Ideopathic chylothorax diagnosis

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sara729

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My cat has been breathing heavily lately so I took him to an emergency vet yesterday to find out he has chylothorax and the vet recommended euthanasia. I was absolutely devastated, he's only 5 years old and has always been healthy and happy so to hear that news was shocking. I begged for suggestions other than euthanasia, she said he could be hospitalized to find out what's causing it and possibly getting surgery. I would do anything to save him so I agreed to have him hospitalized. $6,000 later, they didn't find any cancer or heart problems that could be causing it so they said it was ideopathic chylothorax. They weren't optimistic about the prognosis, they said rutin and low fat diet could help but only in about half of cats diagnosed. The surgery they're recommending costs $8,000 and they said it's only successful in about 50 percent of operations. I'm so torn right now, I've already maxed out my credit cards on the hospital stay so I would have to get a loan for the surgery. But if it doesn't work, I've spent $8,000 for nothing. I might try the rutin and diet for now but I don't want to risk my cat possibly dying because that route ends up not working and I should've just gotten the surgery for him. Most people think I'm insane for willing to spend that much on a cat but he's still young and has been there for me through some really rough times in my life so I can't bare losing him now.

Has anyone had any experience with this? Gotten the surgery? Advice? Thanks in advance!
 

FeebysOwner

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In what little I found on the internet, many of the feline medical journal abstracts suggested medical management should be tried first as it seems some of these cases resolve themselves spontaneously. I also searched this site for previous cases, and all were pretty old involving members who are no longer active.

Have you consulted with an internal medicine vet, or perhaps even a vet university? These groups are likely to have a bit more exposure/education than most 'regular' vets, so they may actually be able to provide you some information regarding outcomes for both medical and surgical management. The related documents noted in the journal abstracts that I mentioned above are fairly old, so I am hoping you can get more up-to-date information from a specialist.
 

mrsgreenjeens

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Why not try the Rutin first to see if you get decent results? If it doesn't work, then you could consider the surgery.

Even though this thread is old, it does have some info in it that might be helpful: My Kitty Has Been Diagnosed With Idiopathic Chylothorax

Also, is it the Emergency Vet who is quoting the $8000 for the surgery? You can probably find it much less expensive through another type of Vet. Emergency Vet's usually charge an arm and a leg for their services, unlike "regular" Vets, who can also perform surgeries.
 
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sara729

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Thank you for the replies! Just got back from the vet hospital after a 3 day stay, Riley's been on Rutin since yesterday per the vet and I purchased a low fat food.

Also, is it the Emergency Vet who is quoting the $8000 for the surgery? You can probably find it much less expensive through another type of Vet. Emergency Vet's usually charge an arm and a leg for their services, unlike "regular" Vets, who can also perform surgeries.
The emergency vet informed me $8,000 was the general cost for a procedure like this, they were not able to perform the surgery as it's rarely done and they weren't equipped so they gave me a list of possible hospitals who could (even a university/teaching vet hospital). Unfortunately after calling them, the people who answered had no idea what ideopathic chylothorax even was and said they would maybe get back to me after consulting with their vets about the surgery but I haven't heard anything back, of course it doesn't help that it's the week of Thanksgiving.

I'm a nervous wreck right now, I can't tell if my cat is breathing comfortably or if his chest is filling up with fluid again. He definitely isn't breathing as heavily as when I first brought him in but the emergency vet did say they had to drain fluid from his chest everyday since he's been there. I'm watching him carefully, he looks like he's sleeping peacefully but again I'm paranoid I won't know when he needs to get fluid drained again.

I will try calling the hospitals recommended for the surgery again next week, I'm hoping Riley stays stable. I found a helpful Facebook group specifically for this condition for cats which has been tremendously helpful, there are many people who said the surgery saved their cats but there were a few who said their cats were in even worse condition/died after the surgery so again I'm torn on the decision but if it actually saved Riley's life and made his life somewhat normal again it would be 100% worth it.

I guess I just needed to vent a little, thanks for the support :)
 

silent meowlook

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I have known cats that were managed well with rutin and a low fat diet.
I recommend you get your cat to an internal medicine veterinarian specialist.
Emergency vets are just that. Great in an emergency but not so good with internal medicine. Of course there are exceptions. But I think to often they don’t have personal experience and throw in the towel to quick with complicated cases.
unless of course your cat has been at a specialty hospital that is also an emergency hospital and the ERvet has consulted with a specialist. But still, if your cat is currently not suffering, and able to breath, try the rutin and make sure the diet is balanced but no fat. The cat I am thinking of had special food his owner cooked, I think it was white boneless skinless chicken and she added Mazuri supplement and taurine. He did really well and is still alive as far as I know.
 
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