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Dr. Brian M.
Dr. Brian M., Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 642
Experience:  17 years of veterinary experience in companion animal and exotic medicine and surgery
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My cat has yellow skin, yellowness in her eyes, and her gums

Customer Question

My cat has yellow skin, yellowness in her eyes, and her gums and tongue are yellowish as well. We have taken her to our vet, who ran a blood test and urinalysis.

He's told us the numbers have come back indicating it is the liver but it is not an infection. He says now the next step is an ultrasound, which I am hesitant to just do because he says all that will show is the size of the liver. And no matter what it shows it's going to be hundreds if not thousands of dollars from there. (I'm kind of feeling like my vet is just milking it for the cash).

Our cat has not been eating for atleast the last 2 days (i've tried force feeding with very little success), and went potty early yesterday. She tried this morning, but nothing came out, no poo or pee. All today and yesterday she does not move around at all, just stays in one spot and sits as still as possible. (she looks very uncomfortable)

Is our only option an ultrasound? Will that show anything that could be treated with some medication, or assuming that comes back with something treatable, is it going to mean an expensive operation? If we don't do any of these things will she die? (if so, would it be a long painful death or would she go quietly in her sleep?)

(I know it's a lot of info all at once, but a second opinion and any info or advice would mean a lot)
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Brian M. replied 6 years ago.



I'm Dr. Brian and I will do my best to answer your questions.


The problem with Dakota is called jaundice or icteric. The yellow color is due to bilirubin building up in her tissue. This is due to her underlying liver problem. Unfortunately blood work can only tell us its a liver problem and not what exactly is wrong with the liver. The only way to get a 100% accurate diagnosis is with a liver biopsy. This can be done with a needle during an ultrasound or with exploratory surgery. The ultrasound may be able to really narrow down the possible problems by showing shape, size, abnormalities such as tumors or abscesses. Many of the typical cat liver diseases have typical appearances on ultrasound that may better steer your vets tentative diagnosis and your cat's treatment plan. Some of the most common liver problems in cats are hepatic lipidosis (usually found in very obese cats that stop eating), cholangiohepatitis (what I suspect your cat has), and pancreatitis which can also be evaluated by ultrasound. Regardless, the treatment often involves much the same initial treatment. These may include IV fluids, antibiotics, special food and liver support drugs. One of the mainstays of this type of problem is a feeding tube so that much of the feeding and treatment can be done at home. One tube is called an esophagostomy tube and is easily placed in the neck and cats tolerate it very well. The other type is a gatrostomy tube and is much more involved in placing and is directly placed through the wall into the stomach. Your vet is truly not milking you but trying to get information on a very serious case. If no treatment is done most of the cats will die of starvation as they refuse to eat.

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
so why not just start giving her antibiotics right now?