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Metabolic Diseases Affecting the Liver in Small Animals

By

Sharon A. Center

, BS, DVM, DACVIM, Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University

Last full review/revision May 2015 | Content last modified May 2015

Diabetes mellitus, hyperadrenocorticism, hypothyroidism, and hyperthyroidism can cause changes in the liver.

HL can develop secondary to diabetes mellitus because of increased lipid metabolism and mobilization; notable are hepatomegaly and increased liver enzyme activities. Dogs with diabetes mellitus rarely manifest liver dysfunction unless they develop severe progressive VH associated with the hepatocutaneous syndrome (see Hepatocutaneous Syndrome in Small Animals Hepatocutaneous Syndrome in Small Animals Hepatocutaneous syndrome is a rare, chronic, progressive, and usually fatal disorder. Although typically associated with diabetes mellitus, the liver lesion is a severe, degenerative, glycogen-like... read more ). Most of these dogs have markedly increased ALP with lesser increases in transaminase activity. Diabetic cats also may develop increased ALT and ALP activities and may become hyperbilirubinemic with onset of HL. Diabetic animals have increased risk of pancreatitis that may progressively lead to EHBDO and cholangitis. These animals have increased risk of bacterial infections involving biliary structures (emphysematous cholecystitis, cholangitis).

Cats with hyperthyroidism usually develop increases in ALP and ALT activities and are rarely hyperbilirubinemic. Liver function is usually normal. The underlying cause of altered enzyme activity is not fully understood but postulated to involve toxic effects of excessive thyroxine, malnutrition, cardiac dysfunction, induction phenomenon, and increased bone turnover (causing increase in the bone isoenzyme of ALP). Liver enzymes return to normal with successful treatment; however, methimazole also can lead to a drug-associated hepatopathy that resolves only after drug discontinuation.

OTHER TOPICS IN THIS CHAPTER

Hepatic Disease in Small Animals
Overview of Hepatic Disease in Small Animals
Hematology in Hepatic Disease in Small Animals
Coagulation Tests in Hepatic Disease in Small Animals
Enzyme Activity in Hepatic Disease in Small Animals
Other Serum Biochemical Measures in Hepatic Disease in Small Animals
Hepatic Function Tests in Small Animals
Imaging in Hepatic Disease in Small Animals
Cholecystocentesis in Hepatic Disease in Small Animals
Liver Cytology in Small Animals
Liver Biopsy in Small Animals
Pathologic Changes in Bile in Small Animals
Nutrition in Hepatic Disease in Small Animals
Fulminant Hepatic Failure in Small Animals
Hepatic Encephalopathy in Small Animals
Portal Hypertension and Ascites in Small Animals
Portosystemic Vascular Malformations in Small Animals
Acquired Portosystemic Shunts in Small Animals
Other Hepatic Vascular Disorders in Small Animals
Hepatotoxins in Small Animals
Infectious Diseases of the Liver in Small Animals
Feline Hepatic Lipidosis
Biliary Cirrhosis in Small Animals
Canine Cholangiohepatitis
Canine Chronic Hepatitis
Lobular Dissecting Hepatitis in Small Animals
Canine Vacuolar Hepatopathy
Metabolic Diseases Affecting the Liver in Small Animals
Hepatocutaneous Syndrome in Small Animals
Nodular Hyperplasia in Small Animals
Hepatic Neoplasia in Small Animals
Miscellaneous Liver Diseases in Small Animals
Diseases of the Gallbladder and Extrahepatic Biliary System in Small Animals
Cholecystitis in Small Animals
Canine Gallbladder Mucocele
Other Disorders of the Gallbladder in Small Animals
Other Disorders of the Bile Ducts in Small Animals
Extrahepatic Bile Duct Obstruction in Small Animals
Cholelithiasis in Small Animals
Biliary Tree Rupture and Bile Peritonitis in Small Animals
Feline Cholangitis/Cholangiohepatitis Syndrome
Hepatobiliary Fluke Infection in Small Animals
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