Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Caring for your Dog's Liver

I have done a fair amount of research since Piper was diagnosed with liver problems.  (He, by the way, is doing quite well and we're grateful.)  I was unaware of how common liver disease of all types really is!  Once I started talking about Piper, I was amazed to hear other people talk about similar experiences.  It's my nature to jump all in and fully research anything that's going on with my dogs, so naturally, this wasn't going to be any different.  Here are some helpful things I learned that may be of some use.  This is purely my own research and findings and I am in no way a pet medical professional. 

Milk Thistle
A healthy liver is essential because it detoxifies any chemicals or pesticides your dog may be exposed to, any possible toxins through food, and chemical prescription drugs.  Milk thistle is a flowering plant that comes from the Aster family. It is effective for treating dog liver disease in a few different ways. It can protect against the toxins mentioned above and milk thistle has been shown to stimulate growth of new or damaged liver cells.  It also helps work as an anti-inflammatory, and aids in pain relief.  I haven't yet added this to Piper's diet, but I read very positive reviews.  My vet gave us a supplement called Denamarin, an enzyme to help support Piper's liver.

Diet
*There was mixed advice about protein levels, but it seemed "high" won out.  In much of what I read, I found that veterinarians commonly recommend feeding a diet in high quality proteins. You dog can digest these types of proteins better.  Most veterinarians recommend that owners feed their dogs a mix of animal based and plant proteins. 
*Several small meals a day opposed to one or two larger meals.
*Dairy products can be easy on your dogs struggling liver.  They produce less ammonia than meat products.
*Oatmeal is great for extra fiber to aid in removing the ammonia from the system so the liver doesn't have to work to process it.
*Avoid food with high amounts of copper if diagnosed.  High- lamb, pork, duck, turkey, chicken, fish.  Lower options would be beef, eggs and cheese.
*Absolutely NO human processed foods.
*Possibly advised to use antacids to reduce the risk of ulcers forming.
*Plenty of clean, fresh water to stay hydrated.  

Meds/ Environment
*Limiting the use of heartworm, worming, flea and tick meds/preventatives is also advised if your dog is diagnosed with liver disease.  These are all drugs your dog's liver must process and can put undue stress on an already sick liver.
*Keeping your dog in a temperature regulated, relatively calm environment.  Temperature fluctuations and stressful homes can cause the liver to work harder than needed.

Take Care of your Liver!  Woof!



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13 comments:

  1. This is all very VERY interesting information. Thank you for sharing what you have learned.

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  2. Our dog Ping has liver disease and we follow much of this advice, milk thistlle and cur cumin. We are currently feeding hills live rdiet, I really really did not want to do that but while cooking her the jean dodds liver diet, which is cod potaotes and green beans she lost a lot of weight So we put her on the LD and she si doing well. We are pretty sure her liver disease is age and not copper related
    retro rover

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  3. Interesting. I have definitely heard of using milk thistle. I know in humans with liver disease, protein wasting occurs, cachexia. I wonder if this is why a higher protein diet is recommended. Thanks for sharing this information.

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  4. Never heard of the milk thistle. Interesting research you've done. I am on a small meal routine too. Lots of Golden Woofs, Sugar

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  5. Having had a dog with serious liver problems (immune mediated hepatitis that caused cirrhosis of the liver) I do worry about liver disease in my other dogs. Thanks for sharing! It gives me some talking points for the next time we visit the vet. Lee and Phod

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  6. Thanks, as I, Daisy, am called a Senior dog....such rudeness....SHE likes to know how to take care of my liver and stuff. So far, according to your feeding directions, we're not too bad. But we do have kibble with the protein that isn't recommended. May have to rethink that.

    XXXOOO Daisy, Bella & Roxy

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  7. Oh, that is FABulous info! Ma takes (and has taken for a LONG time) Milk Thistle as a precaution for her liver. She has to take some migraine meds that can be tough on the liver, so she supplements with this. This is the only supplement she takes besides vitamin D, because it has a good record of not being harmful in long term use. Actual clinical trials (on humans) have been done on hepititis C patients on high doses and long term use of Milk Thistle, and it was all positive. I don't know if the same can be said in use in K9's but, I would be comfortable using it.
    Good luck and keep us updated on the progress!
    Kisses,
    Ruby ♥

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  8. We do two meals a day one wet one dry and it seems to work well but maybe we should rethink that. Very interesting and informative. Have a wonderful Wednesday.
    Best wishes Molly

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  9. Many thanks for this post, it's interesting to learn important things. I had no clue that milk thistle has so much great features.

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  10. All good things to know. We've never had a pup diagnosed with liver issues, but you never know. Hugs to Piper.

    Monty and Harlow

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  11. brilliant information. Have a super day xxoxxx

    Mollie and Alfie

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