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This information is provided by Provet for educational purposes only.

You should seek the advice of your veterinarian if your pet is ill as only he or she can correctly advise on the diagnosis and recommend the treatment that is most appropriate for your pet.

The liver is responsible for the synthesis of many proteins - some of which are vital for normal function, and some of which can be used as markers of liver disease

The main proteins synthesised by the liver are summarised here :

  • Albumin - 25 % of all protein production in the liver
  • a1-globulins
    • High (HDL) and very high-density (VHDL) lipoproteins - including cholesterol
    • Glycoproteins
    • Haptoglobulins
    • Mucoproteins
  • a2 - globulins
    • Ceruloplasmin
    • Glycoprotein
    • Macroglobulin
    • Plasminogen
    • Prothrombin
  • b-globulins
    • Low (LDL) and very low-density (VLD) lipoproteins
    • Transferrin
  • Blood clotting factors*
    • Factors I, II, V, VII, VIII, IX, and X

*Vitamin K is needed for some factors to be synthesised

Liver disease can affect the concentrations of these proteins in blood :

  • Hypoalbuminaemia - due to chronic liver disease (eg obstructive jaundice, cirrhosis, fibrosis). There is low total protein and an inverse albumin:globulin ratio
  • Hyperglobulinaemia - usually both a- and b-globulins - compensatory rise to offset fall in albumin

Clinical signs associated with impaired protein synthesis by the liver include :

  • Coagulopathies - clotting factor deficiency
  • Dissseminated Intravascular Coagulopathy (DIC) - due to thromboplastic substances released from the liver
  • Low prothrombin production - if it does not respond to parenteral vitamin K supplementation it is due to severe hepatocellular disease
  • Increased blood cholesterol concentrations - intrahepatic and posthepatic cholestasis, or increased synthesis
  • Hypoproteinaemia (less than 1gm/dl ) - with ascites, or peripheral oedema


Last updated : January 2016