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Liver Disease (Copper Storage) in Dogs

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Inpatient evaluation and treatment are needed for dogs with signs of liver failure. Treatment will be determined by the type of disease and whether it is acute or chronic in nature.


Making modifications to the dog's diet and providing it with foods low in copper have proven to be effective in most cases. Most commercially available diets contain high amounts of copper, so follow your veterinarian's instructions as to feeding a diet specifically tailored for your dog. You should also avoid giving your dog mineral supplements containing copper. Your veterinarian may also provide you with medications (e.g., penicillamine) and/or nutritional supplements (e.g., zinc) that help eliminate copper from the body.


Living and Management


Blood tests will be done every four to six months to monitor the dog's liver enzyme levels and zinc levels, if the patient is on a zinc supplement. The veterinarian may also ask you to monitor your dog's body weight. Rarely, a liver biopsy will need to be repeated to monitor the effect of treatment.




If you are considering purchasing a Bedlington terrier, you should ask if the dog’s parents have been tested for the gene that causes this type liver disease. There is also a liver registry available that provides information as to a breeding Bedlington’s genetic status. Purchasing Bedlington puppy from a breeder whose dogs are all free from the problematic genes and markers will diminish the probability of receiving an individual who will develop copper storage hepatopathy.



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