What is Liver Disease in Dogs? Causes, Symptoms, and More
Posted on December 12, 2023 by Pinnacle Vet Clinic
As a dog owner, it’s your responsibility to ensure your furry friend is in good health. One of the many health concerns that can affect dogs is liver disease. Liver disease in dogs occurs when the liver’s function deteriorates, leading to a range of symptoms that can affect your pet’s quality of life.
What is Liver Disease in Dogs?
Liver disease in dogs refers to a condition where the liver is unable to perform its essential functions. The liver is responsible for removing toxins from your dog’s body, producing bile, regulating blood sugar levels, and producing proteins that are necessary for blood clotting. When the liver is damaged, it can’t perform these functions, leading to various health issues.
What Causes Liver Disease in Dogs?
Several factors can cause liver disease in dogs. Some of the most common causes include genetics, infections, toxins, and medications. Furthermore, liver disease can also be a result of other underlying conditions such as diabetes, obesity, and pancreatitis. Dog breeds that are more susceptible to liver disease include Terriers, Doberman Pinschers, and Cocker Spaniels.
Symptoms of Liver Disease in Dogs
The symptoms of liver disease in dogs can vary depending on the severity of the condition. Some of the most common symptoms of liver disease in dogs include:
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss
- Increased thirst
- Yellowing of skin and eyes
- Abdominal pain
How Do I Know if My Dog Has Liver Disease?
If you notice any of the above symptoms in your dog, or if your dog is displaying unusual behavior, it’s important to take your pet to the vet for a checkup. Your vet will conduct a physical examination and run diagnostic tests to determine if your dog has liver disease.
How is Liver Disease Diagnosed in Dogs?
Diagnosing liver disease in dogs can be challenging because the symptoms are similar to those of other conditions. Your vet will likely perform a series of diagnostic tests, including blood tests, urinalysis, and imaging tests such as X-rays and ultrasounds. In some cases, your vet may recommend a liver biopsy to confirm the diagnosis.
How to Treat Liver Disease in Dogs
The treatment for liver disease in dogs depends on the underlying cause and severity of the condition. In most cases, treatment involves managing the symptoms and taking steps to prevent further damage to the liver. Your vet may recommend a specific diet, medication, and supplements to support liver function. In some cases, surgery may be required to remove a blockage or repair damage to the liver.
How Long Can a Dog Live with Liver Disease?
The prognosis for dogs with liver disease varies depending on the severity of the condition and the underlying cause. In some cases, liver disease can be managed with medication and a specific diet, allowing dogs to live a long and healthy life. In other cases, liver disease can be fatal if not treated promptly.
Can Dog Liver Disease be Cured?
In some cases, liver disease in dogs can be cured if it is diagnosed and treated early. However, if the condition is left untreated, it can lead to irreversible damage to the liver and other organs.
What to Feed a Dog with Liver Disease
If your dog has liver disease, it’s crucial to feed them a diet that supports liver function. Your vet may recommend a specific diet that is low in protein and contains easily digestible carbohydrates. Some suitable foods for dogs with liver disease include boiled chicken, rice, and sweet potatoes.
What Foods Should Dogs with Liver Disease Avoid?
Dogs with liver disease should avoid foods that are high in fat and protein, as these can put additional strain on the liver. Foods to avoid include fatty meats, dairy products, and processed foods. Additionally, it’s important to avoid giving your dog any medications or supplements unless recommended by your vet.
In conclusion, liver disease in dogs can be a serious health concern, but it’s possible to manage the condition with appropriate treatment and a specific diet. If you notice any symptoms of liver disease in your dog, it’s important to take them to the vet for a checkup as soon as possible. With the right care and attention, your furry friend can live a long and healthy life.