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LIVER FAILURE IN DOGS

The liver is an organ that performs numerous functions. It has a large storage capacity and functional reserve and is capable of regenerating. These properties provide some protection against permanent damage. However, the liver is also susceptible to injury because of its role in metabolizing, detoxifying, and storing various toxic compounds.

 

Early treatment is critical for dogs with acute liver failure. Your veterinarian will prescribe specific treatment if an underlying cause be identified. In cases of longterm or end-stage liver disease, and in cases of acute liver disease when no under-lying cause has been identified, supportive treatment is directed at slowing progression of disease and minimizing complications.

 

Signs that a dog has liver disease can vary and include loss of appetite, vomiting, stomach ulceration, diarrhea, seizures or other neurologic problems, fever, blood clotting problems, jaundice (a yellow tinge noticeable in the skin, mucous membranes, and eyes), fluid collection in the abdomen, excessive urination and thirst, changes in liver size, and weight loss. Gastrointestinal bleeding can be seen in animals with liver disease due to ulcers or problems with blood clotting. The veterinarian’s understanding of the potential causes of each of these signs helps him or her to diagnose illness and provide appropriate treatment.

LIVER DISEASES IN DOGS SIGNS & SYMPTOMS

It’s easy to miss the symptoms of liver disease. They’re similar to those for other problems. Your dog’s symptoms may include:

 

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

 

If your dog’s liver disease isn’t caught early, it can lead to a serious brain condition called hepatic encephalopathy.

 

 

 

REFERENCES

Darryl L. Millis, MS, DVM, DACVS, DACVSMR, CCRP
Professor of Orthopedic Surgery & Director of Surgical Service

Robin Downing, DVM, MS, DAAPM, DACVSMR, CVPP, CCRP
Diplomate of the American Academy of Pain Management, is a a founder and past-president of the International Veterinary Academy of Pain Management.

Janet B. Van Dyke, DVM
Diplomate American College of Veterinary Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation, CCRT, CEO

Ludovica Dragone, DVM, CCRP
Vice President of VEPRA, Veterinary European of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Association.

Andrea L. Henderson, DVM, CCRT, CCRP
Resident, Canine Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation

Steven M.Fox, MS, DVM, MBA, PhD
President Securos. Inc

 

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