The liver is one of the largest and most active organs in your pet’s
body, serving many complex functions. The liver plays a primary role in
a number of metabolic processes including:
• Processes dietary amino acids, carbohydrates, fats and vitamins
• Metabolizes hormones and drugs
• Synthesizes proteins, glucose and blood clotting factors
• Stores vitamins and minerals
• Extracts particulate matter from the blood
• Excretes waste products into bile
liver builds up carbohydrates from proteins, converts sugars to fats
that can be stored, and interconverts protein molecules so they can be
used for a number of purposes.
Considering the vast
importance of the liver to the body and the many tasks it is required
to perform, it is not surprising it can develop a number of potentially
serious conditions. Some of these can develop very quickly and some
progress over a longer period of time. Our knowledge of liver diseases
in dogs and cats has increased significantly in the last several years,
and so have advances in liver therapy.
A large number
of liver problems, if discovered early enough in the course of the
disease, can often be solved or controlled very well. We are fortunate
that many of these problems can be handled with a simple diet change.