In its simplest form, hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver, which is the first organ in your pup’s body to come into contact with toxins. Sometimes, your dog will contract the adenovirus, CAV-1, which causes hepatitis. Fortunately, infectious hepatitis is rare in dogs, thanks to vaccinations. However, friends can still contract non-communicable hepatitis.
A friend’s liver plays a vital role in his health. This important organ filters toxins and has an important role in storing energy and regulating metabolism. It also aids in digestion by producing bile. A dog’s liver has a large reserve capacity, which means it’s usually badly damaged before you see any signs of problems.
Chronic hepatitis, also known as chronic active hepatitis – CAH – or chronic nephrotic hepatitis, occurs when a dog’s liver becomes inflamed. As the disease progresses, the liver is irreversibly worn away, eventually leading to the death of liver tissue. The condition is poorly understood and the cause is unknown, or idiopathic. Most dogs who suffer from CAH are middle-aged or older, though a dog of any age is susceptible. Liver disease is chronic if the condition has been present for weeks or months. Acute hepatitis is inflammation that lasts for a few days. A dog with CAH in hepatic failure.
Unlike infectious hepatitis, where the cause of the disease is known and preventable, chronic hepatitis has a variety of potential contributors, but no specific known cause. It is suspected that toxins, cancer, infection and drugs play a role in the development of the disease. Friends’ large liver reserve means that up to three-quarters of their tissue must be destroyed before they fail. Unfortunately, by the time you see symptoms of CAH, the disease has usually advanced to the point where the liver has been damaged beyond repair.
Symptoms and diagnosis
Because the liver performs so many functions, there are several possible symptoms of CAH. Common signs include vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, and lethargy. The friend may drink and urinate more, have a distended stomach, experience pain or tenderness in his abdomen, and have an appearance of dancing on his skin, ears, gums, and the whites of his eyes. Sometimes there are neurological signs, such as seizures, poor coordination, depression, and disorientation. If the vet suspects Buddy has liver problems, he will confirm the diagnosis with blood tests, x-rays, and possibly an abdominal ultrasound. Imaging may show a small liver, which is normal for a dog with CAH. Some vets prefer confirmation of CAH via a surgically performed liver biopsy, which provides information about the type and severity of liver disease, as well as prognosis and treatment options.
Acute hepatitis has a higher chance of complete recovery than CAH. Since CAH is “active,” it means that cells are constantly dying, which means that there is a poor prognosis. If Buddy is diagnosed with CAH, the goal of treatment will be to stop the progression of the disease, ensure he gets excellent nutrition and other support for his liver, and keep him as comfortable as possible to give him a pain-free quality of life. . If the cause of the liver impairment can be identified, it will be addressed. A dog with severe complications may need hospitalization for fluid therapy and blood transfusions. If a friend’s stomach is affected, he may need medication to soothe the stomach lining.
Written by Betty Lewis