Dogs and Liver Disease

Dogs and Liver Disease

A dog’s liver is a very important organ, as it removes toxins from their system and helps them with digestion and blood clotting. When not functioning properly, their liver can make them sick—the good thing is that liver disease can often be treated and managed.

What Are the Symptoms of Liver Disease in Dogs?

Liver disease symptoms in dogs can often be overlooked, as they are similar to symptoms of other issues. These symptoms can include:

• Weakness
• Confusion
• Seizures
• Weight loss
• Loss of appetite
• Increased thirst
• An unstable walk
• Yellowish eyes, tongue or gums (jaundice)
• Blood in his pee or poop
• Increased need to pee
• Ascites (a build-up of fluid in the belly)
• Vomiting or diarrhea

A serious brain condition called hepatic encephalopathy may occur if your dog’s liver disease is not discovered early on.

What Causes Liver Problems in Dogs?

Liver disease can occur due to the natural aging process or it can be hereditary. Canines can also get it through trauma to the area or by an infection. Additionally, some medications and diseases can also harm your dog’s liver. Other causes include:

• Diabetes
• Untreated heartworms
• Pancreas issues
• Long-term painkiller use
• Fatty goods

If your canine shows symptoms of liver issues, your doctor may want to perform blood tests, X-rays or an ultrasound to figure out what’s going on with your dog’s liver. A biopsy, which removes a small tissue sample for testing, may be recommended.

How is Liver Disease in Dogs Treated?

Treatment of liver disease in dogs will depend on when the problem was discovered and the cause of it—a veterinarian will need to see just how much damage there was to the liver. Methods of treatment include:

Supplements. Milk thistle or SAM-E may help liver recovery.

Medications. These may help control liver problems. An adjustment or reduction of other medications may be necessary.

Diet changes. Your canine may need a special diet that ensures they are getting the necessary calories and nutrients that will help their liver.

Surgery. If your dog has a tumor or cyst, surgery may be needed.

How Can I Help Prevent Liver Disease in My Dog?

The best way to prevent liver disease in your dog is to take them to the veterinarian for their yearly exam and vaccination. When doing so, please remember to make your vet aware of any supplements or drugs your dog takes and be cognizant of what you give your dog to eat—fat foods can hurt their liver. Additionally, keep an eye on your canine and don’t let them wander around in areas that may contain insects or poisonous plants.

At PAVG, we are always committed to making sure your pet stays happy and healthy. If you suspect your pet may be suffering from liver disease, or if you notice any of the above symptoms, please contact us at our following locations:

Chillicothe: 309-273-1909
Dunlap: 309-439-9522
Dunlap II: 309-413-0527

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