Finding the Right Treatments
The liver is a regenerative organ, and in some cases of liver disease, it can heal itself. However, while the organ is not functioning properly, it is important to focus on your cat’s nutrition and any symptoms he may be experiencing.
A veterinarian-prescribed diet and nutrition plan can help compensate for any vitamin deficiencies your cat may suffer due to the liver disease, and treating his symptoms can help prevent your cat’s condition from worsening. Therefore, your veterinarian may administer fluids for dehydration, as well as drugs that help ease vomiting or diarrhea.
In addition, vets often prescribe:
- Antibiotics (to help prevent secondary infections)
- Corticosteroids (to reduce inflammation and scarring of the liver)
- Cytoprotective agents (to prevent ulcers in the stomach or intestines)
- Diuretics (to reduce swelling in the abdomen)
If your cat has liver disease, it’s also recommended that you give him daily supplements to help combat vitamin deficiencies. Vitamins K, B12 and E are thought to be particularly helpful.
Vitamin K can help control bleeding disorders in your cat — something his body is less capable of doing once he has developed liver disease. Vitamin B12 can help your cat’s liver digest other vitamins, and vitamin E is an antioxidant that helps protect the liver from additional injury. Just be sure that you give your cat a water-soluble form of vitamin E. Fat-soluble vitamins tend not to be absorbed well by a diseased liver.
Veterinarians are now also recommending S-adenosylmethionine (SAMe) and L-carnitine as preferred supplements for cats with liver disease. SAMe is believed to increase liver-cell functioning and regeneration, and L-carnitine protects the liver from the accumulation of lipids and ammonia.
In addition to supplements, you’ll need to feed your cat an easily digestible diet, which will reduce the amount of work his damaged liver has to do. There are special cat foods formulated for cats with liver disease. Ask your veterinarian about prescribing one.
Not all cases of liver disease are curable, but regardless of his prognosis, improving your cat’s nutrition and treating his symptoms can improve his quality of life.
Broadway Veterinary. “Liver Disease in Cats.” (June 13, 2011)
FAB Cats. “Feline Liver Disease.” Nov. 2008 (June 13, 2011)
Hill’s Pet Nutrition. “Liver Disease in Cats.” (June 13, 2011)
Pet Education, Doctors Foster and Smith. “Treatment of Liver Disease in Cats.” (June 13, 2011)
Whiteley, H. Ellen. “How to Treat Common Cat Diseases.” HowStuffWorks.com. (June 13, 2011)