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What is Yellow Skin?

If your cat is exhibiting signs of yellow skin, which is also referred to as icterus, it is imperative that they visit a veterinary clinic. Jaundice can happen to cats of any age, breed, or sex and whether they are an indoor cat or an outdoor cat.

Yellow skin in cats is often a result of jaundice, which is a sign of liver disease. Since cats are usually covered in fur it is often in the whites of the eyes, in the cat's gums, or in the flaps of their ears that you will notice the yellow skin discoloration.

Yellow Skin Average Cost

From 538 quotes ranging from $500 - $5,000

Average Cost

$2,000

Symptoms of Yellow Skin in Cats

A yellowing of the skin is only one of the symptoms of liver disease or failure in a cat. If your cat is exhibiting yellow skin it is likely to display some of the following symptoms as well:

  • Lethargy
  • Vomiting 
  • Diarrhea 
  • Frequent urination
  • Orange-colored urine
  • Weight loss
  • Changes in eating habits
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Causes of Yellow Skin in Cats

The more common causes of yellow skin in cats are liver issues. These can include:

  • Fatty liver 
  • Cirrhosis of the liver
  • Inflammatory issues in the bowels and the liver
  • Viral and bacterial infections
  • Some drugs and toxins, such as heavy metals
  • Cancer

There are also non-liver related problems that can lead to yellow skin in cats.

  • Parasites in the blood
  • Heartworm disease
  • Anemia 
  • Immune deficiency
  • Reactions to blood transfusions
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Diagnosis of Yellow Skin in Cats

It is an increased amount of bilirubin in the system that causes jaundice and the yellowing of the skin, both in animals and in humans. Your veterinarian will do a blood test on your cat that will tell them if the bilirubin count is abnormal.

Your vet will also do urinary tests to identify possible causes of yellowing of the skin. Since it could be anything from a viral infection to cancer or a failing liver, it is important that they run as many tests as possible to plan the most effective course of treatment.

Your veterinarian may also ask you some questions to help with the diagnosis. They will want to know when you first noticed the yellowing of the skin, if there have been recent changes in urination habits or bowel movements, and what those changes have been. You should monitor your cat's bathroom habits prior to the visit, as well as after.

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Treatment of Yellow Skin in Cats

Once your veterinarian knows the cause of the skin yellowing, they can make a treatment plan for your cat. Jaundice is something you simply cannot treat at home since there are so many underlying factors that could be leading to the skin discoloration. 

Fatty Liver

There are underlying diseases that can lead to fatty liver, or hepatic lipidosis, in cats, including cancer and diabetes. Once the underlying cause is determined, treatment can be started. However, if the illness has progressed to cirrhosis, it may be too late for successful treatment. At this point the best bet is to help the cat remain comfortable for its final days.

The best treatment for a fatty liver is changing the cat’s diet to a healthy one that promotes healing the liver. Because cats with this condition may not be able to eat, a feeding tube could be required, which is not painful but may be needed for many weeks.

Liver Cancer

If your cat’s jaundice is being caused by liver cancer there is potential for a successful recovery, although prognosis is generally quite poor. Up to 75 percent of your cat's liver can be removed and still have proper function. Your vet will determine if your cat needs something a drastic procedure depending on the findings of tumors or nodules. 

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Recovery of Yellow Skin in Cats

Once your cat has received the treatment they need for whichever ailment has caused their yellow skin you will want to keep an eye on them during recovery. Cats that have undergone surgery will need time for lots of rest and should be confined to a small area to promote healing and prevent injury.

It is important to monitor the color and condition of the cat’s skin, eating and drinking habits, urinary and bowel movements, as well as its energy level. Your veterinarian will also recommend you bring your cat in for regular checkups periodically following any treatment.

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Yellow Skin Average Cost

From 538 quotes ranging from $500 - $5,000

Average Cost

$2,000

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Yellow Skin Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

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Stormi

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long hair

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1 Year

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Moderate severity

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17 found helpful

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Weakness

My cat skin gums and ears are yellow he is starting to loose weight we tried to wash it off because we didn't know if it was something he got into he lives outside but we are looking for a place to get him fixed so we can bring him back inside he is seeming to act weak lately and not eat as much and his skin has been yellow for the past few days if you could help give us suggestions or solutions that would be great

July 24, 2018

Stormi's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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17 Recommendations

Yelllowing of the skin is usually a sign of serious liver disease, and Stormi's decreased appetite and weakness are worrisome. It would be best for him to see a veterinarian right away, as he may need medical treatment.

July 25, 2018

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Milo

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Cat

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1 Year

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

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5 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Not Moving
Frequent Urination
Weight Loss

My cat was urinating outside his litter box, he sleeps in the litter box and he’s not eating his food and he barely drink his water this been going on for 2 weeks and his nose is white, what should i do?

July 18, 2018

Milo's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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5 Recommendations

There may be problems happening with Milo's urinary system, and he should be examined by a veterinarian right away, today. They'll be able to look at him, see what is going on, and get him treatment if possible.

July 18, 2018

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Yellow Skin Average Cost

From 538 quotes ranging from $500 - $5,000

Average Cost

$2,000

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