The Curious Case of River the Cat

Apr 2020 | Case of the Month

River is a 2 year old feline friend who presented to our hospital on December 16th, 2020. River’s people brought him in because he lost some weight and wasn’t interested in eating. Upon examination, Dr. Recpiko recommended some diagnostics to determine why River had lost 5 lbs since September. A urine test determined that River had a mild urinary tract infection. River’s family recently moved into a new home.Sometimes the stress of a move can be difficult for a cat and can cause this condition. River was treated with antibiotics, fluids under the skin,and an appetite stimulant. Dr. Recipko followed up with River’s family afew days later only to find out he was not improving. On December 23rd,2020 he came back in for a recheck with Dr. Recipko. He was lethargic,he was not grooming himself, and he was not eating. Dr. Recipko performed some more blood work and performed x-rays as well. Much to everyone’s surprise, River had a small metallic object in his small intestine!

There was no real way to tell what this object was on the x-ray. Dr. Recipko suspected a coin, battery, or a button. This was a very difficult case because not only did River have a foreign object in his intestine but because he wasn’t eating, he developed something called early fatty liver disease. When cats do not eat fat builds up in the liver and causes them to get sicker and not want to eat.

At this point, River was not the best candidate for surgery but surgery was really the only option. River’s family decided to go ahead with the surgery to remove whatever causing all of this. The surgery was performed the same day and went without complication. There was in fact a dime in River’s small intestine that was removed without incident.

The goal now was to get River to start eating! A nasal feeding tube was placed to assist with this. River was placed in the hospital after his surgery where we began the recovery process. On December 24th, 2019, River was evaluated by Dr. Coughlin. Upon her examination she noticed he was drooling a lot; this seemed to be due to the nasal tube causing him to be nauseous. She chose to pull the tube out and force feed. This seemed to help the drooling. River remained in the hospital for a couple of days being hand fed regularly. He began to improve a bit but still would not eat on his own. The plan was to send River home with some medication in hopes that he will begin to eat on his own in his own environment.

On January 6th, 2020 River came back in for his suture removal from surgery. His people reported that he still did not want to eat on his own. Although River’s surgical incision looked great and he healed well, his blood work was still not good as he would not eat. The recommendation by Dr. Recipko at this time was to place an esophageal tube and feed River this way until he would be able to eat on his own. The tube was placed on January 6th and actually replaced again on January 13th after he pulled the tube out on his own.

On February 17th, 2020, River’s feeding tube was FINALLY removed for good! As of February 17th his blood work is normal, he is eating on his own, and he is a happy healthy cat again!