The liver is a large organ located in the most forward part of the abdomen, resting against the muscular partition between the abdominal and chest cavities. The liver is essential for life and performs over 100 important functions, such as detoxifying poisons and drugs, metabolizing fats, storing carbohydrates, manufacturing bile, plasma proteins and other substances, and assisting in blood clotting.
Liver disease is often difficult to detect until the illness becomes severe because there is an overabundance of liver tissue and the liver can partially regenerate itself. The signs of liver disease vary with the degree and location of damage. Various blood tests are necessary to discover the extent and the nature of liver damage. In many cases, surgical removal of a small piece of liver tissue (liver biopsy) is the only way to diagnose the type of liver disease. There are many causes of liver disease such as tumours, infection, blocked ducts etc.
Some types of liver disease can only be treated in the hospital, while others are treated on an outpatient basis. Some liver diseases can be cured, while in others the goal of treatment is control of the disease and prolongation of a satisfactory life for the pet.