Feline Hepatitis Symptoms

Hepatitis symptoms in cats are much like the symptoms of other liver diseases. The liver has a very important role in metabolizing nutrients, detoxifying the blood and storing glycogen. It also produces bile which helps with digestion. Hepatitis is a condition that will cause the liver to be swollen as a result of the existence of inflammatory cells in the organ. Given the regenerative power of the liver, the disease is curable in most cases if proper treatment is administered.

Feline Hepatitis Symptoms

Feline hepatitis symptoms are common to other liver diseases. They consist of:

  • Increased size of the abdomen
  • Depression and fatigue
  • Bad mood and changes in behavior
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Diarrhea and vomiting
  • Frequent and abundant urination
  • Excessive thirst caused by dehydration
  • Visible jaundice (yellow pigment typical for liver diseases in the ears, eyes, gums)
  • Unusual color of feces (grey or white)
  • Fever and seizures

Whenever you notice a number of these symptoms, make an appointment with your veterinarian, because your cat may have hepatitis or other liver problems. Symptoms can appear long after the disease has occurred. The sooner you start the treatment, the higher the chances to get better.

Types of Feline Hepatitis

Feline hepatitis is of three types:

  • Chronic active hepatitis
  • Infectious hepatitis
  • Leptospirosis

Chronic active hepatitis has specific histopathological features. Infectious hepatitis is highly contagious and you should be very careful to isolate your pet from other animals if he is diagnosed with this type. It can be transmitted through contact with the feces or the blood of an already infected cat. Leptospirosis is a condition caused by pathogens. It can be transmitted to other species as well (humans or other animals).

Causes of Feline Hepatitis

Depending on the type, feline hepatitis can have various causes:

  • Viral or bacterial infections
  • Medication which attacks and destroys the liver
  • Contact with an infected animal (mucous membranes, feces, blood)

Treatment of Feline Hepatitis

The treatment for hepatitis usually consists of:

  • Medication
  • Dietary changes

The medication that veterinarians usually prescribe for hepatitis consists of the administration of IV fluids, corticosteroids and possibly antibiotics. Antibiotics are prescribed mainly for viral and bacterial infections. Corticosteroids are used mainly to reduce the inflammation of the liver and reduce pain.

Respect the veterinarian's guidelines when administering the drugs to your pet, as you may cause additional damage to the liver, given that the drugs may also be toxic for the liver.

Changes in diet are necessary when treating liver diseases. You can choose either prescription diets or homemade meals. If you choose to cook the meals yourself, it is important that you meet your cat's dietary requirements and respect the vet's recommendations. Low sodium meals are needed in cats with liver disease.

For some cats, supplements might also be needed, but you should supplement your cat's diet only if the veterinarian prescribes it.