Liver Shunt in Cats. Even the diagnosis might cause you to panic because you don’t know what it is. Even if your veterinarian explains it to you the chances are you walk of the surgery worried and confused. How do you and your cat cope with Liver Shunt? Is there treatment? Is there hope? [Updated 2022]
Firstly, let me tell you that here is hope and there are things you can do when you get a shunt diagnosis.
This ‘interview’ with Newt and his human seems very light of heart but it is extremely serious in its intent. The text will address many of your questions and worries. Newt also shares links to further helpful information. You will walk away with lots of knowledge, and plenty of hope so, please, let me introduct Newt and his Mum.
Well hello there! I’m Newt!
So nice to meet you. I am honoured to have been invited to write a guest post on the famous Dash Kitten’s blog. (And, maybe a little nervous, actually!). Where should I begin?
My purrents say I am a copper-eyed wondercat; my vets say I am a miracle cat, and my furends say I am obsessed with chicken. But really, I’m just Newt – a kitty who happens to be thriving, in spite of a pretty rare condition known as a liver shunt. My vets call it a portosystemic shunt, and say it means my blood isn’t properly purified because it bypasses my liver.
Symptoms of Liver Shunt in Cats
Every now and then, I have episodes where the toxins build up in my system and cause Hepatic Encephalopathy (HE) symptoms. Those can range from annoying to dangerous, depending on the severity of the episode, and how soon it is brought under control. The symptoms can include but are not limited to, lethargy, drooling, pacing, neurological and behavioral changes, apparent blindness or ‘increased cat liver shunt eye’, seizures, and more.
Sounds kinda yucky, doesn’t it? Well, that’s the bad news; the GOOD news is, there is Hope!Newt the Cat
Never underestimate the power of Hope! Liver Shunt in Cats
Once diagnosed, so many of us liver shunt cats are able to live normal, happy lives, either with surgery or with medical management. Surgical correction repairs the blood vessel, and medical management combines diet and medication.
I’ve been medically managed for almost five years now. I have no issues with taking my meds and I love my purrsonal, home-cooked diet. (Yum, chicken!!!!)
The overwhelming majority of the time, I’m totally normal; and you wouldn’t know I’m not quite healthy. Every now and then, I get an HE episode. Mine are usually not too bad, with some drooling, loss of appetite, and behavioral changes.
When that happens, my purrents know to give me some extra medicine, and then, am fine again. Not bad for a kitten that was expected to die any day, back when I was diagnosed at 11 weeks old!
- If you’d like to read more about liver shunts in cats, my main website, with links to articles. Mum also writes a blog with stories about me, check out my bio!
Copper Eyes and Liver Shunt
Oh, yeah! *bats glorious copper eyes* Almost forgot to mention my trademark, these eerie eyes! Aren’t they cool? Many vets say that copper eyes can sometimes be one of the signs of a liver shunt, in cats of breeds not normally possessing that colour.
Other signs can include failure to thrive, lethargy, drooling, mealtime aggression, head-pressing, and/or other symptoms of hepatic encephalopathy.
#TiaraTuesday for Liver Shunt in Cats
I have been sharing Hope for other kitties with liver shunts for several years now. I love music and dancing, and when possible, work as a DJ at fundraising pawties.
To thank my furends on Twitter, I have been experimenting with #TiaraTuesday to help spread awareness of liver shunts in cats The more people who know about it, the more likely their cats are to get diagnosis, treatment, and stabilization for Liver Shunt in Cats.
So, I am having a weekly dress in your crowns and jewels, and a monthly dance pawty on the 3rd Tuesday in each Month. Just another way to share Hope and say thank you to my furends. We’ll see how it goes.
Many, many thanks to darling Dash for inviting me to write a guest blog, and thank each of you so much for helping to share Hope for cats with liver shunts. Mwah mwah hugs!
Liver Shunt Research and Links
- Newt’s Website for Cats with Liver Shunts
- Feeding Pets with Liver Shunts – Cummings Veterinary Medical Centre
- Liver Disease in Cats – VCA Hospitals
- Newt’s mom Lisa’s YouTube channel Crochet and 2 small Newt videos
The Newt the Cat Memorial Notice (Published 9 May 2021)
Today I write about a cat who has been a long time Twitter colleague, Newt the Cat. Newt has been a long time survivor of portosystemic shunt thanks to the knowledge of his mum.
Newt passed away this past week. But I need to tell you something. There is much more to this than the sad passing of a great and wonderful colleague and friend. Newt ran #TiaraTuesday on Twitter and when I remembered I tried to attend. Newt shared his site, his interview with Dash Kitten and a host of lovely songs at the weekly party. These links provided hope.
Meezers and Terriers mom Ingrid sent me this to send on to Newt’s Mom Lisa.
How do I know Newt made a difference? Because people leave comments here under his interview.
People took time to express their gratitude to Newt for his hopeful words and his knowledge. Newt made sure and will continue to make sure that a diagnosis of a liver shunt or portosystemic shunt is not the end for cat (or dog).
What do I say to finish when I lost a friend and a legend?
Only one thing.
Thank you Newt
Marjorie is a motorbike riding blogger and award winning cat photographer who believes that everyone can shoot and edit wonderful pictures they love regardless of the camera they use.
She is a Professional member of the Cat Writers Association, Kuykendall Image Award winner and published photographer at the Guardian newspaper.