Liver Disease in Dogs

It doesn’t matter what organ it is inside of the dog, it is an important part of their health and well-being. That is especially true with an organ, such as the liver. It is responsible for many processes in a canine, including cleaning the blood, helping with digestion and blood clotting. When the liver is functioning properly, a dog is likely to be healthy but if liver disease becomes a problem, the dog can get sick very quickly.

Although liver disease in dogs is relatively rare, it is a problem that does occur on occasion. It is also more likely to occur in certain breeds of dogs or in dogs that have problems with the liver according to their family line. Although it can be stressful when your dog suffers from liver problems, it is typically an issue that is readily treated and manageable.

One of the main problems when your dog has liver disease is the fact that it is often missed. The symptoms associated with liver disease can mimic those of many other health problems, so it is an issue that often needs to be diagnosed and addressed by a veterinarian. Some of the different symptoms that are associated with canine liver disease include weight loss, loss of appetite, diarrhea and vomiting, increased thirst and urination, yellow tongue, eyes or gums, confusion, weakness, blood in the urine, seizures and edema. Liver disease that is caught early can often be treated but if it is not treated early enough, it could lead to a brain condition known as hepatic encephalopathy.

There are a number of issues that could lead to liver problems in dogs. In many cases, it is part of the aging process or it may be genetic. There are also medications and diseases that can lead to liver problems as well. In addition to those common reasons, it may include mold from their dog food, heart worms, eating mushrooms, pancreatic problems, diabetes and eating fatty foods (which is another reason you shouldn’t feed your dog from the table).

Depending upon how early the problem is detected, there may be some treatments that work quite well. In some cases, it may be a matter of changing the diet so that your dog gets the nutrients to help the liver heal itself. Supplements may also be necessary, including milk thistle and SAM-E. If those treatment options do not work or if the condition was not caught early enough, it may be necessary to give the dog medication to control the problem or for surgery to take place if the dog has tumors.

Along with treating a problem with liver disease, it is also possible to prevent the problem in many cases. Regular vaccinations, feeding the dog a high quality dog food and monitoring the dog while they are outside can go a long way in helping to avoid this serious problem.

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