Liver Disease
Liver Disease in pets

The liver is the largest gland in the body and serves many complex functions. It is located in the abdominal cavity and lies just behind the stomach.


  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. Pets can have abnormal liver function and seem completely normal. Cats can also develop liver disease from just not eating anything for a few days, regardless of the cause of the poor appetite.


  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 bounces sound waves off the liver for visualization.
  5. Biopsy (often requires surgery)


  1. Antibiotics
  2. Injectable liver stimulating medication
  3. Vitamin supplements
  4. Special diets (L/D)
  5. Anti-oxidant therapy (Denosyl)

Some pets may require some level of medication or diet change permanently. Most pets with liver problems will recover and live normal lives.



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