The liver is a vital organ for both dogs and humans. That’s why it is critical to be able to spot any abnormalities or changes regarding the liver, especially for your four-legged friends. Unlike humans, dogs are unable to communicate if they are in pain or are feeling sick. That’s why it is your job as his owner to be able to spot any symptoms or changes in behavior that might be stemming from liver inflammation or other complications.
This article will discuss the causes and symptoms of liver disease in dogs. Being an informed pet owner is the best way you will be able to give your dog a long and healthy life. Spot the first signs of liver inflammation by recognizing the signs and then contact your vet as soon as possible to devise a treatment plan.
What is Liver Inflammation in Dogs?
Liver inflammation, or Granulomatous, is a condition where the liver becomes inflamed and is unable to function properly. When the liver is healthy, it purifies the body of any toxins in the bloodstream and also supports the functionality of other organs.
In most cases, liver inflammation is idiopathic, but can also be caused by other underlying diseases. If your dog is suffering from liver inflammation, it is imperative that you take him to the veterinarian as soon as possible. Liver inflammation should not be taken lightly, and can even lead to a life or death situation.
Symptoms of Liver Inflammation in Dogs
- Lack of appetite
- Weight loss
- Abdominal pain
- Increased urination
- Increased thirst
- Swollen abdomen
Causes of Liver Inflammation in Dogs
As said before, liver inflammation can result from a number of different causes. Some of the most common contributors include:
- Bacterial/fungal/viral infection
- Reaction to drugs
- Immune-mediated disorders
- Excess copper retention
How to Diagnose Liver Inflammation in Dogs
If your dog shows any of these signs or symptoms listed above and you believe it could be the result of liver inflammation, take him in to get checked out by your vet. Also, prepare to provide them with an extensive history of your dog’s health and the current symptoms he may be suffering from.
From there, your vet will perform a series of tests in order to diagnose the issue further. Possible tests that may be done include x-rays of the chest and abdomen, a urinalysis, a complete blood profile, and an ultrasound. Once all the necessary tests have been done, your vet will be able to diagnose your dog and create a treatment plan accordingly.
Treatment of Liver Inflammation in Dogs
As previously stated, liver inflammation can be caused by a wide variety of factors. It is not a “one size fits all” approach when it comes to treating inflammation. That’s why it is critical that your vet diagnoses the main cause and then moves forward with a treatment plan that is specific to that.
In most cases, liver inflammation is caused by a certain toxin. In this case, intravenous fluids would be used to flush out the remaining toxins that are harming the body. Further fluid therapy may be needed to replenish the organs of any vital nutrients that were lost during the course of his prior treatment. Depending on the damage and the state of the liver, the vet will then work to preserve the organ’s functionality and condition by using the surviving liver cells.
After your dog has been treated, regular check-ups with your veterinarian will be critical to ensure a full recovery. Professionals recommend taking your dog in at least every couple of weeks after he has been treated to monitor his liver function and overall health.
Managing Liver Disease in Dogs
Since there are so many possible causes of liver disease in dogs, it can be quite challenging to find the underlying source, which can make treatment complicated as well. If you can catch liver inflammation in its early stages and can uncover the cause, your vet will be able to prescribe a proper treatment plan and increase the chances of a full recovery.
The best thing you can do as a dog owner is to look out for any symptoms or signs of liver inflammation before it gets any worse. Taking your pup in for his regular check-ups with his veterinarian is one of the only ways to catch any health issues before they escalate out of control.
If you care for your dog and want to give him the best life possible, always pay close attention to any changes in his health, behavior, and appearance.