What Are the Causes of Vacuolar Hepatopathy in Dogs?

by Naomi Millburn

    The term "vacuolar hepatopathy" might seem baffling and confusing, but it actually refers to an oft-seen ailment in the canine world. If your pooch is exhibiting symptoms such as exhaustion and bruising, among others, then he just might have this form of liver disease. Veterinary care is essential for all dogs with vacuolar hepatopathy.

    Vacuolar Hepatopathy Background

    Vacuolar hepatopathy involves the glycogen-induced swelling of hepatocytes -- the liver cells, says the Merck Veterinary Manual. When dogs have vacuolar hepatopathy, the buildup of glycogen, a polysaccharide, leads to vacuolar shifts. These shifts, however, can be brought back to their prior states. A handful of different components can be potential causes of vacuolar hepatopathy in canines. Veterinarians can assess individual dogs to determine their specific triggers of the disorder.

    Possible Causes

    Vacuolar hepatopathy is an inherited condition for some dogs. Some dogs are born with it. Elderly dogs often experience idiopathic hepatopathy in which the root is uncertain. Factors that can bring upon the emergence of vacuolar hepatopathy in dogs are cancer, long-standing infections, Cushing's syndrome and atypical adrenal hyperplasia. The use of medication is also sometimes associated with causing canine vacuolar hepatopathy. Glucocorticoids, which are steroid hormones, can sometimes lead to vacuolar hepatopathy.

    Typical Symptoms

    Typical indications of vacuolar hepatopathy generally differ based on the specific triggers of the disease. However, dogs with the condition frequently exhibit signs such as fatigue, unusual feebleness of the muscles, bruises, panting, swelling of the stomach, hair loss, excessive need to urinate and fragile skin. Many dogs with vacuolar hepatopathy also exhibit significant boosts in appetite and thirst alike. As soon as you observe any of these things in your pet, take him to the veterinarian for a checkup.

    Veterinary Care

    Once you arrive at the veterinary clinic, be ready to provide the professionals with an extensive background on your pet, health-wise. Discuss all medications your pet uses. Remember, it's crucial to always get veterinary approval before giving your pet any medicine. Describe specifically when your dog first started displaying hints of a medical problem. Then, delve into the intensity of his specific symptoms. Your vet might analyze your pet's situation in numerous different ways, including via performing a urinalysis, checking his blood and examining his liver via stomach X-rays. A major priority in the treatment of canine vacuolar hepatophy involves taking care of the initial disease that brought upon the disorder.

    About the Author

    Naomi Millburn has been a freelance writer since 2011. Her areas of writing expertise include arts and crafts, literature, linguistics, traveling, fashion and European and East Asian cultures. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in American literature from Aoyama Gakuin University in Tokyo.

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