Hepatic Encephalopathy, Ascites And Liver Fibrosis In Dogs

Hepatic Encephalopathy In Dogs

Hepatic encephalopathy is a syndrome of neurological problems which are a complication of poor liver function. It can be seen in a number of liver diseases. The development of hepatic encephalopathy is not entirely understood though it is thought that the failure of the liver to remove the poisons in the bloodstream and the changes in the metabolization of amino acids that are caused by the liver disease act together to cause the syndrome. The symptoms include weakness, aggression, blindness, excessive drooling, dementia, seizures, head pressing, circling, poor coordination, aimless wandering, seizures and coma.

The treatment is directed at quickly reducing the poisons produced by the colon and providing supportive care. Dogs with hepatic encephalopathy are usually comatose or semi-comatose. Therefore, they should not be given access to food until their condition has improved. The dog may be given fluids intravenously to treat dehydration and electrolyte imbalances. Enemas may be administered to cleanse ammonia and other poisons from the intestines, and to introduce nutrients. These nutrients will help to decrease the production of poisons. Once the animal has been stabilized, the treatment will be directed at preventing recurrence of the syndrome. The veterinarian may also recommend restricting the protein in the animal’s diet.

Ascites In Dogs

Ascites can be caused by a combination of an imbalance in the metabolization of water and sodium and high blood pressure in the liver, and is a syndrome in which there is a collection of fluid in the abdomen. Controlling ascites begins by restricting the sodium in the diet. A sodium restricted diet by itself may not be enough to treat ascites and the veterinarian may prescribe diuretics, which promote fluid loss through the kidneys, as well. If the condition interferes with the breathing, the veterinarian may perform abdominocentesis, which is a procedure in which the fluid is drained from the abdomen by inserting a long needle. If ascites does not respond to the medications prescribe then it may be necessary to repeat the abdominocentesis periodically.

Clotting Defects

Problems with blood clotting can be treated using a transfusion of plasma or blood which can provide the necessary clotting factors. Treatment can include the administration of heparin or vitamin K to help with the clotting. The veterinarian will prescribe the most appropriate treatment for the dog with consideration to its blood type and overall health and condition.

Bacterial Liver Infections In dogs

Dogs who suffer from acute liver failure and long term liver disease are more prone to bacterial infections. The symptoms can be similar to those of liver disease therefore the veterinarian will be watching for this as a possible side effect. It may be necessary to administer one or more antibiotic to effectively treat the types of bacteria that can be associated with the infection.

Liver Fibrosis In Dogs

Fibrosis is the term used to describe the formation of fibrous scar tissue in the liver. This can lead to cirrhosis of the liver. Cirrhosis is a serious disease of the liver in which the function of the liver is disrupted. However, sometimes fibrosis can be reversed or reduced if the appropriate medications are used. The veterinarian will determine which medications, if any, are appropriate for the individual dog.

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