any suffering he might be experiencing. Over the past couple of days, I've really been thinking that it's time to put him to sleep but now that I've read this blog, just about everyone is saying, don't give up. I've seen the posts about using milk thistle so I'm considering giving that a try. Shadow's next appointment is this Friday. We're going to do another blood panel on him. At his last blood panel (which was about a month ago), the vet said that 2 out of the 3 enzymes were approaching normal although the third was still elevated. At that time, the vet expressed optimism and I of course felt very optimistic. That has unfortunately since wained but I still continue with the feeding and fluids. The other thing that is complicating things is that Mr. S is also about 12 years old and he has FIV. It's going to be hard to be patient until his appointment on Friday but I'm willing to wait to see what the vet says before I make any more decisions. Anyway, I realize I'm rambling a bit but I suppose for a first post, that's somewhat normal. Any words of wisdom and comfort y'all have would be appreciated. Thanks!

     
  • At February 22, 2010 at 11:37 PM , Blogger Katharine Swan said...

    Kristen, do you know what caused Shadow to stop eating in the first place? Have you checked to make sure he doesn't have something else that is making him throw up? If he's got something else too, you'll have to make sure that is treated as well before he'll make a full recovery.

    Also, have you changed anything in his feeding regimen? Feeding him more, larger meals, etc? Those could be reasons why he is throwing up.

    Other than the vomiting, it sounds like he is on the mend. I hope the trend continues, and you get through the vomiting. In my experience, bad days come in waves -- hang in there! My thoughts will be with you!

     
  • At February 25, 2010 at 9:21 AM , Blogger Kristen said...

    Hi Katherine,

    Thanks so much for your response and support! Unfortunately, we (my husband and I) don't know what exactly what caused the FLD nor why Mr. S is having such a difficult time keeping food down. He's always had somewhat of a sensitive stomach and was throwing up once or twice a week before he quit eating and the FLD started.

    The past two weeks were really rough as that's when we tried feeding him more per feeding. We were at 15-20 cc per feeding but then increased to 30-35. It seemed every time we did a 30-35 cc feeding, he threw up every time. I'm happy to report that he's been doing better the past couple of days but that's because we backed off the amount we've been feeding him (we're back to 15-20 cc). But, the down side is that we're not getting enough in him per day to really make a difference and reverse the FLD.

    His appointment is tomorrow and we're going to ask more questions about possible causes. As I said in the last blog, his FIV test came back positive so I'm guessing that's a major driving force of all of this stuff. And, what the vet said is that the FIV will likely make it take that much longer to treat his FLD.

    My sense is that we're going to choose to continue treatment but we're going to make some modifications such as trying some anti-nausea meds again. I'm hoping his blood panel shows that he's continuing to improve. Thanks again for all of your support and I'll definitely keep posting.

     
  • At February 25, 2010 at 9:22 AM , Blogger Kristen said...

    This comment has been removed by the author.

     
  • At February 25, 2010 at 9:24 AM , Blogger Kristen said...

    Hi Katherine,

    Thanks so much for your response and support! Unfortunately, we (my husband and I) don't know what exactly what caused the FLD nor why Mr. S is having such a difficult time keeping food down. He's always had somewhat of a sensitive stomach and was throwing up once or twice a week before he quit eating and the FLD started.

    The past two weeks were really rough as that's when we tried feeding him more per feeding. We were at 15-20 cc per feeding but then increased to 30-35. It seemed every time we did a 30-35 cc feeding, he threw up every time. I'm happy to report that he's been doing better the past couple of days but that's because we backed off the amount we've been feeding him (we're back to 15-20 cc). But, the down side is that we're not getting enough in him per day to really make a difference and reverse the FLD.

    His appointment is tomorrow and we're going to ask more questions about possible causes. As I said in the last blog, his FIV test came back positive so I'm guessing that's a major driving force of all of this stuff. And, what the vet said is that the FIV will likely make it take that much longer to treat his FLD.

    My sense is that we're going to choose to continue treatment but we're going to make some modifications such as trying some anti-nausea meds again. I'm hoping his blood panel shows that he's continuing to improve. Thanks again for all of your support and I'll definitely keep posting.

     
  • At February 25, 2010 at 9:38 AM , Blogger Katharine Swan said...

    Kristen,

    30-35 CCs is a lot at one time for a cat. Try more frequent feedings of 20-25 CCs instead. You can feed him every 2 or 3 hours. I used to try to get about 6 feedings into Cleo a day. I know it's hard, but it works much better than increasing the feeding size!

    As for the cause, the vomiting could have been caused by IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), which is apparently not uncommon with cats. Pancreatitis and lymphoma are other diseases that will cause a cat to stop eating. The latter is obviously not curable, so it might be a good idea to have the vet do some further tests so that you know what you are dealing with. It could have also been something situational -- with Cleo it was the introduction of a dog into the household -- but I think if that were the case, you'd have a pretty good guess as to what it was.

     
  • At February 28, 2010 at 12:01 PM , Blogger wlshelby said...

    Do you think it is possible to be recovering after 2 1/2 weeks of syringe feeding? He's a big cat so the Vet wanted us to work on getting up to 2 1/2 cans of Hills a/d a day. We started with a can a day for the first few days and started building it up until he was getting at least 2 cans a day and sometimes more. He has only thrown up from food twice (we think he was just overfull) the other 4 times were always after having getting medicine so the Vet told us to just focus on the food since that is what will ultimately reverse the disease. He started taking little bites of dry food on day 4 and this week he has been eating the food with tuna water every time I offer it to him and quite a bit on his own also. He also has been eating quite a few treats and is eating catnip and cat grass again. We are still concerned that he is not getting enough calories in the dry food he is eating (of course the one he likes is the one that has the least calories)so we are still trying to get as much food in him by syringe as possible but because he is feeling so much better he is fighting the syringe and us horribly. At his last check-up he was up to 15.7 from 14.9 the week before (but he should be around 17lbs.) His jaundice is almost gone and he's been grooming and drinking water since day 3. We also think that he is adjusting to his new living situation which we believe was the cause. I know your not a Vet but ours has been unavailable to answer questions for several days now and any thoughts you have to offer would be appreciated.

     
  • At February 28, 2010 at 2:44 PM , Blogger Katharine Swan said...

    I've talked to people whose cats started eating on their own after only a week or so of force-feeding, so yes, I think it's possible. It depends mainly on how early you caught the condition -- how bad his liver got before you started force-feeding him.

    Check the manufacturer's recommendations to find out how much of the dry food he should have a day, and try to monitor how much he is eating. If he is eating the majority of his daily quota on his own, I think you can stop force-feeding him, but DO monitor him closely so that if he stops eating again, you can take immediate action.

     
  • At February 28, 2010 at 4:24 PM , Blogger wlshelby said...

    Katharine,
    Thank you soo much for your quick reply! Your blog is one of the main reasons why we chose to try feeding him vs. a feeding tube (along with the $2,300 it would cost and we could not afford). It hasn't been easy but it is extremely rewarding to see CC improving every day without a tube shoved in him which the Vet implied was the only way he would get better. We know were not out of the woods yet but getting there. Thank you for keeping this blog going. I've gone to ALOT of online resources and have found more information from your story and the other stories posted here than anywhere else.

    Thank you again!

    P.S. What are your thoughts on cat treats to add calories?

     
  • At February 28, 2010 at 11:24 PM , Blogger Katharine Swan said...

    Well, cat treats aren't a good primary source of calories, BUT I think if he will eat them willingly, induldge him all you want! It certainly is not at all a bad thing to remind him that he likes to eat! ;o)

    I'm glad my blog has been helpful! Feeding tubes are good if you aren't able to get enough food into them by mouth. If you can, though, there is no reason for a surgery that is just going to stress them out! So glad force-feeding has worked so well for you guys. It makes me happy to hear that my blog has helped!

     
  • At November 27, 2010 at 8:27 PM , Blogger Laura said...

    Hi Katharine, Thank you for this wonderful resource. T.J., my beautiful 12 year old cat, had FLS when he was 6 and I force fed him back to health. It took months before his weight and liver enzymes were normal. When he was 10 he was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism and takes methimazole daily. Several weeks ago I noticed T.J. wasn't eating normally and I started force feeding him to ward off FLS. While doing that I wasn't consistent with his thyroid meds and he started to lose weight so on 11/17/10 I took him to the vet for blood work. He weighed 9-3/4 lbs, down from 12 lbs the year before. His thyroid level was a whopping 19 (normal is .8 to 4) and his liver enzymes and bilirubin were elevated. The vet thinks the hyperthyroidism somehow triggered FLS. Aside from blood work T.J. has not had any other tests to confirm this. The vet wants to treat him symptomatically and I agree. He doubled T.J.'s thyroid meds and agreed with my decision to force feed him vs the feeding tube. T.J. was prescribed Hills A/D and Pepcid AC (1/4 pill daily) for nausea. Despite the Pepcid he vomited brown liquid once a day for 3 days. On the 4th and 5th day I gave him a second 1/4 pill later in the day and he did not vomit. But the vet said not to give more than 1/4 a day as more can cause toxicity. I took T.J. back to the vet on 11/24/10 to check his weight and he had gained 1/4 lb!! The vet and I were thrilled. Tonight T.J. vomited brown liquid (a lot) right after the first syringe of food. I cleaned it up, waited several minutes and continued to force feed him (with my heart broken that my boy is so sick). So far, no more vomiting. Tomorrow I'll try crushing the 1/4 Pepcid and mixing it into his food throughout the day. I've developed a system of force feeding T.J. that gets every drop of food into his mouth with very little mess. He's eating 1-1/2 to 2 cans (5.5 oz) daily. T.J. goes back to the vet next week for another weight check and the following week for more blood work. Thank you again for being here for all of us who are dealing with FLS. If it would be helpful I'm happy to share my method of force feeding with anyone who is having problems getting enough food into their cat. Happy Holidays, Laura

     
  • At December 15, 2010 at 11:08 AM , Blogger Ashley said...

    We found eyedroppers to be easier to use than syringes. Less gagging, and less mess. The time it takes to reload the dropper gives the cat time to swallow. We put the liquified food into a prescription pill vial which is easy to handle, and its shape makes it easy to load the dropper. The food can be warmed by setting the pill vial in a little bowl of warm water.

     

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