Understanding Jaundice in Cats

Cat jaundice is characterized by a yellowing of the gums, eyes and skin. The yellow pigment is caused by a concentration of bilirubin. This pigment forms during the breakdown of hemoglobin in red blood cells. When red blood cells are destroyed at a rapid rate, bilirubin builds up, causing jaundice in cats. Jaundice cats are easily recognized by the yellow tinge to the skin. Jaundice is a symptom of a number of diseases. Your cat’s veterinarian will conduct a thorough exam to determine the cause of jaundice in cats that you own.

Jaundice in Cats

Problems with the Liver in Cats

Liver problems are the number one cause of jaundice in cats. Cat jaundice can be attributed to damage to liver tissue, inflammation of the liver and excess fat in the liver. Your veterinarian will perform diagnostic testing on your cat to discover the underlying cause of cat jaundice. Do not be surprised if your vet wants to perform blood testing, X-rays or an ultrasound. These tests can tell your veterinarian exactly what is causing jaundice in your cat.

Additional Symptoms of Cat Jaundice

Jaundice cats often experience additional symptoms in relation to liver disease. These symptoms include weight loss, anorexia, lethargy, orange-colored urine, polydypsia, polyuria, and mental confusion. If your cat has a yellow tint to its skin and is experiencing any of these other symptoms, it is imperative that you visit your cat’s veterinarian.

Treatment of Cat Jaundice

Jaundice in your cat will be treated based upon the underlying cause for the yellowing of the skin. Treatment will depend upon the stage of disease that the veterinarian discovers. If your cat is in the initial stages of a liver disease, a prescription diet and nutritional supplement may be ordered. Cat jaundice caused by diseases in their later stages may require surgery.

Management of Liver Disease in Cats

When managing liver disease in cats, it is imperative that you work directly with your veterinarian. Do not be tempted to change your cat’s diet, alter medication dosages or administration, or fail to keep appointments for your cat. Even if you have previously had a cat with liver disease, each feline is unique.

Cats in liver failure can live for many years, provided their care regimen is followed closely and the disease is monitored carefully. No matter what kind of care you are giving your cat, if symptoms worsen or change, it is important that you seek medical attention for your pet immediately. You should know that cats experiencing liver damage or failure are more likely to bleed excessively. If your cat receives a cut, medical intervention may be necessary to stop the bleeding. If your cat takes on a sudden bloated appearance, it may be bleeding internally; seek help immediately.

Jaundice cats are typically exhibiting a symptom of liver disease, although there are other culprits. If your cat’s skin, gums or eyes have taken on a yellow hue, it is important to consult your veterinarian right away. The earlier that your cat’s underlying disease is diagnosed, the better you will be able to treat and manage the condition.

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