Veterinary Hell, that's where I have been for the last 5 weeks. We went away to Aruba for Thanksgiving. Nothing new there, we travel every 3 months. While we were away, My cat Tigger decided to just stop eating. No rhyme, no reason. Just stopped eating. I noticed 2 days after we came home that he just seemed quieter. His fur felt dryer and he was shedding more than usual. I brought him to the vet and he was diagnosed with Hepatic Lipidosis. Because he stopped eating, his liver starting to secrete fat cells. Essentially, Tigger is in liver failure. He turned 10 in October and has always been in perfect health. He is an indoor cat, so he cannot get into much trouble. For a week, we tried to manage him at home by force feeding baby food into his mouth. When that didn't kick start his appetite, he had a nasal feeding tube placed. That was total Hell. It was a tiny tube that I had to syringe feed through. He had to wear one of those lamp shades around his neck so that he wouldn't pull out the tube. Tigger threw 2 tubes up in 3 days. At that point, I had to hospitalize him. The emergency vets agreed with the diagnosis but felt he was not a textbook case since Hepatic Lipidosis usually affects overweight cats. Tigger is only 8.5 pounds. They did some additional testing to look for a primary diagnosis, something like a cancer but found nothing. They put an esophogeal feeding tube in and kept him for 6 days. I got to go in and visit him every night. It was torture because he was so nauseous and he was jaundiced so he was literally yellow. Each time I came though, he would climb up onto my shoulder and purr.
2 days before Christmas, we got to bring him home. He needed to be fed every 4 hours. He eats a high calorie cat food that is blended with water to resemble infant formula. It is injected slowly through the feeding tube. Feedings take about an hour because you don't want to go so fast that he will vomit everything back up. His initial dosage was to be 20cc every four hours. Day 2, 30cc's, then 40 cc's and so forth until we got to 60 cc's each feeding. That never happened.
The first day of feeding went great. Then he started vomiting every feeding up. We had to pull back on his dosages and just go slowly. He gets Zofran (all you pregnant ladies probably know what this is!!) twice daily to control the nausea. It has been a long, stressful process but we are finally seeing the light! He is down to 6.3 pounds but has been maintaining all his feedings. He is up to 45cc's now and he no longer looks jaundiced. His labs stabilized and he is meowing up a storm. He is slowly starting to eat by mouth although just a tiny bit each day. I think Tigger is on his way back and I couldn't be happier.