Can Liver Disease in Dogs Be Cured?

Liver disease in dogs is a common disease and may be fatal. The liver disease is in the top 5 canine diseases that lead to death. Detecting the condition in a timely manner can save the dog’s life. Full recovery from a liver disease may be possible, but it is rare and only possible if only a small part of the liver is affected. However, the liver disease can be managed with medication, intravenous fluids and a change in diet and lifestyle.

Liver Disease in Dogs

Liver disease is a broad term that designates a number of liver problems. The liver is an organ that removes the toxins from the dog’s blood. The liver may be still functional even if more than 70% of the liver is affected by a disease. However, if the disease is not detected in time, the damage may advance and may lead to death, as the liver may be unable to process the toxins.

Causes of Liver Disease

Liver disease in canines may be caused by a number of factors:

  • Exposure to toxic materials (bleach, insecticides, lead)
  • Chronic infections (including teeth infections)
  • Hepatitis
  • A diet rich in fats
  • Hereditary factors (some dog breeds are more prone to liver problems)
  • Side effects of drugs (i.e. corticosteroids, cortisone, antibiotics, certain dewormers administered for a long period of time)

Symptoms of Liver Disease in Canines

You should monitor your pet and consult the vet if needed. The early detection of the liver disease can reverse the liver disease and make it manageable; if the liver disease is detected when more than 80% of the liver is affected, the chances of survival are very low.

Watch out for symptoms such as:

  • Jaundice (the eyes, gums and even the skin may have a yellowish color)
  • Vomiting; in some cases the pet may throw up blood
  • Diarrhea, may be bloody; the feces may be paler than usual and may also be yellow or orange
  • Frequent urination; the urine may have a more intensive color (i.e. orange)
  • Increased thirst
  • Depression and lack of activity
  • Circling and strange behavior
  • Pot bellied appearance

Treatment Options

The liver disease may be detected through performing several blood and urine tests.

The treatment options will depend greatly on the stage of the disease; if less than half of the liver is affected, the vet will recommend a diet change. In this case, the liver disease may be cured.

The diet should allow the liver to regenerate. The dog should stay away from sugar, grilled meat or bones, red and green peppers or tomatoes. Wet food is more recommended.

You should also provide distilled water instead of tap water to your pet.

If the liver disease is more advanced, the vet may prescribe intravenous fluids.

Drugs are not recommended for pets with liver problems, as drugs contain toxins that may be difficult to absorb by the liver.

Natural remedies may be helpful for dogs with liver disease.