Liver disease is essentially any condition that causes damage to the body and involves the liver. The liver is a very important organ of the body. It has many functions some of which include producing bile and removing toxins from the blood.
There are many different forms of liver disease that affect cats. The most common type of liver disease is Hepatic Lipidosis, generally known as fatty liver disease. This condition arises from a sudden lack of food intake. Another type is Cholangiohepatitis, a condition in which inflammation of the liver and bile ducts occur. Portosystemic shunt is an additional condition of the liver that can arise and which results in an increase of toxins. What essentially happens is that blood goes directly past the liver without being detoxified.
Liver disease is among another that is very difficult to detect in its early stages. Usually by the time it is detected more than 50% of the liver has already been affected. Some symptoms of liver disease include:
All the symptoms aside from jaundice are not as noticeable or outright in terms of letting the pet owner know that something is wrong. If you notice that your pet has jaundice take him/her to your vet immediately.
A physical examination of your pet by your veterinarian would detect the presence of liver disease. A blood test or if need be a liver sample can be used to diagnose liver disease. X-rays are also useful in detecting liver disease.
There are many forms of liver disease and in turn many different causes of those diseases. In general, older cats are more likely to get liver disease in comparison to younger cats. Some causes of liver disease include:
Treatment of liver disease varies depending on what caused it and how bad the damage to the liver is. There is no defined cure of liver disease. Controlling the diet of your pet is perhaps the most important thing one can do. Your cat's diet is an extremely important part of the treatment of liver disease. Your pet should be receiving the proper nutrients and amount of food. Some cats may refuse to eat; in this case you may have to resort to force feeding using an intravenous feeding tube. It is also recommended to give your pet daily multivitamins if suffering from liver disease. In some cases, surgery too may be necessary.