As in humans, the canine liver plays a vital role in the body's immune response. It is constantly working to help in the regular detoxification of the blood and should be supported, both in times of health and disease.
Even a healthy dog requires support of the detoxification process. This is accomplished the making sure the diet is comprised of the right components. Different minerals, especially zinc, vitamins and some additional additives and supplements are added into dog food for this purpose.
When a dog is suffering from canine liver disease, the liver can experience dysfunction and a decline in ability to perform needed functions, causing toxins to accumulate in the body tissues. This will affect other systems of the body as well. If the canine liver problem persists for an extended period of time, the possibility exists that toxic effects may even lead to the development of cancer.
Causes of Canine Liver Toxicities
The liver has to process several types of toxins when healthy. These may be toxins produced by invading microbes, fungus, residues of drugs, potential poisons, items in food that shouldn't be there or that the dog's body doesn't handle well, allergens etc. Sometimes these toxins cause several health issues.
When there is a dog liver problem, especially in the idiopathic forms of canine liver disease (when there is an unknown cause) or when carcinogenic pathologies exist in the body, toxins are produced. The liver may be unable to process the amount of toxins and eliminate them, resulting in the level rising over time. This makes it necessary to not only treat the underlying cause of disease or cancer, but also to detoxify the liver through medication, nutrition, and herbal or natural remedies.
Canine Liver Detox Recommendations
It is recommended that an approach be defined for not only those dogs with any clinical manifestation of liver disease and toxicity, but also healthy dogs. Many consider a detoxification plan for healthy dogs at least once a year. This may be done many ways, but natural or the organic way is best, as it has least side effects. This also creates more of a chance for complete detoxification and a lower possibility for any additional drug toxicity.
For canine liver detoxification in dogs that have recovered from any severe pathological condition, especially from a liver disease, this is an approach that can be followed:
- The dog
must be kept on a modified fast for at least 1 – 2 days, in which only a very
simple diet should be provided. This is also called a
- If the dog is
overweight, reduce the
energy/calorie content in
the diet. It must be less than 20% for overweight dogs and less then
for normal dogs. It is also recommended to have a stool sample tested, and if it is positive for any digestive parasites to use a broad spectrum de-wormer at this stage. Additionally, an herbal preparation for digestion support such as Digestive
Support is highly recommended.
- Nutritional deficiencies should be considered, and
required components for support should be included. Usually liver oil, flax seed
oil, zinc, soluble fiber, probiotics, and herbal preparations containing
chamomile and licorice are used to correct and fulfill nutritional deficiencies. This diet should be
continued for at least 6 weeks.
- Canine liver detoxification can be optimally done at this stage, since the dog's body is now better supported to handle the detoxification process. Detoxification is done by using natural remedies such as DetoxPlus.
The diet mentioned above, assuming it contains all of the components mentioned in the proper balance, as well as the use of supplements such as a natural remedy for effective liver detoxification, will help the liver function normally. Detoxification can then resume as part of your dog's natural liver function.
Additional ongoing support can be provided by using a general purpose homeopathic dog liver health supplement such as Liver-Aid
Formula. It can
be effectively used during all stages of detoxification and
maintenance except during stage 1, where only a maintenance diet
should be used as discussed above.
Reference for Further Reading
F. Barbara, Guide to Natural Healing (Elsevier
Health Sciences, 2006)
Merck Veterinary Manual (Merck & Co. 2008)