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Yoshi Spina

Back in 2006 a small, silver and white, domestic short haired ball of fluff came into our clinic for the first time for nasal discharge after being purchased from the pet shop. This was to be Yoshi Spina.

In October Yoshi presented with lethargy, was off his food and had a high temperature. The Spina family noticed he wasn’t keen to lay on his back, was inactive and his skin was jaundiced. He did not respond well to medication so an X/Ray was taken. This showed a slightly enlarged heart but did not give a reason for his condition. A blood profile was then run and a diagnosis that now made sense. Yoshi had Feline Hepatic Lipidosis. What is this?

Feline Hepatic Lipidosis is also known as fatty liver syndrome. (Nothing to do with bodyweight) There is no known cause although obesity is known to increase the risk. The disease begins when a cat stops eating from a loss of appetite forcing the liver to convert body fat into usable energy. If this process continues for too long fat builds up in the cells of the liver and the disease has officially progressed. Prognosis varies depending upon the stage of the disease. The disease is reversible through intense feeding via an oesphagostomy tube. This tube is inserted under a general anaesthetic so the animal can be force fed a liquid diet several times a day. In Yoshi’s case this was 4 x daily. The key to recovery is aggressive feeding so the body stops converting fat in the liver. A cat’s liver has a high regeneration rate and the disease will eventually reverse assuming that treatment began early enough and there is no irreparable damage to the liver.

Once diagnosed, Yoshi was put on intravenous fluids, given an anaesthetic and had his oesophagostomy feeding tube inserted. Yoshi was fed Royal Canin Recovery wet diet that was given through his tube and then flushed with semi warm water post feeding. After 8 days Yoshi was much improved and was started on Iams kitten dry food. We meticulously counted how many kiblets of food Yoshi was eating and recording this as it was important he ate the required amount according to his bodyweight. Now that Yoshi was eating we could remove his tube and allow the drainage hole to granulate and heal.

Yoshi has gone home to his family and is now living a full life. The Spina’s need to be congratulated on persevering with Yoshi through his treatment and their commitment to him by noticing the signs that he was seriously off colour. Hopefully Yoshi will only be visiting us for his annual vaccinations now.