Elevated Feline Liver Enzymes

Liver enzymes are generally stored in the liver. These enzymes help the liver carry out routine bodily functions. Since the liver is one of the major organs of the body, liver disorders that lead to liver failure can result in death. More often than not, the symptoms of liver disorders arise only when the condition has reached an advanced stage.

Most pets develop liver disorders if they ingest a lot of toxic substances or if they're suffering from certain health conditions like pancreatitis, irritable bowel syndrome and feline infectious peritonitis. In order to find out the severity of the condition and type of accompanying illnesses that are present, the vet will perform several diagnostic tests.

Elevated Liver Enzymes

The liver contains two enzymes, alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and aspartate aminotransferase (AST). The latter is also present in the cat's heart muscles, brain and skeletal cells. The cat's blood will contain certain quantities of these enzymes if the liver has been damaged. Since AST is also present in other parts of the body, high levels of AST in the blood don't necessarily indicate liver cell damage.

To confirm diagnosis of liver disease, the vet will first test the cat's blood to detect the levels of ALT and AST that are present. Additional tests such as a bile acids tolerance test, urine analysis, complete blood count tests and a thyroid test will also be performed. The vet will perform serological tests to rule out conditions like feline infectious peritonitis, feline leukemia virus and the feline immunodeficiency virus.

Liver Function Test

Although the presence of high amounts of ALT and AST in the pet's blood indicates liver disorders, the vet will have to perform tests to find out how well the liver is functioning. Once these tests are performed the vet will be able to determine if biopsy of the liver will be helpful or not.

Treatment of Liver Disorders

Once the vet has determined the extent of liver damage that's present and the type of accompanying illnesses that the cat is suffering from, the cat will be prescribed certain medicines in low doses. Since the liver also metabolizes medicines that are ingested, drugs that have to be prescribed will be given in small amounts so that the liver isn't overworked.

Most cats suffering from liver disorders will benefit from prescription diets. These diets promote cell regeneration and help the cat recover quickly.

Tips for Pet Owners:

  • In order to prevent further liver damage from taking place, make sure you administer all medicines on time and in the right amounts.
  • Avoid overdosing the cat and make sure he doesn't ingest any potentially toxic substances.
  • Avoid using over the counter medicines to treat any symptoms without first discussing the same with the vet.
  • Give your pet a diet that is packed with nutritious substances. Avoid giving your cat any food that consists of artificial colors and preservatives. An organic diet is best.

If the cat is excessively debilitated he will require hospitalization and supportive care. Do follow up checks to monitor the cat's response to medication and diet modification.