Liver diseases in dogs and cats
The rapid development of diagnostics and medicine has shown that liver diseases in cats and dogs are much more common than previously thought. In many cases, they accompany diseases of other organs: the stomach, intestines, and kidneys, and are not always diagnosed in a timely manner. Knowing the main symptoms and causes of liver problems will help the owner quickly respond and protect the health of the pet.
The liver is a kind of “filter” of the body, which is involved in all metabolic processes and eliminates toxic substances. She is responsible for the exchange of hormones, proteins, carbohydrates, fats and vitamins, produces bile for the digestion of food, and provides a protective function. Any abnormalities in the functioning of the liver are reflected throughout the body. However, unlike other organs, the liver has the ability to regenerate and has a huge reserve. In the event of a lesion, to one degree or another, it continues to fulfill its functions, and the initial stages of the disease are easy to miss.
What liver diseases do dogs and cats have?
The list of the most common liver diseases in cats and dogs is headed by:
Each disease has its own nature and symptoms, but many signs may be similar. Without a special education, even the most attentive and well-read owner will not be able to determine what his pet is sick with.
The diagnosis is established only by a veterinarian.
Cat liver disease
Liver diseases can be hereditary, as well as result from autoimmune pathologies and problems with endocrinology: diabetes mellitus, various neoplasms, etc.
However, the most common causes are:
– poor and unbalanced nutrition,
– prolonged use of drugs that exert a load on the liver (hepatotoxic effect),
– infectious diseases: bacterial or viral,
– helminthic invasion,
– cardiological disorders.
Liver diseases can develop in cats and dogs of all breeds, regardless of age and general health.
Symptoms of liver disease in cats and dogs
Common symptoms include:
loss of appetite or complete refusal of food,
nausea: bile or mucus can be found in vomit
dry mucous membranes
increased gas formation,
yellowness of the mucous membranes.
Having discovered at least one of the symptoms, the responsible owner should already sound the alarm and take the pet to a specialist.
Depending on the specific disease, specific signs are added to the general signs: a change in the color of urine and feces, dermatitis, hemorrhages, etc.
All these manifestations are very dangerous. Timely treatment at the veterinarian clinic, prompt diagnosis and therapy can save a pet’s life.
Diagnosis, treatment and prevention
The problem is diagnosed by a veterinarian on the basis of examination, clinical and biochemical blood tests, analysis of feces, urine and ultrasound of the liver.
Unfortunately, chronic forms of liver disease cannot be completely cured. Therapy will be aimed at stopping the development of the disease and alleviating the symptoms.
The treatment regimen depends on the specific type of disease. Along with drug therapy, it includes a therapeutic diet and regular monitoring of health status. A cat or dog with liver disease is prescribed regular blood tests and liver ultrasounds to monitor and suppress recurrence periods in a timely manner.
Prevention of liver problems consists of observing the rules for pet care, high-quality balanced feeding and preventive examinations by a veterinarian at least 1 time per year.
Preventing the disease is easier than curing it. If all owners made it a rule to go to veterinary clinics not only if there is a problem, but also for prevention, cats and dogs with chronic diseases would be much smaller!
How to feed a dog and a cat with liver diseases?
Liver diseases in dogs and cats
A special diet is an essential component of the treatment of liver diseases. In most cases, the liver experiences an increased load due to improper nutrition, and if the problem already exists, the situation needs to be fixed as quickly as possible. You can’t neglect the diet or observe it “through the sleeves”, otherwise treatment with even the best drugs will be ineffective.
A medical diet for a pet is selected by a veterinarian based on the nature of the disease, the condition of the animal and anamnesis. The main purpose of the diet is to supply the body with a full range of nutrients, support the liver and promote its regeneration. An example is the Monge VetSolution Hepatic therapeutic diet for pets with liver disease. It contains milk thistle, which is part of the patented FitAroma complex, to create a special approach to the treatment of liver diseases.