Canine liver disease is a fairly common disorder among older dogs, and is caused by several factors. This disease can occur in younger dogs as well. 

The condition can be caused by a number of factors including disease, chemicals, drugs, and toxins. Certain chemicals are known to damage the liver such as insecticides and carbon tetrachloride. Toxic amounts of lead, phosphorus, selenium, arsenic, and iron can also cause damage. Excessive amounts of some medications can harm the dog’s liver. Heartworm infection, Cushing’s syndrome and diabetes can all lead to liver disease. 

The early signs of canine liver disease are quite nonspecific. Some symptoms associated with liver disease include:

•    Vomiting •    Loss of appetite •    Drinking and urinating more often 
•    Diarrhea •    Swollen Lower Limbs •    Jaundice
•    Weight loss      •    Spontaneous Bleeding     •    Ascites


Be sure to take your dog in for regular examinations by a veterinarian. If the condition is detected early enough, the liver can recover from damage and restore itself to the point where your dog has normal liver function. Keep your dog up to date with his vaccinations and provide him with a healthy diet, dog liver support supplements and consistent access to fresh water and physical activity. 

One of the most common signs of liver failure is jaundice, which transpires when bile accumulates in the blood and tissues, staining the tissues yellow.  The whites of your dog’s eyes will appear yellow as well as the gums and tongue.  Ascites is an accumulation of fluid in the abdomen—so your dog will appear swollen or bloated.  

If you notice any of the symptoms of liver disease or failure in your dog, take him to the veterinarian immediately.  The vet will administer blood tests, including a bile acid assay, ultrasound, and CT scan. These are incredibly helpful in determining liver problems, but the only definite test is a biopsy of the liver. 

Treatment and Prevention
Treatment of liver disease varies depending on the trigger: certain medications, dietary adjustments and supplements can be useful.  Dietary changes may encompass adjusting the amounts of proteins, vitamins, carbohydrates, fats and minerals that the dog consumes. Supplements such as PSCPets Herbal Liver Support for Dogs and Cats will help to support overall liver function.

Many causes of canine liver disease are not preventable. However, decreasing your dog’s exposure to toxic drugs, plants, chemicals and other substances will help to protect him from it. 

Some dogs are at increased risk for liver disease.  For example, the disorder is more common in middle-aged to older animals. 

Certain breeds are also more susceptible to developing the disease: Terriers, Keeshonds, Labrador Retrievers, Dalmatians, Doberman pinscher, Cocker Spaniel and Standard Poodle.  Free roaming dogs that are exposed to chemicals, heavy metals, stagnant standing water, pesticides, poisonous plants or drugs have an increased chance for liver problems. 

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