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D2006-47

Dear Daisy Dog

Major, my 12-year-old collie mix, has liver disease. He is weak, his appetite is poor and sometimes he vomits.

His veterinarian prescribed a high-carbohydrate diet and medications. What can you tell me about the liver? What else can we do to help Major?

We feel we’ll lose him soon. Love can hurt, yet it’s hard not to love.

Daisy Responds

The liver processes nutrients absorbed from the intestines, produces many substances our bodies need, and detoxifies what’s not good for us.

Unfortunately, countless things can harm the liver, causing either short- or long-term liver disease.

Viruses, bacteria and parasites can cause hepatitis, or inflammation of the liver. Drugs and other toxins also can damage the liver.

In addition, lymphosarcoma and other types of cancer can arise in the liver.

Sometimes a dog’s genetic makeup can trigger liver disease.

Finally, some dogs suffer chronic hepatitis of unknown etiology.

Treatment is determined by the cause, if one can be found.

Like Major, many affected dogs are treated with a high-carbohydrate diet devoid of meat protein. Vegetables, dairy products and eggs provide the needed protein.

Dogs with liver disease may be treated with SAMe, or Denosyl, a nutraceutical that supports the liver’s metabolic functions.

It’s obvious you love Major very much. Follow your veterinarian’s advice, and when nothing helps, please consider offering Major the gift of a gentle, painless death.

If I were in his position, I would prefer euthanasia to prolonged suffering.

The other dogs in my family – and even the cats – send you and Major our love.

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