Felis ISSN 2398-2950

Liver disease investigation

Contributor(s): David Godfrey, Andrew Kent

Introduction

  • Accurate clinical evaluation of the liver can be accomplished by a series of diagnostic procedures.
  • Physical examination and a complete history of the patient are important in the diagnosis of liver failure, most signs are relatively non-specific.
  • The history is particularly important in differentiating acute from chronic disease.
  • Examination of urine and blood samples is therefore essential in the diagnostic process.
  • By far the most common liver disease in cats is cholangiohepatitis Liver: cholangitis which may be idiopathic or the result of bacterial infection.
  • In the USA, hepatic lipidosis Liver: lipidosis follows close behind on the differential list.
  • Tests can be divided into two categories, ie those indicating hepatocellular damage and those measuring hepatic function.
  • This approach is a guide to the investigation of liver disease and although examples of tests are quoted the lists are by no means complete.

Clinical presentation of liver disease

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Diagnostic imaging

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Laboratory investigation

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Cytological/Histopathological evaluation

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Is the liver involvement primary or secondary?

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Prognosis

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Further Reading

Publications

Refereed papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.​
  • Gaschen L (2009) Update on Hepatobiliary Imaging. Veterinary Clinics of North America Small Animal Practice 39 (3), 439-467 PubMed.
  • Center S A (2007) Interpretation of liver enzymes. Veterinary Clinics of North America Small Animal Practice 37 (2), 297-333, vii PubMed.
  • Sherding R G (2000) Feline jaundice. J Feline Med and Surg (3), 165-169 PubMed.
  • Sutherland R J (1989) Biochemical evaluation of the hepatobiliary system in dogs and cats. Vet Clin North Am 19 (5), 899-927 PubMed.

Other sources of information

  • Rial S M (1995) Clinicopathologic evaluation of the liver. Vet Clin North Am 25, 257-273.


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