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Liver Disease in Dogs

  
 

Liver Disease in Dogs

There are many possible causes of liver disease in dogs. Liver disease, also known as hepatitis, is a broad term describing a number of liver conditions. Since the liver has such important functions in the body, the development of liver disease in dogs may result in serious health consequences. The liver is responsible for building and breaking down fats, carbohydrates, and proteins, as well as storing vitamins, minerals, glycogen, and triglycerides. It also plays an important role in the production of red blood cells and produces factors important for the normal clotting of blood. Since the liver is an essential part of the immune system, liver disease in dogs may often lead to a serious immune deficiency syndrome. The liver also plays an important role in digesting nutrients and detoxifying chemicals and drugs taken into the body. When the liver is not functioning properly, toxins will build up, digestion will be affected, and there may be a shortage of essential nutrients, including glucose, vitamins, and minerals.

  
Liver disease in dogs may be caused by toxins, cancer, other diseases, and long-term use of steroids and pain medications.
  
Key Facts of Liver Disease in Dogs and Cats
  • Dog liver disease is a common condition that has many potential causes.
  • Diagnosis of liver disease in dogs usually involves blood work, imaging, and in some cases, liver biopsy.
  • Treatment and prognosis of liver disease will depend on the underlying cause; however, because of the remarkable regenerative capacity of the liver, most dogs can be successfully treated.
  

  
 
  

  

Causes of Dog Liver Disease

The potential causes of liver disease in dogs are numerous and include viral infections such as infectious canine hepatitis or feline infectious peritonitis virus, bacterial infections such as leptospirosis, certain parasites, toxins including pesticides or vaccinations, cancerous processes, and drugs such as Phenobarbitol, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and steroids. Obstruction of the bile ducts from the gall bladder may also lead to liver disease. In many cases, abnormal immune system responses may affect the liver potentially leading to liver disease. Other diseases, including pet diabetes, Cushing's Disease, hyperthyroidism, and pancreatitis all may cause secondary liver changes. Stress and obesity may predispose certain cats to hepatic lipidosis.

Dogs Most at Risk for Liver Disease

All pets are susceptible to liver disease. There are certain dog breeds, however, that are at increased risk. These breeds include:

  • Yorkshire Terriers
  • Cairn Terriers
  • Scottish Terriers
  • Schnauzers
  • Malteses
  • Golden and Labrador Retrievers
  • Poodles
  • German Shepherds
Younger pets are predisposed to a specific genetic circulatory problem of the liver known as a portosystemic shunt. This may lead to nervous system signs in severe cases.

  

  
 
Max's Tip: Denamarin Tabs should be given on an empty stomach at least one hour before a meal for optimal absorption, typically one hour before feeding in the morning.  
  

  
Medical Terms for Liver Disease in Dogs and Cats Medical terms for Liver Disease in Dogs: Glycogen, portosystemic shunt, triglycerides
  

  
More Information on Liver Disease in Dogs and Cats
  
 

   
 
 
   
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