Liver Inflammation (Suppurative) in Cats

Alex German
Mar 27, 2010
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Hepatitis, Suppurative and Hepatic Abscess in Cats


The term hepatitis is used to denote inflammation of the liver. In some cats, infections can travel to the liver from other body sites and result in the formation of abscesses in the liver. These abscesses may be single or multiple in number and contain pus. A single abscess may be present in the case of a liver tumor infected with bacteria overtime. In cases with liver absecessation, the following may be seen: bile duct inflammation, presence of gallbladder stones, and formation of many small abscesses. Cats with diabetes have a higher tendency for formation of liver abscesses.


Symptoms and Types


  • Fever
  • Weakness
  • Lethargy
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Weight loss
  • Increased urine output (polyuria)
  • Increased thirst (polydipsia) and consumption of water
  • Trembling
  • Abdominal pain
  • Dehydration
  • Abdominal distention
  • Yellowish skin (jaundice)
  • Increased heart rate, increased respiration in some animals
  • Sudden collapse




  • Obstruction of the bile duct
  • Infection traveling from other body site to liver
  • Wounds that penetrates deep to liver
  • Complication(s) from liver biopsy
  • Weak immune system (or immune-mediated disorders)
  • Liver tumor
  • Preexisting liver or pancreas disease




Routine laboratory tests, including complete blood count, biochemistry profile, and urinalysis, will be conducted after your veterinarian records a detailed history and performs a complete physical examination of your cat. The results of these tests are informational, especially in identifying potential infections. For example, an increased of white blood cells (leukocytosis), abnormally low levels of platelets (cells involved in blood clotting), and anemia may be evident in blood testing. The biochemistry profile, meanwhile, may indicate abnormally high levels of liver enzymes, and abnormally low levels of glucose (hypoglycemia). And radiographic and ultrasonography studies may reveal an enlargement of the liver and are integral in detecting the presence of mass(es) and abscess(es).


Additionally, a small sample from the affected area can be taken through a special needle and processed further to see the type of infection. Your veterinarian will culture the sample to identify the type of bacterial infection, which helps find the most suitable antibiotic for the infection in your cat. If the bacteria are isolated, culture and sensitivity testing will be conducted to find the type of bacteria involved and types of antibiotics these bacteria are sensitive to.


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