My twelve year old cat has elevated liver enzymes. How stressful/painful is a liver biopsy for an old cat?

This cat has a previous mild heart condition and she is extremely shy and scared of the vet. I don't know whether to put her through so many tests. She is also scheduled for an ultrasound. Her liver enzyme count in 04 was 476. After having her teeth cleaned, it went down quite a bit (still somewhat high.) Now the count is at 806, and the vet insists on doing all these tests. If you have experience with cats and liver problems, for example how treatable they are, I'd appreciate any advice. I'm going to talk to my vet again, in hopes that he will try treating her first (antibiotics and such) and then retest her in a few months. She is showing absolutely no symptoms of any discomfort or liver disease and her appetite is great. Thanks.

Asked by Maxi on Mar 27th 2008 Tagged liver, biopsy, geriatriccat, liverenzymes in Health & Wellness
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Our cat had to have a liver biopsy. He was around 4 years old.

My husband was the one who took him to his vets visits, but from what I recall he was mildly sedated and they just inserted a needle into a shaved off area of his tummy. It seemed pretty non-invasive. He was a little drowsy when he was brought home, but he bounced back quickly.

They did the biopsy to rule out fatty liver disease, which thankfully he did not have.

Fritz answered on 3/27/08. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer

Mozza (forever loved)

I'd go for doing an ultrasound on her liver & abdomen first. It's non-invasive & the only thing they need to do is shave her tummy & give her a mild sedative.

It will show if the liver looks normal or if there's any tumors. If there's a tumor, you don't want to put it off as removing it early before it spreads means your cat can have a full recovery. Waiting (if it spreads) would likely mean she couldn't be saved.

The good news is most liver diseases, if caught & treated early, are completely curable. The liver can heal & even regenerate if a small part is removed.

As Izzie said, a liver biopsy is not that painful. If your vet really feels (after doing the US) that she still needs a biopsy, I'd go for it.

Please email me from Mozza's page (if you wish) & I can give you more suggestions on various supplements that are clinically researched & proven to protect & help a cat's liver heal besides antibiotics alone - along with references. 12 yrs isn't old, just senior - like 60 for us.

Mozza (forever loved) answered on 3/28/08. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


My dear Botchan (may he rest in peace...)had elevated liver enzymes for the last several years of his life, before he passed away at age 18. I live outside the United States, and my vet at the time was into Chinese herbal medicine (which is regulated in this country by the Ministry of Health), and whether because of the herbal meds or no, Botchan just kept chugging along for four or more years with a bad liver. At the time, I didn't know much about cats or vets aside from the fact that Botchan HATED vets, so I wasn't as aggressive in getting treatment for him as I would be now. I've since changed vets, since the former vet misdiagnosed my cats several times; my new vet seems more reliable. So, if I were in your shoes, I'd follow other people's advice, and do the least invasive tests first, and then go on with the biopsy if necessary. But if Botchan is any example, a cat can survive well with a certain degree of liver disease for a long time.

Spike answered on 3/30/08. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer