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What is Animal Rehabilitation and Physiotherapy?

Ask anyone to name the vital organs of the dog and you’ll get the usual: kidney, heart, lungs, brain, but for some reason people keep forgetting the liver. It may not look like much—a large, muddy brown-colored wedge of tissue sitting motionless in the abdomen—but don’t be fooled; the liver is as vital to life as an organ can be.

Due to its central role in the body, the liver is susceptible to a wide variety of problems that can threaten the health of dogs, so it’s important for owners to be aware of the signs and causes of liver disease in order to keep your pet in optimum health!

In dogs, severe liver failure can cause dysfunction in many different systems and may even affect important organs like the brain. Veterinarians call this condition acute liver failure. It needs immediate treatment. Long-term recovery will depend on the cause.

Acute liver failure is a very serious condition. It can occur suddenly, or as the end-stage of a chronic liver disease. The liver cleans and detoxifies the blood; it stores reserves of many nutrients and produces hormones that regulate digestion, metabolism and blood coagulation. Failure in the liver causes multiple systemic problems, including fluid in the abdomen (ascites), digestive ulcers, lack of blood coagulation, susceptibility to infection, and hepatic encephalopathy, a liver-related brain disease. Many different conditions can lead to acute liver failure in dogs. Poisoning and infection are some of the most common issues that will trigger a sudden illness. Many endocrine imbalances affect the liver, and cancer or chronic inflammation can slowly destroy tissue. Some factors are the result of a congenital abnormality that is present at birth. Depending on the cause, liver failure can occur at any time in a dog’s life. Some cases are reversible once the issue causing the problem is resolved. The liver is capable of regenerating itself and building new, healthy cells, but too much dead tissue causes scarring and cirrhosis. Many symptoms can be treated supportively with medications that support liver function. Diet change can also put less stress on the liver. If the condition cannot be treated, acute liver failure will lead to death.

In dogs, severe liver failure can cause dysfunction in many different systems and may even affect important organs like the brain. Veterinarians call this condition acute liver failure. It needs immediate treatment. Long-term recovery will depend on the cause. Acute liver failure is a very serious condition. It can occur suddenly, or as the end-stage of a chronic liver disease. The liver cleans and detoxifies the blood; it stores reserves of many nutrients and produces hormones that regulate digestion, metabolism and blood coagulation. Failure in the liver causes multiple systemic problems, including fluid in the abdomen (ascites), digestive ulcers, lack of blood coagulation, susceptibility to infection, and hepatic encephalopathy, a liver-related brain disease. Many different conditions can lead to acute liver failure in dogs. Poisoning and infection are some of the most common issues that will trigger a sudden illness. Many endocrine imbalances affect the liver, and cancer or chronic inflammation can slowly destroy tissue. Some factors are the result of a congenital abnormality that is present at birth. Depending on the cause, liver failure can occur at any time in a dog’s life. Some cases are reversible once the issue causing the problem is resolved. The liver is capable of regenerating itself and building new, healthy cells, but too much dead tissue causes scarring and cirrhosis. Many symptoms can be treated supportively with medications that support liver function. Diet change can also put less stress on the liver. If the condition cannot be treated, acute liver failure will lead to death.

Read more at: https://www.vetary.com/dog/condition/liver-failure-acute

Acute hepatic failure is a condition characterized by the sudden loss of 70 percent or more of the liver’s function due to sudden, massive, hepatic necrosis (tissue death in the liver).

REFERENCES

Jessica Vogelsang, DVM
Life’s Abundance Staff Veterinarian, Author of DVM360 and Owner of Pawcurious.

Becki Baumgartner, Certified Master Herbalist
Practitioner of Natchez Trace Veterinary Services

Huisheng Xie, DVM, PhD
First Chinese veterinary herbal pharmacy in the US. Founder of Xie’s Jing Tang Herbal Inc.

Richard Palmquist, DVM
Chief of integrative health services at Centinela Animal Hospital, international speaker in integrative veterinary medicine, consultant for the Veterinary Information Network and president of the AHVM Foundation

Ronald Koh, DVM, MS, CVA, CCRP, CVCH, CVFT
Assistant Professor of LSU Veterinary Clinical Sciences, committee member of the American Association of Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (AATCVM) and faculty member of Chi Institute and has lectured in the USA and China on acupuncture, herbal medicine and integrative medicine.

What causes Liver Failure and Diseases in Dogs

and are there certain breeds at risk?

These are some of the most common causes of liver failure

Types of poisoning

  • Alcohol Drugs
  • Antifreeze Herbicides, fungicides or insecticides
  • Rat poison
  • Some types of mold, amanita mushrooms or blue-green algae

Infectious diseases

  • Infectious canine hepatitis
  • Leptospirosis
  • Fungal infections
  • Toxoplasmosis

Chronic hepatitis – long-term inflammation of the liver, due to copper accumulation and other causes. This condition is more common among some breeds.

  • Bedlington, Skye and West Highland White Terriers
  • Cocker Spaniels
  • Doberman Pinschers
  • Standard Poodles

Endocrine disease – these may cause or contribute to liver failure.

  • Diabetes Cushing’s Disease
  • Hyperthyroidism

Liver cysts – more common in Cairn and West Highland White Terriers

Cancer – cancer that originates in or spreads to the liver can cause liver failure

Congenital abnormality

  • Hepatic amyloidosis – an abnormal protein, more common among Chinese Shar-Peis
  • Glycogen storage disease – caused by a genetic enzyme deficiency
  • Tendency to liver fibroses – scar tissue replaces normal liver cells
  • Vascular abnormality in the liver
liver disease failure in dogs

IT IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT FOR PET OWNERS TO BRING THEIR SENIOR DOG FOR A QUARTERLY BLOOD CHECK WITH THEIR LOCAL VETERINARIANS

liver disease failure in dogs

Signs and Symptoms of Liver Failure and Diseases in Dogs

Vomiting, poor appetite, and weight loss are often the first signs of chronic liver failure. A dog with these symptoms should be evaluated by a veterinarian before acute liver failure develops. Severe symptoms should be treated as an emergency.

  • Vomiting
  • Excessive thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Bloody diarrhea
  • Jaundice
  • Gastrointestinal bleeding
  • Ulcers Ascites (fluid in the abdomen)
  • Disorientation or aimless wandering
  • Aggression
  • Excessive drooling
  • Poor coordination
  • Blindness
  • Seizures
  • Coma

Liver Failure and Disease – The importance of a proper diagnosis process

Acute liver failure is diagnosed through a full blood workup (hematology), biochemistry analysis, urine analysis, biopsy (the removal and analysis of affected tissue), and ultrasound or radiology imaging.

Hematology/biochemistry/urine analyses will test for:

  • Anemia
  • Irregularities in thrombocytes (clot promoting blood platelets)
  • Abnormally high liver enzyme activity, or liver enzymes spilling out into the bloodstream, signaling liver damage – tests will look for alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and aspartate aminotransferase (AST) enzymes in the bloodstream, as well as an increase in alkaline phosphatase (ALP), and declining levels of aminotransferases (enzymes that cause the chemical change of nitrogen carrying amino)
  • Impairment of protein synthesis
  • Low blood sugar
  • Normal to low blood urea nitrogen (BUN) concentration (i.e., nitrogen level in the urine)
  • The presence of bilirubin in the urine – the red-yellow bile pigment that is a degraded product of the deep red, nonprotein pigment in hemoglobin (the oxygen carrying pigment in red blood cells)
  • The presence of ammonium urate crystals in the urine
  • The presence of sugar and granular casts (solid deposits) in the urine, indicating internal tubular injury from drug toxicity, such as the drug induced toxicity that affects some dogs being treated with pain relievers (also known as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs [NSAIDS])

Lab Tests will be used to look for:

  • High values of total serum bile acid (TSBA) concentrations, which will indicate liver insufficiency. However, if non-hemolytic (not destructive to blood cells) jaundice has already been confirmed, TSBA findings will lose their significance in relation to acute liver failure
  • High plasma ammonia concentration; this, in conjunction with high TSBA concentrations, would be strongly indicative of hepatic insufficiency
  • Abnormalities in blood platelets and coagulation (blood clotting) factors
  • Tissue necrosis and cell pathology; biopsy (tissue sample) results will confirm or negate zonal involvements, and identify any existent underlying conditions

Imaging tests will look for:

  • X-rays and ultrasound tests may indicate an enlarged liver, and other hepatic abnormalities, including conditions that may not be directly related to the liver.

IT IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT FOR PET OWNERS TO BRING THEIR SENIOR DOG FOR A QUARTERLY BLOOD CHECK WITH THEIR LOCAL VETERINARIANS

 

CONVENTIONAL TREATMENT FOR DOGS DIAGNOSED WITH LIVER FAILURE AVAILABLE IN SINGAPORE

Hospitalization is vital for treating acute liver failure. Fluids and electrolytes, along with colloid (the gelatinous substance necessary for proper thyroid functioning) replacements and oxygen supplementation, are key aspects of treatment and care. Your dog will be placed on restricted activity in order to give the liver an opportunity to regenerate. Catheter feeding is recommended for highly unstable patients, while enteric feeding (feeding directly into the intestines) in small amounts is recommended for otherwise stable patients. A normal protein diet with supplemental vitamins E and K is advised.

The common medications used for liver failure are antiemetics, drugs for hepatic encephalopathy (brain disease, with or without edema), hepatoprotectants (to decrease the activity of aminotransferases), coagulopathy drugs, and antioxidants.

TRADITIONAL CHINESE MEDICINE TCM FOR DOGS

Hospitalization is vital for treating acute liver failure. Fluids and electrolytes, along with colloid (the gelatinous substance necessary for proper thyroid functioning) replacements and oxygen supplementation, are key aspects of treatment and care. Your dog will be placed on restricted activity in order to give the liver an opportunity to regenerate. Catheter feeding is recommended for highly unstable patients, while enteric feeding

Liver Happy is a TCM herbal blend that helps irritable and restless dogs, cats and horses.

The Traditional Chinese Medicine indications for this herbal blend are irritability, Liver Qi stagnation with heat, a wiry pulse, red eyes, restlessness, hyperactivity, and a tongue that is purple or red.

Liver Happy is an herbal blend specially formulated with herbs specifically chosen to work synergistically to relieve the symptoms of  irritability, restlessness and hyperactivity while at the same time addressing the underlying causes of these symptoms.

It’s Chinese Principles of treatment are to soothe Liver Qi, clear Heat, and resolve stagnation.

This veterinary herbal formula is based on the ancient Chinese formula Chai Hu Shu Gan found in the text Tai Pin Hui Min He Ji Ju Fang (Imperial Grace Formulary of the Tia Ping Era) written in 1080 by Chen Shi-Wen, et al.

The main ingredients in the Liver Happy formula are:

  • Bai Sho Yao (Paeonia) to soothe the LIver
  • Bo he (Mentha) to move Qi
  • CHhai Hu (Buplerum) to soothe the Liver
  • Chen Pi (Citrus) to dry up Dampness, move Qi
  • Dan Gui (Angelica) to move Blood
  • Gan Cao (Glycyrrhiza) to harmonize
  • Mu Dan Pi (Moutan) to cool Liver
  • Qing Pi (Citrus) to move Qi, soothe Liver, and resolve stagnation
  • Xiang Fu (Cyperus) to soothe Liver and resolve stagnation
  • Zhi Zi (Gardenia) to clear Heat
Xie's Jing Tang Liverhappy for Dogs and Cats

PLEASE CONTACT YOUR LOCAL TCM VETERINARIAN ABOUT XIE’S JING TANG LIVERHAPPY

We had wonderful experience using this product on our 18 years old Jack Russell, Dale. When we were doing his regular blood testing, we notice that he had a spike in his blood works, showing certain liver disease at that point of time. We immediately place him on Xie’s Jing Tang Liver Happy and within a short period of 2 weeks, his blood results were back to normal. His ultrasound images has shown improvement in his liver as well.

– Lester Kwok

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