Feeling Yellow?


Cat with yellowing eyes (Photo credit, Thinkstock)

Cat with yellowing eyes (Photo credit, Thinkstock)

Cat Gallbladder

This week I’m going to tell you about the gallbladder.  The feline gallbladder to be precise.  The gallbladder rests in the abdomen, firmly affixed to the liver and serving as a storage receptacle for bile, a fluid that is essential for digesting food in the stomach and intestines. The bile duct transports bile from the liver into the gallbladder and into the small intestine, and the liver functions in the secretion of the bile. Inflammation of the gallbladder is often associated with obstruction and/or inflammation of the common bile duct and/or the liver/bile system, and is sometimes associated with gallstones. Severe cases of inflammation can result in rupture of the gallbladder and subsequent severe inflammation of the bile duct (bile peritonitis), necessitating combined surgical and medical treatments.  Some of the symptoms that can be indicative of an inflamed gallbladder or bile duct are sudden loss of appetite, lethargy, vomiting, and abdominal pain. Mild to moderate jaundice with concurrent fever is commonly associated with conditions of the bile duct. Look for yellow eyes and yellowing of the gums. Shock due to infection and reduction in blood volume can also occur. Signs of shock include shallow breathing, hypothermia, pale or gray gums, and a weak but rapid pulse. Inflammation and adhesions involving the gallbladder and adjacent tissues can lead to swelled tissue; a palpable mass of tissue will be felt in the upper right abdomen, especially in smaller sized cats.  The causes for an inflamed gallbladder or bile duct can result from one or more conditions that will lead up to it. Muscles in the gall bladder may be malfunctioning, which can lead to impaired bile flow in the cystic duct or gall bladder, irritating the walls of the gallbladder. Or the blood supply to the gallbladder wall is being restricted, in which case the cause for the restriction must be isolated and treated to improve the blood flow. Irritants in the bile can cause the bile duct to be overly sensitive and reactive; a backward flow of pancreatic enzymes may trigger and intensify inflammation. Previous abdominal surgery, or trauma to the abdomen, can directly lead to internal sensitivity, affecting one or more of the internal organs, including the liver and gallbladder.  Gallbladders are essential in carnivores, but not so much in herbivores as the horse doesn’t even have one.  All of the components of the digestive system work in tandem, and if one fails to function properly, the result is that most of the body will suffer ill effects.

To see what a gallbladder looks like, click here to watch my video.

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Something Different


My Zoo Trip

So this week I went to the Sacramento Zoo.  And I thought you guys might want to see some of the animals.  So I made an all-video blog this week, the pictures aren’t the best quality as I only had my phone with me at the time.  Tell me if you like it because if you do, I’ll make some more once in a while for a change of pace.  Hope you like it 😉

click here to watch it.

Future Insufficiency


Dog Pancreas

Dog Pancreas.

Dog Pancreas.

This week I’m going to educate you on the pancreas.  Now some of you might ask, what is a pancreas?  And what does it do?  Well, that is what I’m going to tell you today.  The pancreas is a small structure located near the stomach and attached to the wall of the small intestine.  It has two major functions.  Producing hormones to aid in the maintenance of a proper blood sugar (glucose) level, secreting them directly into the bloodstream.  It also produces important enzymes to aid in the digestion of protein and fats (lipids). These enzymes travel from the pancreas to the small intestine through a small tube called the pancreatic duct.  The glucose-regulating hormones produced by the pancreas are insulin and glucagon. When starches and carbohydrates are eaten, they are broken down into the sugar glucose. The glucose is absorbed through the wall of the digestive tract and passes into the bloodstream. Insulin allows glucose to leave the bloodstream and enter the body’s tissues. Glucose can then be utilized as energy for the cells. When glucose levels are high, glucagon causes it to be stored in the liver and muscles as glycogen. If not enough insulin is produced, diabetes mellitus (sugar diabetes) can occur.  The protein-digesting enzymes are trypsin and chymotrypsin. Fat digestion is aided by enzymes called lipases, also produced by the pancreas. Without these enzymes, dogs would not be able to break down important dietary components. When the pancreas does not produce adequate amounts of these enzymes the condition is called pancreatic insufficiency.  So now that you know what a pancreas does, I hope you have more appreciation for it in the future.

To see what the pancreas looks like, Click Here to watch my video.

 

 

Gross Detox


Horse Liver

Horse liver (Photo credit onemedicine.tuskegee.edu)

Horse liver (Photo credit onemedicine.tuskegee.edu)

Sorry that I have not posted for a little while, but things have been pretty hectic lately. Today, I will tell you about the functions of a horse liver.  The liver plays an important role in digestion.  It secretes salty bile to help change the acidity of the food as it enters the gut from the strongly acidic stomach.  If bile ever runs low, digestion will be altered.  Especially the breaking down of fats.  And as a horse has no gall bladder and bile is discharged in response to eating,  a horse that is starved for 12-24 hours can accumulate the bile pigments in the blood, giving a false impression of jaundice.  The liver also acts as a detoxifier.  Poisons absorbed from the gut are removed from the blood by the liver before they can affect the rest of the body. Even naturally produced poisons such as ammonia are converted into safe chemicals that can be excreted. Example:  Ammonia is converted into urea for excretion by the kidneys.  The liver also manufactures many essential micro-chemicals, such as clotting factors and vitamins.  Iron and other essential vitamins and minerals are also stored in the liver until they are required; vitamin and mineral deficiency diseases are a common reflection of liver failure, and when these functional reserves of the liver are exhausted the horse may bleed from the nose,  into the gut, or urine. The liver is essential to the horse’s survival.  Even though it can look pretty gross.

To see where the liver is located and some more pictures, click here to watch my video.