I would like to welcome Twitter pal @NewttheCat to explain Liver Shunt and how he copes with this rare condition – Liver Shunt in Cats. Newt is a great pal – and a great writer – Enjoy! ……….. He will tell you about his special peepers called portosystemic shunt cat eyes too.
Well hello there! I’m Newt!
So nice to meet you. 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. HE 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!
Never underestimate the power of Hope! Liver Shunt in Cats
Once diagnosed, soooooo 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!
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.
Tiara Tuesday 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!