Liver Disease in Pets

Liver disease is an extremely common condition in cats and dogs. Its causes can be widespread, and its onset can be sudden. 

If your furry family member has been diagnosed with, or is showing signs of liver disease, you might be feeling frightened. The best thing you can do is arm yourself with information, and get your pet the best local treatment available. 

Here is everything you need to know about liver disease in pets: 

What Causes Liver Disease In Pets?

There are two kinds of liver disease: Chronic and acute. 

Chronic liver disease occurs gradually, and is most likely caused by an ongoing health condition, such as cancer, diabetes, Cushing’s disease, or hyperthyroidism. 

Acute liver disease, on the other hand, occurs suddenly and requires immediate medical attention, or else it could be fatal. This could be caused by toxin ingestion, viral or bacterial infection, heatstroke, cysts, or gallstones. 

The problem could also be congenital, or something the pet was born with. Certain breeds of dogs are also more susceptible to liver disease than others, such as Schnauzers, Yorkshire Terriers, Poodles, German Shepherds, Golden Retrievers, and Labrador Retrievers.

Symptoms of Liver Disease in Pets

The liver serves multiple important functions in the body. This includes metabolizing and storing nutrients, producing important enzymes, breaking down toxins, and eliminating waste.

When it is unable to perform any of these functions adequately, a variety of problems could arise. Symptoms include:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Blood in urine or feces
  • Loss of appetite
  • Uncharacteristic lethargy and/or aggression
  • Pacing, restlessness
  • Swollen abdomen
  • Disorientation and a lack of coordination

If left untreated, liver disease could lead to more severe problems such as blindness, coma, and seizures. Call your vet immediately if you have noticed any of these symptoms. 

Diagnosis & Treatment 

The vet will perform blood and urine tests to check your pet’s levels of proteins and enzymes. This will help them determine the condition of the liver and connected structures such as the kidneys. 

It will also help to determine any underlying causes. Ultrasounds, X-rays, and biopsies may also be used to do this. 

Treatment depends on the cause of the liver disease. For example, if it is caused by something like cancer, the vet will target the cancer and reduce any uncomfortable symptoms it causes.

On the other hand, if the liver disease is caused by cysts, surgery may be necessary. If it was caused by an infection, antibiotics will be prescribed. Other medications may also be necessary to heal secondary damage caused by liver issues. 

Tips for Preventing Liver Disease in Pets

Follow these tips to help prevent liver disease in your cats and dogs:

  • Keep up with vaccines and wellness exams
  • Maintain a healthy diet with exercise
  • Don’t let pets drink from stagnant water sources
  • Keep dangerous foods, medications, and other toxins out of reach of pets
  • Follow pet medication instructions carefully

Veterinary Hospital in Frederick, MD

If you are looking for a locally owned veterinary hospital that you can trust, look no further than Old Farm! We provide the very best in diagnostic testing and disease treatment, so your pet can feel better fast. Conveniently located in Frederick, Maryland, we provide compassion and experienced care that you can rely on. 

Call Old Farm Veterinary Hospital today to schedule an appointment!