This week’s blog tells the story of the wonderful, special and queen-like Liebchen. The following words have been written by Liebchen’s carer, Natasha, and our Head of Internal Medicine, Magda, who treated Liebchen.
“What happened to Liebchen is absolutely crazy. I am an opera singer and my partner is a concert pianist. Our lives are pretty bonkers sometimes, so it’s no surprise that our own fluffy creature is a bit unusual. Liebchen spends her days eating only the finest foods – tuna and sweetcorn, salmon and pumpkin, organic chicken breast, and poached smoked haddock. She’s a fussy little princess and would rather starve herself for a whole day than eat something she doesn’t exactly fancy. She adores her automatic loo (yes, with the robotic raking arm), chewing on the Christmas tree, and playing with her laser mouse and bird toys which allow her to race around the house like a rocket.
I often work from home and she follows me from room to room loyally, and flops into a snooze as soon as I’ve sat down. She doesn’t mind the racket of singing and piano practice, and is intrigued by the feeling of piano keys under her paws. Her grumpy little face is full of expression and she looks like ‘Puss in Boots’ when she goes into hunting mode.
She is a huge part of our little family, and an excellent listener. We got her when she was just under 6 months old, and she’s now almost 14 months. I remember the first time I saw her – there was a photo of this really fed up looking kitten with other cats playing in the background. She looked like she wouldn’t lower her status to join them – such a queen! When I met her, she emerged from behind a piece of furniture (having been hiding and watching me for some time), looked me up and down and then strutted away.
Apparently, she was the only one of her litter, which is pretty unusual. We don’t know if this has had something to do with her health problems being more acute, but we know that we are giving her a good life and looking after her as well as we can.
All our friends and family adore her – people ask about her more than they do about us. She’s such a special little monster and we love her dearly.” – Natasha
The medical bit from Magda…
Liebchen presented to our Emergency & Critical Care Service for investigation into her loss of appetite, and anaemia (a condition in which you don’t have enough red blood cells). Natasha, Liebchen’s carer, reported she had gone missing for less than 24 hours two weeks prior to referral, and after this time she had started chewing on inanimate objects (which was unusual) and was losing weight.
Blood tests revealed a severe non-regenerative anaemia. X-rays failed to identify any abnormalities apart from a mild cardiomegaly (abnormal enlargement of the heart), which was considered most likely secondary to her anaemia. An abdominal ultrasound demonstrated enlarged mesenteric lymph nodes, and an aspirate of the lymph nodes was performed, which came back as reactive. Liebchen received multiple, type-specific and crossmatched, cat blood transfusions and once stable she was transferred to our Internal Medicine service for further investigations.
Liebchen had developed a disease which was affecting her bone marrow. The underlying cause could not be identified, although a possible infectious disease was highly suspected. This might have had a direct effect on the bone marrow, or through a more complicated immune-mediated process.
Liebchen was treated with antibiotics and immunosuppressive dosages of steroids. She responded very well and her PCV (packed cell volume which measures the percentage of red blood cells in the circulating blood) has gradually returned to normal.
“Liebchen is doing so much better, thank you! Magda has reduced her steroids to only half a tablet so fingers crossed her system will cope without them soon. She’s started behaving like a normal, young cat again – this afternoon we were playing and she jumped to almost my chest height in a sort of backflip!” – Natasha
Thank you for reading Liebchen’s story. Stay tuned for more stories and news from the hospital.