7 Biggest Signs Of Liver Disease In Dogs
Table of Contents
- 1 7 Biggest Signs Of Liver Disease In Dogs
- 2 Signs of acute liver failure
- 3 Testing for liver disease in dogs
- 4 What causes liver disease in dogs?
- 5 Treat liver disease in dogs
- 6 Summary
Gastrointestinal SymptomsOne of the most common indications of liver disease in dogs is gastrointestinal symptoms. Separately, these symptoms could be mistaken for something else, but when taken together and paired with other symptoms of liver disease, these become clear indications of a problem.
1. Anorexia and weight lossMost dogs wolf down their food as soon as they get the opportunity. If you notice your dog refusing to eat, you have a right to be concerned. While your dog turning their nose up at a meal once in a while isn’t a big deal, dogs that regularly refuse to eat may be suffering from liver disease. Dogs that lose weight due to lack of appetite are likely suffering from some kind of important issue. Liver disease often results in anorexia to the degree that weight loss occurs.
2. Vomiting and diarrheaIf your dog does eat something, a dog with liver disease may have a hard time keeping it down. Whether your dog is vomiting large amounts or regurgitating bile, regular vomiting is an indication of possible liver disease. Failure to maintain a solid stool is also an indication of liver disease, especially when there is a strange smell associated with it.
3. Excessive drinking and urinationPay attention if your dog can’t seem to be able to get enough to drink. Your dog may drink excessively and whine for water when they don’t have it. All of that water needs to go somewhere, so your dog may show excessive urination as well. If your dog is having urination accidents without explanation, an issue associated with increased water consumption, this could be an indication of liver disease.
Depression and Strange BehaviourYour dog may just not seem as happy and energetic as normal. They may lie around and refuse to go on walks or play with you. Here are some indications of behavior changes that might represent liver disease.
4. DepressionYour dog may seem unable to feel happy and excited. Their tail just never wags anymore and they seem to have lost the spring in their step. This may be especially marked if your young dog suddenly acts like they have aged ten years.
5. Behavior changesYour dog may just seem distant and unable to connect with you like normal. They may have strange behavior or act erratically. Liver disease can result in neurological symptoms that cause your dog to circle or act strangely. At later stages, your dog may stumble, what is known is ataxia, or they may experience seizures.
AppearanceIf you look closely at your dog, you may actually see some of the signs of liver disease in their appearance. Here are some specific things to look for.
6. JaundiceJaundice may be the most recognizable indication of liver disease. It causes your dog’s skin, gums, and eyes to appear yellow. The yellow cast may be very slight or quite prominent.
7. Distended abdomenYour dog may develop an extended abdomen, which may also be tender, as fluid accumulates in the abdomen. Don’t mistake this for a full belly or weight gain. Know how much your dog is eating so that you will notice when the abdomen is distended, not full.
Signs of acute liver failureAcute liver failure happens much more rapidly and severely than typical liver disease. It is often associated with clotting problems and neurologic issues. It may happen due to a sudden injury to an otherwise healthy liver or because a diseased liver has suddenly gotten worse. If your dog suddenly develops neurologic symptoms or their blood isn’t clotting normally, they may be going through acute liver failure. Get your dog to the vet rapidly for intravenous fluids, antibiotics, and medications. The liver is highly capable of regeneration and may be able to recover with sufficient supportive therapy.
Poisons that may affect the liverA common cause of acute liver failure is poison. Some drugs that your veterinarian prescribes for other conditions may also affect the liver. Your veterinarian will carefully monitor your dog’s blood levels to make sure that a prescribed medication is not causing too much damage to the liver. If any decrease or altered function of the liver is determined, your veterinarian will make a decision about stopping or changing the medication. If your dog is not on any medications that generally result in liver damage, it can be a little more challenging to determine what’s causing the problem. Here are a couple of other things that may be at fault.
- Heavy metals. A variety of heavy metals can result in acute liver failure. Certain breeds of dogs are more prone to accumulating copper and may be more likely to suffer liver damage as a result of exposure to even small amounts of copper.
- Herbicides, fungicides, and insecticides. Poisons that work on plants, bugs, and fungus can also hurt your dog. Many of these products are used in gardening and tend to be spread in areas your dog has access to, so accidental poisoning is unfortunately very common. If your dog shows sudden symptoms after being outside, one of these products may be the culprit.
- Cycad plants and Amanita mushrooms. Whether you planted them or not, these plants and fungi may find their way into your yard. Cycad plants, including the popular sago palm, are common house and yard plants that can be extremely toxic to your dog’s liver. Amanita mushrooms can grow wild in your yard and your dog may decide to munch on them.
- Aflatoxins produced by mold or blue green algae. If your dog is playing in standing water or in dark, moist conditions, they may fall victim to the blue-green algae that can grow in standing water and warm weather or the aflatoxins produced by a range of different types of mold.