Junior is a one year old cat that was rescued from a feral colony by a caring individual. One kitten stood out amongst the rest with his display of an array of medical issues. He was taken for a medical examination, but by the time the rescuers had a firm diagnosis of a portosystemic shunt, Junior was displaying most of the symptoms.
A portosystemic shunt, otherwise known as a liver shunt, is a condition where the blood vessel bypasses the liver, thus preventing the blood from being detoxified. The circulating blood that has been diverted (shunted) around the liver moves directly to the heart. The blood continues to be circulated throughout the affected animal’s body without being detoxified.
The build-up of toxins in the system can cause hepatic encephalopathy. Symptoms such as circling, running into walls, head pressing, blindness, sudden aggression, drooling, and seizures may occur. Upon diagnosis, the veterinary team at UC Davis said they needed to get Junior stabilized before a seizure killed him.
“Junior was the last of the feral kittens that I caught (that numbered over 60 kittens), and it breaks my heart that he had to go through all of the episodes before we found out what was truly wrong with him,” said his caregiver. “When my friend who helped with Junior’s care called me and asked if I would take him back into my home, I said yes. After all, I caught him so he could have a better life. Junior might be little, but he has a big attitude!”
According to Cornell Feline Health Center, liver shunts are often the result of embryonic blood vessels that have failed to close, or from blood vessels that are not normally present in the fetus that bypass the liver.
The caregivers have noted that the prescription diet and medications have helped Junior, but he is still in need of surgery to repair the liver shunt with an ameroid ring constrictor which will slowly constrict the vessel over time until it closes off.
Junior is currently stable, but has experienced many small hepatic episodes while awaiting surgery.
The caregivers have applied for grants to help fund the surgery needed, but so far have been denied. It’s all up to private donations right now with a goal of $7,000.
You can help Junior by accessing the link below at Causewish.com. There you can read the US Davis diagnosis form and find more notes about Junior’s veterinarian visits and progress.
Keep up with Junior by liking the Junior Barkavious Faceook page and share his cause.
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