Hepatic lipidosis is liver disease resulting from a period of fasting by the cat. When heavy cats suddenly stop eating the fat in their body is mobilized and causes a & road block in the liver and can lead to liver failure and death. A history of anorexia (stop eating) is often present. Early on many cats will vomit and appear very lethargic. Later signs of lipidosis include the development of jaundice (icterus) which is depicted as bright yellow gums in the photo of the oral cavity seen here. Yellowing can be seen in all mucus membranes, ears, and the whites of the eyes.
Abscesses are infections under the skin often due to trauma. The most common cause we see is induced by cats fighting and of course is most common in outdoor cats. The abscess can be anywhere on the body and is seen as a lump that is painful to the touch, hot and is covered in red/inflamed skin. The cat will often have a fever and will be lethargic. Treatment is needed to open and flush the cavity and allow for drainage. Antibiotics are typically used for 10-14 days and the choice may be based on culture of the wound. Most abscesses respond well to treatment.
Urinary problems are very common in cats and are often misdiagnosed as behavioral problems when in fact they are often due to infection, stones, inflammation or urinary crystals.
A few different types of urinary crystals can occur in cat urine and can be due to a variety of causes. Two common types of crystals are struvites which are often induced by a bacterial infection and oxalates which are thought to have a dietary component. Crystals are actually microscopic precipitation of minerals in the cat’s urine. I often describe these as almost microscopic pieces of glass that the cat must urinate out. It is a very painful condition and the crystals can cause complete blockage in the male cat due to his longer and more narrow urethra. Early on, these cats will often urine mark in the house as they associate the pain of urination with their litter box and therefore attempt to urinate somewhere non-painful. Owners may also notice their cat frequently visiting the litter box and not producing urine or straining. As the cat becomes completely unable to urinate he/she will become ill and lethargic, vomiting and loss of appetite are seen.
Treatment involves relieving the obstruction with an indwelling urinary catheter and flushing fluids through the cat. The urine will be collected and examined for bacteria and crystals and x-rays will often be taken to check for urinary stones. Antibiotics and a diet change are typically required.