Dog Liver Disease
The liver is a complex organ that filters the blood. Like the kidneys, the liver also produces chemicals that the body needs to function properly.
The chemical production includes proteins and amino acids, albumin, globulins and many others. These proteins are responsible for from blood clotting to nourishing the immune system. The liver regulates and monitors the chemicals the body needs and stores it for future use. It produces enzymes and it removes toxins from the blood stream.
Additionally, many of these and other proteins are stored within the liver for future use. As part of this entire system, the liver must determine which proteins are in short supply and increase the level of production before a crisis occurs. All of this is regulated closely as it would be inefficient for the body to produce too much of anything when it might be wasted. Many of the protein molecules break down automatically within predetermined periods. Therefore, not only does the liver produce, metabolize, and store these substances, but also it also constantly monitors the supply and demand of any proteins it affects. It metabolizes carbohydrates, lipids, makes, and stores vitamins essential to a dog.
The liver is a dog’s personal blood bank and in the event of sudden blood loss, the liver can shunt large quantities of blood to the needed areas. The liver is the only organ that has the ability to regenerate and grow back healthy. Liver produces bile, which is needed to help break down food. The liver is a built in detoxing system that removes toxins, chemicals excess fat, and nutrients not needed by the body.
Signs of liver disease in dogs may include:
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss
- Vomiting or diarrhea
- Increased thirst
- An unstable walk
- Increased need to pee
- Yellowish eyes, tongue, or gums (jaundice)