Liver (Hepatic) Disease/ Failure

The liver is the large organ located in the abdomen just below the diaphragm and is partially covered by the rib cage. The liver has several functions; it works with the kidney to filter the blood of toxins, it is involved in the storage and metabolism of fat and sugars, and it is also involved in the production of proteins and clotting factors. Liver disease can occur as a result of many causes including toxins, infectious diseases, cancer, certain medications, inflammation, and immune-mediated disease. Common signs are vomiting, diarrhea, increased thirst and urination and in the later stages the eyes, gums, and skin may appear yellow (icteric) and bleeding problems may occur. It is often difficult to determine the exact cause of elevated liver parameters on screening blood work, and other diagnostic tests such as further blood work or abdominal ultrasound may be recommended.