Horse Side Vet Guide ®

Equine Health Resource

Liver Disease, Acute Hepatitis

Acute hepatitis is sudden inflammation of the liver and damage to liver cells that occurs from a variety of causes.

Toxins that affect the liver are potential causes of liver failure and acute hepatitis. These include iron toxicosis, amanitins Amanita spp mushrooms, cocklebur, Alsike Clover, and Cyanobacteria or Blue-Green Algae. There are a variety of other agents and conditions that cause acute hepatitis. The so-called serum hepatitis, or Theiler’s Disease causes classic acute hepatitis too.

The only way to differentiate Acute Hepatitis from other causes of liver failure is through a liver biopsy, which gives detailed information about the disease process but can take a few days for laboratory results.

Generally, treatment for acute hepatitis is directed at the primary cause and is also about supportive nursing care while the liver recovers and regenerates.

Author: Doug Thal DVM Dipl. ABVP

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