My Fourteen Year Old Yorkie Has An Enlarged Liver. What Might Cause An Enlarged Liver?


2 Answers

Anonymous Profile
Anonymous answered
There are many things that can cause an enlarged liver.  In an older dog a big concern is cancer.  Other causes include infectious, toxin, primary liver failure, secondary to other conditions like right sided heart failure, and inflammatory disease.  Bloodwork should be run to assess the liver enzymes and screen for disease in other organs.  Bile acids should be run to assess the function of the liver.  An ultrasound should be performed to assess the liver, gallbladder and other abdominal organs.  This will help screen for cancer.  At this time an ultrasound guided biopsy can be done.  Exploratory surgery or laparoscopic biopsies may need to be performed to obtain a definitive diagnosis.
Contact your veterinarian to discuss your dog's case, what further diagnostic tests are needed, and plan treatment that can be started to protect and support the liver.

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Bonnie Phillips
Bonnie Phillips commented
I had exrays taken on Thurs. of last week and blood work and urine. Thats how I know of the enlarged liver. Tests run a year ago also showed enlarged liver and a strong leaning towards cushings desease. Ladys teeth are in really bad shape and thats the first thing the vet, any vet, wants to do. I have spent close to $2,000 dollars thus far and I am retired with limited income. To clean her teeth, the estimate is $1,000 dollars give or take what needs to be done. Also, treatment for cushings medication is not cheap either way I go. I am scared to have her teeth done, due to everything else she has going on, that she won't wake up.
Anonymous Profile
Anonymous answered
Q: My husband's 6-year-old Maltese
is beginning to lose her balance and stumble around. She is also not
responding to my husband's voice. She has a collapsing trachea and the
vet said her liver is enlarged. Do you know of specific food that would
help a dog that may be suffering from an enlarged liver? Also, do you
have any ideas as to why the dog might be losing her balance?

A: I am sorry to hear your husband's dog is having such serious problems.
of disorientation and stumbling could be related to her liver. The
liver detoxifies digested food into harmless byproducts, which
circulate through the bloodstream and then are eliminated. If the liver
is enlarged, there may be inflammation that is preventing
detoxification. This can lead to elevated levels of toxic substances,
such as ammonia, which cause delirium and disorientation when they
reach the brain.
Several blood tests can help rule out a liver
problem that could be causing these signs. Blood ammonia levels and
bile acids can be measured. Some veterinarians are able to perform
these tests in their own lab; others may have to send the blood to an
outside lab.
Another option is more expensive, but reveals more information. Your
vet can take a biopsy of the liver, guided by an ultrasound, and submit
it for analysis. Some veterinarians are also able to perform
laparoscopy, a non-invasive procedure that allows them to see the liver
and other abdominal organs, take pictures of them, and safely collect
If your husband's dog does have hepatic encephalopathy
(liver inflammation leading to circulating toxins in the bloodstream),
the signs can be lessened with certain medications and dietary
modifications. A low-protein diet will reduce the amounts of
circulating ammonia. This is the same diet dogs with kidney failure
would eat.
You could try a low-protein diet with your dog to
see if it makes any difference, or pursue testing to get more definite
Jon Geller, DVM

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