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The liver is an organ of great importance, since it intervenes in vital functions such as the removal of waste products, detoxification of the blood or the production of enzymes. In this AnimalWised article we are going to talk about the consequences that cause pathologies that affect its functioning, which causes liver failure in dogs, in this case.
We will see below what are the symptoms of liver failure in dogs, its symptom and what will be the treatment more suitable to apply. ¡Keep reading!You may also be interested in: Hepatic failure in cats - Symptoms and treatment Index
- The development of liver failure in dogs
- Symptoms of liver failure in dogs
- Causes of liver failure in dogs
- Treatment of liver failure in dogs
The development of liver failure in dogs
The main problem with liver disease is that its first symptoms are nonspecific, which means that these can be confused with other diseases, thus delaying its diagnosis. Our dog can stop eating or do it in less quantity, you can lose weight, vomit or, to a lesser extent, have diarrhea. We can also observe that he drinks and urinates more than usual. It is at this time that we must seek veterinary assistance.
The liver will start to swell and, as the disease progresses, their cells will begin to die. This fact causes its conformation to be modified, hardening in an irreversible way. It is what is known by the name of cirrhosis. Even so, the liver is able to compensate for its functions until a good part of its cells are dead. At this time it will fail and symptoms such as the ones we will see below will appear.
Symptoms of liver failure in dogs
The symptoms that liver failure will cause are the following:
- Jaundice: When the liver does not do its job well, bile accumulates in the body and this is what gives a yellowish tone to the mucous membranes and even the eyes. In addition, for this same effect we will notice that the urine acquires a dark brown color.
- Encephalopathy liver: as its name suggests it consists of the brain swelling due to toxins present in the blood, such as ammonia. With this alteration the dog will be uncoordinated, disoriented, weak, we will notice changes in its behavior, hypersalivation or stupor. This symptomatology appears and disappears. In advanced cases, seizures and even coma may occur.
- Ascites: it is the accumulation of fluid in the abdomen, in this case because serum proteins decrease and the tension in veins that carry blood to the liver increases.
- Bleeding: They can occur spontaneously in cases where liver failure is more advanced. They usually appear in the stomach, intestine, or urinary system. Thus, we can see blood in feces, vomit or urine. Bruises may also appear on different parts of the body.
- Edema: edema, that is, accumulation of fluid, may appear in the extremities, also related to a decreased level of serum proteins.
It is important to know that liver failure has various causes. Therefore, we must diagnose the disease of origin in order to treat it..
Causes of liver failure in dogs
As we said, different problems may be behind liver failure, such as poisonings (by insecticides, lead, drugs such as paracetamol, etc.), hepatitis, leptospirosis, filariasis, Cushing's syndrome, diabetes or tumors, both primary and originating metastasis.
The liver could also be damaged by gallstones or pancreatitis. Also, some abnormal veins, known as shunt, they prevent the blood from reaching the liver, so that toxins are not eliminated and the dog will present hepatic encephalopathy, which we have already talked about. There are different types of shunts. Some may be congenital while others may arise in a cirrhotic liver..
Treatment of liver failure in dogs
As we have commented, the treatment of liver failure depends on the cause that originates it. To reach the diagnosis the veterinarian can resort to tests such as blood tests, the ultrasounds, the TAC waves biopsies. If we are facing an infection we must treat it with the appropriate drugs, always prescribed by our veterinarian. Blockages and some tumors can be resolved with surgery. In the shunt it is also usually necessary to intervene and, if it is not possible, the encephalopathy that produces.
In short, it will be the veterinarian who decides the treatment of the disease but also of complications, which usually implies the establishment of a specific diet and various drugs to improve coagulation, prevent seizures or avoid ulcers. Recovery and prognosis they will depend on the damage that have been produced in the liver.
This article is merely informative, at AnimalWised.com we do not have the power to prescribe veterinary treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the vet in the event that it presents any type of condition or discomfort.