This page has a detailed description of this disease in dogs and cats (canine and feline). This page shows detailed information, with many links, of how we diagnose and treat liver diseases,  You will learn proper medical care with well established medical treatments, that also includes natural remedies with food and homeopathic treatments. Our pets cannot talk to us, so it is important that you understand this disease as much as possible.

The largest organ in the body is the liver, an indication of its importance in health. It is involved with almost all of the biochemical pathways that allow growth, fight disease, supply nutrients, provide energy, and aid reproduction. Liver cells, which are called hepatocytes, go through thousands of complex biochemical reactions every second in order to perform these myriad functions.

Since the liver is involved with almost all biochemical processes it is no wonder that there are many different diseases that will affect it. This page will cover some of the more important ones we see in animals. The beginning of this page will discuss liver anatomy and physiology, eventually leading to detailed explanations of the more common liver diseases we encounter. This complex organ does not lend itself to easy classification or understanding. Many of the functions of the liver overlap with other organs, and some of the liver’s functions involve complicated biochemical pathways. If this page is too complex for your needs you can go right to our summary page on liver disease.

Even though it makes for good reading, you can skip the anatomy and physiology section and go right to the section on specific diseases if that is all that interests you:



It is helpful to be exposed to several medical terms that will be used later in this page:

hepatic- having to do with the livericterus (jaundice) – yellow discoloration of skin or mucous membranes
hepatocyte- individual liver cellhypertrophy- increased size of an organ
hypoalbuminemia – low albuminpolyuria- excess urinating
hypoproteinemia- low proteinpolydypsia- excess drinking
polyphagia- excess appetitePU/PD- polyuria and polydypsia
ascites- fluid buildup in the abdominal cavitygluconeogenesis- the manufacture of glucose
hypertension- increased blood pressureiatrogenic- caused by something a person does as opposed to happening naturally.
euglycemia- normal blood glucose (sugar) levelhomeostasis- normal physiology
hepatomegaly- enlarged liversepticemia- excess accumulation of bacteria and toxins in the bloodstream
hepatitis- a general term for inflammation of the liverparenchyma- the internal anatomy of an organ
encephalopathy- chemicals, like ammonia, that depress the brainlaparotomy- exploratory surgery of the abdomen
anorexia- poor appetiteH.E.- hepatic encephalopathy
metastatic- a tumor that has spread from elsewhere in the bodymicrohepatica- abnormally small liver
cholestasis – excess bile accumulation in the liver

Next you will learn about Liver Anatomy