Dog Liver Disease
A dog’s liver is less affected by disease and injury than other organs of its body. In the first place, though it is larger in proportion than the livers of many other species, it is quite well protected by its locations. Moreover, it repairs itself after many cases of abuse. Few dogs act usually die of liver trouble, but there are a few liver problems of some importance that a layperson can frequently recognize. Along with liver disorders, we include those of the gallbladder, that little balloon in which bile is stored as it is manufactured by the liver.
One of the most obvious signs that all is not well with the liver is the yellow pigment seen in the whites of a dog’s eyes, in its skin, gums, and mucous membranes. When these turn yellow the dog does not have a disease called jaundice; he has a condition called jaundice. The disease that causes the condition is not always apparent. It might be toxemia, occlusion of the bile duct, or a tumor.
Jaundice, with or without a pasty gray stool, is a warning sign. It should give all dog owners cause for concern and send them hurrying to the veterinarian.
Hepatitis. ‘When the liver is enlarged, some of it pushes behind the protection of the ribs and can be felt easily. Liver damage from any cause which produces enlargement may be permanent but is usually only temporary. Even though the liver does reduce in size to normal, it still may not be able to function normally.
Obstructive Jaundice. Any condition that prevents bile from escaping into the intestine may be said to be responsible for its becoming absorbed in the blood and turning the tissues of the body yellow. The urine, too, becomes yellow or orange. The stools, without bile mixed with them, become gray and sticky.
Obstructive jaundice is caused in dogs by roundworms which get into the bile duct and plug it, by inflammation of the duct, by stones in the gallbladder which block the exit, or by cancer or growths which press against the duct or gallbladder.
Your veterinarian should be consulted. When the difficulty is caused by a simple blocking of the gallbladder, two household substances will cause it to discharge its contents – fat and any magnesium salt (Epsom salts, milk of magnesia). And a teaspoonful of Epsom salts sometimes brings good results.
Gallstones. Though gallstones have been reported, they occur rarely in dogs. If the diagnosis is gallstones, feeding fat or giving magnesium salts may be unwise. Your veterinarian should provide the treatment or surgery.
Infections. Another cause of jaundice, not of liver origin, is the breaking down of red blood cells, as in bacterial disease, which also damages the liver. Still, another is infectious hepatitis.
Toxins. Poisoning often injures the liver and indirectly causes jaundice. Poisoning with such metals as mercury, arsenic, phosphorus, or thallium may in time cause a reduction from normal in the size of the liver. In such cases, the symptoms may be grayish stools, general debility, and occasional vomiting.
Growths. Tumors are often found in dogs’ livers at a postmortem. Livers are found greatly enlarged (hypertrophied) and occasionally filled with connective tissue (cirrhosis). Abscesses may form when bacteria invade the liver and multiply.
Fatty Livers. These occur in enormously overweight house dogs. Fat cells become interspersed among the liver cells, but how much this interferes with their function is not known. It is impossible to feel the liver or any of the organs in an overweight dog because of the surplus fat all over and inside of the abdomen. Weight reduction removes fat from the liver as it does elsewhere in the body.
Injuries. The liver may be pierced or cut by sharp objects that work through the stomach wall. Being run over, falling from heights, and receiving blows may cause the liver to rupture.
Again let us urge you to consult your veterinarian if you have any reason to believe that liver trouble is present. Watch for the telltale symptoms of jaundice and gray, sticky stools accompanied by debility.
See more: Dog Nose Problem
[…] See more: Dog Liver Disease […]