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Liver disease in cats: forms and causes


If cats suffer from liver diseases, a vital organ is affected. The liver ensures that the nutrients from food are used correctly and transports pollutants out of the body. A liver disease can take many different forms and have causes. Obesity can be one of the causes of liver disease in cats - Shutterstock / Okssi

It is not to be trifled with liver diseases in cats. However, since there are many different causes and forms of them, they are difficult to identify. The following information gives an overview of what might be behind a disordered liver function in the Miez.

Metabolic disorders as causes

One of the most common liver diseases is so-called hepatic lipidosis, also called fatty liver. It is a fat metabolism disorder. The causes of this clinical picture can mainly be found in obesity and / or long periods of hunger in the cat. If the fur nose is too thick, the fat metabolism gets out of balance more quickly. If the cat does not eat, the metabolism gets messed up. The fat deposits in the body tissue are melted down in times of hunger and reach the liver so that it can process them further. If too much fat gets into the liver at once, it will no longer be able to follow and the liver cells will absorb the fat. As a result, the liver cells can no longer function properly, at worst the liver fails completely.

Liver fat metabolism can also be disrupted due to rapid weight loss or diabetes in cats. Furthermore, the liver can be damaged by hyperthyroidism, i.e. an overactive thyroid gland, as this metabolic disorder increases the liver enzymes.

Infections and inflammatory liver diseases in cats

In addition to fatty liver, there are also infectious or inflammatory forms of liver disease in cats. This can be caused, for example, by bacterial infections that rise from the bile duct into the liver. Leukosis or FIP viruses and toxoplasmosis pathogens can also damage the liver. If the organ becomes infected as a result of an infection, it can become chronic and, in very rare cases, lead to cirrhosis of the liver. In addition, liver diseases can appear as a side effect after inflammation of the pancreas or an inflamed gallbladder.

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Sick cat liver: other reasons

Finally, there are forms of liver diseases that are caused by tumors and cancer. If the cat has ingested poison, this can also affect the liver. Another possibility for impaired liver function is a disease called shunt. It can be congenital or acquired. The vessels are changed so that the blood is directed past the liver. Without blood supply, the organ cannot work properly and gradually stops working.