Liver failure is not a simple problem. It can be serious and life-threatening for your furry friends. Dogs can have liver failure due to underlying health issues, including liver disease, toxins, cancer, and infections.
Euthanizing a dog is a tough call. You have to consider several factors, including the current medical condition of your doggo. Dogs can suffer from depression and excruciating pain due to liver disease.
Liver diseases affect your dog’s quality of life. Euthanizing a dog can add to your dog’s suffering and pain. It is a risky process. Knowing when to euthanize a dog with liver failure is crucial.
Do not worry. Smart dog owners can guide you on ‘When to euthanize a dog with liver failure.’
When to euthanize a dog with liver failure?
You need to euthanize a dog with liver failure when you observe the following symptoms in your doggo’s behavior:
Early diagnosis or detection can help you determine when to euthanize a dog with liver failure. It may prevent you from euthanizing your dog altogether. Euthanization can be emotionally and financially draining for both smart dog owners and their dogs.
You have to understand the procedure before opting for it. Euthanizing a dog takes approximately 45 minutes. It costs around 65 USD. You have to consult your veterinarian while considering euthanization as a feasible option.
Smart dog owners know whether their dogs are in pain or not. You should keep a record of your dog’s health. It can help you decide whether to euthanize a dog or not. It is essential for you to know when to euthanize a dog with liver failure.
It is one thing to know about the financial cost of the procedure and another to understand its emotional cost. Life can become very difficult for dogs with liver failure. An informed decision can make life easy for your poor doggo.
Fellow smart dog owners, you should know about the steps to deciding if you should euthanize your dog with liver failure. Causes, as well as treatment options for liver failure, are equally important. An informed decision can lead you to the right course of action.
Steps to deciding if you should euthanize your dog with liver failure
Fellow smart dog owners, there are five steps in the decision process. You have to look for the common symptoms, causes, and stages of liver failure during the decision process.
Step 1 – Look for common symptoms
Dogs may change their behavior before going through liver failure. Vets can recognize these symptoms. You should consult your vet if you notice unusual behavior in your dogs.
Common symptoms of liver failure include jaundice, vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss, fatigue, and weakness. These common symptoms can create a lot of confusion. It is best to consult your vet if you notice any of these symptoms in your dogs.
Jaundice is one of the most obvious signs of liver failure in dogs. It can be stressful for your doggo. Jaundice can whiten your dog’s eye.
In some cases, dogs with liver failure have yellow gums. That’s because jaundice changes the color of your dog’s gums. It turns them yellow.
Your aggressive chewer may become a picky eater before undergoing liver failure. You should consult your veterinarian if you notice a loss of appetite in your dog. Your veterinary nutritionist can help you choose tasty foods for your doggo.
Loss of appetite is a serious symptom because it can be associated with a range of problems other than liver failure. An early visit to the nearest vet leads to an early diagnosis. An early diagnosis can help save your dog’s life.
Dogs can have vomiting and diarrhea before having liver failure. Gastrointestinal symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhea can be associated with poor eating habits. Your vet or veterinary nutritionist can tell you whether your dogs have vomiting and diarrhea due to poor eating habits or liver diseases.
Dogs with liver disease can undergo rapid weight loss. It is another common symptom of liver failure in dogs. Consult your nearest veterinarian if you notice rapid weight loss in your dogs.
Liver diseases can cause a lot of fatigue and weakness in dogs. Dogs with liver failure become weak and tired and may not be able to perform normal activities.
Step 2 – Backtrack to find the cause.
What can cause liver failure in dogs? Diseases such as hepatitis or cirrhosis can cause liver failure in dogs. As an acute contagious disease, canine hepatitis can cause fever, blindness, deficiency of blood clotting, vomiting, abdominal pain, severe depression, and eventually liver failure in dogs.
Exposure to toxins is an issue for dogs. Pesticides, certain medications, xylitol, or paracetamol can cause liver failure in dogs. Ingestion of toxic mushrooms, algae, and cycads can also cause liver failure in dogs.
Cancer can lead to liver failure in dogs. Thyroid cancer, lymphoma, and pancreatic cancer can adversely affect your dog’s liver. Older dogs face liver cancer more often than young pups.
You cannot rule out liver cancer for your Golden Retrievers, Rottweilers, Poodles, and German Shepherds. Jaundice is a common symptom of liver cancer in dogs. Your vet may need a urine test to diagnose liver cancer in your dogs.
Bacterial or viral infections of the liver can also be responsible for causing liver failure in dogs. Bacterial infections like Leptospirosis can cause liver failure in dogs. Your vet may recommend a tissue biopsy or blood test to diagnose Leptospirosis in dogs.
Diagnosis and treatment options
Vets use different methods and tests to diagnose liver diseases in dogs. It depends on your dog’s medical condition. Blood tests are often used to diagnose a liver failure in dogs.
Your vet may recommend a complete blood count (CBC) or a serum biochemistry profile to diagnose liver diseases in dogs. CBC reveals the red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelet count in your dog’s blood.
Blood tests can help identify underlying dog liver issues and assess the severity of the condition. That’s because liver diseases cause icterus in your dog’s blood. Icterus is a symptom of jaundice in dogs.
Vets may perform an abdominal ultrasound to visualize the liver and check for any abnormalities. Ultrasound is a powerful diagnosis technique. Vets do not recommend an ultrasound without having some serious doubts.
Your vet may ask for an x-ray of the abdomen. An x-ray can reveal the size and shape of your dog’s liver. Any physical deformity in your dog’s liver can be detected through an x-ray.
Physical examination is another way to diagnose liver diseases in dogs. Your vet might observe yellowish skin, rapid weight loss, swollen abdomen, and excessive urination as symptoms of liver diseases in dogs.
Vets perform coagulation testing before conducting a liver biopsy in dogs. That’s because liver diseases lower the coagulation factors in your dog’s blood. They administer anesthesia before conducting a liver biopsy in dogs.
Liver disease treatment depends on the type and stage of the liver disease in dogs. Medications such as anti-inflammatory drugs, antibiotics, or anti-nausea medication may be prescribed to help manage symptoms of liver failure in dogs.
Antibiotics are highly effective in dealing with infections in dogs. However, long-term medication can be recommended to deal with immune-mediated diseases in dogs. In the case of liver tumors, vets may perform surgery to remove the tumors.
Surgery is also recommended for dogs with portosystemic shunts. It is common for vets to recommend dietary changes. A special diet may be prescribed to help support the liver and promote healing.
In some cases, surgery may be an option to repair a damaged liver. It all depends on your dog’s medical condition. In other words, suitable treatment options and diagnosis methods depend on your dog’s medical condition.
Step 3 – Identify the stage of liver failure
The prognosis for a dog with liver failure will depend on the underlying cause of the condition and the extent of the damage to the liver. Diseases like hepatitis adversely affect your dog’s liver system and can cause kidney damage.
Liver failure occurs during the last stages of liver disease. It means that the liver may not function at all. Liver diseases can be related to canine depression. Canine depression becomes visible during the final stages of liver disease.
However, it is common for dogs with liver disease to have yellowish skin, eyes, and gums during the final stages of liver disease. Your dog may refuse to move during the final stages of liver disease.
Loss of movement occurs during the last stages of liver diseases in dogs. Your dog can have consistent diarrhea before facing liver failure. In some cases, the condition may be reversible with proper treatment, while in other cases, the damage may be irreversible.
Some dogs experience a loss of appetite before liver failure. Vets can determine the stage of liver disease in dogs. You should consult your vet to know about the possible treatment options.
Step 4 – Consult your veterinarian
Smart dog owners do not make uninformed and risky decisions. While euthanasia may seem like an easy option, your vet can conduct several diagnostic tests to determine the extent of liver damage.
Liver diseases adversely affect your dog’s quality of life. In other words, your doggo may experience excruciating pain, lethargy, and a loss of appetite due to liver diseases. In some cases, vets may recommend euthanasia as the most humane option.
It’s important to consult with a veterinarian before making any decisions about euthanasia. Fellow smart dog owners, a professional opinion is better than an uninformed and risky decision.
Your vet may help you understand the extent of damage to your dog’s liver. Vets recommend suitable treatment options to treat liver diseases in dogs. In other words, they can tell you about everything you can do to minimize your dog’s suffering and pain.
Step 5 – Making a decision
Fellow smart dog owners, you should also consider your own personal and financial circumstances when deciding when to euthanize a dog with liver failure. Long-term treatment and care can place an extraordinary financial burden on some pet owners. So euthanasia might not be feasible for them.
Assessing Quality of Life
It is perhaps the most important consideration in deciding when to euthanize a dog with liver failure. Your dog’s quality of life deteriorates due to liver diseases.
Liver diseases can cause excruciating pain, canine depression, loss of mobility, and an inability to perform basic functions. Vets only recommend euthanasia when they feel that your dog might not be able to go through all of the pain and suffering brought by liver disease.
Making the Decision to Say Goodbye
Your canine friends are perhaps the most important part of your family. It is hard to say goodbye to your beloved doggo because it affects your emotional well-being. The decision is difficult and emotional because it is related to your relationship with your canine friend.
Fellow smart dog owners, the treatment is expensive and might not be feasible in some cases. Liver diseases can worsen your dog’s life, and you might need to make a plan to euthanize a dog with liver failure.
Try to spend more time with your doggo and prepare for an after-death scenario. You might need emotional and financial support to make this decision. No matter how difficult it may seem, you can’t burn the candle at both ends, can you?
Fellow smart dog owners, you might be on the fence while deciding whether to euthanize a dog with liver failure. Your vet may recommend euthanasia after considering the worst-case scenario.
At the end of the day, it’s all about your dog’s emotions and well-being. You euthanize a dog when you are sure he cannot undergo immeasurable suffering and pain. You can discuss final wishes and after-death care with your veterinarian.
Why a Dog’s Liver is So Important?
Your dog’s liver is one of the vital organs of your dog’s body. It is responsible for several functions. Your dog’s liver plays a role in detoxification, metabolism, blood clotting, immune cell production, nutrient storage, and bile production.
Your dog’s liver removes toxins from your dog’s body. It regulates the metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats in your dog’s body. Your dog’s liver produces clotting factors that help blood clotting in dogs.
Your dog’s liver is important for strengthening your dog’s immunity because it produces antibodies in your dog’s body. Dogs become able to store vitamins A, D, E, and K due to a functioning healthy liver.
Your dog’s liver plays a vital role in fat digestion and absorption. It releases bile that enables fats digestion and absorption. In plain terms, liver damage can be painful and life-threatening for dogs.
What Happens To Dogs When Their Liver Fails?
Toxins start building up in your dog’s body. Jaundice is one of the common symptoms of liver failure in dogs. Your dog’s eyes, skin, and gums start turning yellow. Your pupper may no longer want to have anything in his chomper.
Refusal or inability to move is another consequence of liver failure in dogs. Dogs become weak and lethargic due to liver failure.
Some dogs suffer from neurological problems due to liver failure. These include confusion, disorientation, seizures, or coma.
Abdominal distension or swelling can occur due to liver damage or failure. Some dogs experience abnormal bleeding due to liver failure.
Symptoms of End Stage Liver Disease
End-stage liver disease can be a serious life-threatening situation. The following are common symptoms of end-stage liver diseases:
What Caused Your Dog’s Liver Disease?
Dogs can have liver diseases due to several factors. These include genetics, toxins, infections, cancer, nutritional deficiencies, chronic disease, aging, and obesity.
Some dog breeds can have liver diseases due to their genetics. Pesticides or certain medications can also lead to liver diseases. Bacterial or viral infection can also cause liver damage.
Cancer can adversely affect your dog’s liver. In some cases, nutritional deficiencies or chronic diseases cause liver damage. Aging and obesity are perhaps the most common reasons for causing liver damage in dogs.
How to Know If Your Dog Has Liver Failure?
Vets observe the common symptoms of liver diseases while diagnosing liver failure in dogs. These include jaundice, loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss, fatigue, weakness, neurological symptoms, abdominal swelling, blood clotting disorders, coma, and respiratory distress.
Dog Breeds Prone to Liver Failure
Inherited genetic conditions can make some dog breeds more prone to liver diseases than others. Some of these dog breeds are:
Cocker Spaniels can suffer from Copper Storage Hepatopathy. Doberman Pinscher can suffer from Chronic Hepatitis. Irish Setter can suffer from Hypercholesterolemia. Miniature Schnauzer can have Progressive Familial Intrahepatic Cholestasis (PFIC).
Shar Pei is prone to Shar Pei Fever. West Highland White Terrier can have Hereditary Nephritis. Yorkshire Terriers are prone to Portosystemic Shunts.
Liver Transplants & Stem Cell Therapy
Liver Transplant and Stem Cell Therapy are two different treatment options for dogs having damaged livers. They can be considered as last resort options. Both liver transplants and stem cell therapy are not cheap.
They may place a serious financial burden on dog owners. A liver transplant is a surgical procedure. Vets do not recommend liver transplants without having a solid reason. Vets transplant a healthy liver in place of a damaged liver during liver transplant surgery for dogs.
Liver transplants can be complex and risky for dogs. You have to find a suitable donor before undertaking a liver transplant option for dogs.
Stem cell therapy is a relatively modern procedure. Dogs with damaged livers may need stem cell therapies to regenerate and repair damaged liver tissues.
You have to find a suitable donor for your dog. Donor stem cells are injected into the damaged liver during stem cell therapy. It may exhibit a high success rate. Vets do not recommend stem cell therapy as it is still in the research phase.
Both liver transplants and stem cell therapies are complex decisions because they are highly specialized techniques. They involve a lot of risks and require specialized expertise and resources.
Can My Dog Recover From Liver Failure?
Unfortunately, most of the dogs remain unable to recover from liver failure. It depends on the underlying cause of liver failure and your dog’s medical condition.
In some cases, dogs suffering from chronic liver disease can survive liver failure. But they need appropriate treatment and care. It can happen in cases of toxins and infections.
However, dogs do not survive when they have liver failure due to chronic liver diseases. Chronic liver diseases include cancer or genetic disorders. But you should know that timely treatment can improve your dog’s quality of life.
Treatment of chronic liver diseases may improve your dog’s life, but it does not ensure a complete recovery from liver failure. However, euthanasia can be the most humane option in some cases.
Liver failure is a serious condition, and medical treatment is not cheap. Your dog may need regular veterinary check-ups to mitigate symptoms. It is best to consult your vet for guidance about your dog’s condition and treatment.
Is Dog Liver Failure Painful?
Yes, liver failure is a painful condition. It depends on the underlying cause and extent of damage caused to the liver. Symptoms of liver failure include jaundice, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal distension.
The pain can increase according to the damage caused to the dog’s liver. Dogs can become weak and lethargic due to liver failure. However, neurological problems can appear during end-stage liver diseases.
Neurological problems include confusion, disorientation, seizures, or even coma. You should consult your vet as soon as the symptoms appear. An early diagnosis can be useful to mitigate pain and suffering for your canine friend.
What to Feed a Dog with End-Stage Liver Disease?
You should consult your vet to know about a suitable diet for your dog. It is the primary goal of veterinary nutritionists to ensure that your dog remains healthy and energetic after suffering from any liver disease.
Vets try to minimize the workload on a dog’s liver. You should follow the following guidelines while looking for a suitable diet for dogs having liver disease:
Your veterinarian nutritionist can help you tailor a nutritional plan to meet your dog’s specific nutritional needs. Always consult your veterinarian nutritionist before introducing any human food to dogs with liver disease.
It is possible that your dog having liver disease may refuse to eat anything. So your vet may recommend tube feeding or parenteral nutrition to keep your dog energetic and active.
Life Expectancy of Dogs with Liver Failure
The life expectancy of a dog with liver failure can depend on several factors. Your dog can have a life expectancy similar to a healthy dog. The life expectancy of your dog with liver failure can depend on the underlying cause of the liver disease, your dog’s medical condition, and the extent of damage done to your dog’s liver.
Dogs having chronic diseases may not survive long enough. Their life expectancy depends on the early diagnosis and medical treatment of the disease. However, medical treatment may be able to overcome symptoms of the disease, but it may not be able to control the disease.
In such cases, your dog’s medical condition deteriorates quickly, and the quality of life decreases. Euthanasia might remain the only humane option in the end. Your vet can give you a rough idea about your dog’s life expectancy.
Final Thought | When To Euthanize a Dog With Liver Failure?
When to euthanize a dog with liver failure – Liver failure in dogs can be a serious and life-threatening condition. It decreases your dog’s quality of life and can be extremely painful for your canine friends. Your dog may stop eating and moving around.
Dogs become weak and lethargic due to liver diseases. In some cases, your dog may not be able to recover completely. Some breeds become more prone to liver diseases than others. Consult your vet before opting to euthanize your dog.