Liver disease in dogs can occur for many reasons - it could be an acute onset brought on by trauma; it could be a bacterial or viral infection; it might be caused by the ingestion of drugs or toxins; it could be congenital; or perhaps it's a secondary problem related to another health issue. This is my dog's story, from the initial diagnosis of "significant liver damage" -- actually thought to be liver cancer -- to "near-normal" liver function.
DISCLAIMER: I'm not a vet and I have no veterinary or medical background whatsoever. This information on liver disease in dogs is not meant as a substitute or replacement for veterinary advice. It's meant for educational and informational purposes only, as a starting point for discussing the diagnosis and treatment of liver disease in dogs with a qualified vet.
Our dog has just started maintenance therapy for canine Cushings disease. Things were going well, and his ACTH stim tests showed that his cortisol levels were headed in the right direction. His appetite was become much more reasonable and his excessive panting had completely stopped. Things were good.
One month later, things changed dramatically. We noticed some subtle signs that something had changed for our dog, and after bringing it to the attention of the veterinary internist, she suggested that he come in for some tests. Many tests later, he was diagnosed with significant liver disease - and most probably inoperable liver cancer. His liver was covered in nodules.
We took him home with the vet's advice to "let him eat anything he'll eat". Wanting to spare him any further procedures, we did not allow any further testing. The best estimate they could give us was that our beautiful dog, our boy who had been with us nearly 15 years, would have only a few weeks left. We prepared to say goodbye.
Fortunately, the liver is a remarkably resilient organ. It can regenerate. Liver disease is treatable to some extent, and a diagnosis doesn't necessarily mean the end. An experienced Internal Medicine Specialist (internist) can help you figure out the best course of treatment for your dog. Click on the links below to read more about liver disease in dogs, and more about my dog's journey.