Feeding a dog with liver disease: four keys and a recipe


Hepatitis in dogs is not treated directly, that is, the treatment does not focus on killing the pathogen, but on alleviating the symptoms and minimize damage. However, it may happen that the dog does not survive the treatment.

The way to treat hepatitis will depend on the results of the diagnosis, the severity of the situation and the symptoms that the sick dog presents.

The treatment of hepatitis in dogs usually consists, frequently, in the administration of antibiotics to keep secondary infections at bay. As a complement, specific treatments are applied depending on the symptoms that it presents: blood coagulation, diarrhea… Therefore, not all treatments are totally the same.

In addition, the diet of the sick dog is usually changed to a specific one for dogs with liver problems, since they have a more appropriate composition.

If your dog has been diagnosed with hepatitis, you will need a lot of rest in a quiet and adequate environment. In addition, hygiene is very important: now your dog is very weak and vulnerable to everything, without proper cleaning of its environment could get all kinds of infections. Of course, if you have more pets and are not vaccinated, you should isolate the sick dog.

A dog with hepatitis should not exercise, You need rest at least while you are in treatment and receive the approval of the veterinarian to resume the exercise.

Always under medical supervision, you can administer anti-inflammatories to your dog to alleviate the pain. In addition, of course, it will be necessary to go to reviews.

Hepatitis in dogs is a complicated disease and Not all dogs outgrow it, even with treatment. Best of all is prevention, vaccinate your dog against hepatitis!

1. Adapt the feeding to the dog with liver problems

The dietary guidelines should be adapted to the needs of the sick liver of the dog, and not vice versa. One of the main objectives for the recovery of a can with liver pathologies is that your liver has to process as little fat as possible and, therefore, make little effort.

Some feed are specific for dogs with liver ailments, but your prescription must be carried out by a veterinarian. These canine therapeutic foods cannot be eaten by a healthy animal, since it would lead to nutritional deficiencies. They are products intended for dogs diagnosed with liver diseases.

2. Choose a suitable feed for the dog with liver disease

The feeds that take care of the dog's liver are "Low fat, very digestive and contain antioxidants", says Juan Antonio Aguado, veterinarian. This food also has a high carbohydrate content, good quality protein, which can easily assimilate and digest, "as well as natural anti-inflammatories, such as omega 3 acid", explains this professional.

The meats with which specific foods are made for dogs with liver problems are low fat, such as chicken and turkey. Other proteins, such as those contained in veal, are more difficult to digest and are avoided in this type of canine feed, since it is about getting the diseased liver to work as little as possible.

3. Prevent the dog with liver problems from eating

Dogs suffering from liver pathologies are usually unappetizing, but their recovery depends on their correct feeding, both in quantity and quality. For the can coma, it is convenient to offer a food that results attractive, both for your nose, and for your palate.

Owners can apply various tricks to feed their pet, such as:

  • Moisten the dry feed specific for dogs with liver disorders and temper it for a few seconds in the microwave oven. In this way, the dog's smell will be better stimulated. In addition, the soft and somewhat hot texture of the feed will be more attractive to your palate.
  • Food cans with specific properties for dogs that have liver problems they are, in general, more palatable to them, because of their smooth and soft texture.

On the other hand, Aguado recommends "offer the dog with liver problems several small portions of food a day because, since he is not well, he has trouble eating, and he will not feel like eating large amounts of food. "

4. Home cooking for dogs with liver disease

One of the cases in which veterinarians can recommend that the dog be fed a homemade diet, under his supervision, is when the dog with liver problems loses his appetite.

The incidence of liver pathologies in dogs, such as infectious hepatitis, is not high, although in older animals it is more common. Loss of appetite is associated with this type of pathology, so, in some cases, homemade food can be alternated with the usual feed to expand the range of flavors and textures that can whet the appetite of the dog.

The food of the dog with liver disease should provide a lot of energy to promote recovery

Veterinary supervision with this type of homemade diets for dogs with liver disease is necessary to achieve a balanced diet. This feed must be composed of digestive and low-fat meats, such as chicken and turkey, as well as carbohydrates and vegetables, in an adequate proportion for each animal. In addition, you need to be supplemented with antioxidants.

However, "the proper and balanced preparation of homemade diet for a dog is not easy or cheap, so it is better to opt for the safe and choose specific commercial diets," advises Ignacio Arija, veterinarian specializing in animal nutrition and professor of Complutense University of Madrid.

In general, whether the liver dog's diet is commercial or homemade, it should be digestive and provide a lot of energy, in order to prevent malnutrition. Must also contain vitamins of group B and E, moderate sodium intake and provide potassium.

Homemade recipe for the dog with liver problems

If it is decided to feed the dog suffering from liver diseases with homemade food, it must be under veterinary supervision, with recipes such as the following, to 1,000 grams of ration:

  • Chicken meat, breast with skin, 220 grams.
  • Cooked rice, 680 grams.
  • Cooked and drained carrot, 60 grams.
  • Bran, 20 grams.
  • Vegetable oil, 20 grams.
  • Add a mineral vitamin supplement that is low in sodium and copper (as prescribed by the veterinarian).

The amounts vary depending on the weight, age and amount of physical activity performed by the dog.

Types of hepatitis in dogs

Hepatitis is a disease that mainly affects the dog's liver, which is a fundamental organ for dog metabolism. If the liver stops working or does it incorrectly, the dog's health will begin to worsen progressively, eventually leading to the death of the dog.

Neither dogs nor humans can live without liver, so it is vital to detect hepatitis in dogs in time. Since they cannot speak to us and tell us that it hurts, but they can show certain symptoms that will give us clues so that we know it.

It is essential to know the three types of hepatitis that can affect our dog, so we will know how they work and how they spread. In this way we can prevent our dog from getting sick and keep it protected.

How canine hepatitis is produced

The anatomy of dogs is not so different from that of humans and those vital organs for us are also of vital importance to our pet, as is the case with the liver. The liver is essential for organic balance of our pet since it is involved in the metabolism, seeks the adequate elimination of different toxins, stores energy, synthesizes proteins, produces bile and participates in the assimilation of nutrients.

Canine hepatitis is produced by aliver inflammation, which may be caused by poor diet or repeated exposure to different toxins, which progressively affects the liver and can cause chronic damage.

When liver damage has affected the functions of this important organ, we can observe serious signs that indicate a malfunction no longer of the liver, but of the whole organism.

Infectious hepatitis in dogs

As the name implies, it is a type of hepatitis that It is spread by a virus called Adenovirus. This liver virus is spread by contact with other infected dogs, or by contact with their toys or feces, including urine.

When the virus comes into contact with a healthy dog, it spreads through its body and begins to attack the liver little by little. So the symptoms of infectious hepatitis can be confused with many other diseases, misleading owners and veterinarians.

Protecting our dog against infectious hepatitis is really simple, since there are vaccines for it. We just have to go to the vet and vaccinate our dog against this type of hepatitis. Preferably from puppies, an annual souvenir vaccine will be necessary.

Types of canine hepatitis

Hepatitis in dogs can have different causes and depending on the origin of it we will be faced with one type of hepatitis or another:

  • Common hepatitis: It is one that causes a liver inflammation due to exposure of the organism to toxic substances and medications that are capable of causing liver damage. Symptoms occur when the damage caused is severe.
  • Autoimmune hepatitis: It is produced by a reaction of the dog's own immune system that attacks hepatocytes (liver cells) because it confuses them with pathogens. This type of hepatitis is also known as autoimmune liver disease.
  • Infectious hepatitis: The inflammation of the liver is caused by canine adenovirus type I, it is a viral and acute disease that is spread through urine, contaminated water or contaminated objects. It mainly affects dogs under 1 year and the course of the disease usually ranges between 5-7 days, before an improvement occurs. This disease is also known as Rybarth hepatitis.

Infectious hepatitis usually has a good prognosis as long as the dog does not have an over-acute form, in this case, it can die within a few hours, in the case of common or autoimmune hepatitis the prognosis will depend on each case although the lesions will be chronicled.

Autoimmune hepatitis in dogs

This type of hepatitis in dogs is not spread through a virus, but It is generated by the dog's own organism. Without really knowing the reasons why it originates, the dog's immune system confuses healthy dog ​​liver cells with harmful cells.

In this way, the dog's own immune system begins to attack his own liver thinking it is a danger. This causes the liver starts to get sick and stop working, causing autoimmune hepatitis.

There is no way to prevent this hepatitis in our dog, since it is unknown what are the reasons why the dog's body confuses its own cells. We can simply start with the treatment indicated by the veterinarian to combat it.

Symptoms of canine hepatitis

Remember that in any case we are facing an inflammation of the liver, so regardless of the cause, the Hepatitis symptoms in dogs They are as follows:

  • Excessive thirst
  • Jaundice (yellowing of eyes and mucous membranes)
  • Blood in the mucous membranes
  • Abdominal pain that can lead to immobility
  • Fever
  • Seizures due to liver failure
  • Loss of appetite
  • Increased nasal and ocular secretion
  • Vomiting
  • Subcutaneous edema

A dog with hepatitis does not have to show all the exposed symptoms, so if there is any sign that indicates possible hepatitis, we should go to the veterinarian urgently.

Canine hepatitis treatment

The hepatitis treatment in dogs It will depend on the factor that caused the pathology.

  • In common hepatitis the treatment will be symptomatic but it must also meet the objective of modulating those factors that have caused liver damage.
  • In autoimmune hepatitis the treatment will also be symptomatic although the veterinarian will assess the possible prescription of an immunomodulatory medication that acts specifically on the defense system preventing liver damage.
  • In the case of infectious or viral hepatitis, the treatment is also symptomatic since there is no cure, antibiotics can be used to control secondary infections, isotonic solutions to prevent dehydration, liver protectors and hypoproteic diet.

It is the veterinarian who should indicate a hypoproteic diet, although this is beneficial in all three cases of hepatitis, since in the presence of abundant protein the liver is overloaded. Remember that Only the veterinarian is the trained professional to prescribe any type of treatment to your pet.

Hepatitis prevention in dogs

To prevent common and autoimmune hepatitis it is important for our dog to enjoy good health and maximum quality of life, for this we must provide a balanced meal that covers all your nutritional requirements, enough affection and enough exercise outdoors, all this will help your body to maintain balance more easily.

In the case of infectious hepatitis, the vaccination It is the most effective prevention tool, we have several options:

  • Multipurpose serum: Prevents in the short term and is recommended when the start of the vaccination program has not yet been possible
  • Vaccine with inactivated virus: Two doses are required and the protection period ranges from 6 to 9 months
  • Attenuated virus vaccine: Only one dose is required and the protection is as effective as it lasts

Check with your veterinarian since he will be the one to indicate what type of prevention is best suited for your pet.

This article is purely informative, at we have no power to prescribe veterinary treatments or make any kind of diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the veterinarian in case he presents any type of condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to Hepatitis in dogs - Symptoms and treatment, we recommend you go to our Other health problems section.

Common hepatitis in dogs

It is the type of hepatitis most widespread in the animal world, most dogs with hepatitis suffer from this type of disease. Common hepatitis is caused by the intake of toxins that affect the liver, such as harmful bacteria, fungi, inappropriate medications and even poor quality food.

Any toxin that enters the dog's body is normally blocked by the liver, so an excess of toxins can cause the liver to work excessively, even suturing it.

Common hepatitis in dogs It is the easiest to deal with and the one with the highest recovery expectations. With proper medication and a balanced diet the dog will begin to improve in a very short time.

Symptoms of hepatitis in a dog

The problem with this disease is that it is not visible and its symptoms are often confused on many occasions with other diseases of lesser danger. In this way, hepatitis continues to progress and the dog is getting worse, despite believing that it is being cured of another wrongly diagnosed disease.

Hepatitis directly affects the dog's liver, regardless of the type. The symptoms that we will notice in a dog with problems and liver are:

    Lack of appetite, vomiting and / or diarrhea. Inapetence, decay, lack of energy. Abdominal pain and possible abdominal inflammation. Fever. Swollen glands in the throat. Tremors, lack of coordination. Anorexia and / or blue eye syndrome.

We must be careful not to confuse the typical bluish eye syndrome in hepatitis with cataracts or reflexes in the cornea, as they could lead to confusion. Not all dogs with hepatitis show their blue eyes.

How is hepatitis detected in a dog?

To reach a diagnosis, the veterinarian will resort to performing different tests such as the following:

    Blood test: when the liver is damaged, the enzymes that are related to it are altered so that we can detect them by analyzing a blood sample. In addition, an analytical allows us to know the general state of the animal. Ultrasound: They allow to obtain an image of the liver and observe if it presents lesions. CT scans: They are advanced diagnostic imaging procedures that can provide us with good information, but they have the disadvantage that they are not always accessible in veterinary medicine. Biopsy: It is the only test that would allow a definitive diagnosis. It consists of extracting a fragment of the liver to study in the laboratory.

How to cure hepatitis in dogs? Treatments

There is no specific medication that directly cures hepatitis, so hepatitis treatment is to improve symptoms and relieve the liver so that it begins to recover.

For infectious hepatitis we must treat the dog with a certain antibiotic that the veterinarian will prescribe depending on the severity, age and progression of the disease in the dog. In conjunction with other symptomatic medications to promote recovery.

For common hepatitis the veterinarian will prescribe the necessary medications so that our dog does not suffer pain and its recovery is progressive. Normally accompanied by a strict diet of high quality, which makes the liver work little.

Autoimmune hepatitis will also need the administration of corticosteroids to stop the attack of the immune system against the dog's liver. In this case, everything depends on the state of the dog itself and its energy to fight the disease, which with the help of corticosteroids and other medications will help the dog overcome hepatitis.