Excessive amounts of protein should be avoided since they make the liver work harder.
There are many possible causes of liver disease in dogs, including trauma, viral and bacterial infections, immune disease, toxins, a change in blood flow to the liver as a result of heart disease, or it could be brought on by an abnormality the dog was born with.
Signs and symptoms
Some of the common symptoms of liver disease include:
- Lack of appetite and weight loss
- Depression (lack of energy or interest in usual routines)
- Jaundice (yellowing of the gums, whites of the eyes, and even of the skin itself)
- Increased thirst
- Dark-colored urine
- Enlarged abdomen (due to fluid accumulation and enlargement of the liver)
Treatment and help
The type of treatment a dog with liver disease receives will depend on the cause and severity of the disease.
If the liver disease is a result of trauma, the dog may only need to be hospitalized and receive proper dietary management to make a successful recovery. If an infection has caused the disease, the dog will likely need antibiotics and supportive care.
In many cases, a special diet can go a long way in reducing the effects of liver disease. This would involve modifying the dog's diet to include specific types and amounts of protein, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins and minerals. The ultimate goal is to give the dog the nutrition it needs while decreasing the workload on the liver. Excessive amounts of protein should be avoided since they make the liver work harder. Your veterinarian will recommend the best diet for your pet.
If you think that your dog might have liver disease, make an appointment immediately with your veterinarian.