Liver Function Test for Dogs

If you suspect that your pet may have abnormal liver function as a result of some type of liver condition or other medical problem, it's a good idea to speak with your vet about the possibility of a liver function test. The liver is one of the most important organs in your dog's body. It helps to regulate the blood and to clean out toxins from your pet's bloodstream. Without a properly functioning liver, these toxins can build up to dangerous levels, causing your pet all types of related problems. Liver function tests are easy to perform, and can help to save your pet's life by providing a warning of liver conditions early on.

Importance of Liver Function Tests

The liver is a highly resilient organ in your dog's body. It is capable of continuing to perform at a high level even when well over half of the liver tissue itself has died or been compromised as a result of some type of condition or disease. However, simply because your dog's body is capable of continuing to function for a certain extended period of time when this occurs, does not mean that you can avoid thinking about your pet's liver function altogether. In fact, many pet owners are shocked to learn that, by the time outward symptoms of compromised liver function show in their pets, the damage to the liver is often at or above 80 percent of the total amount of tissue. At this point, it's very difficult to maintain liver function and reverse the symptoms.

Administering a Liver Function Test

Liver function tests can easily be done at the vet's office. They are typically done through a simple blood test. Your vet will extract a small sample of your dog's blood via a syringe. This procedure is quick and causes most dogs no noticeable signs of pain or discomfort when done correctly. The blood will then be sent over to a lab for analysis. At the lab, technicians will test the blood for the presence of certain liver hormones and enzymes, as well as the presence of toxins that are typically kept out of the blood by the liver. Depending upon the relative levels of those compounds, the technicians at the lab will be able to determine what the function of your pet's liver is.

Following the Liver Function Test

After the liver function test, you and your vet can discuss the results. Once you know how well your pet's liver functions, you should work with your vet to try to find the best way to keep it working as well as possible. This could mean managing it through diet or through different medicines. It may also mean a change in other lifestyle habits like exercise. For more information about liver function tests, speak with your vet.