Health Care

Please note that these articles do not necessarily reflect the opinions and views of As with all matters relating to your dog, please use your own judgement where appropriate.

The Truth Regarding Dog Liver Disease

The liver is responsible for performing various functions. Your dog will experience many different health problems if it isn't working correctly. Liver disease is fatal for many dogs each year. This condition affects older dogs in most cases. But younger puppies can develop this disease too. Most dogs experience problems with the liver due to various other health condition. Some of the most common conditions to blame include anemia, hepatitis, and pancreatitis. Parasites can also bring about disease of the liver. Ingestion of chemicals or toxins is also a common reason.

Sometimes, medications can lead to canine liver disease. Dogs also can't break down fat properly. Therefore, liver disease can develop if dogs eat a lot of fatty foods. Diabetes and cancer can also lead to this disease. Dogs usually don't show many symptoms of the disease until it progresses. Lethargy, weight loss, and loss of appetite are some of the most common signs that appear. Your dog's abdominal region may also swell. If you happen to touch his abdominal area, you may notice that he is in pain.

Your dog's liver is responsible for carrying out many different functions as you have already read. It produces bile pigments that give feces and urine its color. If your dog has liver disease, kissing and will be very orange and his feces may turn gray. Many dogs develop jaundice too. It is hard to diagnose liver disease in its early stages. Dogs can very easily die from this disease since it's usually not caught early. Vets will need to take a medical history and perform a physical exam in order to start diagnosing the disease.

It is also common for a urinalysis to be performed. If the vet suspects liver disease, he may radiograph the abdomen or take an ultrasound of the liver. Your dog may also have to submit a biopsy of the liver. Whatever your dog's underlying condition is, it will need to be treated. Dogs that have suffered trauma, will need to be hospitalized while they recuperate. Antibiotics will be used to treat bacterial infections. If your dog has any other underlying conditions, then the vet will need to treat them too for the liver will heal.

Dogs that have a liver disease will also benefit from a special 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.

As an owner, it is best that you learn all you can about various diseases such as dog distemper. In case your dog does fall ill, knowing about these different conditions will help you recognize it quickly. Make sure you stop by right now to learn about many of these canine illnesses.

Submitted by Darrin Swain December 2011.