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)