Dog Liver Failure Symptoms

Dog liver failure can occur in pets that suffer from liver disease, or it may have a sudden onset due to a high level of poisonous materials in the body. The liver is a vital organ that is employed when toxins are filtered in the body. The liver has other functions such as providing energy or administration of fat. The symptoms of liver failure should be an alarming sign for all dog owners.

Liver Disease Symptoms

The symptoms of liver failure may be preceded by symptoms of liver disease or have a sudden onset. Liver disease may be caused by exposure to toxins, but it can also be an idiopathic condition. The symptoms of liver disease include:

  • Vomiting
  • Lack of appetite
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Weight loss
  • Lethargy and lack of activity
  • Jaundice or yellow eye whites and mucous membranes

These symptoms will be manifested when the disease is in an advanced stage. During the initial stages of liver disease the dog may not develop any symptoms, as the liver has the capacity to work even when more than 60% of it is damaged. Liver disease can advance into liver failure, which may not always be reversible and can lead to death.

Ideally, the liver disease should be identified while it is still reversible and the dog should receive a diet that will support the liver and help it recover.

Canine Liver Failure Symptoms

Canine liver failure will have signs that shouldn't be ignored:

  • Chronic vomiting and diarrhea (if the dog has ingested a toxic item)
  • Jaundice, yellow eyes and gums
  • Seizures and spasms
  • Irritability and aggressive behavior
  • Excessive barking or whining
  • Drooling and foaming at the mouth
  • Walking in circles
  • Confusion
  • The food and fluids may not be processed and these will cause a bloating of the stomach
  • Lethargy

These are all symptoms that require immediate veterinary help. The liver failure may not be treatable, but the dog can be helped to feel more comfortable. Some of these symptoms may also point to a different disease (such as epilepsy), so the vet should perform a thorough examination of the dog.

Preventing Liver Failure

Liver failure may not always be prevented, as the precise causes are not known. However, you may prevent liver failure that is due to toxicity. Make sure to remove all toxic foods and materials from your home or keep these locked in a place where the dog doesn't have access.

Be cautious when administering over the counter medications to your pet. These may be toxic if administered in high amounts. Fat soluble vitamins may also lead to toxicity in time, if administered in excess. Human medications may be toxic for dogs.

The dog's diet shouldn't contain deep sea fish (which may have traces of mercury).

Obese pets are more susceptible to developing liver disease, so keep your dog active and fit.