Tuesday, April 13, 2010 7:30 AM

Hepatitis and Liver Disease in Cats

Liver disease is another serious disorder that is becoming more prevalent in cats. According to Dr. Donald R. Strombeck, author of Home-Prepared Dog and Cat Diets, this problem was seldom seen thirty years ago. He credits the increased accuracy and use of diagnostic veterinary tests, but also mentions that the toxins that contribute to this disease enter the body many ways, including in food products. What else became the norm during the 1970s? The feeding of commercial pet food!

Cats have very sensitive systems, as I have mentioned here before. They are apt to react violently to small amounts of toxic substances, but more often just suffer more and more negative effects from toxins in their environment. Many people (and dogs) also are exhibiting symptoms of toxin overload, such as Multiple Chemical Sensitivity Disorder. Many auto-immune diseases are thought to be brought on and aggravated by environmental contaminants. Even in otherwise healthy animals, eventually the toxic load, combined with age and diminished immunity, prevails. The animal begins to show signs of disease.

Anitra Frazier mentions many household chemicals that can be implicated in liver disease. Cleaners, pesticides, moth balls--all have a cumulative effect on one of the most important organs in the body. The liver spends all its time cleaning the blood, which means it comes into direct contact with contaminants that find their way into the animal's bloodstream. When the organ becomes inflamed from this saturation, hepatitis sets in. Animals can recover from this ailment, but part of the liver is now scarred. If steps are not taken to help the liver reduce its heavy load, cirrhosis occurs. As the liver becomes less and less able to clean the blood, toxins circulate freely, causing allergic reactions, particularly of the skin. Bile, produced by the liver, becomes less available, so fat metabolism is incomplete.

Liver disease is insidious, and often the symptoms are not noticed in time to be able to halt the damage. Often, the lethargy, weight loss, hard belly and frequent vomiting are attributed to old age, as are the more frequent skin disorders.

How is this disease diagnosed, and is treatment available? Tune in tomorrow for more facts about this serious illness.
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Amanda has worked with animals for many years and has always had cats in her life. She lives in Massachusetts with her husband and two excellent cats.
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