Liver Disease in Dogs

Introduction-
In humans the occurrence of liver disease can prove to be lethal and same is the situation with our four-legged friend. The liver carriers out essential functions like digesting the food, storing vitamins, purifying the blood, discarding toxic substances from the body. When the liver fails to perform these functions, it can have dangerous repercussions for the dog.

The liver disease may be passed on genetically, may be acquired through bacterial infection or any other health conditions.

Symptoms/ Signs of liver Disease

The symptoms of liver problem differ from case to case. The following are the symptoms or signs of liver Disease

1) Lethargy-
The dog suffering from this ailment shows signs of weariness and depression and lack of interest in his mundane routine.

2) Loss of appetite, excessive thirst and urination-
There is a very diminishing interest in eating food. But at the same time dog shows signs like excessive thirst and frequent urination. The urine may have orange color because of the disease.

3) Weight loss and swollen abdomen
There is a sudden weight loss that can be seen in the dog as the body is unable to carry to its normal functions because of the liver problem. However, despite the weight loss the abdomen can be swollen because of enlargement of the liver.

4) Stomach upset-
Another indicator of a liver disorder is that the dog has stomach problem which results in vomiting, diarrhea or even constipation. Also the feces may be grey in color.

5) Other signs include jaundice, seizures, and behavioral changes. Also diseases like copper storage, hemolytic anemia, infectious hepatitis, etc are other liver related diseases.

Treatment/ Vaccination-

The kind of treatment that is to be given to a dog largely depends upon the underlying cause.

1) One of the methods of treating ailing dog is by given him a diet that contains low level of proteins which is free of preservatives and addictives. Food sources rich in Vitamin K, Vitamin E and fat soluble vitamins must be given to dogs to boost their immune system.

2) Another way includes administering herbal treatment like milk thistle or SAM-e supplements that may result in the normal functioning of the liver.

3) Sometimes subcutaneous or intravenous 1V fluids are given to avoid dehydration, ensure the supply of adequate nutrition.

4) Corticosteroids are given in some cases like chronic hepatitis to reduce swelling and scarring. Penicillamine and zinc acetate are used to cure copper storage disease. Also sucralfate and cimetidine are administered to avoid ulcers in the stomach.

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