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aggieervet
aggieervet, Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 662
Experience:  Emergency veterinarian for 5 years and general practice veterinarian for 3 years.
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my 15 year old cat has stopped eating and drinking! she was

Customer Question

my 15 year old cat has stopped eating and drinking! she was fine till about 2.5 weeks ago. went out of town for 3 days and she has visably lost weight and i have been feeding her with a syringe. i have taken her to the vet, they say "liver problems, fatty liver" how could this gappen so fast. also she has some really bad teeth, and she said they should come out. is she too sick to anesthetize with isoforane? could this be the cause of the original problem< what to do with my long time family member??
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Expert:  aggieervet replied 2 years ago.

aggieervet :

Hi and thanks for using justanswer.com. My name is Shawn, and I will do whatever I possibly can to help answer your questions. Give me a minute to read your post so I can best answer your question. While I am reading your question please let me know if you pet has any current or previous medical problems or is on any medications currently.

aggieervet :

I;m sorry to hear about your little Archemedies

aggieervet :

When did you take him to the vet? What tests were done and do you know the results?

JACUSTOMER-6mnc3gc4- :

she has had blood work that shows "liver problems"

aggieervet :

do you know how high/bad the results were?

aggieervet :

Is she having vomiting/diarrhea or just not eating and weight loss?

aggieervet :

when was the blood work done? Did they recommend any medications/treatments?

aggieervet :

Severe dental disease can be painful but even then most dogs/cats will still eat enough to prevent hepatic lipidosis (fatty liver). There is almost always an underlying problem to cause the fatt liver - it doesn't occur on its own

JACUSTOMER-6mnc3gc4- :

she has gone qod for one week to the vet. after hydration she almost acts normal but will not eat on her own and makes no effort to. they gave her bupinex for pain today, thought her mouth may be the issue. she had vomiting first.. then the food refusal.

aggieervet :

has she had an ultrasound done or aspirates of the liver?

aggieervet :

It is difficult to say if she is too sick for anesthesia without knowing how bad her blood work looks. That being said, we will put many of these cats under anesthesia to place a feeding tube. If she truly has fattly liver, then the ONLY treatment to reverse it is nutrition. You have to get a lot more than just a little nutrition in her too (very difficult to do with a syringe) - feeding tubes allow you to give her an adequate amount of food to reverse the problems of fatty liver. However, you will still need to address the underlying problem in the near future if not at the same time.

JACUSTOMER-6mnc3gc4- :

no we don't know that we want to do that

aggieervet :

she is likely too sick to undergo anesthesia for a full mouth evaluation and anesthesia as that takes a lot longer than a feeding tube.

aggieervet :

I would suggest you get an ultrasound to further evaluate the underlying cause of her signs. Many of these cats have cancer, pancreatitis, hepatitis, inflammatory bowel disease, etc. If the underlying problem is not found, then it is that much more difficult to get them healthy again.

JACUSTOMER-6mnc3gc4- :

don't know if the feeding tube idea is the way to go

aggieervet :

the only other option besides a feeding tube would be to continue syringe feedings but you are likely not going to get enough nutrition into her to reverse the fatty liver disease (if that is truly what is present).

aggieervet :

you have to get at bare minimum a normal amount of food into her to do that.

JACUSTOMER-6mnc3gc4- :

is there a way to get more nutrition in her with a syringe,higher cal food suppliments etc...

what is the bare minimum?

aggieervet :

there are some foods that are more concentrated and higher in calories/fat (ex: science diet a/d, eukanuba Max Cal) so you have to give a less but even with these foods it is difficult to syringe feed enough as most cats wont tolerate at.

aggieervet :

how much does she normally weigh?

aggieervet :

what type of food are you feeding?

JACUSTOMER-6mnc3gc4- :

what caused the problem to begin with? just over the 3 days? about 9# she now weighs 7.5 and still loosing. she is on science diet a/d now

aggieervet :

If she is still losing and not vomiting, then that is because she is not getting enough nutrition or there is an underlying disease process that has not been addressed as mentioned above. For a 9 pound cat, she would need 240 mls of a/d PER DAY for maintenance.

Usually the problem has been 'brewing' for a few days but the signs are minimal and thus not noticed, then they go down hill very quickly.

aggieervet :

sorry that should be 240 KCAL, not mls

aggieervet :

1 can is 150 mls, there is about 180 KCAL/can, which is about 1.2KCAL/ml, which means to get 240 KCAL, you would need to feed 200 mls per day

JACUSTOMER-6mnc3gc4- :

there is no notation on the can, the KCAL are not on the can. she is to have the whole can, and this has been able to be done. after u put a feeding tube in her will she ever eat again?

JACUSTOMER-6mnc3gc4- :
aggieervet :

she needs more than 1 can - she needs closed to 1.33 cans per day to get minimum nutritional needs - ideally closer to 1.5 cans would be even better to reverse the fatty liver (again, assuming that is what is going on).

aggieervet :

Yes, with a feeding tube they can still eat even with the tube in place.

JACUSTOMER-6mnc3gc4- :

at this time that is impossible !!!! for sure just to get 2, 10cc syinges into her..is a project q2hrs and often she does vomit some. we are calling the vet now for the lab results.

JACUSTOMER-6mnc3gc4- :
aggieervet :

a feeding tube is designed and meant to be a temporary bridge to give the patient time to heal.

aggieervet :

Yep, it usually is impossible without a feeding tube....as mentioned above. you are fighting an uphill battle at this time and you will need to get more aggressive to give her a chance to improve. Again, I would strongly recommend an ultrasound of her abdomen to evaluate for the underlying cause. Pending those results, a feeding tube should be placed to allow you to give medications and food.

JACUSTOMER-6mnc3gc4- :

will she be "the same cat" if we get this fatty liver cleared up, or is this all in vain and she will pass anyway? seems to be a painful end of life for my fav cat!

JACUSTOMER-6mnc3gc4- :
aggieervet :

10cc every 2 hours, if she doesn't vomit any of it up, is only about 144 KCAL, which is barely half of what she needs.

JACUSTOMER-6mnc3gc4- :

she vomits with more than that. what causes this issue anyway?

aggieervet :

that is impossible to answer without more information. Fatty liver is ALWAYS secondary to another problem. The biggest question to determine prognosis is - What is the cause?

aggieervet :

you need to do further tests (the ultrasound +/- aspirates) to determine the underlying cause first

JACUSTOMER-6mnc3gc4- :

what should we be asking our vet to be more knowledgable and more questions answered?

JACUSTOMER-6mnc3gc4- :

but u recommend a feeding tube in the meantime to better her nutrition,

aggieervet :

at this time, we don't even know that she has fatty liver, that is diagnosed based on ultrasound and aspirates. If an ultrasound has not been done, then we are guessing that is the problem. that being said, fatty liver disease occurs commonly in cats (usually fat cats) that suddenly stop eating for 3-5 days (due to many different problems) and then the body starts breaking down the fat in the body to provide nutrition to other organs (just like in humans, dogs, etc). However, cats livers care very finicky and can not handle all that fat so the fat starts to clog up the liver and cause it to stop working just like plumbing.

JACUSTOMER-6mnc3gc4- :

she was never a fat cat. always on the slender side

aggieervet :

The first step is to determine the underlying cause by getting an ultrasound +/- aspirates. Other blood tests may be needed too depending on what has been done. I would recommend quickly finding the underlying cause before doing a feeding tube. for example - if there is cancer present, and you would not treat it, then there is no point in doing a feeding tube and other treatments.

aggieervet :

fatty liver doesn't just happen in fat cats but more frequently they are fat cats....it can happen in normal weight cats, but again, she may not even have fatty liver syndrome.

aggieervet :

I will tell you that if your cat does have fatty liver disease - it is a very difficult disease to treat, especially at home, even with a feeding tube. Even with aggressive treatment (quickly finding underlying cause, feeding tubes, medications, fluids, and being treated in the hospital - not at home) only about 70% regain liver function. It is a very frustrating disease and not easy to treat....either way, if the underlying disease is not found/treated then it is even more difficult.

JACUSTOMER-6mnc3gc4- :

okay will plan on an ultrasound first, then after determining the cause...go from there. sounds like her prognosis is poor either way, treat how we are doing and the aggressive way. thanks for the help.

aggieervet :

typically with liver disease, yes, the prognosis is guarded/poor depending on the cause but even with those that are treatable it can be difficult to get them 'over the hump'.

aggieervet :

your welcome and good luck with her!

aggieervet :

I hope this information helps! If you have any further questions, please feel free to let me know…

aggieervet :

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Let me know if you have any further questions.

JACUSTOMER-6mnc3gc4- :

my son is calling vet to get results

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aggieervet
aggieervet
Veterinarian
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Emergency veterinarian for 5 years and general practice veterinarian for 3 years.