Liver Disease in Dogs: Diagnosis, Causes and Prevention
Liver disease in dogs could be very tricky to detect because your dog’s symptoms may be similar to other health problems that start off with increased thirst and excessive urination which keeps you up all night or you discover blood in your dog’s feces which scares you to death… and even worse, one day you notice the whites of your dog’s eyes look yellow and your vet informs you that your dog needs an ultrasound to check on his liver damage.
This news brief gives you information about prevention, symptoms and causes of your dog’s liver disease. I hope when you read this post you’ll find the help you need to restore your dog’s liver and manage his disease.
Liver Disease in Dogs: Detection, Causes and Prevention
Your dog’s liver removes toxins from his body. As a vital organ, your dog’s liver helps break down drugs, metabolizes sources of energy, stores vitamins and glycogen, produces bile acids for digestion and manufactures proteins for blood clotting.
If your dog’s liver isn’t healthy, your dog is at risk for liver disease.
Symptoms of Liver Disease
- Increased thirst and urination
- Blood in urine or feces
- Loss of appetite and weight loss
- Seizures, ataxia and loss of balance
- Weakness and confusion
- Vomiting and diarrhea
- Jaundice – yellowish color of eyes, tongue, ears or gums
- Ascites – fluid in belly
Danger: If liver disease in dogs is not diagnosed early, your dog can develop hepatic encephalopathy, a brain condition that includes seizures, disorientation, depression, head pressing, blindness, or personality changes.
Causes of Liver Disease
- Fatty foods and Diabetes
- Infections, Pancreatitis, trauma or disease that hurts your dog’s liver
- Medications and painkillers
- Plants, herbs such as ragwort, mushrooms, blue-green algae
- Molds that grow on corn
- Untreated heart worm
- Genetic – Certain breeds may be predisposed to specific liver conditions. Copper storage disease is a known problem in Bedlington Terriers, Doberman Pinschers, Skye Terriers, and West Highland White Terriers. In these breeds a metabolic defect causes copper to remain in your dog’s liver which leads to chronic hepatitis.
5 Ways to Detect and Prevent Liver Disease in Dogs
- Avoid toxins – Keep toxic foods like alcohol, grapes and onions away from your dog. Toxic substances in your home should be secured and out of your dog’s reach.
- Avoid fatty foods – Read labels on your dog’s packaged food to check on the amount of fat in his food. Ask your vet for help to make sure your dog gets a healthy low fat diet that will keep your dog’s liver healthy and prevent obesity or diabetes.
- Blood tests – Get annual blood tests that show toxin levels in your dog’s liver.
- Ultrasound – Your vet may recommend an ultrasound to check for tumors or cancer in your dog’s liver.
- Biopsy – Your vet may recommend a tissue biopsy to test for bacterial infections like Leptospirosis that can lead to liver disease in dogs.
5 Treatments for Your Dog’s Liver Disease
You can choose 1 of these 5 herbal remedies to help your dog with liver disease:
- Dandelion Leaf Root Tea – Dandelions help your dog’s digestion, pancreatitis, immune system, kidneys, liver and gallbladder. Your dog can eat dandelions right out of your backyard as long as you don’t use pesticides or herbicides on your grass. Dry some dandelions and sprinkle a teaspoon into his food. Make dandelion tea to help with elimination of toxins. Add 1/4 cup of cool dandelion tea to your dog’s water bowl or mix with his food. Increase the amount to 1/2 cup for dogs over 20 pounds.
- Lemon – The benefits of lemon include liver health and detoxification. Lemon juice even helps keep your dog free of parasites which helps prevent liver disease in dogs. Use 1/4 teaspoon or less daily for small dogs under 10 pounds. Use 1 – 2 teaspoons daily for medium to large dogs. Add 1/2 teaspoon grated, chopped or finely minced lemon to your dog’s food at morning or night. Keep lemon parts refrigerated in an air tight glass receptacle to keep fresh.
- Milk thistle – Sprinkle milk thistle seed powder on your dog’s food to boost immunity, repair and regenerate liver cells and rid your dog of toxins. Recommended daily dosage of milk thistle seed is 2 mg per pound and maximum 100 mg for large dogs
- Turmeric – Turmeric, a powerful anti-inflammatory herb, helps as a remedy for cancers, liver disease in dogs and reduction of blood clots. Sprinkle turmeric powder in your dog’s food daily to help with bacterial infections cuts and diarrhea. Daily dosage for turmeric should not exceed 1/4 teaspoon for every 10 pounds of your dog’s weight and not exceed 2 teaspoons for dogs over 100 pounds.
- Wheatgrass – Wheatgrass is one of the best foods for your dog because it contains vitamins, calcium, iron, magnesium and selenium. Benefits of wheatgrass include increased energy, rejuvenates blood, delays aging, repairs DNA, and fights free radicals which helps prevent cancer and liver disease in dogs. You can buy or grow organic wheatgrass and let your dog eat a few bites with each meal. Snip off pieces of the wheatgrass and sprinkle on your dog’s food.
Note: Your dog’s liver is the only visceral organ known to regenerate. This means that you may be able to control your dog’s liver disease with regular vet visits, rigid control of your dog’s diet and review of changes in your dog’s liver enzyme values.
Now you have 5 choices of powerful herbal remedies to help keep your dog’s liver healthy and give your dog a chance for a longer life if he has liver disease.
Share this health article on diagnosis, causes and prevention of liver disease with your friends and family so they have the information they need to help their dog who may have liver disease