Thursday, April 24, 2014
Feline Fatty Liver Disease
I had heard some years ago that obese cats must reduce their weight very slowly and carefully to avoid getting Fatty Liver Disease. Lately, I've been wondering about the effect Henry's rapid weight loss has had on his liver. Normally, when a body is undernourished or starved, the body automatically moves fat from its reserves to the liver to be converted into lipoproteins for energy. Cat's bodies are not designed to convert large stores of fat, so when a cat is in starvation mode, the fat that is released to the liver is not processed efficiently, resulting in a fatty and low functioning liver.
God is so great! Back at Day 10 of Henry's massive vomiting when I prayed and was inspired to find a new way to get nutrition into him, I didn't realize that I was treating Fatty Liver Disease perfectly! I wondered a few days later why Henry's stools were abnormally green for several days. This was a symptom of Fatty Liver Disease. Or why he hung his head down - another symptom - of very low potassium - also an indicator of the disease. Why he's lost some fur on his muzzle and paw. And there are other examples, too.
The bottom line is that 4% of the cases of Fatty Liver Disease in cats is caused by rapid weight loss due to respiratory infections. It's a real miracle and blessing the way that my prayers were answered in how I should treat Henry, at home, to save his life and that the things I was guided to do were things that addressed a condition I didn't even know he'd developed and addressed it in the most perfect way, according to veterinary medicine standards.
Henry is looking and acting more like a real cat every day. Progress is, understandably, slow, given how severely ill he was. While his breathing is still labored at times, he is now moving enough air to be able to cough a little bit, which helps clear his lungs. He is no longer spewing up lung crud several times a day. Yesterday, he only did it once and today, I haven't seen any at all, but I hear him swallowing it, so it's still coming up, which is good. I am still doing coupage and it really gets things loose, which causes a bit of respiratory distress until Henry can get it up, but it's much, much less severe than it was only a few days ago. He's not used his oxygen concentrator in nearly two days! He needed it last only after coupage when air was restricted while he was working some stuff up. He and I are back to sleeping on my bed - for the first time in 5 weeks! He has tried a few times to lay across my neck, but he still can't breath well that way so he doesn't last very long in that position. His belly is rounded, which concerned me until I followed him around until I saw him have a BM and it was soft, but seemed difficult for him to pass anyway. Tonight I'll give him some sub-Q fluids and that should help. It's what caused me to look into Fatty Liver Disease, too, and see that he's had it and come out on the other side of it already.
Henry is using the cat scratcher a little each day. His eyes are bright again and he's sleeping well and he looks so much more relaxed and comfortable. I can't imagine what it's been like for him to spend two months struggling for every single life-sustaining breath. He is coming back to life and it's a miracle to behold!