Canine Liver Disease
Your dog’s liver performs many different functions. So, if it isn’t working correctly, then your dog may experience many different health problems. Canine liver disease is one of the top five leading causes of death in dogs. Generally speaking, this condition usually affects older dogs. However, younger pups can also be affected.
Most dogs experience problems with the liver due to various other health condition. Some of these include infectious canine hepatitis, anemia, and pancreatitis. Parasites such as heartworms can also cause liver disease in dogs. Dogs that ingest toxins or chemicals like antifreeze will significantly increase their risk also.
Sometimes, medications can lead to canine liver disease. If your dog has a diet that consists of fatty foods, then the liver may not be able to break them down properly. Over time, this can lead to disease. A few of the other health conditions responsible for the disease include cancer and diabetes.
Liver disease usually doesn’t cause many noticeable symptoms in its early stages. Once diseases do appear, they include lethargy, weight loss, and loss of appetite. Your dog’s abdominal region may also swell. If you touch this area, he may show signs that he’s in pain.
As mentioned earlier, the liver is responsible for many different functions. It produces bile pigments that give feces and urine its color. Therefore, canine liver disease can cause your dog’s feces to turn pale gray and his urine to be quite orange. Jaundice, a condition that causes white or pale skin, can also occur.
This disease isn’t usually diagnosed in its early stages due to the fact that it doesn’t cause many noticeable symptoms around this time. This is one of the main reasons why the condition is very deadly in dogs. The vet will need to perform a physical exam and take a medical history.
A urinalysis will also likely be performed. If the vet suspects liver disease, he may radiograph the abdomen or take an ultrasound of the liver. A liver biopsy may also be performed.
In order to treat liver disease in dogs, the underlying condition will need to be dealt with. Dogs that have suffered trauma, will need to be hospitalized while they recuperate. Bacterial infections can be treated with antibiotics. Other medical conditions will also need to be treated in order for the liver to heal.
If your dog suffers from liver disease, it’s a good idea to adjust his diet. You will need to pay attention to the amount of vitamins, carbohydrates, minerals, and fat that he consumes in his food. Feeding him a proper diet will minimize the liver’s workload.