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Old 06-01-2006, 08:25 PM   #1 (permalink)
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 4
Default Our cats ALT-liver test- is 600

Can anyone give us some advice?
We took our cat to the vet last Wednesday because we noticed her tongue was yellowish. Well, she has jauntice due to her liver not functioning very well. Her bilirubin was 21-now it is 18. Our vet said it will not go down until her liver is better. Her Alt was 300-now it is 600. The vet put her on Predezone & Denosyl a few days ago. Also her gallbladder is enlarged & may burst & surgery is way too risky-She may bleed out!
She has & still is eating, drinking, & behaving normally. The vet believes our little girl does not know she is sick. We are so scared of losing her. Does anyone have any similar experiences? Can you help us? Please! Thank you so very much!
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Old 06-01-2006, 08:50 PM   #2 (permalink)
Cat Addict
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Minnesota
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I am dealing with a cancer tumor, about a month ago she had it removed but another node has reappeared, so monday she is going to have it removed because her xray has shown it hasn't spead to her lungs.

I would suggest for your to find out what nutrition is best for her and to keep the play gentle until the gallbladder returns to a normal state, I sure hope it will, it's hard to be around a sick kitty.
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Old 06-01-2006, 09:35 PM   #3 (permalink)
Cool Cat
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 998

600 is a very worrisome number, so if you don’t mind, I'd like to ask you a few questions first.
How old is your kitty?
What kind of diet are you feeding?
Is she being treated for any other health problems? (Heart, kidney, thyroid, epilepsy, etc?)
Is she taking medication for a health or behavior problem?
Besides bloodwork, what else did your vet do as far as diagnostic work is concerned? X-ray? Ultrasound? Both?
Has liver cancer been ruled out?
Has pancreatitis been ruled out?
Does your kitty have a history of digestive problems?
Did your vet give you a diagnosis?
Do you remember, did your vet ever mention the words triad syndrome or cholengiohepatitis?

Basically you can use milk thistle with any kind of liver disease, so this would be something you could start doing right away. It would be best to put your kitty under the care of a holistic vet as soon as possible because you'll want to do much more than just use milk thistle. (Giving milk thistle is only one important thing you can do.)
To find a holistic vet in your area:

For detailed information about treating liver disease please get this book:
Natural Health Bible for Dogs and Cats by Shawn Messonnier DVM

Here is some information about milk thistle:

The Remarkable Milk Thistle

By Jean Hofve, DVM

Milk thistle (Sylibum marianum) is a flowering plant in the Aster family. A native of Europe, it has been used since the time of the Roman emperors as a liver tonic. Milk thistle is one of very few traditionally used herbs that have been widely accepted by conventional science to have significant medical value.

Today we know the active ingredient of milk thistle seed extract as a flavonoid compound called "silymarin." Most milk thistle extracts available today contain about 80 percent silymarin. Silymarin, which is itself a combination of several other active compounds, has been extensively studied around the world, and has been shown to be safe and effective in treating a variety of liver diseases and other conditions.

Protector of the Liver

Silymarin specifically protects the liver against toxins (including some drugs and heavy metals), activates protein synthesis, and stimulates growth of new liver cells to replace those that are dead or damaged. Milk thistle also has strong antioxidant (destroys oxygen free radicals) and anti-inflammatory actions.

The liver performs hundreds of vital functions for the body, but one of its primary duties is to filter the blood coming from the digestive system. The liver is the first line of defense against ingested toxins, and contains dozens of enzymes that work to break down and detoxify harmful substances.

For instance, one of the metabolic by-products of protein digestion is ammonia. Hepatocytes (liver cells) pull ammonia ions from the blood and combine them into a compound called urea, which is then filtered and eliminated by the kidneys. Urea is also a necessary component of the kidneys' vital filtration system, so the liver produces two important results from the one action.

The liver also produces and stores glycogen (a compact source of energy), manufactures many important proteins, and stores a variety of nutrients, such as copper. It produces bile, a yellowish compound, which is stored in the gall bladder and ultimately secreted into the intestines to facilitate breakdown and absorption of fats. Bile is so valuable to the body that nearly all of it is reabsorbed by the intestines, passed into the blood, and filtered and recycled by the liver.

When the liver is too damaged to perform this function, bile breakdown products - notably one called bilirubin - remain in the bloodstream, causing jaundice (the proper medical term is "icterus", a yellow discoloration of the skin and mucus membranes) and dark yellow urine.

The liver has a big reserve and a marvelous ability to heal and regenerate itself. The downside is that, because of its large reserve capacity, symptoms of liver disease are not seen until much of the liver is damaged or non-functional. In human medicine, the primary treatment for severe hepatitis, cirrhosis, and other hepatic problems is liver transplantation - not an option for kitties! There are few drugs available to treat even infectious liver diseases, and none that even remotely approach the amazing protective and regenerative abilities of milk thistle extract.

Most Useful for Cats?

Because the feline liver is comparatively deficient in detoxifying enzyme pathways common to other mammals, milk thistle may have particular value for cats. Silymarin reaches high levels in the bile and liver (it also reaches significant levels in the lungs, pancreas, prostate, and skin).

It can be used in the treatment of hepatic lipidosis, chronic hepatitis, cholangitis (inflammation of the bile ducts), and pericholangitis (inflammation of the tissue around the bile ducts). It may be useful in preventing or treating gallstones by thinning the bile. Many cats with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) have concurrent inflammation of the liver/bile system and the pancreas. This suite of symptoms is called "triaditis". Because milk thistle's beneficial actions concentrate on the liver and bile systems, it may also be helpful in cats with IBD.

Milk thistle should be considered as aid to healing after drug therapy, vaccinations, and infections such as feline distemper, as well as a potential adjunct treatment for cancer. Researchers at Case Western University concluded from their work that "silymarin possesses exceptionally high protective effects against tumor promotion..."
One human study even suggests a role for milk thistle in diabetes mellitus through its normalizing effects on red blood cells.

It may also help prevent diabetic neuropathy, a common complication of the disease that causes degeneration of the nerves controlling the hind limbs, which consequently produces weakness and an abnormal gait.

Milk thistle generally supports the immune system through its powerful antioxidant, free-radical scavenging actions, its ability to preserve the supply of another important antioxidant, glutathione, as well as direct effects on immune cells.

Glutathione, which is stored primarily in the liver, naturally declines over time, and depletion of this protein appears to accelerate the aging process. While it's not exactly the fountain of youth, milk thistle clearly has wide-ranging positive effects throughout the body. However, before you add this potent herb to your cat's daily regimen "just in case" it might do some good, it's important to consider that some herbalists believe milk thistle is best reserved as a treatment for existing disease, rather than being used by itself in a healthy cat.

Use Caution

While moderate use of milk thistle is very safe, there is some experimental evidence to suggest that long-term ingestion of very high dosages of milk thistle will eventually suppress liver function.

The standard dosage of milk thistle extracts is based on silymarin content of around 80 percent; most supplements contain anywhere from 50-500 milligrams (175 mg is typical). As with many supplements, it's probably better to buy a milk thistle derivative rather than a silymarin-only or other fractional supplement, since there may be other compounds found in the whole herb that significantly enhance the effects of what science has decided is the main player.

Because of its excellent safety record and lack of adverse drug interactions, when I'm treating a very sick cat with advanced liver disease, I do not hesitate to use up to 200 mg of milk thistle extract daily. For most feline purposes, however, 1/3 to 1/2 of that dose is more than adequate. (Cats with liver disease typically will not eat, but it's a simple matter to open up a capsule, mix the appropriate amount of powdered herb with a little blenderized food, Hill's a/d, or baby food, and syringe-feed it.) Too high a dose can cause an upset tummy, gas, or mild diarrhea; these are easily resolved by giving less. The capsule form is easy to find - any health food store, and even most pharmacies and grocers, will have them in stock.

The herb also comes in a liquid extract, but most human products contain a fair bit of alcohol and may not be quite as safe for kitties as the capsule form. If you prefer a liquid preparation, get one specifically intended for use in animals.

(You can find milk thistle at any health food store or health food supermarket that carries supplements.)


Source of information: Herbs for Pets by Mary L. Wulff-Tilford

Appearance: From a distance, milk thistle looks very much like any other thistle: deeply lobed, often spiny leaves; stout, often spiny stems; and large, up to 2 inches wide, white to purple disk flowers, each resembling a miniature artichoke (another thistle). Closer inspection of milk thistle reveals a weblike pattern on the surfaces of the leaves, a characteristic that sets it apart from its many cousins. Milk thistle may grow to 7 feet tall.

Habitat and range: A native of the Mediterranean region of Europe, milk thistle has become naturalized in many portions of North America. In many areas it has earned the reputation of being an invasive weed. Milk thistle is cultivated throughout much of the world for its medicinal seeds.

Cycle and bloom season: An annual or biennial that blooms June through July.

Parts used: Ripe seeds.

Primary medicinal activities: Protects and strengthens the liver.

Strongest affinities: Liver

Preparation: Alcohol tincture or a standardized powder extract (usually contained in gel capsules.) A high concentration of alcohol is required to extract the active constituents from the ground seeds. Be skeptical of milk thistle tincture products whose labels claim low or no alcohol.

Common uses: Milk thistle has a long ethnobotanical history that gives it stature as much more than a liver herb. It has been used to treat everything from cancer to poor milk production in nursing mothers, but it is most effective in protecting and regenerating the liver.

Most of milk thistle's usefulness can be attributed to its silymarin constituent. Dozens of studies have confirmed that silymarin and its related compounds support and protect the liver during crisis by accelerating the rate of protein synthesis and stimulating production of new cells to replace damaged ones. These compounds work as powerful antioxidants and strengthen liver cell resistance to toxic compounds, while at the same time stimulating cellular reproduction. Much of what we know about these activities stems from a discovery that silymarin can be used to antidote amanita (death cap) mushroom poisoning. When intravenous silymarin is administered within twenty-four to forty-eight hours of ingestion, toxic compounds that would normally destroy liver cells are prevented from penetrating the cell walls, and liver damage is greatly minimized.

Scientific research has also confirmed that milk thistle protects the liver from the harmful effects of various other toxins. Specifically, milk thistle protects an animal's liver during a toxicity-related crisis (such as exposure to toxic chemicals or potentially harmful drug therapies) and helps the animal through a liver damage disease crisis. It can be used in dogs, cats, horses, goats, ferrets, and rodents to aid in liver or kidney damage, hepatitis, jaundice, leptospirosis, and parvovirus recovery. Milk thistle may prove helpful for treating liver tumors, cancers, and skin problems that are secondary to liver disease. Animals who have been on allopathic drugs, heartworm medication, dewormers, vaccinations, anticonvulsive drugs, or chemotherapy might benefit from this herb as well. Milk thistle can also help block the potential liver damaging effects of anesthesia and is often used both before and after surgery in Germany. Medical and biological studies support its use in reducing the toxic effect of heavy metals if administered soon enough.

Despite much of the publicity that has been generated about this "wonder herb", milk thistle should not be used as a daily food supplement. Milk thistle is a medicine that is best reserved for situations where the liver is already under abnormal stress. When used is absence of preexisting stress, milk thistle probably won't do any harm, but on the other hand it might cause digestive disorders or it might impair other body-cleansing functions of the liver. Many herbalists believe that it can actually slow the metabolic functions of a healthy liver. In any case, milk thistle is unnecessary unless there is a real and present need, and its use as dietary supplement constitutes waste.

Alcohol tinctures are the best for administering milk thistle because they allow quick and complete absorption of silymarin into the body. But in cases where severe liver damage might be compounded by alcohol, or in animals with alcohol hypersensitivity, a standardized powder extract (formulated to contain 60-80 percent silymarin) might be a better choice. In cases where stress upon the liver is suspected but not yet serious, the alcohol extract can be administered at a starting dose of ¼ teaspoon (1 milliliter) per 20 pounds of the animal's body weight. Before feeding it to your animal, dilute each dose with equal amount or more of water to make the tincture more palatable and to minimize the astringency and burning sensation of the alcohol. The tincture can then be added to the animal's food. In any suspected case of liver disease, a holistic veterinarian should be consulted before proceeding with the use of milk thistle or any other herb.

Availability: Available in various formulations through herb retailers.

Propagation and harvest: Milk thistle is easy to grow, but the small yield of seeds per plant makes cultivation a pointless endeavor unless you own a farm rather than just a garden. Harvesting must be done when the seeds are completely ripe and dry but before they leave the plant with a gust of wind. In other words, leave the task to the people who farm it.

Alternatives and adjuncts: Licorice is another excellent liver-repairing herb that possesses a broader spectrum of medicinal activities than milk thistle. For mild to moderate liver disorders that are believed to be toxicity related and that are signified by chronic constipation, indigestion, or skin problems, milk thistle can be combined with dandelion, burdock, yellow dock, red clover, Oregon grape, or turmeric.

Cautions and comments: Avoid using milk thistle during pregnancy. This herb may alter liver enzymes. Unless there is an ongoing stress, using milk thistle, or standardized Sylibum, may actually result in depressed liver function. In studies that involve giving laboratory animals high doses of silymarin over long periods, the animals display no toxicity.
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Old 06-02-2006, 11:22 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Our cat Inkie is about 7 years old. At home she ate Royal Canin Special 33 dry food, Royal Canin Lamb & Pea canned food, a 1/2 of can oof Fancy Feast (low ash flavors) in the morning, & a little bit of Hill's Oral Care dry sprinkled on top of the RC Special 33. (more as a treat than a meal). She has not been treated for anything else. She was the runt of the litter & weighs about 6 pounds. She hasn't lost any weight-as far as we know. She's had 2 ultrasounds since she has been there. The 1st showed her gallbladder being enlarged-that was done last Wed. The 2nd ultrasound was done yesterday (Thurs 6/1) and the gallbladder stayed the same-it did not shrink, but it also did not get bigger. I guess the meds she is on will take awhile. I spoke with the vet's office about 15 minutes ago & they said she threw up a tiny bit-it wasn't food-but she ate all her breakfast this morning. They will watch her to see if she gets sick again. This worries me a lot! She hasn't gotten sick before, (unless she had a hairball)
so I don't know what to do. Could it be the meds? She only started on the Denosyl a few days ago, & the Predezone abou a week. We still take it DAy By Day. I'm just scared!
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Old 06-02-2006, 11:56 AM   #5 (permalink)
Cool Cat
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 998

Well, as I said in my earlier post, you really need additional help from a holistic vet. Not knowing where you are and who is available to you all I can say is call some holistic vets in your area, or contact this holistic vet by phone:

Mark D Newkirk, VMD
Margate Animal Hospital & Alternative Care Center
9200 Ventnor Ave
Margate, NJ 08402
Fax 609-822-9152
Email mnewk@aol.com
Small Animal, Avian, Exotic
Immuno-Augmentative Therapy for Cancer

Again, to find a holistic vet in your area:

Your kitty is so tiny, there is no room for weight-loss from illness, so that's one reason why you should get additional help from a holistic vet as soon as possible.

The fact that the gallbladder is involved makes this a very tough problem to treat, so the more help you have from every direction (holistic and conventional) the better. Some cats end up on long-term corticosteroid treatment - which unfortunately doesn't help the liver enzymes go down to the normal level and they can remain in the 6-700 hundred range indefinitely. Another consideration for getting holistic help sooner rather than later.
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Old 06-02-2006, 10:45 PM   #6 (permalink)
Tom Cat
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 386

my cat died last May from liver disease. Her disease was called Hepatic Lipidosis... abnormal function of the liver due to fatty tissue. This happens when your cat stops eating, for whatever reason, and the body starts to break down fat for nutrients, however, the liver doesn't know what to do with the fat, and stores it... hence the cat gets sick, doesn't want to eat, and it just gets worse and worse.

I don't know if your cat has this disease, but a liver disorder is a liver disorder. I would ask your vet about Hepatic Lipidosis. Also, I would carefully watch your cat and make sure it is eating and drinking normally. The minute she starts to stop eating, get her to the vet.

Sorry, don't mean to alarm you, but if I had any clue that there were serious illnesses to a cat not eating, I would have taken her in sooner. I just though maybe she had a cold and was a little sick. ... but she was sick alright. $2,000 later, and she still died
I never knew such love of animals until I got Jazzy, and now Sampson... what beautiful creatures we share this planet with
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