Cirrhosis in dogs

The liver is the largest gland in the body. It cleanses the blood of toxins. Perhaps that is why nature "insured" and made this body capable of self-healing. Cirrhosis of the liver in dogs is much less common than in humans, but this pathology exists and leads to grave consequences for the entire body of the animal. Therefore, you should know what factors can damage the liver of a pet and what it can lead to.


Causes of pathology

Cirrhosis of the liver is a progressive damage to the tissues of an organ, which is accompanied by destruction, exhaustion, the formation of "nodes" and the replacement of individual sections with fibrous tissue. As a result of changes occurring in the organ, its state, structure and functions are disturbed. Cirrhosis in dogs

The most common cause of liver cirrhosis in dogs is hepatitis, including:

  • viral (20-24%);
  • toxic (13-15% of cases).

In addition to previous chronic hepatitis, the cause of cirrhosis can be:

  • genetic predisposition;
  • obturation (blockage) of the biliary tract;
  • food imbalance;
  • metabolic disorders (diabetes, hemochromatosis);
  • endocrine diseases;
  • circulatory disorders;
  • systemic pathologies of connective tissue (rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus).

In the development of cirrhosis is of great importance:

  • partial protein starvation;
  • vitamin deficiency, especially the lack of vitamins B12, B6, E.

Toxic damage to the liver is caused by chemicals - remedies for fleas and ticks, toxic chemicals, drugs. It has been established that cirrhosis in dogs leads to an overdose of Eitromycin, Tetracycline, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs - Papaverine, Tiabendazole, Testosterone, corticosteroids.

In dogs with a thin layer of fatty tissue (greyhounds, huskies, Doberman pinschers, collie, terriers), there is a high propensity for liver intoxication when using lipophilic drugs, in particular barbiturates.

The long-term effect of viruses on liver cells leads to the formation of proteins, which the immune system perceives as foreign and destroys the entire cell. Hereditary predisposition is expressed in the "failure" of the cells of the immune system of the dog. They begin to fight against the cells of their own body.

In addition to viruses that cause infectious hepatitis, liver damage occurs as a result of parasitic infection. Cirrhosis develops cyclically. Depending on the state and functional insufficiency of the liver, there are two phases:

  • active;
  • inactive.

The phases of the development of cirrhosis vary and the symptoms of the disease.

Symptoms of liver pathology

The first sign of cirrhosis is a lack of appetite in the dog. In the inactive phase, external changes are almost absent. There is a decrease in the activity of the animal due to general weakness, lethargy, indistinct dyspeptic disorders - abdominal distension, tenderness when feeling it. Cirrhosis of the liver in dogs

Palpation of the liver is usually enlarged. She stands for the right last rib. The veins in the anterior abdominal wall and in the lower part of the lateral surface of the chest are dilated. Significantly expressed symptoms of the disease in the active phase. The animal has:

  • severe general weakness;
  • complete refusal to eat;
  • vomiting;
  • unstable chair;
  • bloating due to gas accumulation;
  • temperature ranges from subfebrile to febrile.

Mucous and skin has an icy color with a grayish-dirty shade. Traces of ulcers and scratches are visible on the skin. Single hemorrhages appear. In some cases, sick dogs have spider veins, hair loss, bright red tongue. When probing lymph nodes are enlarged.

The main threatening symptom of cirrhosis, in addition to jaundice, is ascites - the accumulation of fluid in the abdominal cavity. Ascites cause congestion in the veins. Enlarged veins are visible not only in the abdomen. There is an expansion of the hemorrhoidal veins, the lower veins of the esophagus, the stomach, which, if ruptured, causes severe bleeding that threatens the dog’s life.

With the progression of cirrhosis, liver function is impaired. Hepatic tissue is increasingly replaced by connective. The liver does not cope either with digestive and enzymatic functions. It ceases to neutralize the internal toxic substances - ammonia, the products of protein decay.

Symptoms of intoxication of the body, a sharp decrease in energy reserves in the brain tissues, which is accompanied by a violation:

  • spatial orientation;
  • behavior;
  • sleep.

The dog then falls into a state of euphoria, then clogs itself in a corner of fear. There is a trembling paws and heads. From the mouth of the animal comes the "sweet" liver smell. These changes are still reversible, this state is considered "predkoma". The increase in intoxication is accompanied by loss of consciousness, lack of response to stimuli.

In case of post-necrotic cirrhosis of the liver, some parts of the organ sink, condense, ducts subside, and nodes are formed from intact cells, "clamped" by dense fibrous tissue. The liver decreases in size, false bile ducts are formed, blood circulation is disturbed. In postnecrotic cirrhosis, in addition to the symptoms characteristic of the active stage of cirrhosis, there are bleeding from the nose, gums, anus.

In the last stage of postnecrotic cirrhosis, the animal is severely depleted, the liver is sharply reduced and cannot be felt due to strong ascites. The skin flakes off, dense plaques appear on it. Wool thinned, sparse, fragile. The duration and quality of life of the animal depend on the early diagnosis of pathology and adequate treatment.

Treatment of cirrhosis

For early detection of liver pathology at the stage when the disturbances are still reversible, laboratory and biochemical blood tests are used. Ultrasound can show an increase in organ and dilation of the ducts. Radiography is less informative, since in the early stages of the pathology, the density of the liver is not different from the surrounding organs, and its swelling is not very pronounced.

The most informative analysis is endoscopic examination of an organ with tissue sampling for morphological examination. Important steps in the treatment of cirrhosis in dogs are:

  • detoxification measures;
  • restoration of venous function - the use of venotonics and angioprotectors;
  • normalization of bile outflow - the use of choleretic drugs;
  • elimination of edema - the use of diuretics.

For symptomatic therapy prescribed:

  • antipyretic;
  • painkillers.

In the initial stage of cirrhosis, hepatoprotectors can be prescribed. In the active phase of cirrhosis, subcutaneous infusions of glucose and insulin, glucose and vitamins are shown. Glucocorticoids can be prescribed to reduce inflammation, pruritus, jaundice.

In dropsy of the abdomen, glucocorticoids increase and prolong the effect of diuretic drugs. To hormone therapy did not provoke complications from the gastrointestinal tract, cytostatics are administered. For the normalization of blood circulation prescribed Reserpine, Eufillin. cirrhosis

If infection is the cause of cirrhosis, then antiviral drugs or antibiotics are prescribed. Also injected vitamins of group B (B5, B6, B12, B 15) and vitamins C, E.

An important component of the complex treatment of cirrhosis in dogs is proper nutrition. Diet implies a sufficient content in the diet of proteins, carbohydrates to maintain energy and provide "building material" for the restoration of liver cells.

Fats need to limit and completely eliminate animal fats. It is necessary to introduce vegetables to normalize the work of the intestines and as a source of macro- and microelements.


Measures to prevent cirrhosis include the following:

  • timely treatment of gastrointestinal diseases;
  • warning of poisoning;
  • balanced nutrition or high-quality dry food;
  • timely vaccination of dogs;
  • carrying out deworming.

If a liver pathology is suspected, it is necessary to contact a veterinary clinic. Self-medication or ignoring the symptoms of an organ malfunction can result in the death of a pet.

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