Some of the clinical signs of feline ILD include a loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, jaundice, excessive urination and thirst. As the disease progresses, fibrosis (a build-up of connective tissue) increases and liver function decreases in the affected cat, worsening its clinical outcome. In extreme cases, ILD will eventually cause death.
Al-Dissi is leading a study that may help researchers gain a better understanding of the defensive response initiated by the feline liver—information that could lead to the development of a better treatment option for cats with ILD.
"The focus is shifting from identifying causes of liver damage to understanding mechanisms (of disease and defense) within the liver," said Al-Dissi, whose study is supported by the WCVM Companion Animal Health Fund.
His research project examines the presence and the ability of metallothionein (MT)—a heavy metal-binding protein—to potentially reduce microscopic markers of liver disease, such as inflammation and fibrosis.
Read more at WCVM Today.