In veterinary medicine they are called "pearls."
Those tiny tid bits of wisdom handed down generation after generation to those vets that come after us. They are the pieces of information that we have learned by experience and not by endless pages of publications.
This pearl is about jaundice. Jaundice is when you turn yellow. It is a very very bad sign in veterinary medicine. For cats is it especially tragic. When you see a feline patient this jaundiced the prognosis is very poor.
Why do I mention such a tragic thing? Because jaundice does not happen overnight.
The medical term for jaundice is icterus. It is not a disease it is a clinical sign, like coughing is to a cold.
This pearl isn't to imply that jaundice, and whatever disease or illness that caused it isn't curable, but it is about understanding the severity and gravity of treating it.
When you see your pet with even the slightest tinge of yellow (look at the gums, the ears, the sclera (white part of the eye) the sparsely haired part of the belly, anyplace), then it is time to immediately see your vet.
The darker the jaundice becomes the more severe the disease has progressed. Get help immediately!
This is an excellent article on the causes of icterus. In my never ending quest to help more of you I am going to cheat and re-use their information. After all, I do not have enough time to re-invent the wheel, just help more of you get on the bus to healthy-ville.
Written by Ernie Ward, DVM for VCA this is thorough article can help you navigate through the treatment options after the diagnosis is made.
What is icterus?
"Jaundice may be difficult to detect in cats that have pigmented (dark) gums or skin."
What makes a cat likely to develop icterus?
What causes icterus?
How is icterus diagnosed?
"Determining the cause of icterus can be a challenge and requires a systematic approach... first step is to perform screening tests..."
How is hemolysis diagnosed?
What causes hemolysis?
How is liver disease determined to be the cause of jaundice?
"A study of liver tissue (biopsy) or liver cells (cytology) is necessary."
What types of liver disease cause icterus?
How is bile duct obstruction determined?
"Ultrasound examination is a more accurate non-invasive way to evaluate the gall bladder and bile duct. "