Liver Cirrhosis Symptoms in Dogs

Liver cirrhosis is one of the more common and severe conditions that results at the end stages of liver failure and liver disease in dogs. The liver, which is responsible for storing certain vitamins and producing different types of bile to help process a variety of fluids and foods that come through the body, is subject to damage over time as a result of some of the foods that your pet eats.

These, combined with other diseases that may affect the liver, can ultimately result in liver cirrhosis, which is a condition that is characterized by dead liver cells. The loss of liver function is very difficult to reverse, but can be maintained at a certain level with proper care and planning. Read on for some of the most common liver cirrhosis symptoms in dogs.


The only truly unique symptom of liver damage and cirrhosis in dogs is jaundice. All other symptoms on this list are those that can also be found as a result of certain other conditions as well. Jaundice in humans results in a yellowing of the skin; the same is true for dogs, although it may be less noticeable because of their fur. Look especially for yellowing of the lips and gums. The tongue may also be discolored as well. There may also be a touch of change of color around your dog's eyes as a result of jaundice too.

Gastrointestinal Upset

A variety of different gastrointestinal system issues can develop in your pet as a result of his liver cirrhosis. These include frequent vomiting (which may include yellowish bile), diarrhea episodes, and loss of appetite. These symptoms may be persistent and regular or they may only strike periodically.

Weakness and Lethargy

If your pet is suffering from cirrhosis of the liver, he will not be able to process all of the nutrients in the food that he eats as he should. The result is that he will have an overall lower energy level than he would otherwise. Take note if your pet seems to spend an inordinate amount of time sleeping or lying down. Note also if he is reluctant to get up to play or walk. If he spends excessive time climbing the stairs, this may also be a sign of weakness of this type.

Discolored Urine and Feces

Due again to the chemical imbalance in yoru dog's system, his urine and feces may have unusual colors. Look out for grey colored feces and for orange hued urine. These are both signs of liver cirrhosis in later stages.

Abdominal Distension

As extra fluids and biles build up in your pet's body, his abdomen may become distended and swollen.

There are additional symptoms that may be, less frequently, associated with liver cirrhosis in dogs. If you notice any of these symptoms or have any other cause for concern, take your pet to the veterinarian for examination as quickly as you can.