Many of you will be familiar with Shelley, our cat who lives at Essendon Vet Clinic. Shelley has been with us for many years, with her age being estimated around 16 years or so.
We noticed that Shelly had been losing weight over a period of a few months. She occasionally vomited her food, but otherwise seemed to be bright, happy and eating well.
On examination we noticed that Shelley's breathing was a little deeper than normal and she was becoming very thin.
She had blood, urine and blood pressure tests done which did not show any abnormalities. We then took some xrays of her chest to look for any reason for her deeper breathing. The xrays were evaluated by a Cardiology Specialist, who gave the all clear on any lung or heart disease.
At this stage Shelley was continuing to lose weight and we did not have an answer. Our main concern at Shelley's age was that she may have a form of cancer, known as lymphoma, in her bowel which is a common reason for weight loss in elderly cats who have not had other findings on their tests.
We decided that the next most appropriate step was surgery to investigate Shelley's abdomen. She was a very brave girl for her surgery with Dr Seina doing the operation and Nurse Rebecca monitoring her anaesthetic.
Shelley had some enlarged lymph nodes in her abdomen and her bile duct appeared enlarged. Dr Seina took biopsies of Shelley's intestine, liver, kidney, pancreas and lymph nodes.
Shelley made a great recovery from her surgery, and was back to being bright, happy and eating well the next morning. Meanwhile we were anxiously awaiting her biopsy results.
The biopsy results came back the next day and to our relief did not show any signs of cancer. There were, however, many abnormalities on the biopsy results which pointed to Shelley having a problem commonly know as Triaditis. This is a condition were a cat concurrently has intestinal inflammation, pancreatitis and liver disease.
We have started Shelley off on three different types of antibiotics for her liver infection and once she has healed from her surgery we will start her off on cortisone to help settle the inflammation in all of her other organs.
This condition will need long term management but we are crossing fingers that Shelley gradually improves and puts on weight, so she can continue to our little furry friend around the clinic.