Liver Diseases in Cats
The liver diseases in cats have real clinical significance, because the liver performs essential functions for the body. Their care by the veterinarian is essential, the life of the animal being unfortunately sometimes compromised in the short term.
Which organs are affected by liver diseases in cats?
Hepatic diseases are diseases that affect the liver or gall bladder. The liver is an essential digestive organ in both humans and animals. It exerts in the cat a multitude of roles in the body (intervention in the process of digestion, detoxification of certain substances …). The gallbladder itself allows the storage of bile that ensures digestion of fat.
The main liver diseases of the cat and their symptoms
The most common liver diseases in cats are hepatic lipidosis, liver tumors and gallstones.
These pathologies are characterized by rather general symptoms, such as loss of appetite and weight loss. Vomiting is also sometimes observed. In case of liver problems, an even more characteristic sign is jaundice which means that the mucous membranes, mouth or eye, have taken a yellowish coloring. This mucosal staining is typical of liver diseases.
The origins of liver disease in cats
Hepatic lipidosis is reported in cats who refuse to eat after experiencing too much stress, especially after surgery. This disease is therefore linked to the anorexia presented by the cat and not to a virus or a bacterium.
Hepatic tumors, of which there are different types, are cell masses that develop in the liver or metastases from other tissues. It is important to differentiate them from abscesses or cysts.
Gallstones are small aggregates, tiny stones found in the gallbladder or bile ducts. Depending on their size, they are eventually able to cause the obstruction of the ducts and thus prevent the flow of bile.
How to treat liver diseases of the cat?
The treatment of liver diseases depends on the diagnosis and therefore the clinical signs observed by the veterinarian. It is difficult to explore a liver or gall bladder other than by performing an ultrasound. This is usually one of the examinations proposed by the doctor in case of suspicion of liver disease.
The blood test is also regularly performed;
It seeks to measure the enzymes produced by the liver that are indicative of its good operating condition.
Surgery will also sometimes be offered to remove gallstones or liver tumors. This operation assumes the anesthesia of the animal. In the case of hepatic lipidosis, it is above all to stimulate the appetite or even feed the animal, with a probe to ensure that it covers its food needs as soon as possible.
How to prevent liver diseases in cats?
It is of course difficult to prevent the appearance of tumors, cysts, hepatic abscesses or gallstones. On the other hand, preventing lipidosis is possible insofar as it is linked to the refusal to eat. The stress and anxiety of the cat are the first factors leading to this disease. To limit them is therefore to prevent anorexia!
In case your cat stops feeding, do not hesitate to use some tips and tricks; the idea being to make his food more appetizing:
- offer him a canned food (often fatter and tastier) rather than croquettes;
- heat (reasonably) his food, this will clear the aromas;
- Finally, regularly try to feed him with a spoon or by offering him small pieces directly in the mouth (but always gently) to encourage him to eat.
Common Disease – Liver Lipidosis
Hepatic lipidosis is a disease that affects mainly cats. It usually occurs due to a distressing situation for the animal causing a loss of appetite (anorexia), such as a move or a new animal in the house. Lipidosis can also occur as a result of a concomitant underlying disease.
What are the signs that allow me to suspect liver lipidosis in my animal ?
A cat misery from hepatic lipidosis will have a harm of appetite and therefore a jaundice the severity of which will depend on the period of the condition. A yellow discoloration of the skin can be seen at the level of the auricle, the oral mucosa, and at the level of the sclera of the eye. Vomiting, diarrhea and fever are occasionally observed. When the condition progresses untreated, nervous signs may appear (mental depression, excessive salivation).
How can one diagnose liver lipidosis ?
Several tests are available to get a diagnosis of lipidosis. It is possible to have a blood test allowing us to evaluate the function of liver enzymes. In addition, an abdominal X-ray can visualize the liver whose size is increase during lipidosis. Abdominal ultrasound is often useful for observing the integrity of the liver and for taking a liver sample. This latter procedure is accomplish for the purpose of visualizing cells and confirming the diagnosis of hepatic lipidosis.
How can you treat an animal with liver lipidosis?
It is first and foremost important to ensure a nutritional support for the animal. For the liver to fully recover its function. The animal must eat regularly. In contrast, animals with lipidosis are often anorexic and often have vomiting. For these animals, it is important to provide a parenteral diet. That is to say using a gastrostomy tube or esophageal tube. In this way, it is possible to calculate the quantity of food required by the animal. To meet his daily energy needs and to administer it properly.
Intravenous fluid therapy is often required to correct the dehydration that usually accompanies anorexia. Antibiotics are given according to the functional state of the liver. Medications to stimulate hunger can be certain occasionally.
Can we prevent hepatic lipidosis?
It is difficult to prevent the development of lipidosis in cats because the causes are numerous and sometimes tough to control. However, it is recommended to limit the distressing situations that could trigger a loss of appetite because cats are particularly sensitive to change.
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