Cat With Chronic Liver Condition Is Now Losing Hair

Natatorium

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Hi Everyone,

Sparky was first hospitalized around September 3 because of jaundice. He has since been seeing an internist to manage his symptoms--we declined a liver biopsy so the internist believes Sparky could be suffering from hepatic lipidosis, cancer or some sort of intestinal infection. We had him on antibiotics, Ursodiol and prednisone. We used Cerenia and an appetite stimulant to help him gain some weight. We eventually stopped the antibiotics because his levels were still climbing and started him on Denamarin. He really seemed to rally after that--he became less yellow and had a normal appetite. He seemed to get his energy back and started acting normal (for the first time in a long time.)

However, last night when I came home, I found a pile a fur in the kitchen. When I found him, he was lethargic and withdrawn and had bald patches around his neck. His skin was red and I figured he had fever. I took him to the ER vet and he had a 105.6 fever. They couldn't explain the hair loss but did bloodwork on him and found the following values. Here they are with the comparison of his last round of bloodwork from last month (before he started the Denamarin):
Date: 11/7 10/3
ALP 317 581
ALT 658 340
GGT 14 12
BA >140 >140
tbili 2.7 15.3
BUN 31 21
Chol 291 392

The ER vet was pretty stumped as to what to make of things. We decided against hospitalizing him because he really, really, really hates it as he's a pretty sensitive guy. We took him home after they gave him subcutaneous fluids. We also gave him an appetite stimulant. This morning I took his temp and it was normal. He ate two bowls of food and is drinking water again. He still looks a little peaky but he's moving around and is very loving. There aren't big clumps of fur coming off of him, but he is shedding more than usual. I can't get him into the internist today, but he's on a waitlist and does have an appointment next week. I am going to take him in today to the normal vet just to see if she has any ideas. If anyone has experience with this or has any ideas as to what is going on or luck with any specific supportive care, I'd really appreciate hearing about it!
 

FeebysOwner

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Hi. I have nothing valuable to offer, but wanted to acknowledge your post because I know how difficult it can be not to get responses very fast. I do believe that others, who have some more knowledge related to this, will come along very soon and offer advice.
 

Mamanyt1953

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I can't help but wonder if the fur loss is due to stress associated with the illness. Ask your vet about that.
 

FeebysOwner

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Hi. I did find this information about hair loss. Maybe the hair loss has nothing to do with liver problems, but perhaps with one of the treatments he is receiving?

Alopecia

Hair loss (alopecia) is a common problem for cats. The hair loss can be partial or complete, and the patterns varied or symmetrical. Treatment options exist, though they are limited.

Symptoms and Types of Alopecia
Signs include partial or total hair loss. The skin surrounding the area of hair loss can appear normal or it can have redness, bumps, scabs, and skin loss. Alopecia may appear in a symmetrical form, or it can be random on the cat's skin.

Why is My Cat Losing Hair?
There are a few different reasons why cats can lose hair. In older cats diagnosed with cancer, alopecia is common. Nervous disorders (e.g., over-grooming) can also cause cats to lose their hair. Hormonal imbalances, specifically too much thyroid or increased levels of steroids in the body, may lead to hair loss. Some cats experience skin allergies, which can also cause hair loss to occur. Parasites that bring about mange, and fungal issues like ringworm, are also a common cause of alopecia. Another less common factor is heredity.

Diagnosis
A blood serum chemistry panel is often done to determine if there are hormonal or thyroid imbalances causing the alopecia. Various imaging tools, such as X-rays and ultrasounds, are used to rule out signs of cancer or abnormalities in the adrenal glands. Meanwhile, if the veterinarian believes hair loss is due to a skin issue, a skin biopsy or culture may be done.
 
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Natatorium

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Thanks, everyone!

The vet thinks he must have had
some weird allergic reaction to something—or itya sign that things are not going well internally.

She said that we may essentially be on “borrowed time” as of now, and that we can continue to keep him happy and comfortable for the time being. He still has a lot of pep, so for we’ll just keep on maintaining.
 

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daftcat75

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Did the ER vet test for pancreatitis? It’s one that gets overlooked a lot. The test is fPLI if you have the results in front of you.
 
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Natatorium

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Thank you for the resource—I took a look and will definitely consult with it.

It looks like they did not test for pancreatitis...but he did receive that as a working diagnosis in September.

His skin is red and inflamed, but not oily looking like they say can come with cancer. The vet did say it could possibly be autoimmune related but she’s hesitant to move forward with any other treatment. We do still have an appointment with the internist for next week. I can’t decide if it’s worth it to take him when we’ve decided against doing any more invasive tests. While his temperature is still normal and he still has a great appetite, I can just tell he doesn’t feel good. Really makes me feel crazy considering just three days ago he was running all around the house and playing with his toys.

Thanks for your support.
 

daftcat75

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fPLI was a $39 add-on to the blood screen. I don’t know what it would cost as a separate test. If his appetite is still good, it’s probably not pancreatitis though.
 
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