The Prognosis of Cat Liver Failure

The liver is an essential organ that performs several important functions. It produces clotting factors, produces bile, regulates food metabolism and detoxifies wastes in the body.

Liver disease in cats can be fatal if not addressed early. They also are particularly prone to recurrent bacterial infections of the bile duct and gallbladder after surgery, so be sure to monitor your cat’s health closely and seek veterinary help when something appears amiss.


The prognosis for cats suffering from liver failure depends on the cause, severity of their illness and how quickly they are diagnosed and treated. Generally, cats diagnosed in early stages of liver disease and given appropriate treatment will make a full recovery.

However, cats with severe liver disease may not survive even if treated promptly. Disorders like viral hepatitis, chronic liver diseases and Feline Panleukopenia virus infection have an extremely high mortality rate when not addressed promptly.

Other causes of liver disease in cats include fatty liver (hepatic lipidosis), infections, and cysts. Many of these conditions are treatable and preventable if your veterinarian recognizes the warning signs for each condition.

Fatty liver is an issue when fat accumulates and blocks the normal flow of bile into the liver, leading to cirrhosis – usually found in obese cats but potentially fatal if not addressed promptly.

A cat with fatty liver may experience jaundice, vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss and lethargy as well as not eating or drinking as much as usual. If your feline friend is diagnosed with this condition they will need to be hospitalized and fed through a tube until they can eat on their own again.

Your veterinarian should perform a complete physical exam and test results from blood work to pinpoint the source of your cat’s illness. Blood work can tell them what’s wrong with their liver.

Your vet may take x-rays to pinpoint the location of any liver problems and whether they involve the gall bladder or intestines. They may also perform a biopsy in order to examine the affected area under a microscope.

Treatment for fatty liver in cats involves changing their diet and adding supplements that will help to reduce the amount of fats stored in the liver. Your veterinarian can suggest a specific diet based on the diagnosis and your cat’s symptoms.


The liver is an organ in the body that performs several important tasks, such as metabolizing fat and protein; synthesizing vitamins, iron and other essential nutrients; producing substances for blood clotting; and breaking down or disposing of toxins. Unfortunately, livers can also become affected by various diseases and disorders that go undetected, sometimes leading to liver failure in cats.

Liver disease is a leading cause of death among cats, usually associated with age but also caused by various conditions or illnesses such as infectious diseases or fungal infections.

Some liver issues are treatable. Hepatic lipidosis, for instance, is a condition that can be treated with appetite stimulants and anti-nausea medications. Other treatments include prescription ursodiol to increase bile flow as well as supplements like SAMe.

Other causes of liver disease can be immune-system issues like lymphhocytic cholangitis, which may be brought on by other illnesses. Cats suffering from this condition often exhibit fever, jaundice (yellowing of the eyes and skin), abdominal pain, vomiting, and weight loss.

Acute hepatitis can lead to sudden liver failure in cats. This illness is typically due to a bacterial infection, but may also be due to obstruction in either the liver or gallbladder that requires surgery for treatment.

When your vet suspects a liver problem in your cat, they will conduct an exam and search for symptoms. The most common early indications of liver disease include lethargy, lack of appetite and vomiting.

If your cat is exhibiting any of the above signs, schedule an appointment with your veterinarian for a physical exam and blood test. With this information in hand, they can decide the most suitable course of treatment for your furry friend.

Your veterinarian will recommend specific treatments for your cat’s liver disease, depending on its cause. These usually involve addressing the root cause, slowing its progression, minimizing complications and giving time for healing.

If your cat has been diagnosed with lymphhocytic cholangitis, for example, your veterinarian will first treat the condition with antibiotics and liver protectant supplements. They then work to prevent recurrences through routine wellness testing and medication monitoring.


Fortunately, most cats with liver disease lead happy and healthy lives when they receive timely diagnosis, receive all necessary treatments and support, and are closely monitored.

If you think your cat may have liver disease, contact your veterinarian right away. They can perform a physical examination and run blood tests to help pinpoint the source of your cat’s symptoms.

Many diseases can affect the liver, from fatty liver to hepatitis C or feline diabetes. In rare cases, a tumor may form within this organ.

These tumors can spread to the liver lobes and disrupt normal liver function. If this is the case, surgery may be required to remove the cancer.

Preventing liver failure begins with providing your cat with a balanced diet and regular hydration. Your vet can suggest an elevated protein, calorie-dense diet tailored to each pet’s individual needs based on their clinical signs.

In addition to a nutritious diet, your veterinarian can also help you supplement vitamins within your pet’s food. This is particularly important since liver disease may result in vitamin deficiencies.

Another common condition affecting the liver is hepatic lipidosis, a condition in which excessive fat accumulates within its cells. This condition is most common among overweight or obese cats.

Symptoms of hepatic lipidosis in cats include decreased appetite, weight loss, lethargy and fatigue. Some cats with the condition may experience jaundice or abdominal pain which could be mistaken for other conditions like heart failure or kidney disease.

Other potential health issues for Persians and related breeds include portosystemic shunts (a genetic issue in Persians); polycystic kidney disease (PKD); Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP) and hepatitis C.

FIP can affect kittens and young adults, causing fluid in the abdomen that could be hazardous for your cat. It may also be a sign of other conditions like hepatitis C, feline diabetes or cysts.

Cholangitis or cholangiohepatitis is a serious condition that can develop in middle-aged and older cats. Symptoms include fever, enlarged liver, abdominal pain, vomiting, poor appetite and weight loss.


The prognosis for cat liver failure depends on the underlying cause and how quickly it’s identified. With early diagnosis and proper treatment options such as medications to protect the organ and vitamins to promote liver health, cats often enjoy a good outcome.

Your veterinarian will conduct bloodwork and urinalysis to identify the source of your cat’s symptoms. They also conduct a routine liver function test to assess how well their liver is working, and may need to take a biopsy in order to confirm the diagnosis.

Once the cause of your pet’s liver problem has been identified, your vet will prescribe specific treatments to reduce further damage and provide advice on how best to care for them.

One common liver condition in cats is hepatic lipidosis. This occurs when the body has difficulty breaking down fats, leading to an accumulation of excessive triglycerides in the liver which may eventually cause damage.

Hepatic lipidosis can often lead to liver failure, but this condition should still be addressed as soon as possible.

If your cat has hepatic lipidosis, they will likely need to be admitted to the hospital for a period of time to receive fluids and medications as well as IV catheter support and oxygen therapy.

Your cat must also be placed on a special diet designed to slow the progression of liver disease. This is known as a “liver rehabilitation diet” and includes protein, vitamins, and minerals.

After some time has passed, your cat’s doctor will assess their progress with recovery and determine whether they need to continue on with the diet or transition onto other treatments.

Another viable option is surgery, which may be performed if the cat’s liver has been damaged due to infection or another medical issue. While surgery can be painful, it can often be successful in removing diseased areas of the organ.

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