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Hepatitis (inflammation of the Liver)

Causes: Inflammation of the liver has many causes. Some breeds are more susceptible to hepatitis (e.g. Doberman, Cocker Spaniel, Labrador). Various infective agents such as bacteria, viruses (Canine Adeno-Virus) and worms. Toxins that are ingested, Some drugs (anticonvulsants like phenobarbitone, Carprofen); cysts and congenital defects (shunts) and finally various types of cancer can affect the liver primarily or secondary when spread (metastasise) from other sites

Signs: common clinical signs can be vomiting / diarrhoea, there can be neurological signs (hepatic Encephalopathy), jaundice/icterus, swollen abdomen, loss of appetite; drinking xs (polydipsia) and passing large volume of urine (polyuria), fever

Diagnosis: clinical examination supported by blood tests, x-rays, ultrasound and even liver biopsy may be needed. Specific diagnosis of the cause of the hepatitis may be elusive.

Treatment: removal of the cause (if it is known e.g. toxins in food, drugs) support of liver function by intravenous fluids, antibiotics, vitamins and products that help the liver detoxify chemicals (e.g. essentiale)
Feeding and nutrition feeding plays a big role in getting the liver to function again even if force-feeding techniques are needed. Dietary restrictions may be needed (e.g. reduced fat intake) depending on the type of liver damage.

Prognosis: the liver has good capability to regenerate and heal. The more specific a diagnosis that can be made the better are the chances of full recovery. The extent of the liver that is damaged plays an important prognostic role and some conditions are going to be fatal (cancers)

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