Liver Failure in Cats
Hepatic Lipidosis continued...
Appetite stimulants may be prescribed by your veterinarian, but
they are only effective if the cat is still eating at least a little on his
own. In most cases, nutritional support involves special diets and formulas
administered by your veterinarian by stomach tube or gastrostomy, an operation
in which a feeding tube is placed into the stomach through a small incision in
the abdominal wall. Nutritional support is continued until the cat recovers and
begins to eat on his own. Any nutritional supplements given through a feeding
tube should be warmed to room temperature.
Recovery may take two to three months and requires home nursing
care and complete dedication by the owner. Survival of the first four days of
intensive treatment is a very good sign, with 85 percent of those cats going on
to recovery. If pancreatitis is also present, the prognosis is poor.
When cats stop eating for even a day or two, they are prone to
liver disease. Seek veterinary attention whenever your cat refuses to eat for
more than two days.
Cholangiohepatitis is the second most common liver disease of
cats. This disease involves inflammation of the liver and the bile ducts. Bile
is the product of the gallbladder and is important in managing fats and
collecting toxins to be removed from the blood. When bacteria from the duodenum
(small intestine) come up the bile duct (instead of bile going down), they can
gain access to the gallbladder and the liver. This liver infection is often
associated with inflammatory bowel disease and/or pancreatitis.
Some cats will become acutely ill, but many simply show
anorexia and possibly jaundice and an enlarged liver. Some cats will have vomiting,
diarrhea, depression, and
Treatment: Treatment requires supportive care, including fluids
and nutritional support-maybe even a feeding tube placed by your veterinarian.
important, as this is a bacterial infection. Antibiotics may be needed for
three to six months. SAMe and vitamin E are useful antioxidants that can help
the liver heal, and milk thistle is an herb with liver-protectant qualities. If
inflammatory bowel disease is also involved, the cat may need immunosuppressive
drugs such as prednisone.