About Hepatitis in Cats: Causes, Symptoms & Treatment Options

The liver disorder hepatitis can cause severe symptoms and health complications for your cat. Today, our Greensboro vets discuss the two types of hepatitis in cats, their causes and symptoms. We also share information about treatment methods. 

Hepatitis in Cats

Your cat’s liver is the largest and most important organ in his or her body, and plays an essential role — it converts food into nutrients. It also synthesizes enzymes and proteins, hand detoxifies and filters impurities, drugs and poisons from the blood and produces bile.

Hepatitis is a liver disorder caused by a bacterial or viral infection, parasitic diseases or metabolic conditions. The condition can result in inflammation in your cat’s liver, impairing its function.

Types of Hepatitis in Cats

There are two common types of hepatitis in cats: Cholangiohepatitis and Lymphocytic Portal Hepatitis.

Cholangiohepatitis

Cholangiohepatitis is a common disorder that causes your cat’s liver and bile ducts to become inflamed, potentially due to a bacterial or fungal infection. Cats with this issue may also have digestive disorders such as pancreatitis or inflammatory bowel disease.

An immune-mediated infection or disease such as feline infectious peritonitis, toxoplasmosis, feline leukemia or liver flukes can cause the chronic version of this disease. The flow of bile is restricted and is retained in the liver due to inflammation and swelling. Caustic bile fluids can damage biliary ducts and the liver itself.

Lymphocytic Portal Hepatitis

This inflammatory liver disease is often seen in older cats that may also have hyperthyroidism. It may be associated with function of the immune system.

Symptoms of Hepatitis in Cats

These are symptoms of cholangiohepatitis and Lympthocytic Portal Hepatitis in cats:

Cholangiohepatitis

  • Poor appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Jaundice (yellowing in the eye)
  • High fever

Lymphocytic Portal Hepatitis

  • Weight loss
  • Poor appetite
  • Lethargy
  • Diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Enlarged liver

Diagnosis of Hepatitis in Cats

The more thorough history of your cat’s health that you can provide your vet, the better. Recall what lead up to the onset of symptoms. Your vet will complete a physical examination and take a complete blood count, blood chemical profile, urinalysis and electrolyte panel. Your veterinarian can then look into whether the kidneys are impaired.

Ultrasound imaging and x-rays will also be used to examine the liver, and a sample of tissue potentially taken for biopsy.

At Friendly Animal Clinic, our veterinarians take a comprehensive approach to internal medicine. We use advanced diagnostic, testing and imaging tools to accurately and efficiently diagnose conditions and illnesses in pets, then plan effective treatments.

Treatment of Hepatitis in Cats

Treatment for your cat’s hepatitis will depend on how ill he or she is - hospitalization and fluid therapy may be necessary, along with supplements in the form of dextrose, vitamin B and potassium.

While in treatment and recovery, your cat’s activity will be restricted. Ask your vet whether cage rest is an option, and prioritize keeping your cat warm.

Fluid buildup in the abdomen can be alleviated by medications, which may also be prescribed to treat infection in the abdomen, decrease brain swelling, decrease ammonia production and absorption, and control other serious symptoms such as seizures.

The colon may need to be emptied with an enema. Your cat will then be switched to a diet of several small meals a day. This diet will also be light on sodium and supplemented with vitamins and thiamine.

If your cat is experiencing a loss of appetite, talk to your vet about using an intravenous feeding tube to ensure they do not lose any more muscle.

Management of Hepatitis in Cats

Depending on the underlying cause of hepatitis in your cat, your veterinarian will schedule follow-up appointments for treatment and monitoring.

Do your best to keep your cat comfortable and reduce any discomfort or pain they may be experiencing. Keep a close eye on symptoms and contact your vet immediately if your cat loses weight, their symptoms worsen or their bodily functions start to deteriorate.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Is your cat displaying symptoms of hepatitis? Contact our Greensboro vets to book an examination. Our veterinarians are experienced in diagnosing numerous illnesses and conditions in pets, and can develop a treatment plan that works for yours. 

Hepatitis in Cats, Greensboro Vet

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