Your dog’s liver helps to digest food and hormones, while removing toxins from the body. When the liver suffers from an illness, it can stop doing its job and cause your dog to get very sick. If your dog’s liver stops working, he may suffer from low appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, a belly filled with fluid, and jaundice or yellowing of the gums and eyes.
What causes liver failure in dogs?
Liver failure can be caused by many conditions, including the following:
Pharmaceutical preparations. Some medications, including nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines and some anticonvulsants, can rarely cause liver failure.
Toxins. Plants, as well as other household and environmental toxins, can cause liver failure. The most common plant that causes liver failure in dogs is the sago palm. Some blue-green algae and some varieties of wild mushrooms can also cause liver failure.
Infections. Some bacterial infections can cause liver failure. An example is leptospirosis, a bacterial-like organism transmitted through the urine of raccoons and foxes. Leptospirosis can cause liver failure, is treated with antibiotics and often requires hospitalization.
Cancer. Tumors can cause liver failure if a sufficient amount of liver is affected.
How to prevent liver failure in dogs?
Liver failure is not always preventable. However, here are a few steps you can take to reduce your dog’s chances of suffering from liver failure:
Get vaccinated against health-issue in your area that can cause liver health-issue. Leptospirosis is a common cause of liver health-issue in dogs in the United States. This is a spirochete (a bacterioid organism), the carrier of which are mainly foxes and raccoons. This is often prevented by annual vaccination.
Be sure to take the recommended blood tests after your dog starts taking new medications. Although this happens rarely, some medications can cause liver failure. Your veterinarian usually recommends taking a blood test after you start taking a medicine that may have such potential.
Make sure that your dog’s environment is as safe as possible. Removes toxins from the environment, including xylitol (found in chewing gum and peanut butter), household chemicals, mushrooms in the yard and other toxic plants.
If you are concerned about your dog’s liver condition or other potential causes of liver health-issue, talk to your veterinarian. They can help formulate a plan based on your dog’s lab work and lifestyle.