whats a good food/diet to give for dogs with liver disease?
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* All information is from Vitamin Research Products *
LIVER DISEASE IN DOGS AND CATS
"Imagine being the second largest organ in the body and being greatly underappreciated. This is the plight of your pet’s liver, which is surpassed in size only by the organ known as the skin. If not functioning properly, the liver can call great attention to its importance and lead to severe illness and death.
The liver is crucial to the following bodily functions:
Filtering and storing blood
Excretion of toxic byproducts of digestion
Metabolism of food to provide essential vitamins and nutrients
Blood clotting or coagulation
As it works in silence, the liver has an amazing ability to regenerate or replace its cellular components. I have seen animals with severely damaged livers make a full and complete recovery, when given an accurate diagnosis and provided with the building blocks for cellular recovery and regeneration.
Liver problems in pets may go undetected, especially if owners aren’t aware of these signs of liver disease or dysfunction:
Constipation or diarrhea
Weight gain or abdominal distention
Poor skin and hair coat
Jaundice (a yellow tinge to the mucous membranes and eyes)
Increase urination and drinking
Even to the trained eye of your veterinarian, only 40 to 50 percent of cats and dogs having liver problems will be apparent on physical examination—showing jaundice and having swollen livers.
If your veterinarian suspects a liver problem, he or she will initially recommend a blood panel and abdominal x-rays. The blood panel can reveal any liver enzyme abnormalities, altered blood protein values or possible anemia. The x-rays may yield information about the liver’s size, either enlarged (hepatomegaly) or shrunken (cirrhosis).
If there are any abnormalities, a blood test called bile acids may be incorporated to assess the liver’s functionality. A follow-up to the x-rays can include an ultrasound of the liver and possibly a skinny needle biopsy. The biopsy is a phenomenal tool to completely diagnose the disease process present. This is of great importance, since the treatment and support is directly correlated to the specific liver dysfunction. I also utilize a procedure called laparoscopy, which uses a small, rigid, fiber-optic tool to directly visualize the liver and biopsy it, if necessary.
The types of liver disease that we see in our pets may include:
Toxic hepatopathy, which may be due to medical therapies for example, acetaminophen (Tylenol®) or Phenobarbital (used for seizures)
Infectious Hepatitis from a variety of agents: viruses, bacteria, parasites
Fatty liver syndrome in cats
Granulomatous hepatitis from fungal disease, tumors and parasites
Portosystemic shunts—a genetic defect
Steroid hepatopathy—liver disease directly attributable to using corticosteroids.
While each one of these disease entities has its own treatment, suffice it to say there are many animals that will respond to specific therapies for the liver. The take-home message is that, due to the liver’s incredible ability to replace damaged cells, a regimen of the right nutrition and supplementation can help our pets become healthier while addressing their liver disease. The liver is under assault daily from the toxins we are all exposed to and from the production of free radicals in the body."
My recommendation for optimal liver health for our pets is, first, to feed a super premium dog or cat food, raw diets or home cooked foods. I add VRP’s Dog Vites or Cat Vites and Whole Food Concentrate daily. For specific liver support, Pet Liver Care is an incredible supplement providing ingredients like Milk Thistle, Dandelion Root, Alpha Lipoic Acid and N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC), to name a few. I have added SAMe and RNA, along with two Chinese herbal formulas that you can purchase locally, Long Dan Xie Gan Tang and Schisandra Formula, to round out my liver support therapy."