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Dietetics for liver diseases

10/10/2018
Dietetics for liver diseases

The liver is the most important metabolic organ and at the same time the largest gland in the body.

It has a variety of functions, including in the metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins and hormones. It detoxifies and excretes (e.g. medications, toxins, etc.), stores nutrients and converts them into the body's own substances, constantly maintains the blood sugar level, converts ammonia into urea, produces bile and has an important role in digestion.

From this one can also imagine, although not being a specialist, how many problems can occur if the liver does not function properly.

Various symptoms can indicate a liver disease, such as diarrhea, constipation, vomiting, weight loss, loss of appetite, susceptibility to parasites and fatigue. If the disease is more advanced, abdominal pain, swollen abdomen, light or yellowish faeces, skin and fur diseases, severe irritation, inflammation of the ears or eyes, cramp attacks (due to disturbance of the central nervous system) and yellowish mucous membranes can be additionally present.

Liver diseases occur more and more often in dogs. Causes are among other things a strong impact by worm cures, antiparasitics, anesthesia, antibiotics or other medications, stress, feeding mistakes ( indigestible protein, oversupply with protein, conservatives, antioxidants in the feed), metabolic diseases, overweight (obesity). A genetic disposition is also possible.

Since the symptoms are very unspecific, a diagnosis is not quite easy. Unfortunately, a liver disease is often only diagnosed when the liver is already damaged.

How can I influence liver disease through diet?

Since the liver is very capable of regeneration, the liver can be very well supported with nutrition. However, a detailed diagnosis by the veterinarian is important. The cause of a liver disease may not necessarily be the liver itself.

The aim of the therapeutic diet is to avoid further stress and damage caused by free radicals and to provide the necessary nutrients, supported by natural antioxidants.  Depending on the diagnosis, the diet plan is individually adapted to the patient. The ration contains easily digestible, high-quality protein, more or less fat depending on the cause, carbohydrates, all necessary vitamins and minerals as well as useful additives that stimulate the appetite. If the animal has already lost weight, the aim may also be to gain weight.  

The next important step is to support the regeneration of the liver with natural remedies and to strengthen the intestines.

The success of liver regeneration depends on many factors. It is also decisive how much the liver is already damaged. But even with severe liver diseases, the liver can be well supported with the appropriate diet. If necessary, a therapy with medicinal mushrooms, which are also successfully used in liver diseases, may be useful. In any case, it is advisable to involve your veterinarian.

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