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16 Apr 2004

Hepatitus / Jaundice
My 3 year old male cat recently had hepatitus which resulted in yellow jaundice. He just suddently stopped eating and lost a huge amount of weight. We took him to the vet and they did series of tests. They eventually did a liver biopsy. We had to leave him at the vet every day for them to look after him and they were giving him courses of cortisone etc. After two months of feeding him and giving him water with a syringe he started showing signs of improvement and then developed huge absceses on his neck area from all the injections. We could not figure out why he continually had a very high temperature but it was because of the abscesses. I picked him up the one day and the one burst. I rushed him to the vet, they sedated him and shaved that area only to discover that he had at least 6 other abscesses in the same area. They had to be drained and then cleaned regularly. He is now back to his old self and eating well again. To all other animal lovers - please take your pets to the vet at the first sign of any change - ie not eating etc. We almost lost our beautiful boy.
To cybervet - what are the chances of the hepatitus reocurring? I feed my cats (10 of them) on high quality imported pellets. They do not get any milk or tin foods and are indoor cats. Please advise. Thanks.
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Expert
CyberVet
cybervet

01 Jan 0001

Although I cannot be certain as to the exact diagnosis and cause of the hepatitis in this case (the biopsies would have determined the exact cause) it is probably as result of condition called hepatic lipidosis. Hepatic lipidosis happens in cats that stop eating for whatever reason, and then lose weight. As they lose weight, the fat start accumulating in the liver, resulting in progressive liver disease. This fatty accumulation in the liver is called hepatic lipidosis. Jaundice then results. (Obviously, they are also other causes for hepatitis and jaundice in cats). The important point is that treatment must be initiated immediately, to limit damage to the liver. In fact, this condition can be highly fatal. The most important treatment involves stimulating the appetite and forced feeding. We will often place a tube into the oesophagus, so that the cats can be fed with a syringe through the tube with out it resisting. Turning the energy balance back towards the positive and weight gain, is the key to resolving this illness. You are quite correct to advise people to seek medical help as soon as problems are encountered, as the treatment is easier in that case.

The chances of recurrence depends on the actual cause of the problem, but usually cats make a complete recovery. By the way, the injection site abscesses unfortunately happen not uncommonly as result of irritation of the tissues by the actual drug.

Best of luck!

Dr Malan van Zyl
Veterinary Specialist Physician
Cape Town
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