Some horses with hepatic disease will develop photosensitization and appear to have severe sunburn on the white areas of their bodies such as on face and leg markings. Photosensitization occurs when the liver is unable to process chlorophyll (the green pigment in plants). Source credit KER: Jan 2010
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THE LIVER IS THE NUTRIENT DISPATCH CENTER
Critical to digestive processes, the liver is mainly responsible for nutrient distribution. Nutrients absorbed in the gastrointestinal tract must pass through the liver via portal circulation. Serving as a clearinghouse of sorts, the liver assigns nutrients to essential roles. Some are metabolized for energy, transformed to other nutrient classes, or sent to peripheral tissues, and others are stored by the liver for future use. The liver plays a vital role in maintaining consistent blood levels of nutrients between feedings.
Liver disease in mature horses is most often caused by exposure to toxic plants or feed toxins, infection, or bile stones. Horses can occasionally develop serious liver disease after treatment with products produced from horse blood, such as plasma or tetanus antitoxin. Miniature horses, ponies, and donkeys that stop eating, usually due to serious illness, can develop a potentially fatal accumulation of fat in the liver.
Support normal liver function and metabolic activity before you see symptoms. Compromised liver function is associated with poor skin and coat condition. If you suspect a liver disorder, please consult your veterinarian for diagnosis and treatment plans.