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Liver Support in Dogs / Liver Support in Cats

Liver Support in Dogs and Cats

Herbal nutrition to help support the liver when under duress and for symptoms of liver disorders in dogs and cats.

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The liver is a complex organ that interacts with most other organs in the body, including the intestinal tract, cardiovascular system, kidneys, and autonomic nervous system. In cases of dysfunction, the liver requires a nutritional correction. Herbal nutrition may help provide critical nutritional support to not only the liver, but also the bladder, gallbladder, liver metabolism, bile production and flow, hepatic circulation, immune function and liver and kidney rehabilitation. 

The liver is one of the most dynamic and vital organs in your pets body, responsible for building and breaking down fats, carbohydrates and proteins as well as storing vitamins, minerals, glycogen (a form of glucose) and triglycerides (the building blocks of fat). It plays a vital role in the production of red blood cells and produces factors important for the normal clotting of blood as well as clearing the body of toxins and waste.

The liver is also an essential part of the immune system; it assists in digestion by producing bile and is essential for detoxification of a variety of toxic compounds that your pet’s body system encounters every day.

In assisting in the performance of all of these functions, the liver can become taxed and may be subjected to damage, resulting in poor function.  Your pet's liver can silently continue to perform under duress. When your pet’s liver is not functioning properly, toxins will build up, digestion will be affected and there may be a shortage of essential substances such as glucose, vitamins and minerals.

Liver disease, also known as hepatitis, is a broad term for describing a number of conditions affecting the liver. These may include bacterial infections, tumors, blockage of the bile ducts from the gall bladder, circulation disorders of the liver, viral diseases such as infectious hepatitis and a variety of toxins that may damage the cells of the liver, leading to dysfunction and even failure. 

The liver has a remarkable capacity for regeneration but early diagnosis is critical to limit further damage as well as affect the likelihood of recovery from liver dysfunction and failure.

Liver disease is the most common form of disease in cats, especially cats that are overweight. Your cat or dog is at risk of developing this condition if he/she becomes anorexic (does not eat) for more than a few days. Cats stop eating for a multitude of reasons: they may dislike the food provided, they may be in pain, ill or might suffer from environmental stress or anxiety.

All pets can succumb to liver disease but certain breeds are genetically predisposed. Pure breed dogs such as Miniature Schnauzers, Yorkshire Terriers, Cairn Terriers, Maltese, Scottish Terriers, Pugs, Irish Wolfhounds, Golden Retrievers, Labradors, German Shepherds and Poodles have a higher incidence of liver disease. Conversely, in cats, mixed breeds are more predisposed, although among the purebred cats, Persians and Himalayans do develop liver problems.

Your pet may be born with a liver disorder. The most common disorder of this type is known as a porto systemic shunt and is the condition where blood flow is diverted away from the liver. As a result, the liver cannot remove toxins from the blood and classic symptoms of liver disease will appear.

Young pets affected in this way will usually start showing symptoms between 6 months and 1 year of age.

Liver tumors tend to occur in older pets, with most animals with liver cancer being diagnosed after the age of 10 years.

What are the symptoms of liver disease?

Common symptoms include:

Vomiting

Anorexia (lack of appetite)

Diarrhea

Stomach ulcers

Nervous signs

Fever

Blood clotting disorders

Jaundice (yellow gums and eyes)

Fluid build up in the abdomen

Excessive thirst and urination

Weight loss

Dementia

Seizures

Coma

Symptoms related to the nervous system can include:

Circling

Head pressing

Aimless wandering

Weakness/lethargy

Staggering

Blindness

Aggression

Dementia

Coma.

These signs are due to the build up of toxins in your pet’s brain, especially ammonia which is normally broken down into harmless components by the liver. On blood tests, your pet may have too few red blood cells (anemia) and your vet will probably detect elevated liver enzymes.

The causes of liver disease are numerous and include:

Viral infections

Bacterial infections

Toxins such as pesticides

Certain drugs such as corticosteroids

Anorexia in cats (causes Feline Hepatic Lipidosis)

Leptospirosis

Obstructions of the gall bladder

Other diseases ex. Diabetes, Cushings and Hyperthyroidism

Tumors, cancer 

Other reasons animals stop eating related to liver dysfunction:

28% had inflammatory bowel disease

20% had a second type of liver disease (usually cholangiohepatitis)

14% had cancer

11% had pancreatitis

5% had social problems (new cat, new home, threatening other pet or person at home)

4% had some kind of respiratory disease

2% were diabetic

If your cat goes without food for more than 3 days, there may be an excessive build up of fat within the cells of the liver. This is referred to as lipidosis. This is the body’s normal response to a spell of anorexia but the effects on the liver can be devastating. The fat that builds up in the liver cells prevents the bile produced in the liver cells from leaving the cells. This build up of bile is toxic and causes marked damage to the liver cells, resulting in liver disease and failure. 

Lipidosis is considered as a cause or contributing cause of liver failure when a cat or dog that was once overweight loses weight too quickly. Often the owner is not aware that such a thing is dangerous and is pleased to see the obese cat trimming down. By the time the cat actually stops eating and is clearly sick, the disease is well underway and will require more aggressive support to reverse.

Herbal Nutrition - (listed in order of relevance and recommendation by holistic vets - human grade meets/exceeds highest safety criteria for pets)

Herbal remedies may help provide natural and alternative therapies which may help alleviate symptoms of liver disease; may help provide nutritional support in cases of liver dysfunction and failure; may help support, rehabilitate and repair proper liver function, metabolism, bile production and flow; help normalize and regenerate liver cells; help detoxify the liver, kidneys and gall bladder; help support balanced immunity, and natural homeopathic remedies may help improves liver, pancreas & gallbladder health in cats and dogs.

 

 

Hepa Protect – (learn more) helps support proper liver function and metabolism, bile production and flow, helps rehabilitate and repair the performance and health of the liver, kidneys, bladder and gall bladder, helps rehabilitate and detoxify the kidneys and liver; helps tone and balance the connective tissue of the liver, kidneys and bladder; helps normalize liver enzyme levels; helps regulate kidney acid/alkaline levels, for all types of stones and gravel of the liver, kidneys, bladder and gallbladder, including oxalate and struvite crystals and stones;helps reduce uric acid, for gall bladder inflammation, gall stones and gallbladder infections, for renal colic and renal calculi; helps to protect red blood cell formation, useful in diseases such as ehrlichia and ehrlichiosis.

 

 

Love Your Liver - (learn more) promotes the performance, health and repair of the liver, kidneys and bladder; helps repair cellular dysfunction related to the liver; helps facilitate renal and digestive excretions,; helps provide protection and detoxification from insecticides, toxins, vaccinations, an inappropriate diet and an excess of food; helps relieve symptoms such as pressure, stomach pain, nausea, vomiting and flatulence; helps regulate kidney acid/alkaline levels, for hepatic lipidosis, Fatty Liver Disease (FLD),  Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD), Feline Urological Syndrome (FUS) and Feline cholangiohepatitis.

Stix & Stones – (learn more) promotes improved kidney function, helps to break up kidney, liver, gallbladder and bladder stones and gravel (active stones, crystals and as a preventative); helps to safely remove stones from the body; helps to treat urinary tract infections (bladder and kidney infections; for kidney and liver disease; tones and balances kidney, liver, intestine, pancreas, gall bladder function and health; reduces uric acid levels in urine; increases urination, blocks the formation of calcium crystals such as calcium oxalate and prevents them from entering kidney and bladder cells, provides pH modulation (urine pH balance); for urinary system disorders and pathologies and for hepatic insufficiency. This product has been proven to be 90% effective at addressing urinary tract infections, and all types of stones, gravel, calculi and crystals in dogs and cats.

 

 

I’m Allergic to Needles – (learn more) is used for proper pancreatic support, health and function, charged with producing proper insulin levels, for all types of diabetes I and II, to reduce glucose levels in blood and for insulin resistance, to improve the glycemic index in pets with diabetes, to regulate metabolic stress, and maintain proper liver metabolism, circulation, bile production and flow, for hepatic (liver) immune function, useful in regulating excess weight and fatty deposits and may help regenerate liver and pancreas cells and detoxify the liver and pancreas.

Other suggestions:

Feed a balanced, holistic or organic diet that is free of inferior proteins, fillers preservatives and colorants

Ensure that your pet always has plenty of fresh, filtered water

Ensure regular, adequate exercise

Avoid unnecessary use of pesticides, herbicides and flea collars

Don’t smoke around your pet or use products which contain toxins including scented dryer sheets, scented candles, room deodorizers and perfumes

Spend time with your pet to help relieve stress

Visit your vet once a year for your pet’s annual health check

Conventional Remedies:

A diagnosis will be based on a history of not eating as well as the clinical symptoms of weight loss, jaundice and lethargy. Blood tests will confirm the diagnosis although additional tests such as an ultrasound or biopsy of the liver may be needed.

It is important to distinguish tests of liver damage (like enzymes) versus tests of liver function (like bile acids). The enzymes ALT and AST are normally held inside liver cells; when their presence is detected free in the bloodstream, this is an indicator of liver cell death. A liver can have damage without any decrease in its overall function.

Treatment is purely supportive with the aim of providing nutrition until your cat starts eating on its own again. If the cause for the anorexia can be determined this must be treated e.g. a course of antibiotics for an infection. It may be necessary to force feed a high calorie diet and your vet might need to put a feeding tube into your cat’s stomach. It may also be necessary to put your cat onto intravenous fluids.

As a conscientious pet owner you obviously wish to do all you can to restore your pet to health and vitality. Seeing your cat so ill will be very distressing and certainly all options for treatment should be investigated.

Depending on the cause of the liver disease, treatment may or may not be possible. Treatment options might include:

Intravenous fluids

Antibiotics

Laxatives

Blood transfusions

Corticosteroids

Ursodeoxycholic acid

Colchicine

Vitamin and mineral supplements

Force feeding a high calorie diet

Chemotherapy

 

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