Cirrhosis of the liver is the generalized (diffuse) formation of scar tissue, associated with regenerative nodules, or masses, and deranged liver architecture. Fibrosis of the liver, on the other hand, involves the formation of scar tissue that replaces normal liver tissue. This condition can be inherited or acquired. Doberman pinschers, cocker spaniels, and Labrador retrievers are especially susceptible to long-term (chronic) inflammation of the liver; a condition known as chronic hepatitis.
Your veterinarian will perform a thorough physical exam on your dog, taking into account the background history of symptoms and possible incidents that might have precipitated this condition. A blood chemical profile, a complete blood count, an electrolyte panel and a urinalysis to rule out other causes of disease are also standard examination procedures.
A fine needle aspirate should be taken from the liver for a sample to be sent for cytologic analysis. A liver biopsy taken via laparoscope may also be necessary to form a definitive diagnosis.
Patients with minimal signs can be treated on an outpatient basis as long as they are still eating normally. Patients with more severe signs should be hospitalized, given fluid therapy if necessary and have a feeding tube inserted if they are showing symptoms of anorexia. Electrolytes may be supplemented while administering fluids, and some patients respond well to B-complex vitamins.
If there is abdominal fluid build-up, the fluid will need to be tapped and removed, and sodium restricted in the diet until the cause of the build-up has been resolved.
Dogs displaying signs of hepatic encephalopathy (ammonia buildup in the blood causing neurologic signs) should have food withheld, as should dogs that are vomiting and/or suffering from inflammation of the pancreas. For hepatic encephalopathy, dogs may be given soy or dairy protein in combination with medical treatment to increase nitrogen tolerance. Such patients should have individualized protein portions suited to their level of hepatic dysfunction. Albumin levels should be maintained.
If surgery is being considered in such patients, a clotting profile will be performed, sine patients with longer clotting times will have an increased chance of bleeding, even during minor surgeries.
Your veterinarian will schedule regular check-ups with you for your dog. At these visits, blood work will be done, including monitoring of total serum bile acids. Your veterinarian will also observe your dog's ongoing body condition and observe to see if fluid is building up in the abdomen. Contact your veterinarian if your dog's abdomen appears to be larger than normal, is behaving strangely, or seems to be losing weight.
A condition in which the liver becomes inflamed
A gland that aids in both digestive and insulin functions
An in-depth examination of the properties of urine; used to determine the presence or absence of illness
Referring to the liver
A condition in which the skin becomes inflamed
The fluid created by the liver that helps food in the stomach to be digested.
The process of removing tissue to examine it, usually for medical reasons.
a) inhaling b) getting out fluid or gas by the act of sucking.
A disease of the brain of any type