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The First Signs of Liver Failure in Cats
The liver in cats is quite susceptible to liver disease. It’s large size indicates how critical it is to the overall health of the cat, it is the industrial powerhouse of the body.
From filtering toxins to providing energy to supplying nutrients, it is involved in practically all the biochemical processes that go on in the body.
Symptoms Of Liver Failure
As and when toxins increase, the liver is called upon to perform beyond its normal capacity, which may lead to liver failure. Initially liver disease manifests as mild symptoms like:
- Refusing to eat
- Weight loss
- Pale gray and soft feces
- Weakness and lethargy
The symptoms of liver disease in dogs are almost similar to those of feline liver disease . This similarity exists even in the causes like excess of toxin intake and secondary infections caused due to disease in other organs. However, feline infectious peritonitis, leukemia virus, and feline immunodeficiency virus are few of the cat specific causes.
Left untreated, toxins may build up and the disease progresses and presents the following symptoms that may point to liver failure.
- Fluid retention and a distended stomach
Feline liver disease can progress to a stage where treatment may become cumbersome and in certain cases, even impossible. It is advisable that positive steps be taken even on a mild suspicion of liver related symptoms.
It is better to call your veterinarian to check as there are possibilities of cat owners misreading the symptoms. After all it is better to make a mistake than risk the life of your cat.
The best way to prevent liver disease in cats is to check what goes in. And that means diet – as well as drugs. Some drugs that can potentially increase toxins are:
- Steroidal compounds
- Non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
- Heavy metals, for example mercury from deep sea fish and lead from paint chips
- Phenobarbital, which is a barbiturate used as a sedative
It pays to find alternatives for the drugs that are known to be toxic to the feline liver. For example, potassium bromide is safer and would work as well as Phenobarbital. Try to seek help from a holistic veterinarian who will not hesitate to make use of natural and safer homeopathic remedies.
Even though specific causes of different types of feline liver disease that ultimately lead to liver failure is not known, obesity in cats is suspected to be one of the primary reasons. Controlling obesity will ultimately lead to effective prevention of liver disease.
Feline Liver Disease and Diet
With many health issues in cats as well as in people, an improvement in the diet can often work wonders. If your cat is NOT already eating a raw diet, please consider changing to one. You can read more about this here: Best Food For Cats
Diet plays an important role in preventing liver disease in cats. Low fat diet rich in antioxidants and easily digestible grains provide a well needed rest to the liver so that it self-heals using its regenerative capacity.
Restrict intake of proteins as this will lead to lesser production of ammonia. Change to small but frequent feeding with proteins of high biological value such as eggs and milk products. High fiber diet, ensuring that the cat is not undernourished, also helps in curbing ammonia production.
The most important thing is timely action. Cat owners who are overly concerned about the health of their companion should try to inform themselves of what causes feline liver disease and adhere to liver friendly diet from day one.