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Liver Disease in Cats

Common Liver Problems

Some of the most common liver problems in felines include cholangitis (cholangiohepatitis) and hepatic lipidosis (fatty liver). Cholangitis is the infection and/or inflammation of the bile ducts and the liver. The treatment for cholangitis involves medication to control vomiting, antibiotics if there is a bacterial infection present, and other drugs or supplements if needed.

Hepatic lipidosis (fatty liver disease) occurs when a cat becomes anorexic. Fatty liver disease in cats is common. Anorexia is when an individual stop or significantly reduces the amount of food he or she consumes. When anorexia occurs, the body starts to use stored fat as a source of energy. This fat is sent to the liver to be broken down, however large amounts of fats tend to stress the liver, and the liver becomes unable to process all the fat. Thus the fat accumulates in the liver, and causes the condition fatty liver. Fatty liver disease can be offset by other health conditions as well which is why a liver biopsy is recommended for cats with fatty liver disease. If this condition is left untreated it can cause liver failure.

Other liver conditions in cats include toxic damage to the liver due to certain drugs and substances. A lack of blood supply to the liver may also result in toxic damage to the liver. Cancer usually occurs in the liver after existing at a different site and then spreading. Liver shunt is a condition where blood bypasses the liver and does not become detoxified.

Symptoms of Liver Disease

Symptoms of liver disease include:

  • Weight loss
  • Increased size of liver due to fat buildup
  • Frequent urination
  • Depression
  • Vomiting
  • Fatigue
  • Bad breath
  • Seizures


Feline liver disease and liver problems are diagnosed by veterinarian after the cat has undergone several tests. These tests often look for increased levels of certain enzymes which indicate liver damage. Vets may also check for urea, glucose, cholesterol, and mineral levels in the body. Your vet may also want to conduct an ultrasound to see any changes in size of the liver.

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Disclaimer: 1st Pet Naturals is an education resource, and all information herein is strictly for educational purposes. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent, or cure disease, nor is it meant to replace the (prescribed) treatment or recommendations of your veterinarian or healthcare provider. Always inform your veterinarian or healthcare provider of any products that your pet is taking, including herbal remedies and supplements.