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The liver has many vital roles in maintaining body health. The liver is a central area of metabolic processes, detoxification and production of vital elements for body function.
The liver plays a large role in glucose, protein and fat metabolism, as well as the removal of waste products from the body, metabolism of medication, and production of factors needed for blood clotting.
The gall bladder is adjacent to the liver, and receives bile produced in the liver, vital for both digestion and for elimination of some wastes. Many conditions that affect the liver also affect the gall bladder.
Given the liver's central metabolic role, it can also be affected by a number of different types if medical issues, including inflammatory disease, hormonal disorders, metabolic disease, blunt force injury, infection and cancer.
What are the signs of liver disease?
Given the liver's central role in metabolism and deotoxification, common signs of liver disease reflect the overall effect on the efficient function of the body, including:
If you suspect your pet may have liver issues, we would recommend visiting your vet immediately for examination - early diagnosis greatly improves our chances of successful treatment.
How is liver disease diagnosed?
Generally, your veterinarian will conduct a full clinical examination, then will probably also need to run blood tests and take x-rays or perform ultrasound to diagnose liver disease.
In some cases, further testing such as a biopsy is required.
How is liver disease treated?
The good news is that the liver has an exceptional regenerative capacity, and even pets with marked liver disease can repond well to treatment.
Treatment will depend on the specific condition. Given the metabolic and detoxification role of the liver, special diets and supplements play a major role in treatment.
Specific treatments such as antibiotics, medications for bile production and anti-inflammatories may be required depending on the specific cause.
Some liver conditions, such as liver tumours or gall bladder disease, may require surgical treatment.
Regular vet visitings are very important to monitor the recovery, and in some cases supplements and dietary changes may need to be continued for the long term.
A great range of liver supplements and special diets for dogs are available here.
And we also have a full range for cats available here.