Digestive System: Liver Problems Overview

Liver Quicklinks

Different types of Canine Liver Problems:

Dogs may face a number of problems associated with dog liver health. These may be either infectious, non infectious may affect liver directly or may be due to other organs that are related to liver function.

canine liver problems
Picture of Dog Liver Disease in Emaciated Doberman

Diagnosis of Liver Problems:

Initially a clinical examination and history may help in indicating a dog's liver as the problem. In the laboratory, biochemical profiles, estimation of canine elevated liver enzyme levels and substrates can help in identifying any problem. Some advanced procedures such as biopsy, cancerous estimation and radiography may confirm different conditions as indicated by cellular changes, hepatic (liver) anatomical disturbances etc.

Treatment Options:

Canine liver problems can never be treated without confirmation. Unlike other organ abnormalities, the liver can never be restricted in function since a number of vital functions are dependent upon it.

Specific canine liver disease treatment is always recommended as per the diagnostic results. Treatment should be continued as per the direction of a veterinarian, as in many cases complications arise when owners do not follow directions provided.

Symptomatic treatment is usually helpful, but is never an alternative to specific treatment for the condition itself. Different drugs for treating symptoms, if used for a longer period of time than recommended, can cause irrecoverable damage to the liver, leaving a dog in shock (when organs in body don't receive an adequate flow of blood) or would be the cause of death. Even incurable canine liver problems cannot be purely treated symptomatically, which would normally be done to improve a dog's life quality or for added support.

Canine liver disease Dietary management is a must when treating canine liver problems; diets that contain abundant levels of vitamins, minerals and milk proteins are during recovery.

Support with vitamins, minerals and some herbal preparations can improve the physiology of partially damaged  liver tissues. The liver has the capacity to regenerate itself,  meaning that damaged hepatic tissues can repair themselves. They regenerate from stem cells called ovalocytes, which develops into hepatocytes or cholangiocytes, the cells which form the liver.

Regeneration is purely based upon the degree of damage. If a hepatocyte has been damaged up to 25%, the liver can regenerate the damaged part ont its own, but additional support and supplementation is usually required to repair damage that is greater than 25%. Also, if damaged tissues remain untreated or not treated in a timely manner, permanent damage is possible.  If left too long, such tissues do not regenerate or repair themselves. 

Choices of herbal preparations or supplements  include  Immunity & Liver Support Formula if the problem is due to an infectious disease, or Liver-Aid Formula for general support, such as when dog liver enzyme levels are elevated.  Check with your veterinarian.