wellbeing, healing and disease prevention
Liver Disease Symptoms, Treatment and Prevention. Read on or download a free copy of our fact sheet here.
Did you know that the liver is one of THE most important organs for humans and every animal on this great earth, including dogs and cats? Nearly every challenge, from pesky general health complaints to digestive issues to emotional struggles to weight gain to high blood pressure to heart problems to brain fog to skin conditions to autoimmune and other chronic illnesses, has an origin in an overloaded liver.
Fortunately, the liver has an extraordinary ability to regenerate itself when it’s damaged. So, what is exciting about this? It gives you the opportunity to help your pet’s liver to regenerate healthier. However, the liver regenerates itself with the same cellular memory it had before. Therefore, the key is to ensure that the liver is supported with high potency supplements so each time it grows back it is a little bit healthier than the time before.
In truth, our amazing liver can improve and heal when you harness the force of this humble organ. The fact is: the liver is one of the busiest organs in the human body because it has a highway of blood running through it. Blood brings with it, vitamins, minerals, other nutrients and building blocks of our food, hormones, oxygen, and troublemakers such as prescription and recreational drugs; pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides; aluminum, lead, copper, mercury, and other toxic heavy metals; and disease-causing pathogens such as viruses and bacteria. The liver must be masterful at sorting the bad from the good, the poisons from the nutrients.
Because the highway of blood moves to the heart next, the liver’s task of deciphering what’s useful, non-useful, or even detrimental is particularly vital, so that the liver can make sure to send only good stuff, and not the bad stuff to the precious heart. There’s also the liver’s storage of helpful and harmful materials. As the helpful materials such as nutrients, hormones, biochemical agents, and chemical compounds are called for, the liver’s intelligent system brilliantly dilutes, measures, balances, and releases just the right amounts of these items into the bloodstream. Among the main tasks, the liver detoxifies the body by removing waste products; it produces several proteins responsible for the correct functioning of the body; it helps with digestion; it metabolises carbohydrates and fats from food, turning glucose into energy, manufacturing cholesterol and regulating fatty acids, the liver produces numerous enzymes that synthesize into plasma proteins and blood clotting factors, it stores vitamins A, D, K, and B12, as well as the minerals iron and copper and releases them when needed, the liver breaks down medications and exits toxic substances from the body. Above all it protects the pancreas, gallbladder and heart.
So, if the liver fails, it could be a domino effect of complications. A liver with suboptimal function will be either sluggish, fatty or diseased which will have wide ranging effects on your pet’s health and wellbeing.
The liver helps the body with detoxification by: Filtering out fat-soluble toxins circulating in the body. These toxins are then converted into water-soluble substances for removal by using enzymes to break down chemicals and medications.
There are two phases in this process.
Phase 1: Oxidation: The liver converts toxins into less harmful chemicals through the oxidation process. This causes oxygen molecules to split into single atoms with unpaired electrons. This results in free radicals in the body. Electrons like to be in pairs, so these free radicals are unstable atoms that scavenge surrounding atoms and steal their electron, leaving neighbouring atoms in an unstable state. This process damages your pet’s cells and contributes to aging and degeneration in his body.
Phase 2: Conjugation: The liver cells add the amino acids glycine, cysteine or a sulphur molecule to the toxins to make them less harmful. The toxins then become water-soluble. The liver and kidney work together to remove these water-soluble toxins via the bile and urine.
What causes liver disease in dogs? The oxidative processes of the liver make it the main place where free radicals accumulate. Free radicals build up like rust in the body and cause cell damage and eventually, a damaged liver. Also, hard to remove toxins such petrochemicals, herbicide, pesticides are buried deep in the liver to protect other organs. Usually, by the time you see any signs of disease the damage has happened and is irreversible. The harder your dog’s liver has to work to break down toxins the more likely it is to become damaged. This is why prevention is so crucial! So, how do you prevent your dog’s liver from breaking down? Unfortunately, your pet’s liver is stressed every day with toxins, so first, let’s look at what toxins are leading to this damage:
- heartworm drugs, de-wormers and flea and tick pesticides;
- plug in refreshers and scented candles;
- chemical cleaners;
- flame retardants in furniture and carpet;
- pesticides and herbicides (such as roundup used in the garden and parks);
- processed foods;
- food additives;
- mycotoxins from grain and peanut products;
- environmental toxins;
- heavy metals;
- tattoo or microchip ID;
- autoimmune diseases;
- heavy metals.
It’s ironic that conventional health care for dogs and cats actually stresses their liver causing as we discussed above, free radical build-up that leads to degeneration, premature aging and can lead to chronic diseases throughout the body. Your pet’s liver has a finite ability to clear his/her body from this onslaught of chemicals. And don’t forget this toxin load is on top of the toxins the body naturally produces. Luckily there are some early signs you can look for. Knowing your pet and what is his/her “normal”, will help you spot some symptoms of liver disease that let you know your pet’s liver is under duress:
- digestive disorders (gastrointestinal system) constipation, diarrhoea, indigestion, nausea, burping, bloating, flatulence gas or bloating;
- reduced ability to tolerate fatty foods;
- dry, brittle or infected nails;
- dull eyes and eye discharge or a pinkish eye and corneal or retinal disorders;
- sinus issues;
- dark urine;
- poor appetite;
- ligament and tendon issues; and
- irritability or aggression.
Because the signs of early liver disease are so varied it’s best to assume your pet’s liver is under stress all the time, in fact it is! Even if your pet eats a fresh, clean diet and you avoid medications, when possible, we still live in a toxic environment. So, let’s look at how you can limit and prevent liver damage to your pet’s liver before he/she shows symptoms or bloodwork changes.
There is no doubt, the liver lives a hard life, but there are a few things you can do to keep your pet’s liver healthy!
- Remove the toxins from your pet’s environment. This is a good time to take a more holistic approach to health care and ditch the conventional care that leads to toxin build-up. This means avoiding unnecessary vaccinations, pesticides, chemicals and drugs and use natural alternatives.
- Remove toxic foods from your dog’s diet. If you’re feeding your pet a processed diet, you’re feeding him/her toxins. Period. Synthetic vitamins and minerals in most pet foods add stress to the liver and kidneys. And most grains found in kibble can contain cancer-causing moulds called mycotoxins. Processed foods also contain toxic by-products like heterocyclic amines and acrylamides. These add even more stress to your dog’s liver.
Liver-friendly diets include:
- a fresh, raw diet;
- a fresh gently cooked diet;
- food that is free of synthetic vitamins.
- What is the best way I can support my pet’s liver?
- Add a high potency liver supplement such as Dishy Dogs Liver Pet. This is essential to support your pet’s liver to do its job. The herbs in Liver Pet can help the liver do its job to break down fat-soluble toxins.
- Add Milk Thistle. Milk Thistle/St Mary’s Thistle also known as Silymarin, protects cells from toxins and oxidation and helps liver cells regenerate. It can help with prevention and is a good acute support if your dog already has existing liver disease. Guess what is chock full of Milk Thistle, Dishy Dogs Liver Pet;
- Add Dandelion Root (that pesky garden weed) has unbelievable medicinal benefits such as managing blood sugar in people/pets with diabetes, repairing liver damage and sluggish/fatty liver function: Dandelion root for liver function begins in the gallbladder, with an increase in bile production. This stimulates the flow of bile from the liver and reduces the amount of fat the body absorbs from the diet. It is a MUST when supporting the liver. Dishy Dogs Liver Pet is loaded with Dandelion Root;
- Add Antioxidants such as Dishy Dogs Vitamin Pet. Vitamin Pet is chock full of high potency antioxidants and vitamins. Remember I talked about how free radicals can harm your dog? Antioxidants are molecules that can prevent cell damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals can build up like rust leading to liver disease in your dog;
- Add high potency omegas to your pet’s diet such as Dishy Dogs Omega Pet. Omegas are essential fatty acids that are necessary for your pet’s health;
- Support the gut with a high potency probiotic such as Dishy Dogs Probiotic Pet. Pre and probiotics are essential in the elimination of yeast;
- Include digestive enzymes. Use a high-quality digestive enzyme supplement such Dishy Dogs Digestit Pet as it contains enzymes that they can help quickly digest and eliminate dead yeast cells.
- Include fresh fruits and vegetables that give great antioxidant and carotenoid support such as:
- sprouts (clover, kale, broccoli or radish). Sprouts are very easy and fun to grow at home;
- leafy greens such as spinach, kale, chard, broccoli, celery, brussel sprouts and asparagus;
- fruits such as apples, bananas, mangos, blueberries, watermelon and pears;
- lemons (juice) you can add a small amount to your pet’s water (5ml);
- Feed high-quality protein. Restricting protein for dogs who have liver disease is not the best thing for dogs with liver disease. The body uses amino acids from proteins to build and repair tissues including muscle, skin and the liver. So, you need to feed high-quality proteins to your dog. Your dog needs 22 essential amino acids to work on these repairs. Your pet can make 12 of these 22 on his/her own but the others need to come from quality protein in the diet. Feeding organic and grass-fed raw meats to your dog provides the tools your pet needs for self-repair. See Dishy Dogs Superfood Meals;
- Use natural solutions for flea, tick and heartworm prevention such as Dishy Dogs Amber necklaces;
- avoid unnecessary vaccinations by “titre” testing your dog to determine how many antibodies from the last vaccine are present;
- give your pet filtered water to minimise heavy metals;
Other supplements to include in your pet’s healing/prevention routine:
- Add zinc (as liquid zinc sulfate) ¼ dropper full to your pet’s food on a daily basis. Zinc is critical for liver health, autoimmune conditions, adrenal problems, allergies, arthritis, cancer, skin disorders, brain fog, diabetes, fatigue, heart palpitations, hepatitis, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, inflammation, SIBO, sinus infections, weight issues, vertigo, tinnitus, GME, seizures, lupus, lyme disease, thyroid problems, Epstein-barr, IBD/IBS, UTIs, candida, and every other symptom and condition;
- selenium (one (1) to two (2) drops per week). In addition to decreasing oxidative stress, selenium may help lower the risk of certain cancers. This has been attributed to selenium’s ability to reduce DNA damage and oxidative stress, boost your immune system, and destroy cancer cells;
- Do regular Heavy Metals detoxes (Dishy Dogs Detox Pet) as this will not only support/cleanse your pet’s liver it will minimise disease, period. Read our Heavy Metals fact sheet.
- Vitamin B12 (as adenosylcobalamin with methyl cobalamin): ½ dropperful daily;
- turmeric such as Dishy Dogs Turmeric Pet, it will support the cleansing of the blood;
- If your dog has yeast, then add Dishy Dogs Yeast Pet as it is chock full of herbs that support the removal/elimination of yeast;
- burdock root as it has the ability to naturally purify the blood;
- yellow dock can help the detoxification process with many functions. It is effectively known as the blood cleanser, lymph cleanser and liver support.
- Greens should be pureed raw or lightly steamed so that they are easily digestible for your dog.
- NEVER do a liver cleanse and NEVER give/feed your pet the following foods:
- apple cider vinegar, is bad for the liver;
- fermented foods, such as kimchi and kombucha as they are bad for the liver;
- liver (cooked or raw). Whilst there are many vitamins and minerals in a healthy liver the truth is, the liver of all animals is loaded with toxins.
When you support the liver, it will help it to perform at its best. A healthy liver will reduce symptoms like:
- allergies and skin disease;
- weight gain or weight loss;
- diabetes (type 1 and 2 + hypoglycaemia);
- chronic constipation and other gastrointestinal issues;
- arthritis and joint pain;
- cancer; and many more.
Dishy Dogs is certified “Australian Made and Owned”. Our ingredients are 100% human grade, 100% preservative, dairy, gluten, egg and additive free with no added salt, sugar, flavour or colour.