|Posted by petemergencyclinic on January 6, 2015 at 11:20 AM|
Dear Fellow Pet Lovers,
I recently treated an older dog who was very ill and feeling and looking bad. Laboratory testing showed that the liver enzymes were extremely high and the pancreas (organ attached to the small intestine that secretes digestive enzymes) was inflamed. We treated the old dog with IV fluids, pain meds, and antibiotics, and she was hospitalized for 3 days.
So I thought that this would be a good opportunity to discuss the famous liver with you.
What is the liver? It is an organ in the front part of the pet's abdomen that is essentially a blood filter. Red blood cells pick up oxygen from the lungs and are then pumped by the heart to body organs. The red blood cells deliver that oxygen, which powers the organ's cells. The red cells then pick up waste products from those same organ cells. (An efficient system)
This is a fine setup and you can imagine that toxins as well as normal waste all are processed by the liver, so this filter can be placed under a lot of strain. As you can imagine, many toxins and poisons taken in may harm the liver and this may show as elevated liver enzymes on a blood test.
An interesting thing about the liver is its amazing ability to regenerate itself. One could remove a large percentage of a liver and it can actually re-grow. An injured liver has a good ability to recover if it is supported with fluids and good medical care.
The down side is that we do not have lots of products that can reliably cure a hurt liver. It is all about keeping it going and providing an environment in which the resilient liver can heal itself.
As a side note, the very nice dog mentioned above is now home and doing very well, thanks to good medical care and cooperation between the ER and the pet's excellent home clinic veterinarian.
So, there you have a very simplified discussion of the liver and its function. (My apologies to your physiologists who prefer lots more detail)
If your pet ingests a toxin, or is acting ill in any way at all, get medical attention. Early diagnosis and treatment give us the best chance to help your pet.
You CAN do something about pet illness.
That is all.
Dr. John Emerson, Pet Emergency Clinic