Elevated liver enzymes in young cats

By | 30.12.2017

Please forward this error screen to 96. This topic is as big as the states of Alaska and Texas combined. I really cannot do it justice in a short essay, but I think it deserves some mention, if only to give the pet owner some understanding as to elevated liver enzymes in young cats difficulties involved when a veterinarian is faced with a case of possible liver failure. If you asked ten people on the street what they knew about “liver”, I would bet that the only consistent answer you would get is that it tastes really bad unless the cook really knows his stuff. The best description of the liver I can give you is that this organ is the main industrial centre of the body.

The liver processes raw materials, manufactures the building blocks of the body, recycles the old to make new, and detoxifies the industrial waste of the body. In short the liver is involved in just about every biochemical process required to run e body. As a result of this relationship, liver disease can affect just about any other part of the body and thus the symptoms of liver disease are typically unpredictable and non- specific. Furthermore, because the liver acts as a “biochemical cross roads” for the body, it is affected by a wide range of diseases, including viral and bacterial infections, degenerative and neoplastic disease, and toxic insults. It is estimated that three per cent of all disease seen by veterinarians is liver based. The liver has a double edged nature which, while being life preserving, makes diagnoses and treatment of liver disease extremely difficult. The liver has a tremendous reserve capacity, which means that it can easily perform it’s duties with up to 70 to 80 per cent of the liver mass affected by disease. While it certainly is a benefit that our liver can keep us alive despite an overwhelming infection or a massive tumour, it also means that the disease is well advanced and possibly untreatable before any symptoms are noted.

We all know that disease is most easily conquered early, but the very nature of the liver makes this an impossible task. One thing about livers though: they are the only organ in the body which is capable of complete regeneration and thus is we do manage to successfully treat the disease, there is a chance of complete recovery. Because of the complexity of this topic, I am going to cover it using very abbreviated point form. I will try to skip over the experimental theories and the more esoteric points and keep to the meat of the topic. All, some, or only one of these signs may be present. Intermittent recurrent abdominal or gastrointestinal upsets. Swollen belly with a “fluid filled” look. This is also known as ascites and is actually fluid accumulation in the belly due to circulation alterations in the abdomen.

Bile pigments are what gives poop it’s characteristic brown colour and if the liver is not processing bile properly, the feces will not get their colour. The improper processing of bile results in the excretion of bilirubin in the urine in high amounts, thus orange urine. Jaundice, also known as icterus. Any pale or white skin or visible tissue takes on a yellow hue. Again the biliary pigments are accumulating in the body because the liver is not processing them. Many of the proteins required for proper blood clotting are created in the liver.

Remove these proteins and blood clotting decreases. Hepatic encephalopathy, or severe neurological signs. May be associated with meal time. Pain associated with the abdomen. This is due to the stretching of the liver capsule.

The veterinarian may also notice a swollen liver while palpating with some of the more acute liver diseases. Chronic weight loss or wasting. The liver processes all the building blocks. If it fails to process, the body fails to maintain itself. Increased water consumption and urination. Most likely due to dramatic shifts in serum and kidney salt balances. Bile is a complex mixture of organic and inorganic compounds.

Bilirubin is quite toxic, but it usually binds to a protein called albumin, which harmlessly carries it to the liver for detoxification and excretion. Albumin is made in the liver. Liver failure results in poor bilirubin processing and decreased albumin manufacturing, which results in a dangerously high level of free floating bilirubin. The liver excretes the bilirubin after binding it to an amino acid into the bile duct system. Eventually the conjugated bilirubin enters the digestive tract, where the intestinal bacteria break it down to a harmless product called urobilinogen. Urobilinogen, after complete digestion in the intestines, is brown, therefore the feces tend to be brown. This becomes visible to the veterinarian, especially around the whites of the eyes and on the pale areas of the gums.

The how do enzymes help in the process of digestion is both the target organ for many of the body’s hormones and the recycling centre for most of the hormones. Some of the symptoms stemming from liver failure may mimic a major hormonal imbalance. Practically all the vitamins consumed in our diets are either directly involved in liver function or require liver aided transformation to be used in the body. This includes Vitamin C, the B vitamins, Vitamins A, D, E and K.