HEPATITIS – LIVER DISEASE
Hepatitis describes liver disease, including liver insufficiency, liver infection (bacterial or viral hepatitis) or liver inflammation. The disease can effect pets of all breeds, ages and any sex. Liver disease causes abnormal hepatic function and is diagnosed through blood chemistry analysis revealing elevated hepatic enzymes and bile acids. Causes: Hepatitis can be caused by
congenital developmental abnormalities
Signs: Hepatitis causes jaundice (icterus) which is a yellowing of the skin and mucus membranes. Other clinical signs may include, vomiting, diarrhea, anorexia, lethargy, liver enlargement, weight loss, melena(black, tarry stool).
Diagnostics: Diagnostic procedures include serum blood chemistry analysis, abdominal radiographs, or, in severe situations, ultrasound guided or surgical liver biopsy.
Treatment: Early veterinary intervention is the best course of action. Therapy is necessary and may be life-saving, including:
Fluid therapy: fluids may be administered subcutaneously at home or intravenously in the hospital
Antibiotics: Liver penetrating antibiotics are routinely prescribed in to remedy bacterial hepatitis
Dietary Prescription: Hills Prescription Diet L/D is recommended to reduce the Liver’s workload by providing short chain proteins, which are more digestable and can improve the liver’s efficiency
Although bacterial liver disease can often be cured through appropriate antibiotic therapy, resolution of viral hepatitis depends on the pet’s immune competence. As with all viral diseases, antibiotics are ineffective. Supportive therapy is all that can be offered. With Liver inflammation, anti-inflammatory therapy and dietary changes can often resolve or control the problem. Liver damage caused by toxin exposure can sometimes be cured by administering large volumes of fluids to reduce harmful liver biproducts. Although some liver tumors can be surgically removed, liver cancer spreads (metastasizes) so rapidly that long term survival is not anticipated.