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Hepatitis in Cats - Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Josie F. Turner
By Josie F. Turner, Journalist specialized in Animal Welfare. October 2, 2016
Hepatitis in Cats - Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

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The liver is one of the largest organs in our body, and it's considered the big laboratory and storehouse of the organism. It synthesizes a lot of enzymes and proteins, and thus it is the largest detoxifying organ. The liver also stores glycogen, which is essential for the balance of glucose, among other vital functions. Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver tissue, and therefore of the liver.

Although hepatitis is not as common in cats as it is in dogs, you should always take it into account when faced with non-specific and general symptoms - such as weight loss, anorexia, apathy and fever - before making a diagnosis. There are also more specific symptoms such as jaundice.

This AnimalWised article will tell you how to recognize hepatitis in cats, as well as its causes, symptoms and treatment.

You may also be interested in: Ascites in Cats - Causes, Symptoms and Treatment
  1. What causes feline hepatitis?
  2. What are the symptoms of hepatitis in cats?
  3. How is hepatitis in cats treated?

What causes feline hepatitis?

Inflammation of the liver can arise from many things; here are the most common and frequent causes:

  • Viral hepatitis: It has absolutely nothing to do with human hepatitis. It is a specific cat virus that can cause hepatitis, among many other symptoms. Viruses that cause feline leukemia and feline infectious peritonitis can result in hepatitis, as the viruses destroy liver tissue. These pathogens not only destroy liver tissue, but also affect other organs of the cat's body.
  • Bacterial hepatitis: More common in dogs, unusual in cats. The causative agent is Leptospira.
  • Parasitic hepatitis: It is often caused by toxoplasmosis (Protozoan) or philariasis (blood parasite).
  • Toxic hepatitis: Caused by ingestion of various toxins, it is also very rare in cats because of their eating behaviors. Usually due to accumulation of copper in the cat's liver.
  • Congenital hepatitis: It is also very rare and is usually diagnosed by chance, while looking for other diseases. Congenital hepatic cysts can occur.
  • Neoplasms (tumors): They are more common in older cats. Tumor tissue destroys the liver. Most of the time there are no primary tumors in the liver; instead, they appear from metastasis of tumors in other organs.
Hepatitis in Cats - Causes, Symptoms and Treatment - What causes feline hepatitis?

What are the symptoms of hepatitis in cats?

Hepatitis usually shows different symptoms, depending on whether it is acute or chronic. An acute liver malfunction usually results in sudden onset of symptoms.

The most common symptom of hepatitis in cats is usually loss of appetite and lethargy. The accumulation of toxins in the body affects the nervous system, and associated symptoms known as "hepatic encephalopathy" can be seen, including behavioral changes, abnormal movement and even seizures. Inactivity and depression are common.

Jaundice could be another symptom. This is more of a specific symptom of liver disease, and consists of the accumulation of bilirubin (yellow pigment) in the tissues. In the case of chronic hepatitis, weight loss and ascites (accumulation of abdominal fluid) is observed.

Hepatitis in Cats - Causes, Symptoms and Treatment - What are the symptoms of hepatitis in cats?

How is hepatitis in cats treated?

The treatment of hepatitis is often aimed towards the cause, but most of the time the origin is unknown - idiopathic - or caused by viruses and tumors. Symptomatic treatment and nutritional management is carried out instead.

Nutritional management means changing the cat's diet - creating an additional problem, as this is not so simple - by adjusting it in accordance with the disease. It is based on reducing the total amount of protein and increasing the overall quality of its diet.

Hepatitis in Cats - Causes, Symptoms and Treatment - How is hepatitis in cats treated?

This article is purely informative. AnimalWised does not have the authority to prescribe any veterinary treatment or create a diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the veterinarian if they are suffering from any condition or pain.

If you want to read similar articles to Hepatitis in Cats - Causes, Symptoms and Treatment, we recommend you visit our Other health problems category.

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Hepatitis in Cats - Causes, Symptoms and Treatment