What Can Cause Jaundice In Dogs? Signs, Symptoms And Treatment

April 7, 2011 | Dog Diseases | Leave a Comment |

The condition is caused by an excess in bilirubin levels in the blood. Bilirubin is responsible for the red blood cell break down. There are several reasons why a dog would develop jaundice and most of those reasons are associated with the liver. They can be differentiated into three categories:

  • Prehepatic – These are conditions that happen before the blood is passed through the liver
  • Hepatic – Caused by conditions affecting the liver
  • Post Hepatic – Conditions that happen after the blood goes through the liver

Prehepatic Conditions

    • Parasites in the blood – babesiosis and hemobartonellosis
    • Toxins
    • Drugs
    • Tumors found in the blood vessels
    • Heartworms
    • Reactions to Blood Transfusion

Hepatic Conditions

  • Hepatitis
  • Cholangitis – Inflammation of the bile ducts
  • Cholangiohepatitis – Inflammation of bile ducts and the liver itself
  • Toxins – Most commonly heavy metals
  • Drugs – Phenobarbitals, Steroids, etc
  • Cancer
  • Cirrhosis
  • Infections

Posthepatic Conditions

  • Pancreatitis
  • Pancreatic Cancer
  • Gall Bladder Problems
  • GI issues causing bile duct blockages

Signs of Jaundice in Dogs

Here are the symptoms of the condition that owners should watch out for.

  • Yellow Discoloration of Skin and Mucosa – Commonly observed in the cornea, gums, and on the skin on the belly
  • Lethargy
  • Anorexia
  • Nausea and Vomiting
  • Abdominal Distention
  • Polyuria
  • Polydypsia
  • Breathing Difficulties
  • Itching or  Constant Scratching – Bilirubin irritates the skin

Treatment Jaundice in Dogs

The treatment method for jaundice is going to depend on the underlying cause of the condition. However, there are certain treatments that can be implemented before a diagnosis is made. They include:

  • Blood and blood product transfusions
  • Rest
  • Fluid Therapy
  • Cessation of treatments that may have caused the condition

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