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Liver disease

Horse Liver Disease

The liver is the chemical factory of the body and one of the most important and largest organs in your horse. You or your vet may only begin to suspect a liver problem when around 70% of the tissue in the liver is badly damaged. Therefore liver disease is always a serious disease and one from which horses rarely recover completely.

Causes of liver disease are
  1. Ragwort poisoning (see separate section)
  2. Viruses and bacteria
  3. Chemical toxins
  4. Tumours
Signs of Liver disease in horses
  1. Weight loss and poor starry coat and tiredness.
  2. Poor appetite
  3. Photosensitisation
  4. Jaundice
  5. Stomach pain and/or diarrhoea
  6. Tiredness
  7. Restlessness

When the condition gets a lot worse horses may show serious nervous signs.

Treatment: In the conventional medicine kit there is no specific treatment for liver disease. A horse should be given complete rest and fed high energy food low in protein. B vitamins and glucose by mouth can be helpful and antibiotics to control secondary infections can be important. Alternative veterinary surgeons find that herbs can be particularly useful in liver disease.


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