Buyers Guide: Buying The Best Dog Food For Liver Disease
When youre looking for the best dog food for liver disease, there are a few things youll want to keep in mind. First, its important to choose a food that is specifically designed for dogs with liver problems. This will ensure that the ingredients are of high quality and that the food will be effective in supporting your dogs health. Youll also want to look for a food with a high protein content, as this is essential for dogs with liver disease. Finally, make sure to choose a food that is within your budget.
How Much Should I Feed My Dog?
The amount of food you should feed your dog will depend on their individual needs. If your dog is diagnosed with liver disease, your veterinarian will likely recommend a specific amount of food based on their weight and health condition. However, in general, most dogs with liver disease will need to eat a little more than they did before they were diagnosed. This is because the liver is responsible for breaking down food and absorbing nutrients, so dogs with liver disease may not be able to absorb all of the nutrients from their food. Talk to your veterinarian about how much food your dog should be eating.
Do I Have To Use A Prescription Dog Food?
How Much Does It Cost To Feed A Dog With Liver Disease?
When Should I Feed My Dog?
What Causes Liver Disease In Dogs?
There are many potential causes of liver disease in dogs, including:
- Inherited conditions
- Parasitic infections
What Should I Do If I Think My Dog Has Liver Disease?
Is Liver Disease Preventable
There are a few things you can do to help decrease the risk certain causes of liver disease:
- Ensure your dog is up-to-date on vaccinations for leptospirosis and infectious canine hepatitis.
- Keep toxic substances out of reach of your dog. Promptly contact your vet or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center if you believe your dog has ingested a toxin.
- If your dog is showing symptoms of liver disease, make an appointment with your vet or head to the nearest veterinary emergency room for an emergency vet visit. Time is of the essence, especially in cases of acute liver failure. The sooner the vet can start treatment the better.
- Consider having your vet perform routine wellness bloodwork on your dog. This may allow him or her to catch and address liver value elevations before your dog begins to show symptoms.
Unfortunately, in many cases there is nothing you could have done differently to avoid liver disease. So please dont feel guilty or blame yourself. Instead, arm yourself with information and commit to helping your dog live his or her best life moving forward.
What Are The Symptoms Of Liver Disease
Dogs who have liver conditions may show a variety of signs depending on if they have acute or chronic liver failure and the underlying cause of the liver disease. Some signs of liver disease to watch for include:
- Vomiting and diarrhea
- Abdominal pain which may cause the dog to adopt a hunched or praying/play bow position
- Increased thirst and increased urination
- Loss of appetite
If you notice any of these symptoms, contact your veterinarian immediately. Especially with acute liver disease, the sooner the vet can start treating your dog the better. Also, these signs can accompany other life-threatening conditions like pancreatitis in dogs or a GI obstruction. For this reason, it is always best to play it safe and make an appointment with the vet promptly.
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Summary Of Liver Disease In Dogs
As a dog parent, being familiar with the signs and symptoms of liver disease can help you know when to seek medical care from your veterinarian right away. Though some cases of liver disease can be fatal, there are therapeutic and preventative measures that can be taken to help protect and treat your dog. Some dog breeds are more prone to liver disease than others. Talk with your veterinarian about what you can do to protect your dog.
Types Of Liver Disease In Dogs
The liver serves a role in many vitally important bodily functions. It is critical in the metabolism or breakdown of many drugs, enabling the body to use therapeutic medications. The liver detoxifies the blood, ridding the body of harmful chemicals and metabolites. In addition to its important filtration system, the liver is a very productive organ. By producing glucose from precursors other than carbohydrates, the liver serves to maintain adequate blood sugar levels. It is responsible for manufacturing cholesterol, a substance that is a precursor to bile and many important hormones. The liver is also responsible for producing vital proteins such as the bloods clotting factors and albumin, which is necessary for maintaining fluid balance within the bodys circulatory system.
Here are five types of liver disease in dogs, as well as symptoms and treatment options.
Copper storage disease is most commonly associated with Bedlington Terriers, but it is also recognized in West Highland White Terriers, Doberman Pinschers, and Labrador Retrievers. Copper is absorbed in the intestinal tract and is transported to the liver to be metabolized. Dogs who have an inherited inability to appropriately process copper will develop abnormally high concentrations of the element in liver tissue, which ultimately leads to liver cell damage. A liver biopsy is required to diagnose copper storage disease.
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Frequently Asked Questions About Liver Disease In Dogs
Can my dogs symptoms be indicative of something else besides liver disease?
Of course. While your dog may be showcasing symptoms commonly associated with liver disease, you wont know for sure until your veterinarian does a complete checkup. When it comes to your dogs health, its better to get a true veterinary assessment rather than try to guess what your dog is suffering from.
Is there a cure for liver disease in dogs?
Theres not a cure but there is treatment available to help limit or eliminate the symptoms of liver disease. This can help prolong your dogs life span and introduce a more comfortable quality of life for your pet.
Is it true my dog can get liver disease from drinking bad water?
Two of the many causes of liver disease are mold or algae. Either can be found on stagnant or contaminated water sources. Make sure your dog always has fresh water in his bowl.
Are certain breeds predisposed to liver disease?
Dog breeds like Dobermans, Cocker Spaniels, Yorkshire Terriers, and Rottweilers have a predisposition to liver problems. It doesnt necessarily mean a dog of this breed will suffer from liver disease. It means that its important to take extra precautions in terms of health care for your pup.
The Liver Is Responsible For Several Processes In A Dogs Body It Creates Bile To Aid Digestion And Helps Rid The Body Of Waste The Liver Also Helps A Dog Metabolize Fat Protein Carbohydrates Vitamins And Minerals Additionally The Liver Filters Out The Toxins And Waste Found In Foods And Medications
The early signs of liver disease in dogs are nonspecific. They include loss of appetite, weight loss, and chronic intermittent vomiting and diarrhoea. Vomiting is more common than diarrhoea. Drinking and urinating more often than normal may be the first signs, and the principal reason for seeking medical attention.
In the early stages of liver problems in dogs, the liver swells and enlarges. As the disease progresses, the liver cells die and are replaced by scar tissue. The liver then becomes rubbery and firm. This condition is called cirrhosis. It is not reversible. Before the liver reaches this terminal stage, it can recover from damage and heal itself to the point where your dog has normal liver function. This is possible if proper treatment is instituted early on the extent of recovery depends on the exact cause of the liver damage. Eighty percent of liver cells must die before the liver begins to fail. The signs of liver failure in dogs are jaundice, hepatic encephalopathy, ascites, spontaneous bleeding, and dependent edeoma-swollen lower limbs. Treatment of liver failure is directed toward treating the liver disease that is causing it.
Although the liver looks like a simple brown mass, it is a remarkable and complex organ that serves many essential functions. These include:
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How To Prevent Liver Disease
While keeping your dog healthy involves routine wellness exams, there are other ways to assure liver health. Refrain from feeding your dog fatty foods as this may cause pancreatitis, which can secondarily affect the liver. Make sure your pet is fully vaccinated to prevent infectious causes of liver disease such as leptospirosis. Do your best to keep toxic substances out of your dog’s reach, and provide plenty of opportunities for your dog to exercise since a fit, active dog is less likely to suffer from liver disease brought on by a sedentary lifestyle of overeating.
Types Of Liver Disease
There are two types of liver conditions known as chronic and acute. Chronic liver disease occurs gradually and can be caused by an ongoing health condition like cancer or diabetes. Acute liver failure comes on suddenly and requires immediate medical attention. Poisoning is one of the most common reasons for acute liver failure.
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Bile Acid Stimulation Test:
Measurement of bile acids should be considered the primary test to assess liver function in a non-jaundiced dog. Significantly elevated pre- or post-prandial serum bile acids can result from reduced hepatic reuptake following active absorption of bile acids from the intestinal lumen . If hepatic jaundice is present, then measurement of bile acids is not helpful because they are elevated in biliary stasis.
Treating Liver Disease In Dogs
Like any illness, having an accurate diagnosis for the specific liver disease helps determine the best treatment options. In addition, there are supportive treatments that help dogs to recover, including nutritional support. Always talk to your vet before changing your dogs diet if he has liver disease.
Treatment varies depending on your dogs symptoms. Dogs with mild signs of liver disease often dont need to be hospitalized. They may go home with medications to help with nausea, vomiting and to encourage eating.
Dogs with signs of dehydration, weight loss, and not eating often need to be hospitalized. Treatment in the hospital is geared toward keeping your dog hydrated, providing nutrition, appropriate medications, and close monitoring. Dogs with severe liver disease are at risk for developing problems with other organs, such as the kidneys, and must be monitored closely by medical staff.
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Herbal Remedies In The Treatment Of Liver Problems
Herbal medicines have always played a traditional role in the treatment of liver problems. Two of the most prominent herbs are:
- Dandelion This has long been one of the most useful herbs, stimulating liver function, increasing the flow of bile, helping relieve jaundice, increasing appetite and cleansing the body of toxins.
- Milk Thistle Seeds This is a prominent liver herb with good background research supporting its benefits to the liver. It stimulates liver function, helps protect the cells of the liver from damage, helps repair damaged liver cells and promotes the flow of bile. It will also help improve and regulate the digestion and help the body to eliminate toxins.
Keys To Liver Disease Prevention
The best way to help your dog with liver disease is to prevent it from happening in the first place. Yearly exams and scheduled vaccinations are important to your pets health. Its also important that your veterinarian is aware of all medications and supplements your dog is receiving. The mix of certain medications can cause harm to the liver. Also, certain vaccinations may not be completely necessary for your breed or age of dog.
While its impossible to remove all toxins from your dogs environment, there are plenty of proactive ways you can help your dog avoid liver disease. Speak with your veterinarian about steps you can take to preserve your dogs health as much as possible. One area you can get started is with your dogs diet.
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Will My Dog Always Have To Eat A Special Food And Take Medication
Managing liver disease in dogs is a complex process, and regular reassessments will ensure that your dogs healing is moving in the right direction. You will monitor appetite, activity level, weight, and body condition. In addition, your veterinarian will periodically monitor liver-related blood tests to evaluate the effectiveness of the treatment plan and the course of healing. Many dogs with liver disease can discontinue medications and eat regular life-stage maintenance food once their liver issue is resolved. That said, it all depends on the specific diagnosis. Dogs with chronic liver disease must generally eat a therapeutic diet and take some liver-support medication long-term. Your veterinarian will work with you to help you make the best decisions on behalf of your dog with liver disease.
Is Liver Disease In Dogs Contagious For Humans Or Other Pets
Most causes of liver disease in dogs are not contagious or transmissible to humans. Infectious canine hepatitis is not transmissible to humans, but it can be transmitted to other dogs via feces, saliva, and urine. Leptospirosis can be transmitted to both animals and humans through contact with the urine of an infected animal.
However, most dogs are vaccinated against both viruses as part of the Distemper/Leptospirosis vaccine.
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Liver Disease And Treatment In Dogs And Cats
Canine and Feline liver disease diagnosis and treatment has improved dramatically over the last 20 years due to clinicians working to obtain a definitive diagnosis with improved diagnostic procedures.
Canine and Feline liver disease diagnosis and treatment has improved dramatically over the last 20 years due to clinicians working to obtain a definitive diagnosis with improved diagnostic procedures. Knowledge gained over the years with more definitive diagnoses available has allowed clinical diseases to be separated into categories of infectious, inflammatory, immune-mediated, neoplastic, nutritional and toxic liver disease. Treatment aimed at the specific disease has improved outcome in our patients. Diagnostical procedures for more accurate diagnosis of liver disease includes physical exam findings, clinical pathology, radiology, scintigraphy, abdominal ultrasound , U/S guided fine needle aspirates and tissue biopsies and laparoscopy and exploratory celiotomy and tissue biopsies. Treatment is most successful if the primary cause can be eliminated however supportive care for complications of liver disease and hepatoencephalopathy can also be of great value as the liver heals.
What Dogs Get Liver Cancer
Primary liver cancer usually affects older dogs, but that does not mean it cant affect younger dogs. So far, experts have not noted any breed predispositions to primary liver cancers. However, dog breeds that are predisposed to other types of cancer that can metastasize to the liver, for example Golden Retrievers, a breed with a frequent occurrence of lymphoma and hemangiosarcoma, could potentially see liver involvement in their cancers.
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Dog Liver Disease Treatment Cost
Treatment costs for liver disease vary, Schmidt says. Some liver diseases can be diagnosed and treated for only a few hundred dollars. Liver disease that requires extended hospitalization and/or surgery can cost thousands of dollars for diagnostics and treatments.
For instance, surgery may be needed to remove cancerous cells, says Schmidt. Additionally, A dog born with a portosystemic shunt can be vastly improved by surgery to repair this defect.
Treatment Of Liver Diseases In The Dog And Cat
The treatment of liver disease in the dog and cat ranges from specific therapies aimed at reversing the effects of a known etiology of the liver disease to supportive care of the patient while the liver repairs itself over time, such as in the case of liver toxicity. Secondary effects of liver failure such as coagulopathy, hepatoencephalopathy, vomiting, electrolyte and acid-base deficiencies, seizures, portal hypertension and ascites may occur in addition.
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Liver Disease In Dogs: Gallstones
Gallstones are occasionally found in dogs and cats. Most are serendipitous findings on abdominal radiographs or at necropsy. On rare occasions, gallstones can obstruct the common bile duct, but only finding them on radiographs in patients with evidence of liver disease is not just for removal.
Ionized calcium may play a part in the formation of gallstones as it is the main component of pigment gallstones. Choleliths are rare in dogs owing to the absorption of ionized calcium from the gallbladder, which reduces the concentration of free ionized calcium in bile. Gallstones often cause no signs of your dog and are incidental findings at necropsy or during imaging. If signs are apparent, they may include vomiting, icterus, anorexia, fever, and abdominal discomfort.
Gallstones are diagnosed by abdominal ultrasonography by an expert vet. They appear as hyperechoic foci or can be detected by acoustic shadowing originating from the gallbladder. Exploratory laparotomy should be performed in your vet, and the patency of the common bile duct ascertained if signs persistent. The usual treatment is surgical excision with follow-up therapy with ursodeoxycholic acid.
Is Liver Disease Fatal For Dogs
Depending on the severity of the disease and whether or not the underlying cause can be treated or eliminated, the prognosis for canine liver disease varies. If the cause is addressed before long-term damage occurs, the prognosis can be excellent. The liver is the only visceral organ known to regenerate, so in that respect it is truly remarkable.
Chronic or severe liver disease, however, has a poorer prognosis. In those cases, treatment is limited to managing the progression of disease and minimizing symptoms.
The most common medical management involves a higher carbohydrate/low protein diet to reduce the amount of circulating ammonia in the bloodstream, vitamin supplements, lactulose to bind toxins in the gut, antibiotics, and vitamin K if the patient has bleeding problems. It is essential that your veterinarian monitor your pet regularly if he or she has liver disease in order to control the symptoms.
Even with intensive management, many patients die of their disease, though good control extends the length and quality of their lives.
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