Could my dog have liver disease? What are the signs?

liver disease


The liver is an important organ for your dog. It helps with digestion and blood clotting, and it removes toxins from his system. If the liver is not working right, it can make your companion sick. But liver disease can often be treated and managed.


It’s easy to miss the signs of liver disease. They are similar to those for other problems.

Your dog’s signs may include:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Vomiting or diarrhoea
  • Increased thirst
  • An unstable walk
  • Increased need to pee
  • Confusion
  • Yellowish eyes, tongue, or gums (jaundice)
  • Signs of weakness
  • Blood in his pee or poo
  • Seizures
  • Ascites (a build-up of fluid in the belly)

If your dog’s liver disease isn’t caught early, it can lead to a serious brain condition called hepatic encephalopathy.

What Causes Liver Problems

Sometimes liver disease can happen as a result of aging. Sometimes it’s genetic. But it can also be brought on by infection or trauma to the area. Some diseases and medications can hurt your dog’s liver.

Other causes of liver disease may include:

  • Some plants and herbs such as ragwort, certain mushrooms, and blue-green algae
  • Moulds that grow on corn
  • Diabetes
  • Issues with the pancreas
  • Use of painkillers
  • Fatty foods

If your dog has some signs of liver problems, your vet may want to do blood tests and X-rays or an ultrasound to get a picture of what is going on with your dog’s liver. We may also want to take a biopsy — remove a small tissue sample for testing.

If you have any concerns about your pet’s health, please contact us today to make an appointment.