Dog & Cat Liver Disease
The liver is the organ that takes care of the majority of the body's detoxification functions and is responsible for filtering the entire blood supply. It is vital to your pets' ability to grow, fight disease, regulate blood sugar, and process nutrients.
Symptoms of liver disease include: poor appetite that can lead to weight loss; excess urination due to increased water consumption; lethargy; anemia; soft and/or light colored stools; bleeding disorders; distension of the abdomen; vomiting and/or diarrhea; jaundice; behavioral changes including circling, head tilt, and seizures, especially right after a meal; and excessive drooling in cats.
Causes of Liver Disease in Dogs and Cats
There are many causes of liver disease that include but are not limited to:
- blunt trauma,
- copper storage diseases,
- environmental stresses and toxins,
- Cushing's disease,
- cancer, and
- infectious diseases (bacterial, viral, fungal).
Medications given to pets to treat other ailments can cause toxicity in the liver including:
- Rimadyl (arthritis treatment),
- Thiacetarsamide (heartworm treatment),
- Ketaconazole (fungal treatment),
- Tylenol (acetaminophen),
- Glucocorticoids (cortisone),
- Anthelmintics (worming medication),
- Parasiticides, and
- Phenobarbital (epilepsy medication).
The good news is that the liver is a highly resilient organ and has the ability to regenerate vital cells if liver damage is diagnosed and treated in time. Take your pet for regular checkups, use the pet health checklist and let your vet know if you suspect liver problems.