Acute fatty liver? Cholangeohepatitis? Liver cancer? - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
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post #1 of 2 (permalink) Old 10-13-2008, 09:38 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2005
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Acute fatty liver? Cholangeohepatitis? Liver cancer?

I've written in the past about our male orange tabby, Hedgie. He had become lethargic and lost a great deal of weight, so we took him to the vet for extensive testing. The vet found he was very jaundiced, so at first suspected hepatitis. All the testing done was inconclusive, so there is my subject line.

Our vet thinks Hedgie has all the symptoms of acute fatty liver, except that he eats a lot, and he eats well. In the past, he had issues with irritable bowel syndrome, but with careful control of what he eats that can be controlled fairly easily. He also has the symptoms of cholangeohepatitis, except the hepatitis panel in his blood came back in the normal range. So the liver cancer would be the last possible thought.

We spent nearly $1,000 for the testing and a diagnostic ultrasound with an internal medicine specialist-veterinarian, but were questioning whether to do more. The internal medicine doc said that if we agreed to a liver biopsy (another $600+), and it came up positive for liver cancer, would we REALLY want to subject Hedgie to rounds of chemotherapy (starting at $3,000)? But if the biopsy came back negative, we would be at square one again.

So we have elected to do all the comfort measures instead, and of course as any cat lover would do, we are questioning if this is the right decision.

The vet did have us start giving him Prednisone twice daily, which seems to help. He isn't lethergic, but he hasn't gained weight either. And he still eats well. (By the way, the vet knows how difficult it is to give a cat a pill. He recommended Pill Pockets. Ohmygosh, what a lifesaver! Hedgie thinks these are the best treat EVER!) I'm an RN, and I know the potentially bad side effects of long term use of Prednisone, but if it makes him feel better, and makes his life BETTER for the potentially short time he has left, why not?

Sorry I'm rambling about all this.....I just hope we are doing the right thing with no further testing, needle pokes, biopsies, invasive procedures.

Any thoughts, fellow cat lovers?
kittycatlover is offline  
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post #2 of 2 (permalink) Old 10-14-2008, 12:05 AM
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Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Monroe, GA
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Re: Acute fatty liver? Cholangeohepatitis? Liver cancer?

Originally Posted by kittycatlover
.....I just hope we are doing the right thing with no further testing, needle pokes, biopsies, invasive procedures.
Any thoughts, fellow cat lovers?
I think you're doing the right thing. It is the same thing I would have done, and have done.
As much as I hate to say it, financial costs do drive most of the major pet-owning decisions I've had to make. If the initial tests and further specific testing is inconclusive and/or does not point to a cureable diagnosis, I opt to keep the animal happy and comfortable as long as possible, constantly evaluating quality of life before making The Big Decision. I could not afford to do heroic measures, unless the outcome is greatly possible for a complete recovery, and so I see no point in spending monies on further diagnostics if the prognosis is not good.
I also kept a cat on prednisone for several years. It did shorten her life (sudden congestive heart failure), but it gave her a great quality of life for those 4 years preceeding the end. If she had not had the steroids, she would have been miserable and could possibly have passed away earlier due to compliations that the steroids kept at bay.

Is Hedgie the cat a visiting vet told you to have pts while your regular vet was out of town?
Hugs and Purrs to you and Hedgie as you spend this time together.

Heidi n Q is offline  
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