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Liver failure in dogs: when the liver fails


A dog's liver is involved in many metabolic processes in the body. Liver failure can therefore have serious consequences. It is therefore particularly important that liver disease is recognized at an early stage - but this is usually not so easy. If you suspect liver failure, a veterinarian provides certainty - Shutterstock / otsphoto

The liver performs approximately 1,500 different tasks in the body. If it is impaired in its function, this usually becomes noticeable until late. This is mainly due to the fact that the symptoms of liver disease in dogs are very non-specific and could also indicate other clinical pictures. Liver failure is therefore usually discovered very late. If you know what the disease is, you can see a veterinarian in good time.

Hepatic insufficiency: difficult diagnosis

If your dog is more thirsty than usual and drinking more, you may not immediately think of liver failure. But increased thirst can be a symptom of liver failure as well as an increased need for sleep for your four-legged friend. It may take weeks to get more specific signs of liver disease - including jaundice. If this has broken out in your loyal friend, the liver insufficiency is usually well advanced.

Therefore, if you suspect a liver disease, you should see a veterinarian in good time. He can make a diagnosis using your dog's medical history and various exams. In addition to blood tests, X-rays or an ultrasound are usually taken - a liver biopsy can give very precise information about the condition of the organ. At best, these tests reveal the cause of liver failure. These can be very diverse: Both a tumor and metabolic problems or vascular abnormalities are possible triggers.

The right diet for dogs with liver failure

An important part of the therapy of liver failure is a special diet. Because the liver is involved in many metabolic processes, the nutrition of your four-legged friend is crucial for his recovery. A special liver diet provides your dog with all the nutrients he needs, but at the same time ensures that the organ is not unnecessarily burdened with substances that could harm him. Which other treatment methods are suitable for a dog with hepatic insufficiency depends on both the severity and the stage of the disease.

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