The cat's liver is its largest internal organ and is responsible for protein, fat, and carbohydrate metabolism; vitamin and mineral storage; digestion of food, manufacture of essential body compounds, and detoxification of wastes. Unlike any other organ, the liver is able to renew itself in certain situations. It's main role is to maintain equilibrium in the body. This includes cleaning the blood, removing toxin build-up, balance of acid and chemical levels in the body, production of blood clotting factors and hormones as well as playing a large role in digestion. With so many important responsibilities, understanding the signs and symptoms of liver disease is very important for every cat owner.
Liver disease occurs when the liver is damaged, resulting in loss of function and ability to maintain the equilibrium in the cat’s body. This can be acute (sudden onset) or chronic (slow and ongoing) and the cause can be one or more of a number of factors. Some of the causes of liver disease are as follows:
Liver disease can have a significant impact on your cat's health. Some of the signs you may notice are:
If you suspect your cat is suffering from liver disease. it's critical that you contact your veterinarian as soon as possible. They will carry out tests to determine whether the liver is compromised. Tests can include:
Treatment is dependent on the progression of the disease, the signs the cat is experiencing and the levels of toxins in the blood. Most diseases can be managed with supportive care and early intervention. Treatment options should be discussed with your veterinarian and can include:
Liver disease is a common disease in cats. With early intervention, your cat can live happily for many years.
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