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The liver is the largest organ in the body. It is located in the abdominal cavity and lies just in front of the stomach next to the diaphragm. The liver is the body’s “detoxifier.” All of the blood absorbed from the intestine circulates through the liver to be filtered and cleaned before returning to the heart. Liver disease can present itself very quickly or can occur very slowly over many months.
CAUSES of liver disease include infections, consumption or exposure to poisons, abnormal blood flow (usually a birth defect), and hereditary disorders. Cats can also develop liver disease (fatty liver) from just not eating for a few days, regardless of the cause of the poor appetite. Liver disease can result in inflammation of the liver, gall stones, decreased production of enzymes aiding digestion, and cirrhosis.
SIGNS of Liver Disease:
DIAGNOSIS of the specific type of liver disease is confirmed by physical examination, blood tests, ultrasound testing, radiographs (x-rays), and sometimes biopsy.
TREATMENT OF LIVER DISEASE:
The liver has a tremendous ability to regenerate and heal. Prescription diets are an important component of successful treatment. Prescription diets contain specific nutrients most easily digested minimizing the work-load on the diseased liver while allowing for optimum nutrition to aid the healing process. Many pets with liver disease will recover and live normal lives. Your pet’s treatment may include:
Once we have diagnosed liver disease in your pet we will want to periodically monitor blood work to evaluate how things are going. Fortunately, many liver diseases can be cured or at least kept under control with proper treatment and occassional surgery.