Because crazy things can only happen when my husband is out of town for two weeks, Moose is in the hospital. Really though, we noticed that Moose was eating less, maybe losing some weight, and vomiting off and on for the past 10 days or so but he didn't stop eating completely (as far as we can tell) until this past weekend. That's when I started noticing that the bowls of food he and Oliver share were much fuller than they should be. After noticing that two different times, Mike and I decided Moose needed to go to the vet. So after taking Trucker in the morning yesterday to get caught up on his shots so he could go back to doggy day care, I took Moose in yesterday afternoon.
I started at MaxFund Wellness Center, the vet attached to the shelter we adopted Moose from but the doctor quickly assessed him and told me that he needed to go to a full service hospital to be hospitalized (after weighing him and seeing he had lost 5 pounds since November and seeing the yellowing on his skin and in his eyes - a tell tale sign of liver damage). Looking back she said the term hepatic lipidosis while I was there but I was having a hard time taking it all in and all I heard was liver failure.
So off I went to the second hospital to see a doctor who could run blood tests on site and could hospitalize as needed. It was at this hospital that I learned more about hepatic lipidosis and causes thereof. Basically, as a cat stops eating, they begin to metabolize their fat stores (which as we know, Moose has many of). The problem with this is that cats' livers cannot clear the byproducts of this metabolism so it in turn leads to a build up of byproducts (which are usually toxic) in the body leading to liver failure. We don't know why Moose wasn't eating, but for some reason he wasn't and so he moved in to this hepatic lipidosis causing changes in his activity level, vomiting, further anorexia (not being interested in eating) and perpetuating the problem. The only treatment is to get the cat to start eating again but many times, they don't want to eat because of the nausea.
So after over an hour at the hospital and Moose getting an IV, having labs drawn, and being settled in to a kennel to stay the night, I left the hospital and proceeded to immediately start researching everything the doctor told me. Needless to say, I now understand better how my families feel and know where they are coming from when they ask the basic questions such as will my child be OK and when will he/she come home. While it's not the same as a human child, for me it is - it's the closest to a child that I have. The doctor didn't sugar-coat anything - there is a possibility that Moose won't make it out of this and the first overnight stay with fluid rehydration would be needed before we could really get a better idea. The fluid rehydration would help to flush the toxins from the buildup of byproducts out of the system. The last time I talked to the doc last night he said he would call me this morning before 8 AM.
True to his word, I received a call from the doctor (I guess I should be calling him a vet, huh?) at 7:50 this morning while I was sitting with a crying baby trying to calm her. I would really NEVER answer the phone at work - much less in a patient's room - but I completely disregarded this rule today. He said, "There is good news and bad news - the bad news is that Moose is feeling much better. Why is that bad news? Because he pulled out his IV line over night." So now, Moose, being the spunky cat that he is, is starting to try to eat but no longer getting IV fluids like he should be because he pulled out his IV - just like a kid!!
I was updated many times during the day by the hospital, 4 of the 5 times by the doctor himself. At last check in, Moose was still eating, not needing to be force fed (which is often what hepatic lipidosis leads to just to clear up the disease), having no more vomiting, and being overall very vocal and wanting loads of attention. The doctor said if he keeps this up he'll be able to come home tomorrow. Unfortunately I'm at work all day tomorrow so unless they will let me come in after office hours to pick him up, I have to wait until Friday to bring him home.
I am thrilled and relieved beyond words that Moose is doing so much better today. The vet was very honest with me at the prognosis of this and even went so far as to tell me there was another cat earlier this year that did not make it. While it wasn't very good to hear while I was there, especially with my husband out of town and no one to talk to about it, I was very thankful that he wasn't saying that it would be alright when he knew that it may not be. And Moose may be a little more spry in the end due to weight loss, but I guess that isn't a bad thing either.