Gus is a 2 year old male neutered domestic shorthaired cat who presented with a history of not eating and being lethargic for a week. On physical exam he was dull and depressed and had lost approximately 7 lbs within 4 months. His entire skin, gums and the whites of his eyes were a bright yellow colour which is referred to as jaundice. Blood tests and radiographs confirmed that he was in liver failure and was in very bad condition with a poor prognosis. The probable cause for his liver failure was hepatic lipidosis or “fatty liver”. This is a condition seen primarily in cats that are overweight and that for various reasons, stop eating. The body will then break down large amounts of stored body fat and transport it to the liver for processing into a useable energy source. Unfortunately, the liver is unable to handle the fat and ultimately fails. Gus was admitted to the clinic right away for stabilization which involved intravenous fluids, tube feeding, antibiotics, vitamin B complex injections and various anti nausea medications. After a few days he was feeling better and could have a short anesthetic procedure to surgically place an esophagostomy feeding tube. This tube enters the esophagus on the left side of the neck through an incision with the tip of the tube located just before the opening into the esophagus. The neck is bandaged to cover the tube, leaving the end visible for tube feeding using liquid high protein food and for medications. Liquid meals are necessary several times a day usually for 4-6 weeks and sometimes longer to allow the liver time to recover and for the cat’s appetite to return. Gus recovered fully and his latest liver tests were all normal.
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