Cirrhosis in Cats

Cirrhosis is a disease of the liver that can be caused by different toxins or liver infections. Cirrhosis is less common in cats, but may be found in felines as well. Cirrhosis is not a reversible condition, but the cat’s condition may be managed with a few treatments. Liver failure should be prevented with certain treatments and supplements.

Causes of Cirrhosis in Cats

Cirrhosis is a disease of the liver and may be caused by an accumulation of toxins that cannot be properly filtered or by other liver diseases.

Other causes of cirrhosis may include:

  • Hepatitis
  • Immune system mediated diseases
  • Overdose of certain drugs that cannot be assimilated by the liver
  • Exposure to toxic materials (i.e. copper)

Cirrhosis may affect certain cat breeds more often and it is more commonly seen in senior cats.

Symptoms of Cirrhosis

Cirrhosis can manifest through a few symptoms such as:

  • Jaundice or yellowing of the eye whites and other mucus membranes
  • Increased thirst and urination (polydipsia and polyuria)
  • Lethargy
  • Sudden collapse
  • Excessive drooling
  • Lack of coordination
  • Weight loss
  • Lack of appetite
  • Depression
  • Vomiting and diarrhea
  • Sudden bleeding (i.e. from the mouth, eyes, anus)
  • Sudden behavioral changes
  • Agitation and irritability
  • Sudden blindness (may be reversible if the condition is detected early)
  • Muscle tremor
  • Coma

The cat may also present other symptoms which are specific to the underlying cause of cirrhosis.

Detection of Feline Cirrhosis

Feline cirrhosis can be detected through a few tests of the urine and blood tests. The vet will establish if the liver is affected and possibly find the underlying condition causing cirrhosis.

Treatment Options for Cirrhosis

Cirrhosis in cats is not reversible, but the cat can survive and his life quality can be improved with a few treatments:

  • A change in diet, as the cat should get fewer proteins and more fibers. Some vets will recommend an all natural diet that is free from any artificial ingredients that can hurt the liver
  • Amino acid supplementation
  • Antioxidant supplementation that can offer liver support
  • S-Adenosylmethionine, a product that contain amino acids and antioxidants and can help the liver cells regenerate
  • Cleansing herbal ingredients and teas
  • Lactulose, which cleanses the cat’s body and helps the elimination of toxins from the body
  • Arginine tablets, also cleanse the body. Arginine is available in tablet form, but may also be found in tuna, pork, chicken and dairy products.
  • Carnitine is an antioxidant that may also be found in legumes and red meat.

The administration of drugs is not always recommended in the case of a cat with cirrhosis, as the drugs can contain a few toxins that are difficult to assimilate by the diseased liver.

If not treated, cirrhosis can evolve into liver failure, which causes death in cats.