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.