FELINE LIVER DISEASE - an overview
The body depends on the liver for a myriad of functions including detoxification, vitamin and mineral storage, the metabolism of protein, fats, carbohydrates and hormones. In fact, the liver performs over 1000 tasks, most of which cannot be done elsewhere in the body.
Liver disease in cats is a very complex matter. Here are a few facts -
Fortunately the liver is the one organ in the body that has the potential to regenerate. By addressing the underlying cause and meeting nutritional requirements, many cats are able to recover from liver disease.
- The causes of liver disease in cats is diverse and include toxic overload, bacteriological, fungal or viral infections (most commonly feline infectious peritonitis), immune malfunction, physical defect, complications of other disease states and the overuse of certain medications including steroids and vaccines.
- Hyperthyroidism in cats can have similar symptoms as hepatitis. Hyperthyroidism can also cause elevated liver enzymes, but the hepatitis will resolve when the thyroid issues are addressed.
- Hepatic Lipidosis (fatty liver) is the most common form of liver disease in cats. Although it is considered idiopathic (of an unknown cause), it occurs most frequently in overweight cats and is usually preceded by a period of fasting. An obese cat may suddenly stop eating due to stress or as a result of another disease.
- Liver disease can be hard to recognize since many of its symptoms are non-specific and can be attributed to many other conditions. This emphasizes the importance of regular veterinary examinations and home screening.
- The disease may be well advanced before symptoms are detected. Because the liver has the great ability to function on its reserves, over 50% of the tissue may be affected before any signs of disease are present.
- The exact type of liver disease can be difficult to diagnose. There are numerous tests your veterinarian can perform, but the best bet may be a liver biopsy.
- Dietary changes are crucial to recovery and most forms of liver disease respond well to changes in diet coupled with nutritional supplementation.
If your cat has been diagnosed with liver disease, we offer well-researched products and information that give much needed support when your friend needs it most. By following the proper guidelines to liver health and support today, you give your cat the best advantage for the future.
A comprehensive approach for achieving improved liver function and long-term liver health involves proper diet, reactive and proactive supplementation as well as environmental considerations.