Legs and Lactulose

Pathetic attempt at a catchy title, isn’t it? (What can I say, living with a liver shunt cat certainly makes you appreciate when life is “boring”.)

Just a quick update on everyone’s favourite Spotted Schnookums.

We’d been having another round of urinary issues with him – back and forth to the ER, during late spring and early summer, if I recall.  Once again, the P.U. surgery was being brought up. (Do. Not. Want!)

He’s now been on a Chinese herb, and his Cosequin four times per day, and mostly his pee output has been acceptable for the last few weeks. (I don’t want to jinx it!) He has a follow up exam soon; more urine tests, and possibly another blood test.

We’re still trying to get his gut back to normal after last year’s Clavamox for those rounds of urinary problems, and then the ABX earlier. He’s been on a new probiotic for a couple of months now.  We’re still not back up to his previous high levels of Lactulose, but things are hopefully moving back to his normal.

Kinda.

Now we’ve been having more frequent Hepatic Encephalopathy episodes with him. Some are micro-episodes, with barely discernible drool for a couple of hours, yet normal behavior. Others are more moderate drool for 12 or so hours, but again, more or less normal appetite and behavior.

But, he has had two episodes this summer that really worried us. Both times his hind end was significantly impaired – to the point we were concerned he had fallen and injured his leg. However, it was not injury, but more significant neurological impairment than he typically has experienced with his prior, worse episodes. I’m pretty sure it was the same (right hind) leg both times.

While he does often get what I call “wobbly” during his more moderate episodes, these were the first we can recall where he really acted as if he couldn’t bear weight on especially his hind leg for a short period of time.  Shortly after I had palpated the entire area and found no tenderness, he began drooling, and we realized it was not an injury; it was a New! Previously Unseen! Oh Scheisse! sign of an oncoming episode.

I know with every major milestone Newt has had, we have had to make adjustments. Initial full stabilization, teenage kittenhood, early adulthood, etc. And with him now being NINE YEARS OLD, we will probably have to make adjustments as we learn more about his “senior” status and how that might come into play with his liver shunt.

I’m really hoping this current probiotic is finally doing the trick, and we can ease him back up to his previous Lact level.  (For years, he was on the highest dose of any of the liver shunt cats in his support group – and still not quite at the preferred output consistency.)  So, hopefully all these summertime blips are simply blips as we get him back to his old normal.  Or, we keep making notes, and identify what his newest new normal is going to be.

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