Hepatic Lipidosis? I am a vet tech student! Oh no!!

by chrissy
(pittsburgh, pa)

My Sweet Pea is a 5 year old female DSH. A few days ago I noticed that she was not eating the amount of food she normally eats and she was sleeping ALOT more than usual. I called the vet and got her in right away. When they took her temperature it was 104. On physical exam she did cry when he palpated her bladder. They determined cystitis, which you know has an unknown cause in most cases, and gave her an antibiotic. They also gave her subq fluids since she was slightly dehydrated. The next day I noticed she was not getting any better and returned to the vet where they gave her subq fluids and again. They said that her temp was still a little high but her weight was fine. They said to bring her back in two days if she was still showing signs. What is wrong with my cat? Why is this happening to her? I don't understand. I am very worried that she is developing hepatic lipidosis. I am in veterinary technician and it feels terrible that I cannot help her. I feel like a terrible mom. Please help me.

Hi, Chrissy,

I hope things are going better with your kitty. I certainly understand your concern. Anytime a cat does not eat well for more than a day or two, one has to become concerned about hepatic lipidosis, especially if the cat is overweight to begin with.

Blood tests, including all the liver tests, help diagnose lipidosis as well as a physical exam to determine if there is any yellowing of the skin. The yellowish color can first be seen in the palate and then also in the sclera and ears.

However, it is quite possible that your kitty just has a transient fever that is making her lethargic and have loss of appetite. However, you are correct to be concerned about lipidosis possibly developing.

Repeated blood tests and exams and force feeding early rather than later are the way to go. It is difficult to get enough food into a cat with simple syringe feeding although some of my clients that could not afford otherwise have done very successful jobs. Tube feeding is better and a very close eye must be kept on her weight of course.

Talk to your vet about the various tests needed to make sure you have the proper diagnosis and meanwhile, until a diagnosis is made in a cat, one must always be concerned if they are eating or not.

In my experience, while hepatic lipidosis can be a deadly disease, when treated very aggressively, we have had a very positive outcome in almost all cases.

Good luck and keep me posted and feel free to write back anytime.

Dr. Neely

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