I noticed last night, the website’s namesake, Virginia, had yellow ears. Jaundice is all that came to mind. We went to the vets today to get it checked out. We brought Ayane, the gray and white 9 year old you don’t hear too much about as well. Ayane got a complete blood work done, I’m too fearfull of kidney disease now after losing Amano and dealing with Gin. She had her vaccines and a shot of something like cortizone to maybe help her scratching/licking problems.

Jaundice 101
“Jaundice (also called icterus) is a yellow discoloration of the tissues. It is most visible in the skin, the mucous membranes (for example, the gums), and the whites of the eyes. The yellow coloration is due to an excessive amount of a substance called bilirubin in the bloodstream”, says Dr. Michael Stone, a board-certified internist at Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University.

To understand the phenomenon of jaundice, a brief explanation of normal bilirubin metabolism is in order. Bilirubin is an orange-yellow pigment that comes from the breakdown of hemoglobin. The primary source hemoglobin is from old red blood cells.  When red blood cells become old, most of them are removed from the circulation by cells called macrophages, which reside mainly in the spleen and liver.  Once the red blood cells are gobbled up by the liver and spleen macrophages, the hemoglobin inside the red blood cells is metabolized to produce bilirubin.  This bilirubin is then released into the circulation, where it binds to a protein called albumin.  The albumin then transports the bilirubin to the liver.

Once the albumin-bilirubin arrives at the liver, the liver cells extract the bilirubin from the albumin, and then secrete the bilirubin into the biliary system (the gall bladder and the bile ducts). Eventually, bilirubin is released, along with bile, into the small intestine, where it plays an important role in digestion.

The feline liver is very good at taking bilirubin out of the bloodstream and delivering it to the biliary system, maintaining the serum bilirubin level in a pretty well-controlled range.  To figure out why the bilirubin level in the bloodstream might become elevated, we need to examine the three traditional categories of jaundice.

The vet confirmed Virginia has Jaundice. He ran blood work.   There are 3 classifications for it. Pre-hepatic, hepatic, and post-hepatic. Pre means she’s losing red blood cells. The blood work showed her red blood cell count as OK. So the 2 last reasons are infection or liver failure. She received a series of shots today, and I have to drown her with some sub-cu fluids today, 4x more than normal. Doc will call in the morning to see how things are.

It’s not even been a full month since losing Amano. I’ve been prepared for Virginia for a long time, but that doesn’t make the thought any less scary. The vet also commented that her bilirubin was so high the machine couldn’t read it the first time. It’s like at 22 something, that was like 50x higher than normal. Amano’s creatinine was off the charts as well when he went in. These off the charts readings bother me.

Gin is resting right now, but soon I have to stick her for 200ml of fluids. The vet bill came to $500. If anyone can find it in their hearts to lend me a hand with this, I will gladly repay you with artwork. I’m still searching like hell for a job, but nothing is looking up lately. I can only be happy my only credit card was a $0 balance. But I seriously need all the help I can get. I’m not asking for a free hand out. I can’t just accept a donation I need to give you some art in return. If a signed copy of the printed comic would please your heart, I’ll even do that. I’ll order it and ship it to you.

Now that I’ve talked your ear off, I’m going to go stick her with fluids and try and get something drawn for Monday. I’m just losing so much hope lately with all the bad stuff that keeps happening. Sorry to bring it to you guys, but I don’t know where else to turn anymore.