The liver is responsible for performing various functions. Your dog will experience many different health problems if it isn’t working correctly. 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.
Other health conditions are usually the reason why dogs develop liver disease. Some of these include hepatitis, pancreatitis, and anemia. 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. Dogs also can’t break down fat properly. Therefore, liver disease can develop if dogs eat a lot of fatty foods. 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. It is also common for the dog’s abdomen to swell up. If you happen to touch his abdominal area, you may notice that he is in pain.
As mentioned earlier, the liver is responsible for many different functions. 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. Jaundice, a condition that causes white or pale skin, can also occur.
It is hard to diagnose liver disease in its early stages. Since it isn’t usually caught early, dogs can very easily die from it. Vets will need to take a medical history and perform a physical exam in order to start diagnosing the disease.
A urinalysis will also likely be performed. He may take an x-ray of the abdomen or an ultrasound of the liver if he suspects disease. Your dog may also have to submit a biopsy of the liver.
The underlying condition will need to be dealt with in order to treat this condition in dogs. If trauma is the underlying cause, hospitalization until recovery may be required. Bacterial infections can be treated with antibiotics. If your dog has any other underlying conditions, then the vet will need to treat them too for the liver will 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. The liver won’t have to work as hard if your dog eats a proper diet.