Liver Disease (Copper Storage) in Dogs
Inpatient evaluation and treatment are needed for dogs with signs of liver failure. Treatment will be determined by the type of disease, whether it is acute or chronic hepatitis, or it is liver scarring/cirrhosis.
Dogs with liver failure will require inpatient care with fluids and electrolytes supplements.
Making modifications to the dog's diet and providing it with foods low in copper has proven to be effective in most cases. However, most commercially available diets contain excessive amounts of copper, so follow your veterinarian's instructions as to the specifically tailored for your dog. You should also avoid giving your dog mineral supplements containing copper. If required, your veterinarian may provide you with water-soluble vitamins.
In rarer cases, a surgical liver biopsy may be needed to screen dogs for copper-storage liver disease, and to monitor their response to treatment. Be aware that dogs with liver failure are surgical and anesthetic risks.
Living and Management
Following therapy (six months to one year), your dog should be re-biopsied to monitor the effectiveness of the therapy. Additionally, blood tests will be done every four to six months to monitor its liver enzyme levels. The veterinarian may also ask you to monitor your dog's body weight.
If you are considering purchasing a Bedlington Terrier, Labrador Retriever, or Doberman Pinscher, you should have the dog tested for the gene which causes this type liver disease. In the case of Bedlington Terriers, if it's liver copper concentration is less than 400 μ g/g DW at one year of age, it is unaffected. There are also liver registries avaialable for these breeds that indicate "clean" lineages, which diminish the porbability of receiving a diseased dog.
A condition in which the skin becomes yellow in color as do the mucous membranes; this is due to excess amounts of bilirubin.
Transmitting genes from parent to child
A condition in which the liver becomes inflamed
The term for black feces that has blood in it
Another term for jaundice
A condition of dead tissue
An in-depth examination of the properties of urine; used to determine the presence or absence of illness
A medical condition involving excessive thirst
Referring to the liver
The group of processes that involve the use of nutrients by the body
Eliminating or the material that has actually been eliminated
The fluid created by the liver that helps food in the stomach to be digested.
The collection of fluid in the peritoneal cavity.
Any substance known to eliminate feeling; usually applied during a painful medical procedure.
A condition of the blood in which normal red blood cell counts or hemoglobin are lacking.
A certain pigment that is produced when hemoglobin is destroyed.
The process of removing tissue to examine it, usually for medical reasons.
A substance that causes chemical change to another
A disease of the brain of any type
The process of making something larger by dilating or stretching it
Term used to imply that a situation or condition is more severe than usual; also used to refer to a disease having run a short course or come on suddenly.
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