Feline liver disease

Liver disease in cats

source: Feline Advisory Bureau Volume 39 (3) 2001 p 89

The liver is involved in digestion, immune regulation, waste elimination, biosynthesis and energy metabolism and is particularly vulnerable to injury and disease such as cholangiohepatitis, toxoplasmosis, tumours, lipidosis, vascular disease and damage from drugs or toxins. The liver has large reserve capacity so when signs of disease become obvious, large parts of the liver are already affected. Some signs include weight loss, lack of appetite, increased drinking, vomiting and jaundice. Diagnosis is based on blood testing, x-rays and ultrasound, but a biopsy may be needed to ascertain the underlying cause. Treatment includes fluid therapy, nutritional support, antibiotics and anti-inflammatory drugs. In some cases where the disease is advanced, the liver may be severely damaged and unable to regenerate, so early diagnosis is important for treatment to be effective.