THE INTEGRATIVE CARE OF PET LIVER DISEASE

 

Liver inflammation, or hepatitis, is a common health issue for dogs in particular. As your integrative veterinarian in San Luis Obispo, we can help you and your pet in both the diagnosis and integrative treatment of pet liver disease.

In some cases, a pet liver disease patient shows symptoms of vomiting, diarrhea, and anorexia, but in most cases of hepatitis there are no obvious symptoms at all, and our concern is first piqued by abnormal blood test results (generally a high ALT, AST, or GGT).

There are a variety of different KNOWN causes of pet liver disease— bacterial infection, copper accumulation (very common in some Terrier breeds), reactions to drugs like steroids or anticonvulsants, or toxins. However, one of the most common types of liver disease is known simply as Chronic Active Hepatitis, or CAH. In the majority of CAH cases, the cause cannot be discerned, and we are put instead into a position of simply trying to protect the liver’s cells and function as best we can.

While blood panels and radiographs will give us an indicator as to the severity of liver issues, you will always get the most information from an ultrasound examination and biopsy performed by a board-certified specialist here at Mission Animal Hospital.

 

THE TRADITIONAL THERAPY OF PET LIVER DISEASE includes:
-A careful evaluation of anything your pet eats, including diet and any medications.
-Evaluation of their environment for any toxins that might be present.
-Dietary support with restricted protein or vegetarian diets
-Immune suppressants like prednisone and azothiopurine
-Antifibrotic drugs like ursodeoxycholic acid (Ursodiol).

 

NUTRITIONAL THERAPY FOR THE LIVER PATIENT
   –Lecithin/Phosphatidyl Choline has been shown to inhibit scar tissue formation (cirrhosis) in the liver, which results in loss of liver function and death. Dose is 1/4 teaspoon per25 lb body weight, twice daily.

   –Alpha Lipoic Acid is a potent antioxidant that reduces cellular stress and inflammation in liver cells. Dose is 20 mg per10 lb of body weight, once daily.
   –S-Adenosylmethionine (SAM-e) is an antioxidant that hasbeen shown to improve liver function in humans with cirrhosis, and also to improve survival in human liver patients.  Dose is 10 mg per lb body weight, once daily.
   –Zinc: Human studies have shown that zinc deficiencies are associated with cirrhosis, and that zinc-supplemented patients show better survival. Dose is 15 mg per 25 lb of body weight once daily.
   –CURCUMIN – proven to help protect the liver by increasing superoxide dismutase; shown to decrease ALT and AST; protects against bacteria and inflammation.

   –Coenzyme Q10

   –Vitamin E and K supplementation

 

CHINESE HERBAL THERAPY FOR THE LIVER PATIENT
The following herbs have all been shown to help protect liver cells against inflammation, thus

reducing scarring/cirrhosis and helping to protect liver function.
-Angelica Root (Dang gui) -Astragalus (Huang qi) -Atractylodes (Bai zhu)
-Blue Citrus (Qing pi) -Bupleurum (Chai hu) -Forsythia (lian qiao)
-Gentian Root (Qin Jiao) -Licorice (Gan cao) -Oriental wormwood (Yin chen hao)
-Peach kernel (tao ren) -Salvia (Dan shen) -Schizandra (Wu wei zi)
-White Peony (Bai shao)
Note: An intimidating list, until you realize that we carry a supplement that contains all these ingredients… in one pill!!