Liver surgery

Liver disease is common in cats and dogs. Sometimes it requires investigation using ultrasound scanning and needle biopsy while other cases require abdominal surgery in order to obtain a biopsy or remove a mass.


Ultrasound guided biopsy of the liver can often be done with either no sedative or just some local anaesthetic.

Full biopsy is a surgical procedure that requires some pre-planning. Blood tests to check liver function will likely already have been carried out, but we need to check blood clotting ability prior to any liver surgery.

Careful anaesthesia is required as many drugs are metabolised by the liver. Very careful monitoring of the patient under anaesthetic is also essential.

The liver biopsy can be obtained by several techniques, depending on the size and location of the lesion. Sometimes a whole lobe of the liver needs to be removed.

Close attention is paid to bleeding during surgery, and it is possible that these patients will need a plasma or blood transfusion.

Suitable candidates

Patients requiring liver biopsy that are fit for surgery.

Time involved in clinic

Some of these patients are relatively straightforward, and will be going home the day after surgery. Others are much more involved, and often very unwell, so depending on the nature of their condition may be kept in the clinic for several days after surgery.

After care

Abdominal surgery requires restriction to lead exercise for dogs for 2 weeks after surgery. Surgical liver biopsy requires strict rest with minimal walking for several days after surgery to ensure no bleeding starts.

How to book

Give reception a ring on 09 238 7486 to discuss transfer of your patient to our clinic for assessment and treatment. You may be asked to bring any clinical notes, xrays images, and medications with you when you come.