August 2019: Scooter

Scooter is Pet of the Month

Reason for Nomination: Admirably coping with a life long condition

Scooter is a 14 year old male cat who came to see us earlier this year because his parents were concerned that he seemed to be losing weight although he was otherwise ok.

On running a screening blood test, it was noted that Scooter had jaundice. Jaundice can have several causes but in Scooter’s case there were changes in the blood test to indicate damage to the liver and therefore the jaundice was suspected to be related to the liver.

An ultrasound scan was performed to further investigate the problem. This showed some architectural changes to the liver, gall bladder and pancreas. Unfortunately, these changes are not specific to one disease process but it did help us narrow down the possibly causes.

At this point we wanted to rule out infection as a cause before persisting with any further investigation and so he had a course of antibiotics and liver support supplements. With an infection we would expect a complete recovery, however, Scooter continued to be up and down with his appetite and weight.

To get a diagnosis we needed to perform surgery to get a biopsy of the liver. This is not a small surgery to go through but the treatment for the other possible causes for his illness carry risk in themselves and so we needed to be sure of his disease process. We proceeded with a liver biopsy and Scooter coped very well with this surgery.

The results from the biopsy diagnosed Scooter with a condition called lymphocytic cholangitis. This process is suspected to be immune-mediated although it is not yet fully understood. An immune-mediated disease is one where the body’s own immune system for some reason no longer recognises its own cells and attacks them as though they are foreign. The treatment for this condition is therefore with immune suppressant medication.

Unfortunately, there is no cure for this disease and we can only manage it as well as we can to ensure he is happy and has a good quality of life which we are happy to report he currently does, albeit remaining a little bit orange in colour!

Special mention to his mum and dad as well for being awesome whilst he has been going through all these tests and treatments.