All About Liver Disease In Canines

The liver is an extremely important organ. Almost every biochemical process in the body involves the liver in some way. This is why disease of the liver is such a serious problem. Here is a brief introduction to dog liver disease.

Causes

Various things can cause liver disease. A severe blow to the front of the abdomen can cause trauma to the liver. Getting hit by a car is a common example. Viral, fungal, or bacterial infections can also cause liver disease. A severe heartworm infestation can block bloodflow to the liver. Dogs suffering from liver disease display a range of symptoms.

Symptoms

As mentioned earlier, the liver is involved in about every biochemical process. Other areas of your dog’s body can suffer when there are problems with the liver. This is why liver disease in canines causes such unspecific symptoms. Fortunately, the liver has a lot of reserve capacity, so it can function with up to 80 percent damage. This also means that until the disease advances, your dog probably won’t exhibit any signs of disease.

It’s common for dogs suffering from this disease to experience frequent abdominal pain. Various gastrointestinal signs are also common. They include vomiting, diarrhea, and loss of appetite. Your pet may also experience canine constipation. Your dog’s stool may turn gray if the liver stops processing bile properly. Other dogs also suffer from weight loss, increased drinking and urination, and jaundice.

Diagnosis

The vet will need to perform a complete blood count, chemistry screen, and urinalysis to diagnose this disease. It’s also possible for your dog to need an x-ray of his abdomen. The x-ray will allow the vet to detect any abnormalities in the liver. The vet may also elect to have an ultrasound done. For the most definitive diagnosis, a biopsy needs to be taken of the liver. This involves removing a piece of the organ surgically or with a biopsy needle. A biopsy won’t cause future problems since the liver can regenerate.

Treatment

Treatment depends on the underlying cause and how severe the damage is. Since toxic substances can cause damage to the organ, they will need to be removed. A special diet may also need to be given to your dog. Hopefully, the diet will allow the liver to rest by decreasing its workload. Secondary infections can become a problem. Therefore, antibiotics may be needed.

All owners should know a little something about various diseases that can affect their dog. Fortunately for you, you can learn about a wide range of these conditions at dog-illnesses.com. Click over right now.

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