If you live with a cat that you adore, you will want him to always be healthy, but the reality is that as a living being, throughout his life he can fall ill more than once. Although there are more serious diseases than others, when one of its symptoms is jaundice you will have to worry more if possible.
That’s why I’m going to explain everything about jaundice in cats : its causes, symptoms and more.
What is jaundice?
Jaundice is the yellowish pigmentation of the skin, urine, serum and organs due to the accumulation of the pigment known as bilirubin in the blood or tissues . Bilirubin is formed when red blood cells reach the end of their life, which lasts about 100 days. These blood cells are destroyed in the spleen and bone marrow, and bilirubin is formed from hemoglobin, which is the pigment that gives them their color. This is released into the circulation and travels to the liver along with a protein.
In the liver it is transformed into conjugated bilirubin and is stored in the gallbladder. Every time the gallbladder is emptied into the small intestine, some bilirubin comes out with the components of the bile. Finally, and after the action of several bacteria, it is transformed into other pigments: stercobilin (the color of feces) and urobilinogen (that of urine).
It occurs when the liver cannot release bilirubin . The most common causes are:
- Feline hepatitis
- Biliary cirrhosis
- Hepatic lipidosis
- Vascular disorders
It occurs when bilirubin accumulates outside the liver because of a blockage. The most common causes are:
- Neoplasm in the duodenum and pancreas
- Bile duct rupture
It occurs when an excess of bilirubin is produced so that the liver is not able to release the pigment as a result of the breakdown of red blood cells. The causes are:
- Viral or bacterial infections
How do you make the diagnostic?
If you suspect that your cat has jaundice, you should take him to the vet immediately . Once there, you will have a physical exam and a series of tests, such as blood tests or an ultrasound. In addition, together with the medical history, you will be able to know what the cause may have been.
Which is the treatment?
Treatment will depend a lot on the cause, which taking into account that there are many diseases that present jaundice as a symptom, it can range from taking antibiotics to a change in diet . What you can never do is self-medicate without first asking your vet, as otherwise it could be fatal.
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