Liver problems can develop for a lot of different reasons and it’s often a surprise when we find out that our companion is suffering with a liver problem.
It wasn’t long after Lulu had pretty invasive surgery to have a cancerous tumor removed in her bowel that her blood work showed elevated liver enzymes.
Her surgeon was confident that he was able to remove all of the tumor which gave us great relief, but our next hurdle would be to stabilize her liver problem.
What The Liver Does
After skin, the liver is the largest organ with a huge job too! It manufactures blood proteins, fats, proteins responsible for blood clotting, energy storage for the manufacturing of blood sugar as needed by the body, it stores fat soluble vitamins and iron, it detoxifies the body of drugs, chemicals and other useless substances; it’s responsible for the inactivation of hormones that the body no longer needs as well as the secretion of bile.
Plus, in order to prevent harmful bacteria from moving to other parts of the body, the liver filters the blood coming from the digestive tract.
It’s the liver that actually prepares all the toxins and waste in the body for elimination through the kidneys.
Common Testing For Liver Problems in Dogs
There are quite a few tests vets want to do when determining that your dog has a liver problem. Blood tests are probably the most common diagnostic test which is used to check the dog’s blood including red and white blood cell levels and enzyme levels within the liver.
Alanine aminotransferase and alkaline phosphatase are liver enzymes that often appear elevated if your dog is suffering from liver disease. This was the case with Lulu. Veterinarians will usually want to do a bile acid test and a urinalysis as well.
Besides the above testing, most vets will want to get x-rays and an ultrasound as well. The x-rays will help your vet to actually identify any odd characteristics of the liver such as size whether unusually small or enlarged.
The ultrasound will allow your vet to actually examine the internal structure of the liver and help to figure out what liver condition he is actually dealing with.
In certain cases, a vet may recommend surgery in order to actually explore the liver hands on and gather a sample for a biopsy.
DIET Plays a Large Role In Your Dog’s Treatment For Liver Disease
If your dog has elevated enzymes or has been diagnosed with liver disease then diet is an area that you will NEED TO FOCUS on. There are certain supplements that are needed as well.
This is the first article in a series of “Liver Disease in Dogs”. In this series, I will be sharing Lulu’s diet(s) along with the supplements that she took as well. Her diet and recipes were specifically created by a canine nutritionist tailored specifically for liver disease.
If your dog has liver problems, please don’t ignore them. Your dog’s health can go from bad to worse very quickly. Use my search bar or category menu to see all my articles and recipes dedicated to dogs diagnosed with liver failure.