The last week has been hard. For the last few months we have noticed Trouble losing weight. We had put her on a diet many times and really had no success. When we restricted food Trouble ate her regular share and Flair went without. Flair would then wake us up at 4am hungry. So we got the automatic feeder and slept thru the night. The cats started to lose weight we thought we had found a solution. After awhile Flair stopped losing weight and Troubles dropped more and more. Then food was being left in the bowl. We switched the flavor of food we bought back to their regular stuff, and she seemed much happier. It was now summer, and the temperature got hotter, and they stopped eating as much (which they always do) and Trouble lost more weight. We started talking about taking her to the vet. Her annual visit should be coming up but the card didn’t come in August or September. She then started looking really thin. You could feel her hips but she was happy, cuddly, and playful like a kitten again. But I decided she needed to go in so I made an appointment and then pushed it up to get her in sooner.
The vet could tell something was wrong. She had lost 6lbs. She had gone from from 18lbs to 12 over the summer. During the exam he checked her kidneys which were really painful and immediately ordered a blood and urine test. We went home hopeful a kidney infection was what was causing her to stop eating. The next day we got the news she had a UTI but her liver enzymes were off and that was a concern. We needed to bring her in to get a shot of antibiotics and then later in the week have an ultrasound and xrays. We brought her in to get the antibiotics. She hated it and we could hear her yowling in the back.
A few days later I brought her in for the xrays and ultrasound. I waited all day for news. They weren’t good and added more pieces to the puzzle. From the tests her liver appeared smaller, stomach wall seemed thick and there was a questionable spot on her lymph nodes. Given the other tests it looked like lymph sarcoma, a cancer that causes tumors and often times in the digestive track. In order to know for sure and what all was affected and how bad it was the doctor needed to see the organs. He would then biopsy the questionable stuff, remove anything that was cancer, and then we would do chemo.
I was a mess, a crying, sad, mess. I went and brought her home for the night. She was refusing to eat for the vet and really couldn’t walk she was so sedated. When I got her out of her carrier it was like I had a seal pup. She fought me to walk even though she would fall over and she went straight to the food dish. I was thrilled and after she ate she let me cuddle her while she fought to stay awake. She was lost. She couldn’t walk straight, couldn’t clean herself, and couldn’t remember to keep her tongue in her mouth but come bedtime she refused to do anything other than sleep with us. Or she slept, I watched her, and Chris hung onto the edge of the bed.
The next morning she went in for surgery, I was fine until I drove to work. Then I lost it. I went home early to rest before the official diagnosis. I didn’t get much sleep though since my heart was pounding waiting for the diagnosis.
So here it is. Trouble has hepatic lipidosis or fatty liver disease. As soon as they opened up her abdomen the doctor knew that is what was making her so sick. He didn’t even do biopsies of her other organs. Hepatic lipidosis is a condition unique to cats and I am familiar with it from reading about cats in shelters. When cats stop eating their bodies convert fat deposits to energy but cats livers are not able to process fat so as the fat enters the blood stream it gets filtered by the liver and just stays there. You can’t see this on ultrasounds or x-rays but when you look at the liver it is visible. Honestly this is what I had feared was happening or could be happening when she started losing weight.
So the treatment now is to force feed her and maintain a special diet for the next 7+ weeks. She needs an appetite stimulant, pain killer, and nausea medicine to help her get better.
I am so glad she doesn’t have cancer. I cried. This will be hard work but no chemo, no cancer, it sounds good to me.