Chylothorax in Cats

chylothorax-cats

Chylothorax is a relatively rare condition in the cat in which lymphatic fluid or chyle accumulates in the pleural cavity between the lungs and the inner lining of the chest wall. The lymphatic system collects waste from the body’s tissues and returns it to the bloodstream. Chyle is the lymph fluid collected from the intestines. Since the intestines absorb fat from the cat’s diet, this fluid has a high fat content and milky appearance. When this fluid leaks into the chest cavity, it can partially collapse the lungs. This will cause breathing difficulties.

Symptoms of chylothorax

Symptoms will vary depending on the underlying cause of the fluid accumulation and the amount of fluid present, but may include any or all of the following:

  • Rapid or labored breathing (a cat’s normal respiratory rate is 20-30 breaths per minute)
  • Coughing
  • Inability to exercise
  • Pale gums and mucous membranes
  • Bluish discoloration of the skin
  • Depression and lethargy
  • Loss of appetite

What causes chylothorax?

The cause of chylothorax is mostly unkonwn (idiopathic). In some cases, trauma such as a fall or automobile injury that causes injury to the chest cavity may be the cause. Chylothorax may also be caused by tumors or lesions in the chest, heart or heartworm disease, and blood clots. There appears to be a genetic predisposition. Purebred cats, especially Siamese and Himalayan breeds, seem to be at higher risk.

Diagnosis of chylothorax

Your veterinarian will take x-rays to confirm the presence of fluid in the chest. A small amount of fluid is removed from the chest via a chest tap or thoracocentesis. Chyle is typically white or light pink in color. Laboratory tests can determine the fat content of the fluid; if it is high, it is most likely chyle. Examination under a microscope will show a large number of lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell that is only found in lymphatic fluid.

Treatment of chylothorax

Treatment will depend on the underlying cause, but the first step is a chest tap to remove the fluid from the chest cavity so the cat can breathe normally.

A supplement called rutin may be a beneficial treatment in some cats with chylothorax. It is thought to stimulate cells called macrophages to remove the fat in the chyle, and may reduce the amount of fluid accumulation.

A low fat diet is generally also recommended to lower triglyceride levels.

Prognosis

Prognosis is generally good if breathing can be stabilized. Cats may need multiple chest tap procedures and/or placement of a chest tube. Chylothorax has a high recurrence rate if the underlying condition cannot be identified. One of the most dangerous complications of chylothorax is fibrosing pleuritis, a process where scar tissue develops in the chest and permanently coats the lungs.

Ongoing care for chylothorax

Ongoing care may include periodic chest taps to remove fluid. Cats will need to be monitored for irregular breathing. Some cases of chylothorax will resolve spontaneously, but for some, there appears to be no effective treatment.

My personal experience with chylothorax

Feebee developed chylothorax as a complication from his intestinal lymphoma. Most likely, it was caused when the cancer metastasized into his lungs. He required a series of chest taps, but did fairly well on rutin therapy for several months before he came out of remission.

124 Comments on Chylothorax in Cats

  1. Elizabeth Weaver
    June 1, 2019 at 9:46 am (1 year ago)

    I have just received the news that my Lulu kitty has been diagnosed with idiopathic Chylothorax. She is seven years old and has never had any kind of health issue. She is a small petite kitty and not given to overeating or being a big kitty genetically. I took her to the vet on a Thursday after noticing she had rapid breathing. I had waited because I believed she had caught a bit of a kitty cold( I have a multiple cat household) and she was just exhibiting the last of a possible cold. She is an indoor only cat and she is exposed to other cats who come and go out back in a fenced area. She eats a bit of soft food every morning and then freely eats purina cat chow during the day and often gets Temptations treats when she asks for them. She is my favorite cat,she sleeps on her own bed pillow next to me everynight. I have panic disorder that is pretty bad and she always is with me when it gets horrible. Needless to say I have always believed my animals add more to my life than I add to theirs.
    We just finished experiencing a catagory 5 hurricane here in Panama City Florida and I stayed with all of my animals and we made it through. Life here is pretty bad…even eight months out. We have lost so much. I honestly am not ready to give her up….sounds selfish. I am not convinced that surgery is the answer either. It certainly would not be financially and I would have to raise money if we went that way.
    For now….only three days out of the diagnosis I am treating her with Rutin,250 3x a day. Mullein,3 drops 3x a day, switched her food over to low fat and I am also having to force or assist feed her….very unpleasant. When the vet saw her on Thursday she took the xray,immediately suggested it was idiopathic chylothorax and offered to send her to a specialist. I asked her to attempt to drain her to give her some relief. She was able to drain 200ml off of her and she give her an antibiotic shot and a shot of steroids at my request. The vet sent the sample of fluid to Auburn University and it came back as a diagnosis of idiopathic chylothorax. The vet said she managed a dog who diid evenutally undergo surgery and it was successful and the dog is still living. The dog was younger though…2 years old.
    We are scheduled to go back on Monday to see if more fluid has built up and she needs to be tapped again. I am hoping to go a while between tappings so this herbal medicine might have a chance to work to slow the build-up. I have read so much and cried so much. I am overwhelmed in everyway. I don;t feel optimistic but I am still trying for her. Right now she does not seem miserable but already she runs from me because the application of the pills and drops and forced feedings.
    I am not sleeping well because I am constantly checking her breathing and counting her breaths.
    The hurricane was so bad here and everything is broken or destroyed and I am so depressed my husband has planned a three day getaway to see things that aren’t broken. Now I am not sure I should go at all. My daughter still lives her and can watch everyone but I am afraid my cat will be stressed without me here.
    I have had to let go of cats before…it is hard. It is not as hard if you know they can not be helped further. Or if they are suffering with no hope in sight. I put my twenty year old kitty down last November after the storm. It was time. I get it. This just feels different though. I look at her and her eyes are bright and she seems mostly normal except for the rapid breathing.
    I really will consider finding a doctor to maybe put in a companion port if that is a viable option. My vet says she can not do it that I would have to see a different surgeon for that. I wonder what the criteria would be to get one? The cost? I have no idea. The surgeon said if she had the surgery to tie the duct and get rid of the pericardial sac she would get one .
    I am not sure why this is happening. Such a horrible mystery. I want to thank everyone thus far who has contributed their stories,sad as most are. I am going to try to use some of the techniques for administering the Rutin more easily….she hate the pill popper. She is equally unimpressed with me grinding it up and administering it that way. I have ordered some blue bonnet Rutin that is in capsule powdered form and will attempt to administer it mixed with chicken get that has been separated from fat.
    I would love to hear more about any cases of chylothorax that truly abated without surgery. Or possibly anyone whose cat only got drained once and went on to full recovery. Any links to those outcomes would be appreciated.
    I know everyone wants their cat to be the one who beats the odds and I am not different in that respect. Anyways.Lulu’s weight is 8.8 pounds. She is a domestic short hair kitty. She is seven years old. She is normal in every aspect physically in that she has been healthy. She gets a flea medicine. For many months it has been comfortis. Last couple of times revolution. I won’t be giving any more of that for now….just in case.
    Any advice is greatly appreciated.

    Reply
    • Elizabeth Weaver
      June 10, 2019 at 8:16 am (12 months ago)

      Lulu was drained again last Friday and it was about the same amount,190 mls. I was fairly defeated as she had been on the rutin for a week. I have upped her dose to 1500 mg three times a day. Also thie assisted feedi g is really upsetting and makes her breath hard so I have ordered the vonito flakes to encourage self eating. Since she isn’t eating mich I have to pop the pills in her and she runs from me. Lately though she fights less when I catch her I think be ause she has lost weight and is weaker. I am supposed to hear back from the vet on any surgeon nearby who might evaluate her case and giveme an idea about surgical costs and likely outcomes. I really. Need to find out how painful the surgery is,more than when she was fixed? Does the surgery leave them in any pain that lasts? I am trying to keep her reapirations anywhere from 24 to 32. I am really hoping that she doesn’t immediately fill up again this week. I am a complete wreck.

      Reply
      • Louise
        June 10, 2019 at 12:46 pm (12 months ago)

        I can tell you I too did the Rutin route, Unfortunately for me it didn’t help at all. I started feeding Gus anything he wanted to keep his weight stay up. Good luck and keep us posted. Our Gus was just 12 when he passed after many taps, and no surgery, as our vet advised against it in our case.

        Reply
        • Elizabeth Weaver
          June 12, 2019 at 11:22 am (12 months ago)

          Thanks Louise for writing back. Last evening was horrible. She had a good morning even though her respirations were up a bit…probably in the high thirties low forties. She sat with me. She used her scratching post. She meowed at me a little. I felt encouraged. Last evening though after giving her just 5 mgs of food assisted she became very agitated and started laboured breathing. She went up to about 57 and as it was late I really freaked out thinking what will I do now to assist her as her vet is not there and we no longer have emergency vet beecause we had that damn category 5 hurricane here last October and everything is destroyed!
          My dear husband said look I am going to our Lucky’s market to get her some CBD capsules and we will see if that helps. I personally took two of my xanax because I was beside myself with worry and nausea. We gave her a pill and she did calm down. She actually ate a bit of her hard food and then I carried her to bed and tucked her next to me on her pillow and kissed her and thought she might pass in the night.
          I awoke to her still breathing. She lined up with all my other cats for her little bit of soft food,she only tasted a bit, then ran from me as I needed to give her the rutin. I have to use a pill popper as I can not get her to keep it down if I sqirt it into her mouth and she also isn’t eating enough to put it in her food. I just feel helpless. She is sleeping now in her window seat. I know the vet is good but I think she wearies of me asking for repeat taps as I understand vital nutrients are taken away with every tap. I havent heard anything back from her,the vet, about a surgeon maybe in Tallahasee who might be able to operate or if there are certain diagnostics that she has to go through before she can have the surgery. For me I am now wondering how long I do this to her? Do I just let her go before she struggles more? Do I just continue on with the rutin hoping it will begin to work? Do I put her through all the pain of surgery and maybe it works maybe it doesn’t? At this point, do I let her starve as her desire to eat is nearly non existant?
          For me she is a young cat,only 7. Most of my cats are older and the last kitties I have said goodbye to were 20 and 16. I have only had to put to sleep one young cat as he threw a saddle clot and that was devestating.
          Louise how many taps did Gus have? Did any of the taps get less in volume or always about the same? Did any of the taps have less volume and then next time more? Also,how far apart were his taps and how many respirations did he get to before you took him back in?
          I will read back through to find out if you posted more about Gus but why wasn’t he a candidate for surgery. I know my vet has hinted at the five thousand dollar range for surgery and that is probably out of our budget so unless it is less I am not sure which direction we shall go and there is the pain quotient in all of this and quality of life.
          I now feel all I can do all day is count her respirations and see if she will eat anything and use the restroom. She is tired. I am tired.

          Reply
          • Louise
            June 12, 2019 at 12:59 pm (12 months ago)

            I can tell you I was checking resp. also…panicked day after day. Gus did eventually only have to be tapped 2 times a week and the fluid calmed to less than 100. He was doing better as I was feeding him only treats to keep his weight consistent, which seemed to work, as he loved them. Why not to me as the boy definitely needed something. I thought by some miracle he would get better. On the day of his 12th Birthday he had a routine tap scheduled. He had us singing to him, and then to his 11:00 appt. Well the one thing I had been warned about happened. The tap needle pierced his lung and they could not revive him after many tries. I know it was probably his time, and can never fault the vet I have known for years, or myself as I truly was in for whatever it took to make him better. I think of him often, will always be in my heart, and know how hard it is for you. Hang in there, and know there are so many like you facing this. Gus went from Memorial weekend to his birthday on August 13th…My vet I think since it has been almost 3 years
            35 range on bpm. I am not sure that is totally it, he loved to be in his cat tree which exerted him, on the bed, anything exerted him. I had lost a tabby at 12 (Max) who had diabetes which we nursed for 3 yrs on shots. He died on the table during surgery as his kidneys had shut down, we had noticed a mass on his abdomen, which during surgery they found he had developed a sac to hold urine outside of his non existent kidneys. I then had another that died at 12 after 2 years of us (my husband and I) nursing him through 2 cancer surgeries and radiation. My last remaining little Girl passed a yr and a half ago @ 20 & 8 months so can’t figure why so many are passing after so much going on and other a ripe old age. I have seen through this site and other forums that some cats are younger so, do not know what determines the age or cause. It is still one of those mysterious diseases. And by the way my memorial day visit for gus at a emergency vet was in excess of 5k as he was in a oxygen chamber at $200 a hr and in intensive care for 3 days. Taps were expensive after that, and we tried to do a scan, but he almost crashed trying, so we put him through a lot just to get as far as we did. We had no cats after our little girl passed for 2 months….that was so lonely. I had told my husband I had only had one year in my life without cats that I can remember. In January of last year we adopted 3 siblings that were 4 months old. We are treat free, no table food, and on a special diet through vet. I am convinced a way to a better longer life is no treats. We only started feeding treats when out Max had his shots every 12 hrs. Of course so all the others wanted them too. Before that none of my cats passed before 17-18 years of age.

          • Louise
            June 12, 2019 at 1:04 pm (12 months ago)

            I can also tell you there are two sacs that hold fluid, that is why sometimes they are able to get a larger amt.

          • Louise
            June 12, 2019 at 1:17 pm (12 months ago)

            Surgery wasn’t a option in our case as our vet had said, as you posted there a more success rate in dogs. He said he gave a less than 20% chance of survival rate on Gus, and tapping was our best bet. We really trusted our vets opinion and took the risk of the taps and it did decrease until that fatal day

          • Louise
            June 15, 2019 at 8:26 pm (12 months ago)

            I am so sorry about Lulu. My heart goes out to you. This disease is so unknown, and we have all had that feeling of what if…..Please know that we are all feeling your grief, and that we are here for you. I do not believe it is anything sudden that you did. I think as we all know, that cats mask illness so well, that we don’t realize what is happening until they have reached a dangerous low. If it was a environment factor I would think your other animals and you would see a difference too. Hold your family tight, and know that she is at peace, and not struggling to breath. Your caring heart, held her and now she joins all of our fur babies running and chasing butterflies care free.

      • Ingrid
        June 11, 2019 at 5:38 am (12 months ago)

        This is such a frustrating condition, my heart goes out to you, Elizabeth. The surgeon will be able to answer your questions about outcome and recovery as well as pain control, if you decide to go ahead with it. It certainly is a more involved surgery than the spay surgery. All my best to you and Lulu, and please keep us posted.

        Reply
        • Elizabeth Weaver
          June 15, 2019 at 6:33 pm (12 months ago)

          On Wednesday evening Lulu’s respirations went up into the sixties and she was really struggling and both me and Mr.Weaver were completely in a horrible state watching her. He asked me to stop assist feeding her as she would get even a little into her and struggle with the breathing. Not because she hated it as much as she just didn’t seem to have room for food in there and breathing. Anyways, we retrieved some pet cbd capsules from Lucky’s that evening and it did really seem to help her to relax and slow those respirations. Of course I worried she would get hypoxic but we needed to try something.
          Thursday seemed a better day where she followed me to the living room and waited outside the bathroom for me so I felt hopeful but by Thursday evening she just seemed exhausted and tired. She still stayed on the pillow in bed next to me but by Friday morning she did not get up with me to at least attempt a lick at food. Her respirations were back up to an uncomfortable place for her. She eventually came into the living room and I gave her some food which she licked at but I gently put her up into her window seat to just watch her for awhile. I am dying as I write this because I had to make such a hard decision. I had spent countless hours trying to research this damn chylothorax and I saw very few promising outcomes. I can tell you that I looked into her eyes on Friday morning and she looked so tired. She was just concentrating on breathing. If she moved even a little it took it out of her. I had to ask myself where I was going trying to save my Lulu. Do I get the feeding tube,would it have helped as she still had appetite but could only take little amounts without getting too full and uncomfortable. Do I tap her again…the trip to the office was always so scary for her. Even the thought of popping one more pill down her throat which she really hated was becoming difficult. I tried every way to make the rutin sneaky and that didn’t work and she wasn’t eating enough to put it in the food so pill popping was what we were doing and she would run from me and then she was scared of me,but she wanted my comfort because she was my sidekick so we did this dance all day long. I didn’t mind because I hoped she would get better. I laid on the floor with her most days all day just watching the bird channel. Or I would put her in her window seat and feed the squirrels so she would have something to watch as most everything exhausted her. I even put the pocket pond onto my ipad so she could watch fish. Mostly I counted her breathing. I counted and counted. I watched it climb every day a little more.
          In the end I just couldn’t do it to her anymore. I could not imagine stuffing pills into her the rest of her life. She was losing weight. She was dehydrated. I couldn’t imagine leaving her for surgery in a strange place not having a great chance that her life would be spared and her pain would be worth it to her and me. I called a vet to euthanize her at home yesterday morning. Of course by yesterday afternoon I regretted it all. This morning I awoke without my cat by my side and I am completely out of my mind with indecision and doubt. I remembered this morning where someone said taurine deficiency can cause this so I was sure I killed my cat with temptations treats and was frantically trying to read if they had taurine as a supplement. Then I thought that giving everyone a little soft food began her downward health condition so nobody got soft food this morning. Then I imagined because we have some water damage that mold caused this and not having the ceiling fixed has killed her. I think back now and remember her vomiting after she ate but didn’t think too long on it as I have cats that eat fast and puke. But then the coughing…she had that as well and I thought hairball. Now someone coughs and I cringehairball,chylothorax? I wonder if I would have just kept at it that everything would have resolved? Maybe if I had not gone to Texas for four days and the stress of that separation was too much for her? So it goes on and on in my mind. Now the grief is so intense that I can barely stay in my own house and going to sleep which has always been difficult,just not a good sleeper,is nearly impossible without my cat. I cry when I go to sleep and I cry when I wake up and yeah, I don’t remember feeling this bad since my dad died. It is very hard not having the Lulu in my life for now.
          I have no idea how long I will second guess my decision….forever probably because she was That cat…or That dog…the kind that are just part of your life in the biggest way. She was perfect in every way .

          Reply
          • Ingrid
            June 16, 2019 at 5:22 am (12 months ago)

            Oh Elizabeth, I’m so sorry. My heart goes out to you. From what you’re describing, it sounds like Lulu was ready to go, and I know it sounds trite, but you gave her the ultimate gift of love by letting her go, even though it was the hardest thing you ever had to do. I don’t think there’s any way that we won’t second guess ourselves after having to make the euthanasia decision. Perhaps this article will help a bit: https://consciouscat.net/2018/08/22/dealing-with-feelings-of-guilt-after-euthanasia/ Be gentle with yourself as you mourn your beautiful girl.

    • Deven
      September 28, 2019 at 6:18 pm (8 months ago)

      My 5 year old Lennon just got diagnosed with Chylothorax yesterday. The vet was unable to drain all of the fluid in his lungs, only a small amount, so I am taking him to a different vet tomorrow that can drain all of it. I have been crying and researching this since the minute I found out and I am losing hope. The breathing troubles have been going on for a few months and I feel so guilty for not taking him sooner. He is just acting so happy and healthy all of the time it’s hard to tell there is something wrong. The vet I went to told me there is no solution, no treatments, they have no idea. It wasn’t until I did my own research that I found a low-fat diet and rutin helps. I even asked if a change in diet would help at all and they said no. I think they really don’t have an idea about this disease. I am really really hoping by draining all of his fluid and trying to diet and supplements we see some change. My worry is that the fluid has been building up for too long and has damage to his insides. Reading all of these stories has brought me so much comfort in knowing I am not alone. My 5 year old baby has never had any major health problems and always seems so happy. Any advice would be so much appreciated as I feel like I don’t have a qualified veterinarian on my side and I am going into this blind.

      Reply
      • Louise Ayers
        October 5, 2019 at 10:37 am (8 months ago)

        facebook has a site for Chylothorax, look it up and maybe someone can tell you more. keep trying!

        Reply
    • Wsac
      October 5, 2019 at 4:52 am (8 months ago)

      We are currently going through the same situation 🙁 our furry baby is 11 years and is filling up with fluid approximately after 3 days after draining him. The vet didn’t give us a lot of hope and told us that is he might have to be put down if it continues to happen as the meds don’t seem to be helping him 🙁

      Reply
  2. Matt
    September 26, 2018 at 11:14 pm (2 years ago)

    My little buddy got chyle… anf the vet said we needed to put him down. And I was so upset. It hurt so much. Then I blamed myself for not taking him to the vet sooner. I blamed myself for not taking him home. I still hate that it hurts so much. Some days I know I made the right decision. Then some days I hate what I did. That I didnt fight for my little furbaby… why?? What did I do I think??? Why didnt I just bring him home with me??!!! The pain is unreal. I kiss him so much… I did the right thing.. I think I did… but some days just really really suck. He is in a better place. I rescued him. But I didnt do enough at the end. I hate cancer. And I miss my buddy every day

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      September 27, 2018 at 4:17 am (2 years ago)

      I’m so sorry, Matt.

      Reply
    • Julie
      September 27, 2018 at 10:00 am (2 years ago)

      Matt, I understand the pain and doubt you are going thru, sometimes I wonder if i did the right thing for my little guy. The reality is we as humans can do something for our furbabies that we can’t do for humanity. We can save them from the pain and hurt they feel of trying everyday to live for us. I feel in the end they pull the strength to go on for us to live for us. Nobody wants to see any living thing suffer and with the furbabies we can save them from that pain and suffering where we can’t in humans. We can’t help a person that is suffering but we can give the peace that most furbabies need after the pain they experience. Take comfort in the fact that one day when you leave this world your little buddy will be waiting for you and you will be reunited with him.

      Reply
    • Jane
      October 5, 2018 at 10:26 am (2 years ago)

      This same month, this happened with me and my little guy. Bicavitary pleural effusion. He had spent the night sleeping under a chair, instead of with us, purring. I didn’t realize this until the morning, where I found him still purring under his chair. He hadn’t eaten dinner, then didn’t eat breakfast. He stared at his water bowl and seemed to have labored breathing. It was a sudden change in behavior, and I knew something was wrong, so we took him to the vet that morning. They discovered the fluid first around his abdomen, and it was pink. So we then took him to the hospital, and there they found fluid around his lungs, too. He was placed in the oxygen cages and spent the night there, awaiting a full ultrasound the next day. We went back to see him twice, and the next day after the ultrasound, we had more time with him in the ICU. At first he seemed better, out of the oxygen, but then his breathing worsened before our eyes and he was placed back in the oxygen chamber. It all happened so, so fast, and so unexpectedly. Everything we knew changed in just 48 hours. The final talk with the doctor confirmed the worst: they didn’t know the cause, but between the fluid, the breathing, and nodules on his intestine, it was likely heart failure or cancer. Cytology was inconclusive. He had had the beginnings of kidney disease, so heart drugs would’ve conflicted with the rest of his body. And we couldn’t imagine taking him back and forth to the vet for chyle drainage, being on meds, going through surgery. He wouldn’t have been himself, and would’ve been miserable. His quality of life would’ve been awful, and it would’ve been only for us — to have more time. So we made the decision to let him go. This is the hardest thing I’ve ever done, and I miss him every day. I’ve struggled with guilt — what if we’d only taken him home, and not left him overnight? What if we’d come in sooner? What if he did get better on meds? What if we had gone to the hospital first? But in the end, we had been to the hospital just three weeks before, where they diagnosed kidney disease, and they’d seen none of these other symptoms, even with the bloodwork. And if we’d taken him home, he may have been in terrible pain. Ultimately, we were able to spend time with him on his favorite blanket, with his favorite toys, opening a can of food for him, giving him treats, holding him, and letting him finally nap. When he awoke from that nap with a start, and tried to hide, we knew it was time. We said goodbye in tears, and stayed with him to the end talking and petting. We loved him. Matt, I miss my boy every single day, all the kisses and snuggles and the feel of his fur and his expectant eyes, and I’m not always fully at peace with the decision either. But when I think about the pain he was in, and the love we shared over 11 long years, it adds up to more than that one day and one decision. You gave your little guy love, a home, and a best friend. Remember that and remember the good days, the good purrs, the playtimes, and the cuddles. I’m trying to do that myself, and it helps to hold on to the memories and the knowledge that I did the right thing, always, for 11 years.

      Reply
  3. April
    August 23, 2017 at 1:18 pm (3 years ago)

    Good afternoon. I am seeking advice from cat owners who may have a similar experience going on with their senior kitty or perhaps did. My 16 yr old senior kitty had a bad respiratory infection which caused her left lobe lung to collapse in Jan. 2017. She has had her lungs aspirated twice as well as numerous echo cardio grams, X-rays and labs which show no signs of cancer or any illness besides bing hypothyroid. She currently takes Prednisone and LASIK orally to help keep her comfortable and sustain her life. At last examination, no sign of fluid in her chest cavity or lungs. Sassy’s breathing is la ores but she doesn’t seem uncomfortable as has adapted. She only mouth breaths and and seems in distress when she gets excited or upset. Any advice? Due to her age the vet did not recommend any surgery or oxygen therapy or oxygen chamber therapy. He said she is surviving on borrowed time. My question is, her organs are healthy, and all labs are good and no signs of disease or cancerous tumors found. Can she possibly live longer as long as her symptoms are treated with the current meds OR do any of you have similar situations and different treatment options to suggest?
    Thanks- Sassy mom April

    Reply
    • Louise Ayers
      August 23, 2017 at 9:14 pm (3 years ago)

      I would say give them the time they cherish. She seems like she has adapted and no fluid build up at this time. My Tabby lasted only 2 1/2 months with chlorothorax and every day was a blessing. He passed on the table while doing a procedure last August. He was having 250cc at least 2 per week. You are fortunate that he is doing well as he is, or so it seems. It seems like you know to keep him quite and with not much stress. My husband and I took down all our high cat trees to keep ours from going to the top, and if yours is a bed cat lowered our bed so could easier access.

      Reply
    • Diane
      October 31, 2017 at 10:31 am (3 years ago)

      My cat Rudy had his first tap and 400 ML was removed. They are saying it is chylous effusion. And ultrasound several months ago said possible SCL, but at 18 years old I do not want to put him through any surgical procedures. My question Is how often should I tap and is Rutin really effective? His fluid buildup seems to be in the abdomen area, thank you for any advice

      Reply
      • Louise Ayers
        October 31, 2017 at 4:43 pm (3 years ago)

        Whatever you decide is the right thing. If he is comfortable and doesn’t seem to mind….Our Gus fought until his final breath, and still did his normal things after his fluid taps..

        Reply
        • Diane
          November 8, 2017 at 10:32 am (3 years ago)

          Thanks for the feedback. Did you ever try the Rutin supplement?

          Reply
          • Louise Ayers
            November 8, 2017 at 10:36 am (3 years ago)

            yes I tried Rutin, and he had almost 2 months with it. It did maybe slow down fluid build-up but not sure that would have helped him fully in the long run.

  4. George
    March 9, 2017 at 4:36 am (3 years ago)

    Just this evening I had to let my little boy Steve-O go after his thoracotomy surgery.

    He began to show symptoms 10 or so weeks ago and began weekly chest taps nine weeks ago. He had every test under the sun and I spared no expense and still feel as if I did not do enough or the right thing. He was on the Hills W/D for years and only given the best of everything. He was a brilliant, loving and playful guy – and so handsome. He was a little over 10 and in excellent health except for this horrible idiopathic chylothorax that came about.

    I researched so many avenues and spoke with many vets and specialists and was driven mad with the diverging thoughts on managing over the long haul vs. addressing the issue via surgery.

    In a very short time, this chyle created a lot of inflammation and fibrosing in his chest. Additionally, my cat’s liver became inflamed and caused fluid to start to fill his abdomen as well. It drove me absolutely nuts that $8K of medical attention could not identify any direct cause.

    It is commonly stated that the success rate is now 70% or higher from surgery, but from my research, that tends to be very optimistic. Dogs do far better with this condition than cats, and the best-case ranges for success in cats I’ve read is between 30% and 50%.

    There are some researchers and doctors that have had a better success rate but they are not anywhere near where I live. I did explore travelling out to other areas to seek treatment, but the odds aren’t vastly improved when the condition is idiopathic because there is no way to really compare the causes of any two idiopathic conditions.

    Steve-O developed a leak in one of his lungs not long after he had stabilized after surgery with a doctor with a very good track record. The lung had to be removed, but I opted against it because at this point, I had weigh that the condition of the other lung had also developed fibrosing. How many more efforts after a $10K surgery made sense to keep Steve-O alive, and in what condition? I felt I reached the point where his quality of life was going to start taking a dive and that was it for me. I regret not putting him down earlier because I felt he began to suffer, but he was in good spirits and I thought we had more time. One never knows.

    I share this because it is a way I can cathartically deal with this huge loss – hoping those of you out there that may face this insidious condition might find some perspective. I was very optimistic after the initial diagnosis and the research I did, but in retrospect, I don’t know at what point it would have been best to put him down. I’ve heard that it can never be too early, but it can be too late. This is still fresh for me, so I don’t know if I would have done anything different. If I found myself in a similar situation again, I’d probably spare the surgery and put him down earlier if the success rate were estimated at below 50%.

    I am really sympathetic to all those who have and will have to deal with this horrible condition. It really sucks that we don’t know enough or have better prognoses for this condition, but if you love your cat as much as I do, you’ll know by looking in his or her face what the right thing to do is.

    Good luck!

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      March 9, 2017 at 6:00 am (3 years ago)

      I’m so sorry about Steve-O, George. Thank you for sharing your experience.

      Reply
    • Lisa
      March 11, 2017 at 3:46 am (3 years ago)

      so sorry to read what you and your Boy went through/I know more about this than I ever wanted to.after spending thousands for a diagnosis/I needed another month to raise at least 8grand for surgery.My vet said he was suffering I should put him down.Long story short Ive been beating myself up cause Murphy didn’t even get the chance at surgery he was just 4.Ideopathic Chylo really sucks.Im so sorry for all of us and Angry.Hope time heals its been 6months and I’m still ticked.Lisa.So sorry for your Steve.

      Reply
    • Shaun
      May 4, 2017 at 3:17 pm (3 years ago)

      I’m so sorry to hear about your boy Steve-O. I’ve just got back from the vet. My Thomas was having troubles breathing. The vet drained fluid and sent off samples for lab testing. Thomas is home with me now, and I’m just numb. I really needed to hear this George. I don’t know what the cause of his pleural effusion is, but I’m thinking this will not be an easy answer. Thank you for sharing your experience.

      Reply
      • Louise Ayers
        May 4, 2017 at 5:24 pm (3 years ago)

        I agree though still gave it my all. Success rate is determined how? Be at peace with the decision you make. My Vet said they do not know the feeling of death like we do. They live each day for you taking them in for a happy how long or short life it may be.

        Reply
        • Ainsley
          May 4, 2017 at 5:57 pm (3 years ago)

          I am so sorry to hear all of these stories. I hope everyone can find peace and answers from reading through this thread (I know I did). Chylothorax is a horrible disease and I really feel for everyone who was forced to deal with this and my heart aches for those owners who had to let their fur babies go so early in life 🙁 I just want everyone to try not to beat yourselves up for not doing more…there is no 100% cure from this awful Chyle. The biggest thing to try to remember our cats are all so lucky to have the chance to live a life full of love from their owners. <3

          Reply
          • Tina
            July 23, 2018 at 9:08 pm (2 years ago)

            I am dealing with this now with my Barca (Barcelona). We have had all of the tests done, he’s been tapped 3 times, (the past 3 weeks)and it just keeps filling back up. Took him to a specialist today for ultrasound and nothing…I’m so upset, I can’t imagine not having my Barca! I can’t stop crying over his pain and my potential loss of him. I don’t know if we should try the surgery, it’s a 50% chance that it can work and to me he’s worth taking the chance! But do I put him through this only to add to his pain and discomfort? Am I being selfish? He is only going to be 4 in October. He’s my blue eyed handsome boy and I can’t imagine life without him.

          • Louise Ayers
            July 24, 2018 at 10:17 am (2 years ago)

            I have heard some amazing stories of cats making it through the surgery, and leading a full life. Go with what you think best. I would have chosen the surgery if my Gus was a candidate. Much luck and keep us posted.

  5. Michael
    February 26, 2017 at 8:50 am (3 years ago)

    Regarding Rutin and what it does:
    “Rutin, a benzopyrone extracted from plants, has been marketed as a nutraceutical and is available as an over-the- counter product at health food stores. It comes in the form of a gel capsule and apparently is not linked with an unpleasant taste or odor to cats. Rutin has more commonly been used in human medicine for the treatment of lymphoedema following axillary lymph node excision. The exact mechanism of action is unknown; however, it has been proposed that rutin reduces leakage from blood vessels, increases proteolysis and removal of protein from tissues, and enhances macrophage phagocytosis of chyle (9).”

    Reference:
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1180424/

    Reply
  6. Michael
    February 25, 2017 at 10:57 am (3 years ago)

    Steps I took that helped my cat get better:

    Rutin. 250mg morning, noon and night. Can purchase from any health food store, pharmacy or off Amazon.com which is where I got mine.

    How I got my cat to take it:
    Drained a can of “salmon in water”.
    This is found in the canned tuna section of the grocery store and looks like a can of tuna.

    Steps:
    Open and drain into a Ziploc bag. This will be the draw bag you draw from every day. Write the date on the bag of when you opened the can. (Put the salmon meat into a separate bag to save for sandwiches, salads or salmon patties!)
    Next, fill a 5ml syringe (you can get from any pharmacy) with the salmon/water juice from the draw bag and squirt that into the corner of a new plastic bag, this will be your mixing bag. Put the draw bag and salmon meat in the fridge.
    Next, empty a few 450mg capsules of Rutin in a glass or ceramic bowl then crush the Rutin into as much of a powder as possible using the back part of a spoon. This makes it easy to dissolve and mix.
    Next, fill 1/8th measuring teaspoon with Rutin. (This comes out to approximately 250mg). Dump that into the corner of the mixing bag with the salmon/water juice. Use your thumb and index finger to grab the corner of the bag and and move the sides of the bag back and forth to mix the Rutin and juice together making sure to dissolve any hard Rutin peices that may not have got crushed up.
    Add 1/8 teaspoon of Collagen Hydrolysate powder. The reason why, is that the more an animal is “tapped”, the more they can lose amino acids. Eventually, the immune system can even become compromised due to lymphocytes, (a type of white blood cell) being extracted when chest taps are done. Well Collagen Hydrolysate puts amino acids, protein and minerals back in the body, at the same time it provides additional cellular matrix support to help rebuild blood vessels, lymph vessels and tissues such as preserving lung tissue and elasticity and delay the chance of fibrosis since chyle can scar lung tissue over time. Collagen Hydrolysate can also help with weight loss which is also one of the goals if your cat is overweight like mine was.
    After having all of this mixed, I would draw all the fluid out of the draw bag into the syringe, then present it to my cat and she would very slowly begin to lick the nozzle as I pushed the mixture out slowly. She has always voluntarily taken this. After she was finished, I would wait 10 to 15 min to let the Rutin get absorbed into her system and then feed her which is described below the Prednisone section.

    Prednisone.
    Despite what some vets may claim that this drug will not help ideopathic chylothorax, if it is used for only a temporary amount of time and used correctly, the benifits will be noticeable as I have detailed below:
    A) Allows your pet the opportunity to go longer lengths of time between chest taps, which will:
    B) save you money,
    C) spare your cat from unnecessary stress from what could otherwise be more frequent taps, which also:
    D) has the possibility to lower the chance of infection since chest taps are much less frequent.
    E) reduces inflammation

    Important:
    Prednisone can suppress the immune system which can make fighting infection more difficult. It is classed as an immunosuppressant, which is a good thing if you need it to suppress an autoimmune disease, This is only to be used for a temporary time period as stated above. When your pet has lost enough weight from diet, and weekly X-rays begin to show that chyle in the chest is subsiding, that is a good time to consider lowering the dosage every several days until your pet is weaned off it completely.

    Dosing caveat:
    This dosage below was based on my cat’s weight, which at the time was twenty pounds. If your animal is smaller you may want to use a smaller dose. It’s best to start off with a smaller dose in the beginning as to see if it agrees with your pet.

    Dosage: 20mg pill cut up in eigths. Give 2.5 mg morning and night. Crush 1/8 pill with spoon in a ceramic or glass bowl and mix that into a very small portion of wet cat food, about the size of a quarter. Once the small clump of food with medicine in it has been eaten, you may give your cat more wet cat food until they are full. Doing it this way, allows that you know they ingested all the medicine first before you feed them any more.

    Feeding the right food.
    Originally my cat was always free feeding on kitten chow dry cat food but I stopped all of that and even stopped giving her Temptations treats because of the BHA and BHT in it, which evidence online shows is very bad for your pet. After doing a lot of research on cat food, I began feeding her only two kinds of wet cat food. “Petguard” and “I Love You”. The “I love you” brand was eventually the one I settled on feeding her. Both of these brands have no BHA/BHT, Carrageen, animal by products, grains, soy, gluten or fillers. I feed her three times a day, morning, noon and night. So far she’s lost four pounds and is still losing weight and no longer is her lymphatic system leaking chyle into her thoracic cavity. You will also notice that when you have your cat on the right food their poop will have no smell when they go in their litter box.

    Litter:
    In my opinion, it is best to use a litter that has no scents added, otherwise there is no telling what it does to your cats body as they get out of their litter box and clean off their paws! I use “The World’s Best Cat Litter” brand and I love it because it’s all organic.

    Good luck to all of you who are going through this. My heart goes out to everyone who’s little one is going through this.

    Reply
    • Ainsley
      February 25, 2017 at 1:46 pm (3 years ago)

      Thank you for your information Michael. My kitty Shadow had his chylothorax surgery last week and he’s healing well. I’ll have his check-up on Monday to see if any fluid has come back..hoping for the best 🙂 I’ve been giving him Rutin capsules twice a day..the only thing I’m trying to decide is what type of food to switch him to. He really didn’t want the low-fat food from the vets..but he’s been ok on Royal Canin Moderate Calorie wet food.. just wondering where I could buy the food you mentioned? I live in Canada so there aren’t as many brands available on Amazon and whatnot, but is the “I love you” brand called “I and Love and You” by chance? It was all I could find online. I’m very interested in trying something as natural as possible..and even prescription Royal Canin from the vet has all kinds of gluten, carrageenan, etc.

      Reply
      • Michael
        February 25, 2017 at 3:39 pm (3 years ago)

        Ainsley, yes, the food is called “I and Love and You”. I bought mine from Amazon.com. I tried 10 other foods before successfully seeing that my cat liked this brand. They all love the variety box that has chicken, turkey and cod flavors but they especially love the cod! My heart goes out to you both because I truely understand what you are going through. If I can be of anymore help. Please don’t hesitate to write. Wishing you and your kitty the very, very best. -M.

        Reply
    • Julia O'Connor
      February 26, 2017 at 2:02 am (3 years ago)

      Hi Ainsley
      So glad Shadow is doing well after surgery! My Omar had his surgery last year May 2016. He was doing well and then there was fluid build up about three weeks after the surgery and our hearts broke. We almost lost him; he needed three more taps as the surgery is not 100% full-proof. We found that we have to keep him on low-fat food. He is on Hills KD, and low-fat, and Royal Canin Light. He would see our vet every couple weeks for check-ups, then it was every couple months and now it is every six months. He now and then has a cough and our vet has taken x-rays every time Omar was seen, but his lungs have been able to expand and he can’t say for sure why the cough would come and go. He is back to being his bossy self with all of our other kitties, and back to his 12 lbs – after surgery he was down to 6 lbs, but slowly has been able to put back weight even with the low-fat food. Omar will be 7 in August, and we paid for the surgery from cashing in our savings…there was no question in our minds as the taps were becoming weekly and the Rutin was not helping. Our vet told us to not do the Rutin anymore as he didn’t think it was doing any thing for him, so it is low-fat food for life.
      Good luck with Shadow and we hope he will continue to be feeling better, too!

      Reply
      • Ainsley
        May 4, 2017 at 6:22 pm (3 years ago)

        My Shadow is doing so well Julia, thank you for asking. I’m so happy that your Omar is doing well now. I definitely feel your pain, being forced to go through this. We definitely took a hit financially getting through this.. but I was lucky enough to have a husband who wholeheartedly agreed that we had to do whatever it took to have a better chance to keep Shadow in our lives. Also, I apologize I did not see this message and didn’t respond earlier ! Shadow had Chylothorax surgery in February, I decided to take the plunge, although in total we spent $15000 between his time at the emergency clinic and his surgery. The Chyle surgery was a success, not only was the surgeon able to tie off the duct where the chyle fluid (well, re-route fluid to his stomach I guess is a better explanation), she was able to complete two other procedures near the lungs to ensure a better success rate. Sorry I’m not a doctor I can’t explain it well haha but I’ve read online that the two extra procedures ensure a better success rate and are a more modern approach to this surgery. Shadow was on VERY heavy pain meds (Fentanyl to be exact) and didn’t recognize me or feel a thing for a few days there. He had two large stitches on one side and was able to wear a sweater to cover it rather than the cone (THANK GOD).
        After about 4 days, the vets were very pleased that there was only scant amounts of fluid (5mls or so) developing (he was at around 250mls removed daily previous to that), and they figured it was just more post-surgical fluid rather than the milky chyle.
        Shadow was the exact same cat as soon as he got home! He was so happy and wanted to jump up on everything again (although the vets told me to watch for that haha as he could open his wounds again). Since he has been fully healed.. I describe him as having new batteries put in 🙂 he is a large maine coon (was 18 pounds to be exact!) and I always thought he was jsut lazy. But since the surgery he’s lost a few pounds and has so much energy. His lungs are finally letting him be the cat he wanted to be before this awful Chylothorax. We’ve seen the vet two times since then just for check-ups and I was so happy to hear that he is good to go three months before his next check-up now. He has been eating “weruva” wet food only since he had his surgery in February. I;’ve also been giving him 450mgs of Rutin a day (the vet advised two 250mgs a day, however I was starting to forget to give it to him twice a day, and he’s been ok with one 450mg a day instead). Every day I thank my lucky stars that he was one of the lucky ones to get through this. I know that he is very lucky. I’m so thankful for the staff at Western Veterinarian Clinic here in Calgary, Alberta. We just happened to stumble upon it because it was open when we initially needed to rush him in for treatment, not knowing it was one of the most highly regarded vet clinics in Western Canada (and northwestern USA too! they have clients who drive there for their advanced oncology technology). Good luck to everyone who is dealing with this awful situation! Seeking help (specifically, on this thread!) was the only way I got through it. Just keep pushing on, time will heal your hearts if you’re forced to say goodbye to your fur baby 🙁 <3

        Reply
    • Miranda
      February 24, 2018 at 4:01 pm (2 years ago)

      What brand of hydrolyzed collagen did you use?

      Reply
  7. Ainsley
    February 15, 2017 at 4:54 pm (3 years ago)

    I’m so happy that I found this message thread. It scared me enough to realize that I would have to have surgery in order to keep my precious 6-year old maine coon Shadow in my life, as he was just diagnosed with Chlythorax yesterday, and has been tapped 3 times in the last 4 days. The vets explained that in his case, he most likely will not respond to medication alone, and has been unable to breathe properly without oxygen therapy. We have spent $4500 keeping him on oxygen and we’ve decided to bypass trying the medical route and went straight to surgery, wish my baby luck! He goes in today. It will be about $8000..but I have raised funds through Gofundme and our vet’s office has a good payment plan.

    Again, I’d like to thank everyone for their stories. I’m so sorry so many of you have lost your fur babies to this awful disease. We do everything in our power to keep our kitties close, but we can’t save from from these things unfortunately. Wishing you all the best, Ainsley

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      February 16, 2017 at 6:10 am (3 years ago)

      All my best to you and Shadow, Ainsley. Please keep us posted on how he is doing.

      Reply
      • Ainsley
        February 16, 2017 at 11:17 am (3 years ago)

        Shadow had his surgery and he’s doing well:) it’s the first time in 5 days that he’s been able to breathe without being on oxygen! The vet said even right after surgery (with all the inflammation), his breathing is better than ever. It will be a few weeks to see how successful the surgery was in terms of preventing fluid build-up again, but he’s been tapped 3 times since we took him to emergency.. and since the surgery there’s been no fluid whatsoever! I’m so hopeful that he got through this thing. He might be able to come home within a day or two depending on how he does:) I’m
        Blown away by how fast this came. It was pretty traumatic considering our kitty is only 6 years old, and the vet was talking about euthanasia. I’m so happy I went with my gut. Now to pay off this $8000.. yikes! He’s a lucky guy

        Reply
        • Ingrid
          February 17, 2017 at 6:38 am (3 years ago)

          Thank you for the update, Ainsley – that’s wonderful news!

          Reply
    • Julie
      February 16, 2017 at 10:28 am (3 years ago)

      Prayers and thoughts for your Shadow.

      Reply
  8. Julie
    November 15, 2016 at 9:37 pm (4 years ago)

    My poor baby boy, JoJoe 12years old, was just put down tonight. He had so much fluid and we were taking him into the vet every few days as well as giving him Rutin to try and help with this. He was diagnosed on Oct 28, 2016 and passed on Nov 15, 2016.It wasn’t meant to be as i had to come home without him. He will be dearly missed and always in my heart. It’s a very strange illness that there doesn’t seem to be any answers for. When we were told he was in pain and was gently given the option to do what is best for him, it was so hard and will be for a long time. I loved our baby boy and will to the end of my days. Pets climb into our hearts and we do the best but unfortunately that isn’t always enough. Love on your lil furries and be thankful for every minute and day with them.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      November 16, 2016 at 6:41 am (4 years ago)

      I’m so sorry, Julie, I know it’s so hard. My heart goes out to you.

      Reply
    • Eva
      November 16, 2016 at 9:09 am (4 years ago)

      Sharon,

      I am sorry for you and your family. A pet is so much than a pet: it is a loving and patient friend and losing him must be devastating.

      I went through the same ordeal when I lost my 5 y.o. Athena last March from the same disease.

      I am slowly healing and the same will happen to you. Your little guy would like to see you so sad. Take your time. Healing takes time and cannot be rushed. Love

      Reply
    • Louise
      November 16, 2016 at 9:56 am (4 years ago)

      It brought tears to my eyes remembering and can so feel your loss. I would do everything again to give my Gus a chance, if there was pre screening to check for it. Somehow it seems to be more prevalent then we know. I wonder about this more and more. Julie, we all have that same thought but you were so brave and yes did the right thing for JoJoe. Hugs, and maybe someday a reason will be found.

      Reply
    • Lynn
      November 24, 2016 at 7:14 pm (4 years ago)

      So sorry to hear about your loss Julie. I know how hard it is. I am dealing with a case now and learning so much. Did you happen to have any bloodwork done? If so, what were the results?

      Reply
      • Julie
        November 25, 2016 at 9:43 am (4 years ago)

        Thank you everyone that has left thoughts. It’s been a week without my lil boy and his presence is so missed.

        Lynn, We had the Feline Leukemia test and HIV test done along with xrays to look at his heart. Nothing showed up. The Vet suspected Cancer. He had lost 4 lbs in a week and i think by the time i realized he was sick it was to late. i noticed a week before he went to the vet that his breathing was too rapid and they pulled off a cup and fourth of fluid off his lung. We gave Rutin a try for a few weeks but he never responded or didn’t have enough time left for it to work. He was going to the vet 2 times a week to have a chest tap done. All the times they were getting a cup or more fluid off his lungs. It took it’s toll on him to have the chest taps done.

        I pray for your lil furry one and wish for the best for both of you.

        Reply
    • Patti
      December 1, 2016 at 4:19 pm (4 years ago)

      I’m so sorry Julie, my heart goes out to you, truly. At least he went quickly and wasn’t in pain for long, and you obviously did what you could for him. My cat has idiopathic Chylothorax but has been doing really well on Rutin for the past couple of years, so I’m very very thankful for that. It would devastate me to lose him. He’ll always be in your heart, hold on to those memories :).

      Reply
      • Debi
        January 3, 2017 at 11:34 am (3 years ago)

        Hi Patti My Girl Opal over Christmas started breathing short little breaths, So on Dec 28th I took her to my Vet and they drained off 165ml and told me she has Chylothorax since then she was also drained Dec 31 100 ml and Jan 2 116ml. Haven’t really even had a chance to do test to see might be going on. I did start her on 250mg of Rutin 3 times a day and a low fat diet. My Question is how long did it take for your kitty to stop having to have to be drained on a regular basis. If you get this could you email me at miltondalefarm@gmail.com Thanks so much and very happy for you kitty. Debi

        Reply
        • Louise
          January 3, 2017 at 1:44 pm (3 years ago)

          Mine only lasted 3 months, who knows actually how long who knows cats cover their symptoms so well. He was 19 lbs, and lost weight rapidly after diagnosis. When he passed he was 13lbs. In ou case we had weekly visits, and the final day as he was tapped his lung collapsed from the tap. We had been told by our vet that that could occur, he was hanging on, maybe for us. You had such a short time and so sad you and Opal had to endure this awful Chylothorax.

          Reply
          • Debi
            January 3, 2017 at 6:48 pm (3 years ago)

            Very sad to hear about your boy. Every time I have to bring Opal in I worry about that happening..not sure how this is going to turn out for my girl she is only 1 1/2 and only weighs 8.5lbs..

          • Louise Ayers
            January 3, 2017 at 7:43 pm (3 years ago)

            do lots of research, thats what I did. used a vet one pill pusher for rutun tablets, and I did have a ct in early stages to find where the mass was. They were unable to finish the ct as his breathing became too labored and they almost lost him. We did a sonagram, also a echocardiogram etc to find out any info, in the end he was improving but the tissue being poked so much and moving needle enough to get the fluid in a spot that had results was what caused his demise. I gave him whatever he would eat as he wouldn’t touch the low diet foods. There are both success and sadness on here, so don’t give up….theres always a chance…look at all the emails from others and mine

    • June
      February 10, 2018 at 1:37 pm (2 years ago)

      My 12 year old was diagnosed last week. They drained 200ml fluid from his lungs. Since then, I have slowly began switching to low fat diet. I also will try Rutin. I found a vet supply that will compound it into an oil that comes in many flavors. I cound never get a tablet down this boy. I chose the triple fish flavor. My niece is a vet and ordered it for us. After 4 days since lung tap, he feels better, appetite returned. Respirations returned t0 30 from 60 per minute. I will give him every chance I can. I could not afford the surgery. Hoping this will help with quality of life anyway. I will not let him suffer any more than he has. Oh and my niece far away. She is not his vet. She is just helping me get the rutin in a form I can get down him. We go back to the Vet Monday for a check up. I have only heard him coughing twice since the tap. It seemed to last longer but not as harsh as before. I feel for all of you dealing with this disorder/

      Reply
      • Louise Ayers
        February 11, 2018 at 11:07 am (2 years ago)

        Thatis great to hear that you were able to get Rutin in a liquid. Hopefully the form of Chylorothorax he has responds well to the Rutin, it may take awhile to work. Good luck with the vet visit, and stay positive.

        Reply
        • lindsey
          April 1, 2018 at 9:11 am (2 years ago)

          Hi Michael, my 13 year old cat was diagnosed with this just a month ago. Her blood tests were normal. Xrays showed fluid. So she was out on Lasix for 2 weeks so the fluid would be peed out. This was a new disease for the vet. I hope waiting two weeks before next xray did not do more damage to her. She has had two taps so far both within a few days if one another. She does not have much of an appetite. Vet recommended a low fat diet. Any suggestions? Was the one you fed your cat low fat? What about dehydration? My cat seems to be. I can give Subq fluids as have done that before to my other cats when needed to when they are I’ll. She was given a steroid shot that lasts for 3 weeks (2now) she seems lethargic and down. Rutin – she is getting half cap of 250mg 2x day. Should it be increased? Suggestions would be most appreciated. Thk u

          Reply
        • Louise Ayers
          April 1, 2018 at 11:14 am (2 years ago)

          Low fat diets are what everyone thinks causes chlorothorax. I found that my Gus would rather starve than eat the low fat. Check what you were feeding before this was diagnosed and if you can maybe mix the regular with the low fat and then each time that is eaten decrease the regular and increase the low fat. They seem to think that tastes better. I was giving 250 3 times daily. Good luck with your baby.

          Reply
  9. Lisa
    October 27, 2016 at 12:18 am (4 years ago)

    Unfortunatly I lost my boy ,a male Ragdoll huge and healthy 4yrs old but anyhow I heard Dogs also can develop it,but I think its more commen in cats.I really have this need to know what causes this terrible desease.Chylothorax.I hope to hear more studys on this,this really shocked me.VETS don’t even know what to tell you!So Strange.

    Reply
  10. LISA
    October 10, 2016 at 11:36 pm (4 years ago)

    P.s Murphy my 16LB Ragdoll was also tested for cancer and every other desease,he was like a brand new car with a leak in his manifold,and no doctor or specialist could figure out why,Im ok but I just have bad days he was put dowm9/27/16,his lungs were very soar,and his spirit was getting sad this cat was a human in a cats body,smart as a whip and acted like a dog.

    Reply
  11. LISA
    October 10, 2016 at 11:28 pm (4 years ago)

    yes this desease is crazy my Beautiful healthy Ragdoll needed the Surgery,we spent about 5000thousand on taps and ruling out heart desease,they said I needed another10thousand put aside for surgery,we could not save that and kept our Smart Handsome Boy on Rutin for 2months,he still needed taps one to two times a week,one day he just looked in my eyes like no more Mom,Im so upset this happened when we were financially strapped,he was only 4 and I failed him,Murphy was the love of my life and a huge presence in our home his nephew crys every morning for him.I need too know what causes a very healthy young cat,just to get this.so frustrated.We prayed and tried so hard with that darn Rutin,and he hated all of it but continued to try to be his sweet loyal loving self throughout this ordeal.IM SO SORRY MY SWEET BOY MOM MISSES YOU SO BADLY IM SO SORRY I COULDNT HELP YOU,I KNOW HOW YOU TRUSTED AND DEPENDED ON ME ,I SHALL NEVER LOVE ANOTHER THE WAY I LOVE YOU,I JUST WANT TO BE TOGETHER AGAIN ONE DAY,AS THE FAMILY THAT I TOOK FOR GRANITE I THOUGHT YOU WOULD LIVE 20 YEARS.I LOVE YOU SWEETY,LIFE WILL NEVER BE AS SWEET WITHOUT YOU.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      October 11, 2016 at 5:48 am (4 years ago)

      I’m so sorry about your boy, Lisa. Unfortunately, nobody seems to know what causes chylothorax in cats.

      Reply
    • Eva
      October 11, 2016 at 8:49 am (4 years ago)

      Oh Lisa, I am sooo sorry for you. I went through the same last March with my Ragdoll Athena, barely 5. I wish I can hold you in my arms and share your sorrow. I had the surgery done for Athéna but I regret it. She suffered and at the end, she couldn’t eat or walk. The look in her eyes told me to stop and I let her go in my arms, holding and kissing her till the end. You did what you could out of love but I did the surgery and it did not work and 10 days after she died. The vets (some) they push surgery but it is not always in our animal interest. Knowing what I know, I will not to the surgery: my cat was awya from home (which) she hated, she was in pain (although controlled) and in a noisy hospital with many people manipulating her. Chylothorax is a dreaduf disease and there is not much to do… Think about this.

      She was the love of my life for her 5 years on earth, she taught me love. I don’t have a cat yet and I won’t because I just cannot love another cat: I visited a breeder but I had no emotion. I am now on a waiting list to adopt a miniature red poodle whose mother’s name is…. Athéna. I am sure my little dog will have the soul of my Athéna.

      Reply
      • Lisa
        October 26, 2016 at 11:50 pm (4 years ago)

        Eva I just found your comment,that was a terrible event for you and Athena to go through ,many hugs too you.Our Special Raggys are together in Heaven,Im glad to have received a post from someone who knows what a heartbreaking odd desease this is.Yes I know that look in their lovely eyes,fortunately I have Dean ,the nephew of my boy I lost to Chylo,anyhow you will be starting a new Special relationship with a new Animal that needs a special Mom like you.I have met more caring people that I have never seen their face like you on line,than in my hometown or friends that acted like,well its just a cat.I know your Athena and Murphy were special that’s why they were only here with us a short time and we wer chosen to care for them cause we are special,Im doing better and hope that you are too ,Your thoughts and kind words have helped me heal.Thank you Eva.

        Reply
    • Julia O'Connor
      October 27, 2016 at 1:36 am (4 years ago)

      Please do not blame yourself Lisa. I am so sorry, and I know how much you loved your boy. This is an awful disease, and one I had never heard of until my own Omar was diagnosed. Murphy knows he was loved.

      Reply
      • Lisa
        October 30, 2016 at 1:31 am (4 years ago)

        Im so sorry about,Omar I hope hes one of the lucky ones that beat this,and Thank you so much for your kind words,it helps me heal.How old is your sweet Omar?

        Reply
        • Julia O'Connor
          October 30, 2016 at 1:58 am (4 years ago)

          Hi Lisa,
          He is hanging in there. He had the surgery in May 2016. He seemed to be doing well and then the weekend of June 10th he was in the emergency room and I thought he was going to die. He was almost going into cardiac arrest. He came a=home and was back again the following week. It was scary. After doing two x-rays, his lungs had filled again and he had to have them tapped.

          Every week for about three weeks i had to take him back in to be x-rayed – what Dr. Bilbrey suggested is that he could not eat any cat food other than a completely lowfat diet. The fat from the foods was making the build-up of fats and even thought the surgery went well, the fats still seeped into the lungs (I know it is more detailed than that, but that this the simple version).

          He was so thin, anorexic like, but I stuck to it and in the end all of the kitties had to switch over – in order for him to eat, they would have to start liking it too.

          One lung looks great, no fluid build-up since then, the other one has some but not to the point of another tap. He every now and then has that bad cough, that sounds like when you have bronchitis, but then it goes away. I notice it when he drinks water too fast and goes to pla.

          He has gained back all of the weight he had lost and looks like his handsome self. He s back to bossing around the other kitties, taking over his favorite chairs, and such, so he is back to being his old self.

          We have an appointment in two weeks as his last one was in August so will update you all then.

          He is also no longer on the Rutin; my vet didn’t feel it was doing any good, so we stopped once he had the surgery. He is on nothing but Hills prescription lowfat food and Royal Canin lowfat/light food. No treats, no Fancy Feast, no other foods.

          Reply
  12. Jen
    August 30, 2016 at 2:50 am (4 years ago)

    ER vet just pulled 200 mL of pink milky fluid from my 21.5 cat and reading this thread I believe she has chylothorax. I don’t know how many taps she can take at her age 🙁

    Reply
    • Louise Ayers
      August 30, 2016 at 2:16 pm (4 years ago)

      Maybe she will be one of the lucky ones that it is a one time occurance. You are there for her and no matter she will tell you when it’s her time. If you have a regular vet I would follow up with them as they know your cat, and can give you the best options for her. It is so hard to see them struggle to breath, and the taps do help but is never a cure. Good luck to you and her.

      Reply
  13. Louise Ayers
    July 30, 2016 at 2:04 pm (4 years ago)

    Hi I am in a positive note today. We have been on Rutin for 2 months now almost, and as of this last week have implimented and eliminated some of his food. We have added Hills I/D to cut down on fat, both wet and dry. His cat treats are down to 5 pieces per day. We are seeing a difference of how he is acting and today after a week saw a 100cc lower difference in fluid tapped. We are now going to try 10 days between tapping and see where we are. Our vet is guardedly optomistic, and so are we, we will keep trying, even if it is only a tool for others to try,and save our babies. Will keep you posted on our next vet visit.

    Reply
    • Louise Ayers
      August 14, 2016 at 10:21 am (4 years ago)

      Gus passed away while having his tapping done yesterday, his lungs collapsed. They did everything imaginable for him in the last few months to keep him comfortable. I was sure we were going to beat this thing if we just kept trying. He still had quality of life, was eating drinking, and jumping and walking, though the exercise did make him breath harder. His 12th birthday started out with us singing happy birthday to him and 11 hrs later he was gone. There is always a risk with doing tapping for sure, would I do this again to try and have quality time with my cat, yes….

      Reply
      • Ingrid
        August 14, 2016 at 10:29 am (4 years ago)

        Oh Louise, I’m so sorry. My heart goes out to you.

        Reply
      • Eva
        August 15, 2016 at 8:22 am (4 years ago)

        I am so sorry for you. I just went through all this and my girl died too. You must hurt terribly. I am with you.

        Reply
        • Louise Ayers
          August 15, 2016 at 11:41 am (4 years ago)

          Thank you. So sorry for you too.

          Reply
          • Sue Mac
            August 17, 2016 at 9:21 am (4 years ago)

            My heart is with yours. I did not think about the lungs collapsing, of course they could, my 13 year old boy Hazel goes to the vet today to see how lungs are and may be tapped. Thanks for you sharing your heartbreak, I will make my peace and tell him I love him, just in case. Peace to you.

          • Louise Ayers
            August 17, 2016 at 4:54 pm (4 years ago)

            yes if the needles get too close to the lung, they can collapse. We were told this could happen, and They were so careful each time but you have to do whats best and try.

      • Julia
        August 17, 2016 at 6:53 pm (4 years ago)

        I am so sorry Louise – I know you did everything possible for Gus. It is never easy, especially with a disease like this. RIP Gus…we know you were very much loved.

        Reply
  14. L Ayers
    July 22, 2016 at 12:28 pm (4 years ago)

    My 11-year-old cat was diagnosed with on 22 May, through a long process in emergency we were able after two days to take him home. Our regular vet is very compassionate and believes that every cat should have a chance, and we believe his opinions and what should be done. His suggestion was to tap him and see how long we could go between tapping. we are now down to once a week and anywhere from 200 and 350 cc. We are on 250 mg three times a day of Rutin, Monitor him to see how his breathing but try not to go overboard and worry before it’s time for his next tap. in the two months that we have been doing this he seems to have his high days and you know when he’s ready for his next tap he has been very tolerant of the procedure and they are able to do it very quickly over the last two months they have learned that you have to do it that way so that the cat has no stress. As he’s progressing i’ve noticed that he has adapted to breathing harder and still does all of his regular activity and is able to maintain his 17 pounds. I have let him eat all he wants whatever he wants to maintain that way and do not want him to start losing weight, then I know that he’s not going to be the happy boy that I see now. I am hoping that he is able to beat this thing as he still has a lot of living to do. I saw the post from somebody that they said don’t ever give up and that’s what we are doing. Will keep you posted as to his progress but I really believe when somebody says that there’s nothing they can do actually there’s always a chance. one of the problems with this disease is that we don’t give it a chance to work and the percentages go down because people think there’s no alternative. I understand if a person is unable to have bills mount up at the bat that they need to make a decision and our vet ismore than willing to work with us. Good luck everyone, will keep you posted as I know something new .

    Reply
    • Julia O'Connor
      July 23, 2016 at 4:46 pm (4 years ago)

      Hi there – it is true, never give up. This is an awful disease and the veterinarian we have for our Omar (I wrote about him below) is a great doctor, and he has studied this disease for over thirty years. He wishes he was that much closer to a solution, or even trying to figure out what causes it, but he said he is no closer to those answers than he was thirty years ago.
      Our Omar was getting tapped more frequently and it was decided to do the surgery to have those ducts tied off and hoping to have it work and not leak any of the chyle into the lungs. It is very expensive, in the four digits, but without it, the fluid build up would become more frequent and thus causing more scar tissue.

      He did great with the surgery itself. He did lose a lot of weight. From a healthy 12-1/2 lbs to under 9 lbs. He was doing great with follow up visits, but then a month after the surgery the fluid started filling back up and it came on over night and he was in the ER twice in distress. I honestly thought I was going to have to face losing making that decision to let him go. Financially, we were just about tapped out because the surgery cost a fortune, but the veterinary facilty worked with us as did the surgeon. After spending five days in oxygen, and getting tapped three times, he was back to his old self.

      Our vet said he wasn’t giving up on Omar, and we shouldn’t either. He said to keep him stricty on the lowfat food – no treats, no brands that were not lowfat.

      We went back for three more check-ups. The left lung looks great – the right one does have some fluid build up but not enough for another tap. We just have to keep an eye on his breathing and if it becomes fast and difficult for him, then to rush him in.

      Our veterinarian said that worst case scenario, he goes back in and puts a shunt in and instead of poking directly into his lungs, or the other option is to remove part of that right lung. Then there is another surgery too where they take some of the lining of the stomach and lay it in the lungs (or something to that affect!).

      Our Omar was on the Rutin per the first vet, but our surgeon vet said that it really doesn’t do much to stop the chyle from leaking nto the lungs. The best way to slow down the guild up of the chyle is lowfact food. Royal Canin has some and prescription Hills canned and dry.

      Good luck!

      Reply
      • Louise Ayers
        July 23, 2016 at 5:01 pm (4 years ago)

        ty for all you have said. Today was another visit and same amount as last week. Our vet have been monitoring Gus for some time as he has a fatty mass that he has had for 2 yrs. Positivity so far and I am pleased to hear from you.

        Reply
      • L Ayers
        July 24, 2016 at 11:10 am (4 years ago)

        Was the diet pleasing to your cat. I have read so much about low fat diets that don’t contain the nutrients they need. I also have the problem of having a 19yr old female cat Gypsy that is 8# and have to maintain her weight as they both eat same diet by their choice. Gus will not eat until Gypsy finishes.

        Reply
    • Ingrid
      July 25, 2016 at 5:23 am (4 years ago)

      I’m sorry your boy had to deal with this. Please keep us posted, and all my best to him for a complete recovery.

      Reply
      • Louise Ayers
        August 14, 2016 at 10:24 am (4 years ago)

        Read my post above

        Reply
    • Louise Ayers
      August 14, 2016 at 10:25 am (4 years ago)

      read my post above

      Reply
  15. Eva
    February 28, 2016 at 8:06 pm (4 years ago)

    My beautiful Ragdoll Athéna barely 5 woke up heavyly breathing. I took her to the vet and it was a chylothorax from a trauma. She had a diaphragm fracture an 2 healing ribs. I could t believe it: she lives on a silky blanket and never goes out. Then I remembered one time she jumped from the balcon maybe 5 feet 3 years ago. It concurs with the healed ribs. They told me that a surgery could save her as she had nthing else and I did it a week ago. Her lungs are fibrosis but we could not tell before the surgery. It is a slow recovery and I hurt a lot. Her breathing is difficult and the vet says that we should give her time to relearn how to breathe differently. Seeing her sick, I just wondered if I should have put her through this. I feels terrible……

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      February 29, 2016 at 5:49 am (4 years ago)

      I’m so sorry about Athena, Eva. All my best to both of you.

      Reply
    • Jayne
      February 29, 2016 at 6:00 pm (4 years ago)

      HI- I know what you are going thru-My daughter has a Ragdoll that is only 2 and we took her to see our vet thinking her coughing was a hair ball-we even recorded her so the vet could her it-as soon as she listened to it she said right away thats what it was they took fluid out of her and sent it to lab just to confirm that is was chylothorax-something we never heard of. She referred us to a specialist and we made the same decision to go ahead with the surgery which was very expensive-he assured us that he could help her. She too was in soo much pain from the surgery which was almost 4 months ago-she is doing great to this day has some follow up x-rays to make sure no fluid and she is still doing great! The first month though was awful she had lost so much weight but has regained alot now! So it is a hard decision to make because it is very expensive-Hope all goes well!

      Reply
      • Eva
        February 29, 2016 at 9:17 pm (4 years ago)

        Thanks you for your support. It is priceless. Athéna has a cold now. She was stable enough to be transferred near my home. It was 2 hours drive a day. She is now close to home .the vet said she is recovering fine from the surgery. Big problem, she doesnt want to eat. Maybe it is the cold but she cannot come home if she does not eat. They talk about inserting à tube to feed her. My baby cat is important to us all: when my 47 yo husband died 5 years ago her love saved us all. Yes, vet cares are immensely expensive. Any trick to make her eat so she can come home. Thank you Jane.

        Reply
      • Julia O'Connor
        May 27, 2016 at 12:02 am (4 years ago)

        Hi there, it is helpful tofind articles and read comments from other kitty parents who are going through what we are. Recently our Omar had the surgery as he was diagnosed with Chylothorax back in January. We had him on the Rutin medication and started giving him (and all of the other kitties, though they weren’t happy about it!), the prescription low-fat kitty food, and had about three lung taps.
        He started showing signs of fibrosis and after going for second opinions, Omar’s regular physician agreed we needed to do the surgery, otherwise there would be more scar tissue buildup and we may not have that option later.

        It has been two weeks since the surgery and he is doing ok. He eats, but only in spurts – he runs when I bring food, but only eats for a little but and then runs off….he will do his all day. He was a strong 12 lbs before the surgery, but now I doubt he is as I can tell he is very skinny. We go in Tuesday to have the stitches removed and will find out what we can do to make him eat more. The vet told us to give him whatever he wanted for now to help him gain wait, but oddly enough he wants to lowfat food!
        I was glad to read that your kitty was able to regain wait so i am hoping the same for our Omar – oh he is a black cat and only six years old.

        Reply
        • Ingrid
          May 27, 2016 at 5:52 am (4 years ago)

          All my best to you and Omar, Julia. Please keep us posted.

          Reply
          • Julia O'Connor
            July 23, 2016 at 4:47 pm (4 years ago)

            Thank you Ingrid – I posted an update up above in response to another posting. All we can do is take it day-by-day.

          • Ingrid
            July 25, 2016 at 5:26 am (4 years ago)

            Thank you for updating us on Omar, Julia.

  16. Michele
    February 14, 2016 at 11:21 am (4 years ago)

    My cat was recently diagnosed with idiopathic Chylothorax. We checked his heart -fine, no signs of cancer, no trauma…watching him try to breath is tough. I was told the surgery was less than 25% success rate. One of the ER vets I visited even explained her cat recently had been put down bc of the same diagnosis. It was a question of quality of life for her… Cosmo has had 2 chest taps within a week and his chest cavity was so full they couldn’t see his lungs or heart in the X-ray. 150 ccs on the first tap (bc he was so stressed they couldn’t continue the tap) and 250ccs at the last tap. I’m just enjoying every day with my otherwise healthy cat. He’s on a low fat diet with rutin, dandelion and mullein supplements. His spirits are good and as long as he seems happy that’s great. His breath rate is 35-45 (even after taps) and he coughs occasionally. When he’s not feeling good, he won’t jump on anything- he stays on the floor which is sooo not him. Currently, he is getting up on furniture again so he seems to be feeling ok. Watching him breathe though… It breaks my heart.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      February 14, 2016 at 3:39 pm (4 years ago)

      All my best to you and Cosmo, Michele. It is heartbreaking.

      Reply
      • L Ayers
        July 23, 2016 at 10:38 am (4 years ago)

        Hope your baby is doing well. We had the same info in the emergency room. They are not there to treat them long term. Our vet has been so great with Gus…they are draining between 200-340 per week and he has responded better each time, as he knows he is coming out feeling better…. Good luck to you

        Reply
  17. Jayne
    December 1, 2015 at 11:53 am (5 years ago)

    My daughters cat was just diagnosed with this disease-about 5 days ago-they did the chest tap and removed 8oz from her-she is a (Ragdoll) and only 3yrs old She is currently at a specialist now and they are recommending surgery?? Said success rate is 85-90%-Has anybody put there cat thru this surgery-if so how was the outcome and how painful is the recovery since this is such an expensive surgery! Any info please!!

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      December 1, 2015 at 5:55 pm (5 years ago)

      I do not have any experience with surgery for this condition, nor have I seen it in my years working in veterinary clinics, but I did find this information – it’s the most extensive reference I was able to find on the topic: https://www.acvs.org/small-animal/chylothorax All my best to your daughter’s cat.

      Reply
      • Jayne
        December 1, 2015 at 7:12 pm (5 years ago)

        Thank you for responding to my questions! That article had a lot of info in it! My daughter decided to try the surgery-hopeful for a good outcome- I will write info when we hear more. Once again thank you!

        Reply
        • Natalie
          March 5, 2016 at 2:54 pm (4 years ago)

          Hi Jayne,

          I hope you don’t mind but I just came across this page and was wondering how your daughter’s cat did with the surgery and how she’s doing? I hope with all my heart that she’s well.

          My 8 year old cat was just diagnosed about 3 weeks ago. I’m about to take her for her 4th chest tap since Feb 15 (!!). It’s been an incredibly draining time and I’m researching as much as possible to figure out what the best treatments and options are. My vet specialist also recommended surgery and gave a 50/50 prognosis. Thank you!

          Reply
          • Jayne
            March 5, 2016 at 5:38 pm (4 years ago)

            Hi Natalie,
            She did really well with the surgery-we had to go to a more specialized vet and he told us at the first visit there that he had done alot of these so but the cost was high! It was a very painful time for Dezi but came thru it ok and we took her back for a check about a month ago they checked her and did another x-ray and she is doing great! No fluid found! It is a hard decision but we felt that cause she was 2 we had to try it-if not surgery its like you said they have to constantly do the chest taps! Do you have a vet that has experience doing these surgeries??
            Email me anytime if you have more questions!-Jayne

          • Ingrid
            March 6, 2016 at 6:17 am (4 years ago)

            Thank you for your update, Jayne. I’m so glad Dezi is doing so well.

  18. Margaret
    March 18, 2015 at 12:50 pm (5 years ago)

    I was most interested to read this article as we lost a cat to the illness about four years ago; from what you wrote things have moved on since Pixie had it…. in her case the only sympton was noticing she wasn’t breathing as she should be – I could see her breathing from a distance…… I did take her a couple days later to the vet – she seemed all right other than the breathing and behaving as she always did….. I left her at the vet for an x-ray and a while later they telephoned to say it was chylothorax and although they had drained fluid from her, it would return and the prognosis was not good and there really was no “cure” or treatment for her; perhaps it was too far gone in her case despite not showing any untoward symptoms, but they did put her to sleep the same day – or rather they were going to and I went straightway to be with her, but as it happened she did their job for them and died in my arms within minutes of me getting there…….

    I would always wish to be with my cats at the end but it isn’t always possible. She was 13 and her mother was still alive at the time; I wondered if it was hereditary – the vet at the time said there was no evidence that it was so, but as I say, this was about four years ago and medical science has moved on since then.

    At the moment two of our three cats have been diagnosed with kidney failure so we seem to be facing another couple sadnesses before the year is out.

    Very interested in all comments emanating from this post too

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      March 18, 2015 at 5:03 pm (5 years ago)

      I’m so sorry about Pixie, Margaret. I’m glad you got there in time so you could be with her as she passed, but that still doesn’t make it any easier. All my best to your two kitties with kidney failure.

      Reply
    • Sarah
      January 15, 2016 at 12:06 pm (4 years ago)

      I just lost my beautiful Che. He was nearly 16 and therefore already frail and often sleeping. Over the past few weeks he wasn’t eating as much as usual, but his spirit and energy were strong. We went to the vet when his breathing became difficult. They discovered the fluid and drained it, and the vet told me there was probably an underlying problem with his heart or cancer. He could see a specialist the next day. I left him to be watched.

      Later that evening, with the fluid cleared and Che comfortable on oxygen, they performed an ultrasound. It showed a mass. The decision wasn’t hard at all — I knew I couldn’t put my shy senior kitty through any more stress and trauma for the sake of a few more weeks or months.

      Margaret, I hope your cats are still with you. I had two brothers who were diagnosed with kidney problems and stayed with me another two years (they finally died days apart). They let me know when it was time. As did my parents last year. I have more respect for death these days. It doesn’t steal from us; it leads us through a necessary change.

      Reply
      • Ingrid
        January 15, 2016 at 3:00 pm (4 years ago)

        I’m so sorry about Che, Sarah.

        Reply
  19. Sue Brandes
    March 16, 2015 at 8:06 pm (5 years ago)

    Thanks for the very informative post. I have never heard of this either. Sounds scary.

    Reply
  20. Terri
    March 16, 2015 at 7:00 pm (5 years ago)

    I JUST went through this with my cat. RUTIN is helping tremendously. We currently do not have a cause, no cancer found. Slight heart ailment is the only find. 3,000.00$ to find this out with all the tests. Live and learn. But Murphy is doing great. The only symptom He displayed was whole abdomen breathing. 100cc’s off left side, 175cc’s off the right. He clearly couldn’t breathe. There was no room. Currently my vet is tapping when needed. None so far. T

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      March 17, 2015 at 6:12 am (5 years ago)

      I’m glad Murphy is doing so well, Terri. Best wishes to both of you!

      Reply
    • Natalie
      March 5, 2016 at 2:59 pm (4 years ago)

      Hi Terri,

      I was just wondering how Murphy is doing with the Rutin and what dosage you’ve been giving? The most common response I’ve found is 500 mg 3 times a day. My cat has been on it (average 1000 mg/day, depends how successful I am getting her to take the pill) for about a week but so far, there hasn’t been any improvement. I took her for a chest tap 5 days ago and I’ll most likely have to take her back tomorrow or the following day. Thank you and hope all the best for you and Murphy both.

      Reply
  21. Ellen Pilch
    March 16, 2015 at 4:14 pm (5 years ago)

    That sounds awful, I have never heard of it until now.

    Reply
  22. Beverly Dixon
    March 16, 2015 at 1:48 pm (5 years ago)

    It was good to see this information out there. Having had a cat develop Chylothorax, go through surgery to patch the diaphragm, and eventually lose him to the disease was difficult. To make the whole thing worse, Bruno was diabetic and could NOT use the Rutin (contra-indicated with diabetes). I must say that Bruno was a real champ through out the whole process of draining the fluid multiple times, surgery, and his diabetes. It is not an easy disease for our cats to fight, but they give it their best.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      March 16, 2015 at 2:01 pm (5 years ago)

      I’m sorry about Bruno, Beverly.

      Reply
  23. Fur Everywhere
    March 16, 2015 at 10:31 am (5 years ago)

    This condition sounds painful. I’m glad, though, that there’s a supplement that can help in some cases. I often find that supplements can help our furry babies so much.

    Reply
  24. Bernadette
    March 16, 2015 at 10:09 am (5 years ago)

    I thought that looked like Feebee. We think we’ve seen it all with common conditions until something unusual comes along and we realize there’s a whole new class of things to look for. Like Steve above, how many cats have been diagnosed with “I don’t know” when possibly a little more targeted testing would have at least given us an answer?

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      March 16, 2015 at 10:43 am (5 years ago)

      Actually, that’s a stock photo, but the cat sure looks a lot like Feebee!

      Reply
  25. Steve howard
    March 16, 2015 at 9:14 am (5 years ago)

    You always give us great information Ingrid, thank you.

    Reply
  26. Valerie Knight
    March 16, 2015 at 8:57 am (5 years ago)

    Thanks for the info it is interesting put it in my book of facts about felines, keep up the good work.

    Reply
  27. Steve howard
    March 16, 2015 at 7:41 am (5 years ago)

    These are the exact symptoms that led to my poor little Widget being put down just before Christmas. I was told that it was a birth defect or cancer, they did not test for either but still charged $750 for the visit/euthanasia. I am not happy.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      March 16, 2015 at 10:42 am (5 years ago)

      Losing a beloved cat is always devastating, and not knowing what was wrong can make it even more difficult. I know how hard it was for you to lose Widget, and my heart goes out to you, Steve.

      Reply
  28. Sweet Purrfections
    March 16, 2015 at 1:09 am (5 years ago)

    Thank you for sharing such informative information.

    Reply
    • Sharon
      August 11, 2015 at 4:50 pm (5 years ago)

      I just had to make a decision for my Little Bit, just 7 1/2 years old and diagnosed with chylothorax. I came home to find her breathing very labored and rushed her to my vet who pulled fluids from around her lungs. I took her home that night but I had to take her back every fourth morning to be tapped again with the day before spent with her trying to find a comfortable way to lay down, it was heartbreaking. Often there were larger amounts of fluid than the time before. My vet gave me no hope short of surgery stating there was no treatment and I would have to make a decision. No one should have to make that decision, my heart is broken into a thousand pieces but I saw that precious face on the fourth morning struggling to breathe and knew that to continue to tap every four days was a disservice to her and her quality of life and that one day I’d see her again. I feel like I failed her, that I should have kept fighting and fighting but at what cost to her happiness and comfort – such an awful place to be put when it is about a cat you love so dearly.

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      • Ingrid
        August 12, 2015 at 6:21 am (5 years ago)

        I’m so sorry about Little Bit, Sharon. It’s a heartbreaking decision to have to make. You did not fail her. It takes courage to make this awful decision, and I know it sounds trite, but I really do believe it’s a gift of love to give to a cat who is suffering. My heart goes out to you.

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