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Jaundice in Dogs and Cats*

Jaundice

Herbal remedies to help support the liver and for treatment of symptoms related jaundice in cats and dogs.

The liver is a complex organ and operates as a filtration system in your pet's body that is critically linked to many other organs in the body, including the intestinal tract, cardiovascular system, kidneys, and autonomic nervous system. Herbal nutrition can help provide vital support to the liver and gallbladder, support liver metabolism, bile production and flow, hepatic circulation and immune function, kidney rehabilitation and support of the bladder and gall bladder.

The liver has a host of functions in your pet’s body and 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 is a hard working organ that can perform for years under duress and strain, before manifesting dysfunction or failure.

Jaundice denotes a yellow discoloration of mucous membranes of the gums, nostrils, genitals, and other areas due to a high concentration of bilirubin, a normal bile pigment formed as a result of a breakdown of hemoglobin present in red blood cells (RBCs).

If there is an increased rate of RBC breakdown, as occurs in some diseases, abnormally high levels of bilirubin will form. These high levels of bilirubin cannot be excreted at a normal rate, and thus, accumulates in tissues.

Bilirubin levels may also increase in conditions where normal excretion of bilirubin is hampered due to some disease (e.g., cholestasis), in which bile cannot flow from the liver to the duodenum (first section of intestine) due to some mechanical obstruction or neoplasia.

Higher concentrations of bilirubin are toxic and may cause discoloration of the skin (i.e., jaundice), liver and kidney injury, and may also affect brain tissue. All breeds of dogs can be affected.

Common symptoms of jaundice include:

Vomiting

Diarrhea

Exhaustion

Fever

Abdominal pain

Loss of appetite (anorexia)

Paleness

Yellowish discoloration of the skin

Change in color of urine and feces (orange colored)

Increased frequency (polyuria) and volume of urine

Increased thirst (polydipsia) and consumption of water

Mental confusion in advanced cases

Weight loss

Bleeding (especially in dogs with advanced liver disease)

Causes:

Diseases, toxins, drugs leading to increased destruction of RBCs

Incompatible blood transfusion

Systemic infections impairing processing of bilirubin in liver

Collection of large volume of blood inside body cavity

Inflammation of liver (hepatitis)

Tumors

Cirrhosis

Massive damage to liver tissue (e.g., due to toxins)

Obstruction in secretion of bilirubin due inflammation of pancreas, presence of tumor, stones, or parasites.

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

Herbal remedies provide natural and alternative therapies to alleviate symptoms of jaundice and liver disease; to support, rehabilitate and repair proper liver function, metabolism, bile production and flow; to normalize and regenerate liver cells, to detoxify the liver, kidneys and gall bladder and support healthy immunity.

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.

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 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, 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. This product has been proven to be 94% effective at addressing urinary tract infections, and all types of stones, gravel, calculi and crystals in dogs and cats.

Shake Ur Groove Thing  (learn more) promotes healthy bowel function, purification, gentle parasitic detoxification and body clarification; waste and toxin removal, including pesticides, environmental toxins found inside and outside the home, chemicals related to flea and tick products and drugs regimens such as NSAID’s and synthetic glucosteriods and corticosteroids; helps remove inorganic synthetic and derivative compounds from an animal’s cell walls to help reduce toxic load in the body; also used for cramping, pain, constipation, gas and bloating; helps support a correct balance of native intestinal flora and helps calms the digestive system; promotes immune balance and helps to limit inflammation, which is important in disease prevention; used holistically for anal fissures, fistulas, hemorrhoids, food allergies and hypersensitivities and as a general skin support. 

Conventional Remedies:

Your dog’s veterinarian will take a detailed history from you and perform a complete physical examination on your cat. Routine laboratory tests including: complete blood count, biochemistry profile and urinalysis will be conducted. These tests will reveal very valuable information for the initial diagnosis.

Complete blood count tests may reveal changes in RBC structures, changes pertaining to underlying infections like severe anemia, blood parasites, and abnormally low levels of platelets (cells responsible for blood clotting). The biochemistry profile, meanwhile, may reveal abnormally high levels of liver enzymes pertaining to liver injury. And urinalysis will show abnormally high levels of bilirubin in urine.

There are more specific tests available for further diagnosis, including underlying causes. Radiographic studies will help in the determination of structure and size of the liver, which is the central organ of importance in this disease. These X-rays often find the liver enlarged, reveal the presence of a mass or tumor, the enlargement of the spleen in some cases, and foreign bodies. Thoracic X-rays may reveal metastasis if a tumor is the cause.

Ultrasound will also be performed, enabling your veterinarian to evaluate the liver structure in detail, helping to distinguish liver disease from an obstruction of biliary tract, as well as differentiating a tumor from a mechanical obstruction.

Additionally, the veterinarian may decide to take a sample of liver tissue with the aid of ultrasound for a more detailed evaluation. Liver tissue samples may be taken through a needle or during surgery, which may be performed for confirmatory diagnosis and treatment.

Treatment largely depends on the underlying cause and is highly individualized. Dogs with serious or advanced disease might need to be hospitalized for initial intensive care and treatment. A nutritionally balanced diet is given according to daily energy requirements and disease status.

Vitamin supplementation is also recommended in affected patients. Some cases may require surgery, like those with obstruction of the biliary tract, and a blood transfusion may be required if severe anemia is present.

Prognosis of this disease largely depends on the underlying cause and treatment offered. However, proper diet, timely administration of medicines, complete rest, and regular monitoring will help your dog throughout the healing process.

Do not give any drug or modify dosage without the expressed approval of your dog's veterinarian, especially painkillers, which may prove to be toxic for the liver in this condition. Because the liver is the central organ for metabolism, toxicity may occur in cases of liver impairment.

Dogs with liver failure need an extremely high level of care at home due to the inherent instability of this condition. These animals may bleed at any time. If you see your pet bleeding, immediately call your veterinarian for help. In addition, advise your veterinarian should the dog's feces or urine change color.

 

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