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Old 08-31-2008, 10:47 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default high bilirubin count

Several days ago my oldest cat (12 years old), Charcoal, was diagnosed with a high bilirubin count as well as being severely constipated and dehydrated, and running a 104 degree fever. She's an indoor/outdoor cat, but I am keeping her indoors while medicating her with Baytril, as directed. She is hardly eating, and doing is some drinking. The vet gave her an enema, and also some I.V. liquids.

She'd been on a Science Diet Light dry diet for years, and due to her starting to lose weight a few months ago, I switched her to Science Diet Senior. Tomorrow I will go buy several kinds of canned food, as she is still eating very little. She did accept a bunch of Greenies, one by one by hand. I didn't want to give her too much at once, fearing she'd barf.

I've done some reading on high Bilirubin counts in humans, and it more or less lines up with what I can recall the vet told me by phone.

Is anyone else dealing with this in their cat? Crisis always seems to occur with my cats or birds on weekends and/or holidays. I can not reach the vet until Tuesday. I'm frustrated and worried.

This cat has never cared for canned food, but I have to try again. The vet said to force feed her, if necessary. This seems harsh using dry food. She won't eat canned tuna (human grade). I also tried to tempt her with fresh grilled salmon last night, but she refused that also. She is used to hunting and eating her catch almost daily, from what I can tell, but the vet wants her kept in the house so I can monitor her eating and pooping.

Holly
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Old 08-31-2008, 11:48 PM   #2 (permalink)
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The high bilirubin level means she has Hepatic Lipidosis (aka Fatty Liver disease). Below is a link that describes this. This is a very, very serious condition. You really need to get food into her asap, you can't force feed dry, you need to get wet food into her with a syringe. The longer you wait to get food into her, the less likely you will be able to reverse this.

You will need to thin the wet food with water and use a syringe to get it into her.

http://www.marvistavet.com/html/body_he ... dosis.html
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Old 08-31-2008, 11:55 PM   #3 (permalink)
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You can get an oral syringe at almost any pharmacy. If they don't have any out, the pharmacist will have some behind the counter. Try to get a 5cc one, you may want to cut down the tip a small amount to widen the opening, but if you had water to the wet food, you should be able to manage. You'll want to do smallish bites at a time. I've never had to force food, only meds, hopefully someone will have some good advice on the best way to so this.
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Old 09-01-2008, 12:03 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Thanks for the syringe idea. I just glanced over the article you posted, and will read it better tomorrow.

I have some syringes, and the idea of enlarging the opening is great! Thanks to both of you. I hope more responses with more good ideas come in.

Charcoal has always been very thin, since she adopted me at under a year old. Her weight loss was 4/5 of a pound, which for her is a lot. She is suddenly very boney.

My other two cats are harassing her to a certain extent. It is nearly impossible to separate them, as we live in only two rooms. She used to like to hang out in my office when I see clients, but I don't think she'd be happy locked in there all alone.

Holly
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Old 09-01-2008, 12:06 AM   #5 (permalink)
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I was able to save my Malibu in late 2006 when she developed hepatic lipidosis / fatty liver. I did have to force feed her, however at the time I was force feeding her, her condition was so deteriorated that she did not struggle during the feedings. The vet was concerned about me being able to do it. Most pet owners cannot bring themselves to DO the force feeding that is necessary to save the cat.

The ONLY thing (IMO) that will bring the bilirubin count down is to get enough food into them that the liver stops trying to utilize their body fat and uses what the cat eats, instead. You have to feed enough canned food to not only sustain the cat but also replenish what the cat's body has used (the weight loss). I preferred the Eukanuba Max Calorie canned food because it had twice the protein (14%) of Hill's A/D (8.5%). Surprisingly, Friskies has 10% protein, but the Hills and Eukanuba canned foods are puree'd for ease of syringe force feeding and are much more suitable.

I would feed Mallie about every 3-4 hours all through the day. I only slept for 6hrs at night, so that was the longest she went without a feeding. I think I tried about 10-20ccs at each feeding, starting with the smaller amount and working my way up to 20ccs as she tolerated it w/out vomitting.
I would prepare the syringe and sit on the floor with my knees up and covered with a towel then scruff Mallie onto my lap with her bottom in my lap and her head at my knees. I would put the syringe at the corner of her mouth and slowly squeeze the food in, allowing her time to swallow. I used the edge of the towel to wipe her face. I would also (with the smaller syringes) open her mouth and squeeze the food at the back/roof of her mouth. Mallie would shake her head and fling the food, that is why I used both methods to get it into her. It was upsetting to do this to her, but I found if I spoke to her while I force-fed and explained why I had to, it helped ME to remember the goal was saving her life and I HAD to do it. I also visited her (I kept her isolated in the MBR to prevent her wasting energy dealing with the other housecats) in between feedings to let her know I cared and loved her. Encouraging her to fight to live.

She survived and it changed our relationship. She was a formal feral who was pretty distant and after treatment, she is my lap-kitty who sleeps on my head or against my chest at night.
Good luck to you and your kitty,
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Old 09-01-2008, 12:12 AM   #6 (permalink)
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I sure wish that vets would give very specific directions in cases like this. I've never been faced with this situation before. I'm very grateful that this board and you knowledgeable folks are here.

Holly
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Old 09-01-2008, 12:18 AM   #7 (permalink)
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I edited and added more to my above post when I saw you asked about force-feeding ideas...
CatForum helped ME when I went through this with Mallie. They(we)'ll help you, too.
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Old 09-01-2008, 01:01 AM   #8 (permalink)
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I just dug through the critter cabinet, and located a 3 ounce can of Science Diet kitten food, put it into a small food processor, and added warm water until it was thin enough to work in the small syringe I have on hand. I took Charcoal into the bathroom, held her as suggested, and fed her about 1/3 of the soup. I 'm hoping that is a good amount on top of all of the greenies she had a bit earlier. I'll likely wake up after 6 hours to use the bathroom, and will feed her more.

Please advise if this is sufficient for now. She has been walking around, and requesting to be picked up earlier. She is a lot more energetic than when she had very compacted stools stuck in her intestines. I will be able to buy more cans of food. According to the data on the can, 3 cans would be good for her current weight, if she was a growing kitten. So how much more should she have to make up for the weight she has lost? And do I want kitten, cat, or senior canned food, in order to fatten her up again? Whatever has the highest protein and fat count?

I'm getting too tired, so I need to tuck in the birds, and settle the other cats down for the night. I will look in on this as the last thing I do before bed now.

Thank you all so much for this initial help.

Holly
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Old 09-01-2008, 10:05 AM   #9 (permalink)
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I suspect that kitten food will be higher in fat and nutrients, which your cat needs right now. Again, I've never had to do this before, but I did want to make this thread stays bumped so you can get more advice.

Would KMR be good for this kitty as well?
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Old 09-01-2008, 11:28 AM   #10 (permalink)
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I'm new to this board -- what is KMR? Thanks

Holly
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