Liver Disease and Your Dog

As your dog ages, his body begins to go through many changes and unfortunately, he becomes susceptible to many diseases.  One such disease is liver disease.  In fact, liver disease is quite common among senior pets.

The liver performs numerous physiological processes and functions.   In a nutshell, liver disease is quite serious for your dog!  What exactly does the liver do?  I’m glad you asked!  Take look.

The liver performs these tasks and more:

Photo courtesy of Hill's Pet Nurtition

Photo courtesy of Hill’s Pet Nurtition

  • Filters impurities in the blood
  • Stores glycogen, blood, vitamins and iron
  • Synthesizes proteins
  • Manufactures bile for the proper digestion of fat
  • Chemicals such as herbicides and pesticides
  • Lead
  • Phosphorus
  • Iron
  • Selenium

There are, unfortunately, many causes of liver disease.  Here are a few:

  • Prolonged use of prescription medications such as antibiotics, anti-fungal medications, deworming products and more
  • Heatstroke
  • Congenital Diseases
  • Anemia
  • Cushing’s Disease
  • Heartworm
  • Cancer
  • Heart Disease
  • Pancreatitis
  • Viral Infections
  • Bacterial Infections

That’s quite a list, isn’t it?  Liver disease really is no joke as it is linked to a host of other health issues.  That being said, it’s really important for you as a good steward of your dog’s health to recognize the signs and symptoms associated with liver disease.  So what are they?

Signs and symptoms of liver disease in dogs:

  • Excessive urination
  • Excessive drooling
  • Excessive thirst
  • Loss of appetite
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Vomiting
  • Bloating
  • Bad breath
  • Lethargy
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Skin issues such as acne or rashes
  • Seizures
  • Jaundice

You may have noticed that many of the symptoms of liver disease are also symptoms of other health issues.  It’s important to make a prompt visit to the vet if you notice any of these symptoms in your dog.  Your vet will perform a thorough medical examination as well as a series of tests to determine if your dog has liver disease or any other disease for that matter.  Either way, it’s imperative to find the culprit of any of those symptoms as it indicates something is wrong.  Always arm yourself with knowledge.  Knowledge is power and it just may save your dog’s life.