Liver Fibrosis in Young Dogs


Juvenile Fibrosing Liver Disease in Dogs

Juvenile fibrosing liver disease is a noninflammatory liver disease which causes excessive extracellular matrix proteins to deposit in the liver tissue (also known as liver firbosis). It is typically seen in young or juvenile dogs, especially large breeds. If left untreated, a dog with this disease may develop cirrhosis and liver failure.

Although the cause to the fibrosis remains uncertain, chronic exposure to toxic bile, exposure to intestinal toxins, and liver injuries may be a factor.

Symptoms and Types

Causes

Juvenile fibrosing liver disease is often associated with chronic exposure to gastrointestinal toxins. However, it may also relate to hemorrhagic gastrointestinal illnesses (portal endotoxemia) in young dogs.

Diagnosis

You will need to give a thorough history of your dog’s health to your veterinarian, including the onset and nature of the symptoms. He or she will then perform a complete physical examination as well as a complete blood count, biochemistry profile, and urinalysis. In some dogs, liver enzyme levels are found to be abnormally high in biochemistry panels, while the urinalysis may reveal the presence of ammonium bicarbonate crystals in the urine.

Abdominal ultrasonography will help in determining the structure and size of liver, but a liver biopsy may be required for detailed analysis of the liver tissue. If right-sided heart disease is suspected, your veterinarian may recommend performing echocardiography. Your veterinarian may also take a sample of the dog’s abdominal fluid for further analysis, or conduct routine coagulation tests to rule out blood coagulation disorders.

polyuria

Excessive urination

polydipsia

A medical condition involving excessive thirst

prognosis

The prediction of a disease’s outcome in advance

urethra

A tube found between the bladder and the outside of the body; used to assist in urination.

urinalysis

An in-depth examination of the properties of urine; used to determine the presence or absence of illness

hepatic

Referring to the liver

enzyme

A substance that causes chemical change to another

biopsy

The process of removing tissue to examine it, usually for medical reasons.

bile

The fluid created by the liver that helps food in the stomach to be digested.

echocardiography

A procedure that is used to evaluate the health and structures of the heart

encephalopathy

A disease of the brain of any type

ascites

The collection of fluid in the peritoneal cavity.

gastrointestinal

The digestive tract containing the stomach and intestine

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