Liver Failure in Cats

Numerous function performed by the liver in the body. The organ comprised of a large storing capacity and functional reserve with the ability to regenerate. These properties of the liver act as a safeguard against permanent damage. Nevertheless, the liver is susceptible to damage because of its role in metabolising, detoxifying, and storing several harmful substances.

The liver mostly performs functions like metabolism of fats, carbohydrates, and protein along with the metabolism of the drugs. The liver also stores and metabolise the vitamin for the usage within the body. The liver helps to store minerals, glycogen, triglycerides and then it manufactures proteins that are essential for the body to perform body functions. The liver enhances the production of bile acid that is important for the digestion. It also detoxifies the products that are harmful to the body like ammonia.

The liver disease in cats categorised by the sudden loss of 70% or more damage to the liver function. The unexpected liver failure may be due to the massive, necrosis of the liver.

Factors that cause Liver Disease

Age: –

Geriatric cats suffer more diseases, including liver failure.

Breeds of Cats: –

There are some breeds of cats that are more prone to liver failure. These breeds include Siamese cats, who face liver failure compared to other kinds of cats.

Weight of cats: –

The weight of cats plays a vital role in the dysfunction of the liver. The obese cats are more likely to suffer liver failure. The more weight, the more chances of liver problems in cats.

Medicines and other substances: –

Several medications comprising acetaminophen used in cats can lead to liver failure. These chemicals can cause liver failure.

Symptoms: –

Several disorders, like primary and secondary hepatobiliary disorders, are generally linked with several hepatic necrosis. However, the acute liver failure in cats occurs due to severe disease of the liver. The liver failure in cats affect their body through several failures of the system. The signs and indications of liver failure in cats are

There are some other signs of liver failure that include dark-coloured urinations, paler gums, accumulation of fluids in the abdomen (mostly the owner thing it is increase in the weight of the cat).

The indications of liver failure are not very much specific that makes it challenging to recognise the disease. If an obese cat with liver failure stops eating, it may lead to fatal complications. Those cats who stop eating for a couple of days may go through the Feline Hepatic Lipidosis (a condition in which the fat deposit on the liver increases and it interfere in the function of the liver).

Occasionally with severe liver disease in cats or with a condition in which the blood from the intestines sidesteps the hepatic route due to the appearance of an irregular blood vessel or shunt, contaminants that would typically be distributed the liver can influence the brain. This dissertation leads to behavioural changes, severe salivation, and blindness or the development of seizures.


The liver failure signs in cats are usually non-specific and vague. However, blood tests and urine analysis needed to recognize the liver failure in cats. Several abnormal values will show liver failure results.

  • The level of bilirubin in blood and urine may be elevated.

  • The enzymes produced by the liver cells can raised in case of liver failure. These enzymes include Alanine aminotransferase, alkaline phosphatase, aspartame aminotransferase gamma-glutamyl transferase.
  • The bile acid generated by the liver is essential for the fat digestion in the intestine. In liver failure, the level of the bile acid also increased to suggest the damage to the organ. Elevated level of bile acid shows that the liver is not working correctly.

  • Haematology is recommended with the other tests to diagnosis liver problems. The red and white blood cells indicate liver infection

  • Proteins test in the blood is also vital in diagnosis of liver problems

The results of the tests mentioned above help to diagnose liver failure in cats. However, even by performing the above-mentioned tests the severity of the liver failure in cats can not be assessed. As some changes in the blood tests may occur in other diseases like diabetes mellitus and hyperthyroidism, so more evaluation is required to confirm the liver failure in cats.

To rule out other diseases further evaluation of liver is recommended like X-rays that is to assess the size of the liver, and ultrasound will help to judge the size, structure of the liver along with the evidence of any obstruction to the bile flow. These radiological tests will help to narrow down the potential causes of liver diseases and help to confirm liver failure. Liver biopsy will as well help to establish liver failure


Hospitalisation is vital for the treatment of liver failure in cats. The administration of fluids and electrolytes along with the gelatinous substance known as colloid are essential in treating the cats suffering from liver failure. The cats must be placed on restricted activity to provide the liver with an opportunity to regenerate.

The treatment of liver failure depends on the causes of the damage. In addition to specific treatment, some supportive treatment is also helpful, including the administration of intravenous fluids to rehydrate the cats suffering from liver failure. Some nutritional support and medicines may help to support the liver function

Feeding with a catheter is used for the highly unstable cats while feeding directly to the intestines is done for the cats that are a bit stable. The recommended diet should be regular protein diet along with vitamin E and K.

The medicines include antiemetics, hepato-protectants, antioxidants, and coagulopathy drugs. However, should follow the instructions of a veterinarian.

liver failure in cats
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