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Hepatic Disease in Dogs and Cats* / Liver Failure in Dogs and Cats*

Hepatic Disease in Dogs and Cats / Liver Disease

Herbal nutrition to help address symptoms related to hepatic dysfunction and liver disease in dogs and cats. 

natura petz organics products for hepatic disease in dogs and cats

The liver is a complex organ that is linked to many other organs in the body, including the intestinal tract, cardiovascular system, kidneys, immune and autonomic nervous system. Herbal remedies can help provide critical nutritional support to the liver, kidneys and gallbladder, support liver metabolism, bile production and flow, hepatic circulation and immune function, kidney rehabilitation and support of the bladder and gall bladder. Herbal nutrition may also help support reparative actions to a liver in distress, including liver failure. 

The liver carries out a variety of critical functions in your dog's and cat's bodies. It is 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. The liver also is tasked with clarifying and detoxifying the body as a whole and works in concert with the kidneys to get rid of toxin and waste build up.

Additionally, it is 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.

The liver will perform all of these functions in maintaining your pet’s health, however, in performing these functions the liver may be subjected to damage with resultant poor functioning. 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 canine hepatitis and a variety of toxins that may damage the cells of the liver.

All pets can succumb to liver disease but certain breeds of dogs and cats share a great genetic predisposition. Purebred 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. In cats, mixed breeds are more predisposed, but also, Persians and Himalayans are at a great risk of developing liver problems. 

Your pet may be born with a genetic 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.

The onset of the symptoms of liver disease may be very rapid in the case of a poisoning or may take some time to show if the liver is affected by a slow growing tumor.

Common symptoms of liver disease can include: 




Stomach ulcers

Nervous signs


Blood clotting disorders

Jaundice (yellow gums and eyes)

Fluid build up in the abdomen

Excessive thirst and urination

Weight loss

Reduced appetite (anorexia)




Other symptoms which affect the nervous system can include: circling, head pressing, aimless wandering, weakness, staggering gait, blindness, aggression, dementia and 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)


Obstructions of the gall bladder

Other diseases ex. Diabetes, Cushings and Hyperthyroidism

Tumors, cancer

Helpful suggestions:

Ensure regular, adequate exercise which stimulates the lymphatic system and supports healthy detoxification in the body

Feed your pet a species appropriate, balanced, holistic or organic diet that is free of inferior proteins, fillers, preservatives, colorants and additives

Give your pet fresh filtered water daily

Do not feed your pet chocolate

Avoid unnecessary use of pesticides, herbicides and flea collars

Avoid or minimize toxins in your home related to cigarette smoke, dryer sheets, scented candles, room deodorizers and other scented products that contain chemical additives 

Have fun and spend time with your pet to relieve stress for you bothTake time out to have fun with your pet, it’s a great way to relieve stressVisit your vet once a year for your pet’s annual health check

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.

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.

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.

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.

Conventional Remedies:

Your vet will be able to make a presumptive diagnosis based on your pet’s symptoms but will need to run blood tests and possibly take x-rays or do an ultrasound to confirm his/her suspected diagnosis.

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

Intravenous fluids



Blood transfusions


Ursodeoxycholic acid


Vitamin and mineral supplements

Force feeding a high calorie diet


Because the liver is such an important organ in your pet’s body, it is important that any treatment that is undertaken is done at an early stage of the disease process. The liver has a remarkable capacity for regeneration but care must be taken to not do further damage to the liver during the treatment process.

By adopting a holistic approach to the healing of your pet and acknowledging the importance of a balanced natural diet for optimizing healing, your pet’s liver will be given the best chance of repairing and regenerating itself.

Over the last few years, natural and alternative therapy has become more and more popular amongst pet owners, especially as unlike conventional drug therapies, natural therapies are side effect free.



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