Chronic Hepatitis in dogs

Chronic hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver caused by a virus, bacterial infection, kidney disease or another unknown source. Affected dogs develop a slowly progressive liver disease.

Diagnosis of Dogs with Chronic Hepatitis

Dogs suffering from chronic hepatitis experience vague and non-specific symptoms. These symptoms can include a loss of appetite, vomiting, weight loss, depression, lethargy and increased or decreased drinking and urination. As the disease worsens and the liver continues to fail, causing a build up of toxins in the body, jaundice, blood thinning, the accumulation of fluid, and neurological symptoms such as confusion or convulsions, become evident.

Blood tests to check liver function are used to diagnose the disease, although a definite diagnosis can only be obtained through a liver biopsy.

Treatment for Canine Hepatitis

The first step to treating hepatitis to remove the source of the problem, such as a toxin in the environment or a primary illness that triggered the hepatitis. 

Veterinarians may prescribe steroids as well as a low-protein diet to help the liver return to normal function. However, with long term use, steroids can cause problems in dogs such as diabetes and immune suppression. If pharmaceutical drugs such as steroids are necessary, ask your vet if your pet would benefit from natural treatments such as milk thistle or antioxidants to combat the harsh effects of NSAID and steroids. 

Some owners turn to natural products to help support the liver in a safer way. These herbs aid the body in healing and in regenerating the damaged liver.

Natural remedies for chronic hepatitis in dogs include extracts of herbs such as milk thistle, dandelion as well as turmeric. Studies have shown that milk thistle and dandelion reduce inflammation of the liver and encourage new cell growth, while curcumin can increase the level of glutathione, thereby aiding in liver detoxification.

Always take your pet to a veterinarian if you suspect they are experiencing liver problems.