The vet gave Olympia a clean bill of health!
You may remember back in August I mentioned Olympia was terribly sick. She’d lost half her body weight and wasn’t eating. The initial diagnosis of a liver infection turned out to be wrong. Thanks to an ultrasound (I keep wanting to say “cat scan,” because obviously) we discovered it was actually hepatic lipidosis, also known as fatty liver syndrome. Sometimes cats go off their food for reasons no one can figure out. Their body fat breaks down quickly to replace the missing nutrients, but their livers can’t handle that much fat at once. Fat builds up in the liver cells, and the liver becomes swollen and diseased, which brings on fatty liver syndrome. (One of the theoretical causes of cats going off their food is separation anxiety. I really hope Olympia didn’t stop eating and get sick because Alexa and I were away so many weekends in July. I don’t think I could handle the guilt.)
With the new diagnosis, we took Olympia off her antibiotics, since it turned out she didn’t need them. This meant we could also stop giving her the anti-nausea pills, too. The only treatment for fatty liver syndrome is aggressive feeding. So we put her on cyproheptadine, a human antihistamine that is also an appetite stimulant for cats. (Bonus: Olympia now has her own account at our local Rite Aid drug store!) Pilling her was an unpleasant chore that we became rather good at, with special thanks to Greenies pill pockets. She didn’t like it at all, but the pill pockets at least made the pills go down easier. Unfortunately, we also had to syringe feed her a high calorie prescription wet food for four or five days. That was nobody’s favorite. Syringe feeding was a twenty to thirty minute process that left Olympia, Alexa, and myself depressed and covered in cat food.
But it worked! Soon Olympia was eating on her own. And let me tell you, her appetite has come back with a vengeance! She’s at her food bowl constantly throughout the day. In fact, she’s eating so much that our other cat, Galapagos, has made it a point to watch her eat just to make sure there’s enough left for herself! We were so thrilled and relieved when Olympia started to eat again and gain back the weight she’d lost. We were so worried that we were going to lose her. If she were still a stray when this happened, there’s no way she would have survived. I’m so glad we were able to give her a warm, loving home where we could nurse her back to health. (We’re also extremely grateful to Care Credit, a credit card with excellent terms specifically for vet care costs, which are huge. They also have a card for people care costs.)
And now, after a thorough checkup and blood test, the vet says Olympia is as good as new! In fact, she told us Olympia is back up to her perfect weight now, almost 8 pounds. She wants Olympia to stay there and not get any heavier. We’ve been giving Olympia extra Greenies every day to get her weight back up, but we’re going to stop now. That will be hard to do, though. Watching her eat has become a source of great happiness for me now.