Caring for a dog can be a great deal of fun and can be extremely rewarding. The love you have for a dog is incomparable to any other. And because you love your dog so much, you want to be sure that they are as healthy as possible at all times. However, sometimes there are conditions that stay largely hidden if you do not know about them and know how to recognize the signs. One such condition is liver disease. Learn some of the facts about liver disease and dogs. Then, you can contact a veterinarian right away if you are concerned about this issue in your beloved pooch.
What Is Liver Disease?
Liver disease is a chronic condition in which the liver is not functioning properly. The liver is an organ in the body responsible for certain aspects of digestion and the processing of waste. It also plays a role in blood clotting. Therefore, it is highly important for your dog's overall health and well-being.
There are numerous conditions that can be termed liver disease, but all of them result in damage and improper functioning in the liver. Certain viral infections like canine hepatitis, for example, can cause serious damage to the liver and result in chronic liver disease. Bacterial infections and other issues can also be the culprit of liver disease.
What Are the Signs of Liver Disease in Dogs?
There are numerous signs of liver disease in dogs. However, before you learn about some of them, it is important to know that many of these signs and symptoms can also be indicative of other health issues. Therefore, you should never try to diagnose your dog yourself. A veterinarian will need to do the actual diagnosing of liver disease (or another condition).
That being said, one of the most common signs of liver disease in dogs is lethargy and overall tiredness of sluggishness. If your dog is still young and has dramatically started to slow down, you should definitely schedule a visit with your vet and request blood work be done to check liver enzymes.
Other signs of liver disease in dogs can include vomiting, increased thirst, diarrhea, weight loss, physical instability, blood in urine or feces, and even seizures. Dogs can also develop jaundice when they have liver disease, which is yellowing of the skin and eyes.
How Is Liver Disease Treated?
There are several ways that your dog's liver disease can be treated. One of the first steps your veterinarian will ask you to take is to put your dog on special liver support food. This food is often a prescription diet that has a particular nutrient formula to support liver health and to prevent additional pressure from being put on the liver.
Your dog will also likely receive a prescription for liver medication. You could also start giving your dog supplements like milk thistle, which is known to help support liver function and health.
With this information about liver disease and dogs in mind, you can be sure to watch out for signs of the issue and contact a veterinarian right away at the first sign of trouble.