Feline Hepatitis

Hepatitis symptoms are somewhat similar to the symptoms of other liver diseases in cats. Hepatitis is a condition that occurs when the cat’s liver gets inflamed. Since the liver works effectively to metabolize different components of food and detoxify the blood, cats suffering from hepatitis require immediate medical care as this increases their chance of survival.

Most cats exhibit the symptoms of hepatitis when the condition is in its advanced stage. However, the liver is an organ than can regenerate dead cells and if the treatment is successful, the pet will live for several years.

Types of Hepatitis and the Causes

There are 3 types of hepatitis that commonly occur in cats. These include chronic active hepatitis, infectious hepatitis and leptospirosis. While some pets contract hepatitis after coming in contact with an infected cat’s blood or feces, other pets develop hepatitis as a result of a bacterial or viral infection. Certain drugs that aren’t well tolerated by few pets also cause hepatitis.

Since the liver is one of the main organs that metabolize medicines, cats suffering from any sort of liver disorder will require medications in small amounts so that the liver doesn’t get over worked.

Common Symptoms of Hepatitis in Cats Include:

  • Vomiting
  • Tiredness
  • Jaundice
  • Lack of appetite
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of weight
  • Swelling of the abdomen
  • Changes in behavior
  • Change in the color of the feces (usually grayish)
  • Polyuria
  • Polydipsia

Diagnosis of Hepatitis in Cats

The vet will perform a thorough physical exam and palpate the cat’s abdomen to check for swelling. An X-ray and an ultrasound will also be performed to identify abnormalities in the abdominal cavity. After carefully evaluating the symptoms exhibited the vet will conduct a series of blood test to check for liver function.

The cat will also be screened for other bacterial or viral infections that are known to cause hepatitis. If you’ve recently administered any new drugs to your cat, it’s best to keep the vet informed about the same as several drugs cause side effects that in turn lead to liver problems.

Treatment of Hepatitis in Cats

The main aim of the treatment is to reduce the pain and discomfort that the cat is undergoing. In most cases the vet will administer corticosteroid drugs to reduce the inflammation. These medications have to be administered exactly according to the vet’s instructions so that they don’t cause additional liver damage.

Along with medication, the vet may suggest a specific diet plan for the cat. Most cats suffering from hepatitis may benefit from prescription diets like the Hills Prescription Diet l/d Feline Canned Food. If you prefer to give your pet home cooked food, follow the vet’s instructions to prepare a meal that suits the cat’s dietary needs. Low sodium home cooked meals are a good alternative to prescription diets.

If the cat is suffering from a bacterial infection, the vet will also prescribe a course of antibiotic drugs. All medicines should be administered on time and overdose should be prevented. Cats recovering from hepatitis may also require nutrient supplements. However, it’s best to avoid supplementing the cat’s diet without obtaining the vet’s approval.