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Kitten in liver failure :(

Posted by gardengalrn 5KS (My Page) on
Thu, Jul 15, 10 at 23:35

I've had cats all my life but learned something new this week so I thought I would pass it on. We have some kittens who all were doing quite well. Sun morning I was out early and noticed that one kitten kept throwing up after nursing. She has been a bit smaller than the rest but not alarmingly so and after seeing her throw up like that it seems more obvious. She started getting a bit listless but still moved around and nursed. That night we were scooping up kittens to make sure they all got in the garage for the night but she was pooping so I waited for her. It was pure white poop. I'm a nurse and I know that in people these are classic signs of liver failure. Mon morning I called our vet and described the symptoms and he agreed with me. For a definitive diagnosis, he would have to draw a fair amount of blood from her and he didn't really recommend that based on her classic symptoms.

He said that many times kittens and especially runts will have portal shunts, or problems with the venous system to the liver. It sometimes isn't immediately evident but as they grow and start to eat real food, etc, the liver can't keep up. Of course there are other reasons, like a toxin or worms but we never keep anything that the cats could get into (we have many cats). On his advice I did pick up some dewormer and give that just in case but I did doubt that as her sibling went to a good home last week and she was clean for worms. He said to give that a few days to work and see if she improved any. She hasn't and I'm sad to say I will probably call him back tomorrow and have her put down. She's very skinny and getting weak and it breaks my heart for her. I don't want her to suffer and I don't know of another humane way to put her out of her misery. I made special food for her but she won't touch it. She still nurses but I feel that is for comfort only. I thought I would pass that on because in all the years I've had cats/kittens, I don't remember ever having this problem. He said it is quite common. Lori


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Kitten in liver failure :(

I watched a television documentary once on state of the art veterinary surgery. One of the cases was a cat like that. I remember the owner going through all sorts of tests and surgeries. Can't remember if the cat lived, but it stuck in my mind. I've had cats all my life, and don't remember ever seeing one with a portal shunt, but you know........I haven't had many kittens around and since it's congenital perhaps a lot of the cases are those little runts who 'don't make it'.

It's sad, isn't it?


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RE: Kitten in liver failure :(

I lost one kitten to that ... autopsy showed that the digestive system was not hooked up correctly.


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RE: Kitten in liver failure :(

It IS sad because she tries soooo hard. I had the phone in my hand to make the call today but she decided to eat some of the special food I made up for her. I only gave a teaspoon of food, three times so far this afternoon. I figured she couldn't handle a big meal, even if I were pleased that she had any sort of appetite. She has perked up, actually rolled over on her back to play with me when I was petting her. I wonder if this will continue or the axe will fall. We'll see. Lori


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RE: Kitten in liver failure :(

Just as an update, the little kitten is going strong! She's so precious and is now in the house full time. She's very tiny and has had an ear infection but happy and otherwise healthy. She has gained all her weight back and since she is so little, looks as big around as she is long/tall. She runs and plays and eats normally. I have fallen for her, she is just so sweet. I have her brother in the house too and he is twice her size. They make a good pair:) Lori


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RE: Kitten in liver failure :(

Gardengal, did you guys figure out what was wrong? Did it just take her liver some time to get going, or does she still have the issue? This is so interesting.

I'm very glad to see everything worked out...it's sad to hear about any animal dying!


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RE: Kitten in liver failure :(

I don't know that we will ever know what went on with her, except that her liver was not working up to par there for a bit. It has been my experience in the human world that you can't really come back from that but whatever happened to her has been cured or rectified for now. The vet said her immune system is probably for crap, thus the ear infection, but she is happy and (other than her tiny size) healthy for now. She eats right along with her much bigger brother and keeps up with him. Lori


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RE: Kitten in liver failure :(

Oh, I am so happy to hear the good news, I was at the edge of my seat reading your posts. I rescued 4 kittens back in April one was tiny like you described and he didn't make it. The other three are going strong and we are enjoying them.


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RE: Kitten in liver failure :(

I have a little kitten 1/4 oz at 4 weeks when I found her screaming for her mother. She had the typical upper resp infections. Treated her for that and she was on kitten milk for 2 days. Started on Hills C/D for wheight gained then changed to dry and canned kitten food. She started having diarrhea and didn't want to eat. Took her to the vet with a poop sample, which came back fine. She has not thrown up and her diarrhea is light tan. She's eating again and her poop is darker at times, but still watery. The vet mentioned this liver portal and more or less said that it was costly to treat and would have a poor out come. I want to have an ultrasound done to find out how severe the portal is. Depending on the severity I'm considering surgery.
What kind of diet did you mix up for your kitten, maybe I can use the same as she waits for results?


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RE: Kitten in liver failure :(

I have a little kitten 1/4 oz at 4 weeks when I found her screaming for her mother. She had the typical upper resp infections. Treated her for that and she was on kitten milk for 2 days. Started on Hills C/D for wheight gained then changed to dry and canned kitten food. She started having diarrhea and didn't want to eat. Took her to the vet with a poop sample, which came back fine. She has not thrown up and her diarrhea is light tan. She's eating again and her poop is darker at times, but still watery. The vet mentioned this liver portal and more or less said that it was costly to treat and would have a poor out come. I want to have an ultrasound done to find out how severe the portal is. Depending on the severity I'm considering surgery.
What kind of diet did you mix up for your kitten, maybe I can use the same as she waits for results?


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