Gall Bladder Disease in Cats & Dogs

The Gall Bladder is a balloon shaped organ that lies between the lobes of the liver and its sole function is the storage of bile. Bile is a yellow-green fluid which aids in the digestion of fats. Once the bile is produced in the liver, it is stored and concentrated in the gall bladder from where it is excreted into the small intestine via the bile duct.

Gall bladder disease can occur when there is some obstruction of the gallbladder or bile ducts that restricts the flow of the bile from the gall bladder. When this happens, the bile thickens and becomes more concentrated resulting in the production of gall stones and/or inflammation.

What are the symptoms of gall bladder disease?



poor or lack of appetite

abdominal discomfort or pain

fever may or may not be present


pale colored stools

poor condition of the coat


Gall bladder disease is not very common in pets and when it does occur it is often the result of an inflamed pancreas, known as pancreatitis.

Because the symptoms of gall bladder problems are so vague and common to many other conditions, your pet’s veterinarian will need to do a thorough physical examination and run a few tests that will help to make an accurate diagnosis. You should expect the vet to do blood tests, urine analysis, as well as imaging scans such as an ultrasound before a diagnosis of gall bladder disease is made.

The first step of treatment is to determine the underlying cause of the gall bladder problems and treat that. When gall bladder disease is of the non-obstructive type, then it can often be treated with antibiotics, however, a common form of treatment for gall bladder disease is the removal of the actual gall bladder. Just like humans, animals can live a healthy life without their gall bladder provided that they eat a reduced fat diet; however, the operation itself is not without complications.

Tips for preventing gall bladder disease

Make sure your pet is on a high-quality, reduced fat diet. Diets high in fats are known to contribute to gallstones which can cause gall bladder disease.

Make sure your pet maintains a healthy weight as obese pets are far more likely to develop a number of health concerns including gall bladder disease and diabetes.

If your pet has diabetes, it’s important to manage it correctly in order to reduce chances of gall bladder disease and the complications that can occur as a result.

Gall Bladder Disease in Cats & Dogs