SEQUOIA VETERINARY HOSPITAL, Inc.

255 Old County Road · San Carlos, CA · 94070 · P 650.369.7326 · F 650.369.4403

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Liver Disease

 

The liver is the largest gland in the body, and it is situated in the most forward part of the abdominal cavity. It rests against the partition, which separates the lung and the abdominal cavities. It is vital for life and has a wide variety of important functions, such as detoxification of poisons and drugs, aiding in metabolism of fats, clotting of blood, and manufacturing of bile, plasma proteins and other important substances. It is also a storehouse for essential carbohydrates. Because the liver has a wide range of duties to perform and a rather good ability to restore itself after disease occurs, it is sometimes difficult to detect a specific liver disease before it becomes serious. Often, blood tests are required to determine the extent of liver involvement in disease processes. Any condition causing a change in the livers functional capacity should be considered serious and potentially life threatening.

 

SYMPTOMS:

  1. Loss of appetite
  2. Depression
  3. Vomiting
  4. Jaundice (yellowish discoloration of the lips or eyes)
  5. Increased thirst
  6. Discoloration of the urine or the stool
  7. Bloating of the stomach area (abdomen) due to fluid build up
  8. Bruises on the gums or belly due to poor blood clotting ability

 

Liver disease can come about very quickly or can occur slowly over many months. Infections, consumption or exposure to poisons, abnormal blood flow (usually a birth defect) and hereditary disorders can all cause mild to serious liver disease. Cats can also develop liver disease from just not eating anything for a few days, regardless of the cause of the poor appetite.

 

DIAGNOSIS IS BASED ON THE FOLLOWING :

  1. Presence of the above symptoms
  2. Palpation (examination) of the abdomen by the doctor
  3. Blood tests
  4. Ultrasound (ECHO) testing with special equipment bounce sound waves off the liver for visualization.
  5. Biopsy (often requires surgery)