Dog liver failure and death

The liver is a fundamental organ for the dog’s survival, it is there that several drugs are metabolized and released in active form into the bloodstream. This blog post will talk about liver failure that can affect dogs and lead them to death.

Dog liver failure and death

Failure of the liver function is called hepatic insufficiency. Liver failure happens due to lesions present in the liver cells that causes it to reduce and even stop exercising its biological function.

The common symptoms are the dog stops eating, drinking a lot of water, vomiting, diarrhea, increased urination, weight loss, yellow skin and mucous membranes, internal bleeding, and fluid accumulation in the abdominal region and consequent distention.

If the animal presents these symptoms, the veterinarian should be sought for the correct diagnosis and use of the appropriate treatment, thus avoiding the animal’s death.

Liver injuries can have some causes such as:

  • Intoxication;
  • Action of chemotherapeutics and medications;
  • Infectious;
  • Cancer/Tumor.

Intoxication

Intoxication can happen due to several factors such as copper poisoning, plant toxins and pesticides and herbicides.

  • Copper poisoning: Copper is an essential microelement for dogs, it acts in several biological processes, but when ingested in excess, copper can accumulate in liver cells resulting in cell and liver damage, which when generalized can lead to hepatic insufficiency.
  • Poisoning by plant toxins: Some plants are toxic to dogs such as Sago Palm, Tulips, Lily of the Valley, Oleander, Philodendrons, Rhododendron and others. The toxins present in some of these plants can damage the liver in different ways, leading to a liver failure.
  • Poisoning by pesticides and herbicides: Pesticides are chemical substances responsible for eliminating pests from crops and plantations. Herbicides are a type of pesticide responsible for eliminating weeds that grow in crops or plantations. Accidental consumption of these chemicals by the dog can lead to liver damage, resulting in liver failure.

Chemotherapy and drug action

Many drugs and chemotherapy drugs are metabolized by the liver. The liver has a fundamental role in the activation of some drugs, however some metabolites generated by these drugs can accumulate in liver cells leading to cell and liver damage.

Drugs such as anticonvulsants, chemotherapeutics, anthelmintics and glucocorticoids are the most common to lead to liver damage and these drugs are responsible for drug-induced hepatitis.

Infectious

Infectious diseases can be caused by bacteria, viruses, and fungi. The main causes of liver failure in dogs are Leptospirosis and canine viral hepatitis.

  • Leptospirosis: Leptospirosis is a disease caused by the bacteria Leptospira. Leptospira are present in mice that contaminate dogs through contaminated mice urine. The contact of the dog with the urine of the infected mouse causes the bacteria to penetrate the skin of the animals, and through the blood circulation producing lesions in several organs, mainly kidneys and liver.
  • Canine viral hepatitis: Infectious canine hepatitis is a viral infection caused by canine adenovirus type 1. The virus can be acquired by contact with oronasal secretions. When the virus infects the dog, it makes viremia going to several organs, and the liver is the organ that suffers most of the lesion. This disease can be prevented by vaccinating the dog.

Cancer / Tumor

Cancer and tumors can develop in the liver of dogs, damaging healthy tissue and resulting in kidney failure. Tumors may originate in the liver or may be metastases from other tumors present in the dog. Malignant tumors can severely damage the dogs liver, causing them to experience a lot of pain and suffering.

Liver function

The liver is a very important organ for dogs. It is located in the abdominal region of dogs close to the stomach. One of the main functions of the liver is to filter the blood and eliminate toxins.

In addition, the liver is responsible for producing proteins, clotting factors, triglycerides, cholesterol and bile. Thus acting in several biological processes of the dog.

Conclusion

 The liver is an extremely important organ for the dog as it exerts several biological functions to maintain the dog’s homeostasis. Several factors can injure the liver leading to loss of liver function which can result in the animal’s death. Therefore, when showing any symptom, the animal must be taken to the veterinarian, avoiding the disease aggravation and even the animal’s death.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): Dog liver failure and death

 

What are the symptoms of liver failure in dogs?

The dog with liver failure may have abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting, lack of appetite, weight loss and a yellowish color in the skin, mucous membranes, and eyes.

How to treat liver failure in dogs?

Treatment of liver failure must first eliminate the cause of the liver damage, and so medications can be given that can minimize liver functions like metabolism of proteins, carbohydrates, and medications.

What causes liver failure in dogs?

Liver injuries can have some causes such as:

Intoxication by plants, toxins and cooper;

Action of chemotherapeutics and medications;

Infectious like virus (canine adenovirus) and bacterial (leptospirosis);

Cancer/Tumor.

What is liver failure in dogs?

Failure of the liver is called hepatic insufficiency. Liver failure happens due to lesions present in the liver cells that causes it to reduce and even stop exercising its biological function.

The common symptoms are the dog stops eating, drinking a lot of water, vomiting, diarrhea, increased urination, weight loss, yellow skin and mucous membranes, internal bleeding, and fluid accumulation in the abdominal region and consequent distention.

Reference

Piacesi, T. M. A., Veado, J. C. C., Bandeira, C. M., Carneiro, R. A., Viana, F. A. B., & Bicalho, A. P. D. C. V. (2010). Hepatite infecciosa canina: relato de caso. Revista Brasileira de Ciência Veterinária, 17(3-4).

Santana, J. M., Soares, A. C., Sales, L. H., Melo, M., & Oliveira, N. (2014). Intoxicação por cobre em animais domésticos. Enciclopédia Biosfera, 10(18).

Santos, J. C. A., Riet-Correa, F., Simões, S. V., & Barros, C. S. (2008). Patogênese, sinais clínicos e patologia das doenças causadas por plantas hepatotóxicas em ruminantes e eqüinos no Brasil. Pesquisa Veterinária Brasileira, 28, 1-14.

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