Cirrhosis of the liver in dogs

The liver is the largest gland in the body. It purifies the blood of toxins. Perhaps, therefore, nature "insured" and made this body capable of self-recovery. Cirrhosis of the liver in the dog is much less common than in humans, but this pathology exists and leads to severe consequences for the entire animal body. Therefore, you should know what factors can damage the pet's liver and what it can lead to.


Causes of pathology development

Cirrhosis of the liver is a progressive lesion of the organ tissues, which is accompanied by destruction, depletion, formation of "nodes" and replacement of individual areas with fibrous tissue. As a result of changes in the body, its state, structure and functions are disturbed. Cirrhosis of the liver in dogs

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

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

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

  • hereditary predisposition;
  • obturation (blockage) of the biliary tract;
  • food imbalance;
  • disturbance of metabolic processes (diabetes mellitus, hemochromatosis);
  • diseases of the endocrine system;
  • circulatory disturbance;
  • systemic pathology 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 liver damage is caused by chemicals - remedies for fleas and ticks, pesticides, medicines. It has been established that cirrhosis of the liver in dogs leads to an overdose of Eitromycin, Tetracycline, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs - Papaverin, Tiabendazole, Testosterone, corticosteroids.

In dogs with a thin layer of fatty tissue (greyhounds, husks, Doberman pinschers, collies, terriers), a high predisposition to liver intoxication when using lipophilic drugs, in particular barbiturates.

The long-term effect of viruses on liver cells leads to the formation of proteins that the immune system perceives as alien 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 organism.

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

  • active;
  • inactive.

In terms of the development of cirrhosis, the symptoms of the disease also differ.

Symptoms of liver pathology

The first sign of cirrhosis is the 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, fuzzy dyspeptic disorders - bloating, soreness with its palpation. Cirrhosis of the liver in dogs

At palpation the liver, as a rule, is increased. It stands for the right last rib. The veins in the anterior abdominal wall and in the lower part of the lateral surface of the thorax are enlarged. Significant symptoms of the disease in the active phase. An animal has:

  • strong general weakness;
  • complete refusal to eat;
  • vomiting;
  • unstable stools;
  • bloating due to the accumulation of gases;
  • the temperature varies from subfebrile to febrile.

Mucous and skin is icteric with a grayish-dirty tint. On the skin there are traces of ulcers and scratching. There are single hemorrhages. In some cases, sick dogs have vascular sprouts, hair loss, bright red tongue. When probing, the lymph nodes are enlarged.

The main menacing symptom of cirrhosis, in addition to jaundice, is ascites, a fluid accumulation in the abdominal cavity. Ascites cause stagnant phenomena in the veins. The enlarged veins are visible not only in the abdomen. There is an expansion of hemorrhoidal veins, lower veins of the esophagus, stomach, at the time of rupture of which there is a strong bleeding, threatening the life of the dog.

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

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

  • spatial orientation;
  • behavior;
  • sleep.

The dog then falls into a state of euphoria, then is hammered into a corner with fear. There is a trembling of the paws and head. From the mouth of the animal a "sweet" liver odor is heard. These changes are still reversible, this condition is considered to be "pre-com". Acceleration of intoxication is accompanied by loss of consciousness, lack of response to stimuli.

With postnecrotic cirrhosis of the liver, some parts of the body sink, become denser, the ducts subside, nodes are formed from intact cells, "tightened" by dense fibrous tissue. The liver decreases in size, false bile ducts are formed, blood circulation is disturbed. With postnecrotic cirrhosis, in addition to the symptoms that are characteristic of the active stage of cirrhosis, bleeding from the nose, gums, and anus is noted.

In the last stage of postnecrotic cirrhosis, the animal is severely depleted, the liver is sharply reduced and not probed due to severe ascites. The skin is peeling, dense plaques appear on it. Wool thinned, sparse, fragile. The duration and quality of life of an animal depends on early diagnosis of pathology and adequate treatment.

Treatment of cirrhosis of the liver

For early detection of liver pathology at a stage where the disturbances are still reversible, laboratory and biochemical blood tests are used. The ultrasound may show an increase in the organ and an enlargement of the ducts. Radiography is less informative, since in early stages of pathology the density of the liver does not differ from the surrounding organs, and its edema is not significantly expressed.

The most informative analysis is the endoscopic examination of the organ with tissue collection for morphological examination. Important stages of treatment of liver cirrhosis in dogs are:

  • measures to detoxify the body;
  • restoration of venous function - application of venotonic and angioprotector;
  • normalization of outflow of bile - use of cholagogue preparations;
  • elimination of edema - use of diuretics.

For symptomatic therapy appoint:

  • 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 may be prescribed, which reduce inflammation, pruritus, jaundice.

When dropping the stomach glucocorticoids strengthen and prolong the action of diuretics. To hormone therapy did not provoke complications from the gastrointestinal tract, enter cytotoxic drugs. To normalize blood circulation appoint Reserpine, Eufillin. cirrhosis

If the cause of cirrhosis is an infection, then prescribe antiviral drugs or antibiotics. Also, the group's vitamins are introduced into (B5, B6, B12, B15) and vitamins C, E.

An important component of the complex treatment of liver cirrhosis in dogs is proper nutrition. The diet means sufficient protein, carbohydrates to maintain energy and provide "building material" for the restoration of liver cells.

Fats should be limited and completely eliminated animal fats. It is necessary to introduce vegetables to normalize the work of the intestine and as a source of macro- and microelements.


Measures to prevent liver cirrhosis include the following:

  • timely treatment of gastrointestinal diseases;
  • prevention of poisoning;
  • balanced nutrition or feeding with high-quality dry food;
  • timely vaccination of the dog;
  • carrying out dehelminthization.

If there is a suspicion of a liver pathology, it is necessary to contact a veterinary clinic. Self-medication or disregarding symptoms of organ failure may lead to the death of the pet.

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