Jaundice Average Cost

From 492 quotes ranging from $500 - 5,000

Average Cost

$1,800

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What is Jaundice?

Vets explain to cat owners that jaundice is the yellow discoloration of the cat’s skin, eyes, ear flaps, gums and foot pads. Since jaundice indicates a high level of bilirubin in the blood, it’s also a symptom of a serious illness.

Jaundice develops when too much yellow pigment from bilirubin accumulates in a cat’s blood and its body tissues. The longer the cat has jaundice, which is also called “icterus,” the more yellow its skin, eyes and body tissues will appear to be. Since the skin of most cat breeds is covered with fur, pet owners and vets can get the best view of jaundice by looking at its eyes, gums, foot pads, and ear flaps. It won’t be easy to detect jaundice in cats with dark skin or gums. Jaundice is usually a symptom of a more serious illness.

Symptoms of Jaundice in Cats

Since jaundice is one of several symptoms of serious illness, observant cat owners do their pets a favor by noticing these signs, which can include:

  • Loss of appetite or anorexia
  • Weakness
  • Yellowed skin, eyes or other body areas
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Rounded abdomen
  • Stomach discomfort
  • Poor, rough coat
  • Lack of grooming
  • Lethargy
  • Dehydration
  • Prolonged bleeding
  • Unusual behaviors
  • Ascites or accumulation of fluid in the abdomen
  • Breathing difficulty
  • Bright orange urine
  • Increased thirst
  • Increased urination
  • Fever

Causes of Jaundice in Cats

Cats develop jaundice as the result of several problems inside their bodies. Depending on the cause of jaundice, the treatments will be different. 

  • Liver disease that damages liver cells
  • Destruction of red blood cells (hemolysis)
  • Bile duct obstruction. Bile can become too thick or the gallbladder or bile ducts may become inflamed
  • Blood parasites
  • Heartworm
  • Enlargement of the liver
  • Viral or bacterial infection
  • Chemical exposure (leads to toxic hepatopathy)
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Cancer of the gall bladder
  • Hepatic lipidosis (fatty liver)
  • Lymphoma (cancer)
  • Cholangiohepatitis (inflamed bile ducts or liver)
  • Hepatic amyloidosis (accumulated amyloid in the liver)
  • Feline infectious peritonitis (a fatal illness)

Diagnosis of Jaundice in Cats

When pet owners explain to the vet that they believe their cat has jaundice, the vet will perform a physical exam, make note of their direct observations, and run additional tests. At the beginning, the vet examines the exposed skin areas of the cat’s body. If they see jaundice, they order additional diagnostic testing, which can include blood work.

This blood work consists of a complete blood count, or CBC. This measures several important factors in the cat’s blood, such as the number of platelets, white and red blood cells. Going beyond the CBC, labs run the packed cell volume or PCV. This tells the vet the proportion of red blood cells in the blood. If the cat is anemic, the vet investigates, determining whether the cat has hemolysis (destruction of red blood cells). They will also look at the blood under a microscope to see if the cat has abnormal red blood cells, immature red blood, cells or an unexpected clump of cells.

If the vet finds that the cat has not been given heartworm medication and that it is an outdoors cat, they may consider an infestation of heartworms. They may look in a different direction if other symptoms, such as excessive thirst, drinking and urination, the vet will want to examine the cat’s liver and kidneys.

Other diagnostic tests may include urinalysis and a biochemical profile. These tests look for blood cell changes, anemia, bilirubin in the urine and urine concentration.

Depending on early findings, the vet may order X-rays or an ultrasound, a liver biopsy, a Coombs test (identifies whether red blood cells are being destroyed because of of the cat’s immune system) or serologic tests to see if the cat has contracted feline infectious peritonitis (FIP), feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV), toxoplasmosis, or feline leukemia virus (FeLV).

Treatment of Jaundice in Cats

Vets don’t treat jaundice by itself. Once they find the cause of the jaundice in a cat, they treat that condition, which means the jaundice will eventually resolve. For instance, if the cat has a viral or bacterial infection, the vet prescribes antibiotics or steroids, which allows the cat’s immune system to lower its response to the bacteria or viral body. For cats diagnosed with FIV or FeLV, supportive care that allows their immune system to handle the infection will be given. 

If the cat has ingested a poison, the vet gives activated charcoal to the cat to remove toxins from its body. The vet may choose to induce vomiting. For hepatic lipidosis (fatty liver), the cat will provide a high-quality nutritional support for the cat, consisting of a high protein, high calorie diet.

If the vet has diagnosed liver cancer, the cat undergoes surgery and chemotherapy. An obstruction of the biliary tract means the cat will undergo surgery to clear the obstruction.

Cats with hepatitis are given corticosteroids that reduce liver inflammation. If the cat is experiencing pain, it will be given pain medications. The vet may opt to prescribe SAMe (S-adenosylmethionine), which helps to give the liver support by boosting glutathione, which is an antioxidant. Other nutritional supplements may include Ursodeoxycholic acid. The cat may also receive vitamin K or Silybin, which supports liver function. This antioxidant helps the liver to rid itself of toxins and drugs. Anemic cats receive blood transfusions.

Recovery of Jaundice in Cats

Depending on the cause of the cat’s jaundice, the cat’s owner may receive a good prognosis or be told that the cat’s condition will be terminal or fatal, as in the case of feline infectious peritonitis.

Once the vet determines the exact cause of the cat’s jaundice and develops an effective treatment plan, many cats can live for many more years. Cat owners need to consistently give their cats prescribed medications and feed only the foods that are recommended, which helps to improve the cat’s recovery. By feeding high-quality foods and administering medications as prescribed, causes of jaundice can be successfully resolved.

Jaundice Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Mittens
domestic medium hair
6 Years
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Not moving around
Not Eating

Medication Used

Biomox 100mg

Our cat went from 22lbs down to 15.6lb way too fast . He now has fatty liver disease and is juandice. We took him to the vet and I did the IV at home for a week and he has pills for another 1/2 week. He poops and pee's fine but when it comes to eating and drinking he will not do it himself, I have to do everything out of a syringe.. I get about a can of soft food in him a day and roughly a cup of water each day. He will play when provoked, he purrs and will cuddle by us, his walking right now only includes workjng to the litter box and back to either the couch or our bedroom, it doesnt look like his jaundice is getting better. I know it is a symptom but how long can it take to start looking better? He 1st went into the Vet Feb 2nd. During the day I make sure to put him where he gets good lighting. I am wondering if using a biliblanket (that they use for babies who have jaundice) would work. I have one at home and have been debating about using it. I am also trying to figure out how to get him to eat on his own.. I have tried cat treats, tuna, bonita flakes and two different types of dry food and he snubs them all.

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
479 Recommendations
Thank you for your email. Liver disease in cats can be difficult to manage, and can take weeks to resolve . During the recovery period, nutrition is essential, and some cats need feeding tubes to facilitate frequent feedings, until they start to eat on their own. It would be best to talk with your veterinarian about the possibility of whether Mittens would benefit from a feeding tube, as you probably won't be able to get enough nutrition into him otherwise. I hope that everything goes well for him.

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Sybil
Norwegian Forest
17 Years
Serious condition
1 found helpful
Serious condition

Has Symptoms

Jaundiced, fatigue, weight loss,
Jaundice, fatigue, weight loss, app

My 16.5 yr old Norwegian forest cat kitty is jaundiced. She has been treated for crf with fluid & Pepcid, cerenia for a year now. Last month she went into congestive heart failure after receiving clindamycin for a tooth infection. She was in hospital put on Pimobendan, Lasix, Plavix, and continued fluids. Her liver value gsd was elevated. An ultrasound showed an enlarged bright liver with no obvious malignancy. 2-3 weeks later her alt and cholesterol were high. Now she is jaundiced and we’ve just done bw again - results tomorrow. She stared eating a bit and drinking after demaden. What could be causing this? Her creatinine is stable at 3. She is too old and I’ll to do a biopsy.

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
1978 Recommendations
At 16.5 years old, Sybil is an old girl and there are many possible issues for the symptoms you are seeing; jaundice is another symptoms which is most likely related to the liver issues she is suffering from rather than another cause (like haemolytic anaemia), without a liver biopsy, we cannot be sure what is occurring with the liver. However, I am unable to give you any specific indication to what is happening but her liver function is compromised by something which is causing jaundice. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Thanks. She went into heart failure again but she is doing well. They said to stop the fluids and added a medication fir her liver. Her bilirubin is down from 10 to 2 after a week of Denamarin but the liver values are still very high. She was asthmatic as a you * cat so they thought this could be an asthma attack also but now they say cgf and it’s not lung cancer because it would not have responded so well to Lasix treatment. They gave her steroid and asthma inhaled treatment as well. I will post back about the new liver med to see what you think.

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Shonzee
Maine Coon
7 Years
Serious condition
0 found helpful
Serious condition

Has Symptoms

Yellow Gums
Yellow Eyes
Jaundice
Lethargy
Yellow Skin

I understand Jaundice is not a disease but a symptom. I am currently awaiting test results from the vet. He is not "eating" per-say but he is licking food, grain free, potato free, wet cat food and I've gotten him to eat some tuna. I have given him a little bit of vitamin gel (prescribed by vet) that is full of calories. He has drank more water than anything though.

The vet said he is severely Jaundice and that if I can not get him to eat the next best thing will be a feeding tube.

ALL of his vitals are great.

My question is, will his minimal eating "tasting" food suffice for now until we get the next answer to what is going on? I'm worried and he is the best cat I've ever had. I will honestly do anything for him.

He is 7 he is completely indoor, he is flea and tick treated.

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
479 Recommendations
Thank you for your email. I am sorry that Shonzee is having these problems. Liver disease can be difficult to diagnose and treat, and cats often don't do well because they stop eating. A feeding tube sounds like an extreme measure, but it really is not. Once it is placed, you can maintain his nutrition and medications easily. The few little 'licks' ot food that he is taking will not be enough to sustain him. if your veterinarian recommends a feeding tube, it would be best to follow their advice. I hope that he does well.

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Buttercup
domestic medium hair
7 Years
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Fever
Jaundice
Lethargy
lack of appetite

Medication Used

Onsior (Robenacoxib) 6mg
Zeniquin 25mg

My cat has jaundice. She experienced lethargy and lack of appetite, though she started eating again yesterday. How is it determine if she has an infection vs. something else? Her blood work showed elevated bilirubin, and slightly elevated calcium and white blood cells. They did a GGT test and it came back normal, a Feline Pancreas-Specific Lipase and came back normal, and an Abdominal Radiography which showed no obstructions or abnormalities. Vet thinks it might be something in her gallbladder or a bile duct obstruction, is that likely even though her other tests came back normal for the most part? Should I wait for antibiotics to kick in and check for signs of improvement before taking her to get an ultrasound?

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
479 Recommendations
Thank you for your email. The only way to tell for sure what it going on in the liver is to do a surgical biopsy, which is quite invasive. Ultrasound is the next best thing, as you are sometimes able to comment on densities and masses that night not be visible on x-ray. I'm not sure what medications she is on, but we sometimes treat empirically for liver disease if nothing else is apparent as a cause, and the fact that she started eating is very good. Without seeing her, I"m not sure if you are okay to wait or get the ultrasound, but your veterinarian should be able to guide you through that process. I hope that Buttercup is okay.

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ramu
Persian
3 Months
Critical condition
0 found helpful
Critical condition

Has Symptoms

not eating food ,not drinking water
not drinking and eating food

Medication Used

3 days to stay in clinic

my cat he is not eating any nor drinking water. he has been affected by jaundice in blood ,i have also visited vet they gave him 2 injections on his legs that day when i called the doctor they told that he is not eating his food ,also he cant raise his head.what treatment else should i give ?

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
1978 Recommendations
The problem with jaundice is that it is not disease but a symptom, the underlying cause of the jaundice will determine the course of treatment; without knowing the underlying cause (infection, parasites, liver disease, bile duct obstruction, immune mediated haemolytic anaemia etc…), I cannot give you any specific advice on treatment. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Oscar
Ragdoll
12
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Medication Used

Steroids and antibiotics

Which brand of high protein should I feed my cat?

I have been prescribed steroid and antibiotics to treat him but am confused what brand of food to feed him. He still eats a fair amount but has lost body weight and is secluded and low energy.

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
1978 Recommendations
It depends on the specific condition that Oscar is suffering from; jaundice (the subject of the article) is only a symptom and not a disease itself. If there is a problem with Oscar’s liver, a hepatic diet with low quantity but high quality protein should be fed; you should speak with your Veterinarian to get more guidance regarding Oscar’s specific issue. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

for my cat [persian baby] it has affected the blood ,will it recover

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Panter
Persian
1.5
Critical condition
0 found helpful
Critical condition

Has Symptoms

lost appetite,
lost appetite, low energy, lost wei
lost appetite, low energy

my cat has jaundice, drinking only water no food intake at all.
What usual food we can administrated to cat in order to support and regain energy.
not playing, it's lethargic, sleeping long hrs. has fever

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
1978 Recommendations
Jaundice isn’t a disease, it is a symptom; it is important to determine what the cause of the jaundice is which may be due to liver disease, haemolytic anaemia, cancer, infections, bile duct disorders, poisoning among other causes. I would recommend you visit your Veterinarian for an examination to determine the underlying cause so that treatment can be more effective. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Big man Goliath man man
tabby
7
Critical condition
0 found helpful
Critical condition

He has already been to see a vet he is on high protein cat food and Pedialyte they gave him a few shots check his blood levels I'm supposed to get back to them in a few days I want a home remedy they gave him nothing for pain I want a home remedy I don't want to wait cat food high protein or not does not fix the jaundice he has already had three years ago the same condition and has surgery with a tube in his neck and we fed him at home through the tube and tell he ate on his own three years later he now has it again and he's very lethargic and very weak and his ears are very yellow I want a home remedy for my cat please

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
1978 Recommendations
The problem that most people do not understand is that jaundice is not a disease, it is a symptom like coughing or runny nose; there is no direct cure for jaundice you need to treat the underlying condition, once that is treated the jaundice will resolve as well. The main causes of jaundice are liver disease, red blood cell destruction or obstructed bile duct; all three of these have different treatments and it is important to determine which one is causing the jaundice. Medicine is not as straightforward as we would like unfortunately; without a specific diagnosis (remember that jaundice isn’t a diagnosis), any treatment would be supportive but not treating the underlying cause. Dietary changes (depending on specific cause), liver support (Denamarin or similar) and hydration are all I can recommend. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Coco
Breed
2month
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Weakness

My stray cat is very sick look likes it's juindus my other cat died coz of that they both live together he was very playful now very dehydrated yellow colour not ptoperl5eating not playing or walking all the time sleep week 2 month old end now what med should give

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
1978 Recommendations
Jaundice is a symptom of a disease, not a disease itself; there are many different conditions which may present with jaundice which include hemolytic anaemia, liver failure, liver cancer, parasites, infections among other causes. With jaundice, dehydration and weakness as symptoms I can only recommend supportive care with fluids and Denamarin for liver support; a visit to a Veterinarian would be required to determine the underlying cause of the jaundice and other symptoms so that the primary cause can be treated. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Max
Persian
2 Years
Serious condition
3 found helpful
Serious condition

Has Symptoms

Not sleeping
Ears and nose is yellow
Not eating food

Medication Used

Vet gave him injection and Hepamerz

My cat Max has diagnose by jaundice

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
1978 Recommendations

Jaundice in cats can be caused by a variety of different conditions including infection, parasites, haemolysis of red blood cells, bile duct disorders, immune system disorders, poisoning, cancer etc… It is important to diagnose the underlying condition by taking blood tests to check liver and kidney function, blood counts as well as looking at the blood under a microscope to check for parasites and morphology. Fluid therapy and dietary changes may be required as well as treatment of the primary condition. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

My cat has jaundice. What medicine should I give him?

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