Have a rescue cat that is FIV positive when taken in 2 years ago. The cat is around 3 years old now and has lost appetite, energy, weight and developed jaundice. Have had bloodwork done and the cat was diagnosed with liver failure due to FIV. Vet said that she could try an appetite stimulant to generate appetite and if that did not work that we could bring her in for a vitamin B shot but did not recommend anything else. We are syringe feeding the cat right now several times daily and she is accepting the food but not eating on her own. Do you have any additional recommendations? Vet said a liver biopsy could be performed to make a further determination, however she is hesitant due to the initial diagnoses of liver failure and the cats weakened state.
Liver disease is certainly a serious condition. Supportive care such as IV fluids or fluids under the skin to help re-hydrate sick kitties,
anti-nausea medications, anti-oxidants to slow down liver cell damage can all be of benefit.
Making sure that the kitty is eating enough to prevent further weight loss is also important. If he is not eating enough calories to keep up with his energy needs, he could cause further liver damage.
While the acute liver disease may be related to the fact that your friend’s cat has FIV virus, it may be due to other factors as well (such as other infections, inflammation of the liver or pancreas, etc.).
Finding out the underlying cause for the liver disease is usually the best
way to give your friend a long-term prognosis if the disease will ultimately be curable. A surgical biopsy or ultrasound guided needle sample of the liver
are the best ways to get a liver sample. Depending on the cause, antibiotics, anti-oxidants, even steroids may be of benefit in helping the kitty feel better.
Having said all of this, even with the best aggressive treatments, some kitties suffering from liver disease (whatever the cause) will worsen. It is important that your friend decide if they wish to consider further treatment such as hospitalization for feeding and fluid therapy, additional medications, and further testing with a veterinarian ASAP. If the kitty is worsening , they may need to consider his quality of life. Please call and let us know if we can help in any way.
Pamela Borderieux, DVM