Liver disease in horses

Senecio intoxicationultrasonography: liver densityUltrasound-guided liver biopsy in a horse



Liver disease is relatively common in horses and affects all ages, breed types and genders. The disease can be the result of bile stones, worm migrations (i.e. Parascaris equorum, Fasciola hepatica, Echinococcus sp.), viral infections, (i.e. herpes sp.), bacterial infections (Clostridium sp., Actinobacillus sp.), toxines ( i.e. Senecio; Fig. 1, iron, pesticides, mycotoxins,...), immune-mediated diseases (lymphoplasmacytic hepatitis), tumour,...

Specialised exams such as ultrasonography or ultrasound-guided biopsy might be indicated if liver enzymes in blood are increased.

Ultrasonography allows to identify difference in liver density (Fig. 2), bile stones, abscesses, tumours...

Biopsies are always taken under ultrasonographic guidance (Fig. 3). A liver biopsy can determine the cause of the liver disease and therapy can be adapted.

Contacts: Da. Laurence Lefère and Dr. Dominique De Clercq