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Liver Failure in Dogs

Liver Failure in Dogs

Nearly three percent of the diseases in dogs are linked to liver failure. Despite its tremendous resistance power, the liver can be damaged if it is not treated on time. Being aware of the symptoms and treatment of this condition in your pets, is essential to keep them healthy.
DogAppy Staff
The liver is one of the largest glands in the body of a dog. It performs various vital functions, which makes it crucial to your pet's health. It is generally referred to as the industrial unit of the body. It detoxifies the waste and undigested food from the blood. It also extracts extra glucose from the blood in the form of glycogen which builds an energy reserve for the body, that is used when the glucose level is low. Besides performing these functions, the liver also stores various vitamins that are essential for the growth of pets. The term 'liver failure' refers to the inability of the liver to perform the aforementioned functions. It can have an adverse effect on the health of the pet.

Contributing Factors

Liver failure, which is also referred to as hepatic failure, rates highest amongst the other canine diseases and analyzing the causes of this disease is the first step to control it. Some common causes are:
  • Viral or bacterial infections
  • Consumption of toxic substances
  • Stress and injury to the dog
  • Unhealthy diet or lack of proper, nutritious food
  • Prolonged use of certain medicines
  • Unhygienic environment and negligence on the part of the owner
Clinical Signs and Symptoms

This condition can be identified simply by observing the behavior of the dog. Some of the acute signs have been mentioned below:
  • Excessive urination and the urge to drink more water. This may happen due to changes in the salt content of the body.
  • The affected pet might become depressed or lethargic. The pet may change from a fun-loving, jumpy dog to a weak or silent one.
  • There might be a change in the color of the urine to orange or a bright yellow. This may be due to high bilirubin excretion in the urine.
  • In case of chronic failure, the abdomen might become distended due to the ascites (accumulation of fluid).
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • There might be a change in the normal color of feces. Due to lack of secretion of bile juices by the liver, the feces are mostly pale and putty-colored.
  • Jaundice
  • Loss of appetite, vomiting, and diarrhea are other possible signs of liver failure
  • Fever

There should be a change in the diet plan to ensure that the dog receives proper nutrition. This helps in supporting liver regeneration and managing the effects of hepatic failure. Ensure that the pet's diet is rich in vitamins. Do not give him chocolates or sugar-rich food. Keep the area where your dog resides clean, and free of waste. Often, the dog accidentally consumes poisonous substances while it is left unattended in the house, backyard, or the store room. So, be careful to keep such things out of his reach. Drug therapy is integral to the treatment, however, avoid giving him pills without consulting a veterinarian. Even wrong medicines can have an adverse effect on the liver function. There are certain herbal treatments that have the potential to heal the liver, without causing any side effects, however, such remedies must be followed under the supervision of herbal practitioners.

It is the responsibility of the owners to consult a vet immediately, if the pet's behavior seems to have changed, and he seems to be unwell. Medical conditions such as liver failure need immediate medical condition. So, if you observe the aforementioned signs in your dog, don't panic and consult a veterinarian at the earliest.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a veterinarian.