The liver is essential for serving various crucial functions in the body. It helps detoxify the blood and helps regulate blood levels of amino acids, which form the building blocks of proteins. Furthermore, it helps in the production of cholesterol and special proteins to help transport fats through the body. Furthermore, it helps in converting excess glucose into glycogen for storage and the clearance of bilirubin, as an accumulation of it can cause the skin and eyes to turn yellow.
Breeds genetically susceptible to liver disease in dogs are the Miniature Schnauzer and West Highland White Terrier; although any breed is susceptible to it, it is more common in dogs than in cats. Liver problems in dogs could be the result of toxic, nutritional, or infectious causes.
Symptoms of liver failure in dogs
Liver failure in dogs is characterized by one or more of the following signs: vomiting, loss of appetite, diarrhea, jaundice (yellowing of the eyes & skin), loss of energy, dark urine and a buildup of fluid in the abdomen, abdominal pain and fever may be a feature of its clinical presentation.
Acute Liver Failure in dogs occurs when about 70% of the liver function stops working due to abrupt tissue death within the liver. Acute liver failure can also result from a number of things, such as heat stroke, blood clotting diseases, shock or any sudden circulatory failure and will require testing by your veterinarian to arrive at a conclusion. To assess the liver’s function, the following tests are typically undertaken: Blood chemistry analysis, urinalysis, urinary bile acid concentrations, clotting profile, Buccal bleeding time, X-rays, ultrasounds, CT scans, and even a biopsy of the liver.
Vaccinating dogs against the infectious canine hepatitis virus and avoiding the use of drugs that have harmful hepatotoxins as ingredients can act as preventive measures against liver issues in dogs.
The pet must be hospitalized to receive fluids and supportive therapy. Treatment of any hepatic failure consists of the following basic steps:
- Remove, reverse or correct the inciting cause(s),
- Offer adequate nutrition and prevent malnutrition: Fluids and electrolytes, along with colloid (the gelatinous substance necessary for proper thyroid functioning) replacements and oxygen supplementation, are key aspects of treatment and care.
- Provide specific treatment of the liver disease,
- any complications secondary to the liver’s loss of function, and;
- Offer your dog the best environment to normal hepatic function: Your dog should be placed on restricted activity to allow the liver to regenerate
The recovery period depends on the amount of liver tissue destroyed, along with how well the underlying cause is able to be controlled and managed.
Stem Cell Therapy for dogs
Stem cell therapy, mesenchymal stem cells to be precise, has emerged as a promising strategy for treating liver diseases by repairing affected tissue and immune regulation.
Mesenchymal stem cells may be placed directly into the liver tissue using ultrasound guidance or given intravenously. Mesenchymal stem cells can reduce liver inflammation, differentiate into hepatocytes, and promote hepatic regeneration.