Contributions by Jennifer Sellers
Act quickly if you notice yellow in the whites of your cat’s eyes. Jaundice, or yellow discoloration, may be an indication of liver disease and should be taken seriously.
What Causes Liver Disease in Cats?
The liver serves many functions in a cat’s body. Fat, protein, and carbohydrate metabolism, as well as vitamin and mineral storage, are all functions of the liver. It is responsible for over a thousand tasks in total. The liver is vulnerable to damage from a variety of internal systems due to its numerous functions. The following are some of the more common causes of liver disease in cats:
- Fatty liver syndrome can occur as a result of rapid weight loss.
- Infections brought on by bacteria or viruses
- Cardiovascular disease caused by Lymphoma poisoning
- Age-related birth flaws
Symptoms of Liver Disease in Cats
Because the symptoms of liver disease in cats are similar to those of many other diseases and illnesses, they can be perplexing. Symptoms include lethargy, loss of appetite, dehydration, weight loss, vomiting or diarrhea, and fever. Seizures, high fever, dark urine, and a distended abdomen are some of the disease’s more severe symptoms.
If your cat’s changes are accompanied by yellowing of the eyes (and occasionally the tongue, gums, or skin), he may have a liver problem. Of course, any of the other symptoms should prompt you to take your cat to the veterinarian. Even if all symptoms point to liver disease, a blood test is required to confirm the diagnosis.
Treatments for Liver Disease in Cats
Finding the Right Treatments
In some cases of liver disease, the liver is a regenerative organ that can heal itself. However, while the organ is malfunctioning, you should focus on your cat’s nutrition and any symptoms he may be experiencing.
A veterinarian-recommended diet and nutrition plan can help compensate for any vitamin deficiencies your cat may have as a result of liver disease, and treating his symptoms can help prevent his condition from worsening. As a result, your veterinarian may administer dehydration fluids as well as medications to treat vomiting or diarrhea.
In addition, veterinarians frequently prescribe:
- Antibiotics (to aid in the prevention of secondary infections) (to help prevent secondary infections)
- Corticosteroids (to reduce liver inflammation and scarring) (to reduce inflammation and scarring of the liver)
- Cytoprotective agents (to prevent ulcers in the stomach or intestines)
- Diuretics (to reduce abdominal swelling) (to reduce swelling in the abdomen)
If your cat suffers from liver disease, you should also provide him with vitamin supplements on a daily basis to help combat vitamin deficiencies. Vitamins K, B12, and E are particularly beneficial.
Vitamin K may assist your cat in controlling bleeding disorders, which his body becomes less capable of doing once he develops liver disease. Vitamin B12 helps other vitamins digest, and vitamin E is an antioxidant that protects the liver from further damage. Just be sure to give your cat a water-soluble form of vitamin E. Fat-soluble vitamins are difficult for a diseased liver to absorb.
Veterinarians now recommend S-adenosylmethionine (SAMe) and L-carnitine as preferred supplements for cats with liver disease. SAMe is thought to improve liver cell function and regeneration, whereas L-carnitine protects the liver from the accumulation of lipids and ammonia.
In addition to supplements, feed your cat an easily digestible diet to reduce the amount of work his damaged liver has to do. There are cat foods designed specifically for cats with liver disease. Inquire with your veterinarian about getting one.
Although not all cases of liver disease are curable, improving your cat’s diet and treating his symptoms can help him live a better life regardless of his prognosis.
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