A Lurcher with liver issues

My lovely Lurcher, although actually she is my son’s, as he was given to her when he was 10 and she was a puppy! And has looked after him ever since.
But I’m the one mostly responsible for food, and health, and some walking, as he works away a lot now.

She is 11, (mum to my Lurcher, aged 8 ), and has incontinence issues. At first the vet thought leaky bladder at night, and put her on Urilin.
I ‘Googled’ and decided to remove all kibble (even the good quality one for breakfast) from her diet. They’d both been on Forthglade for supper for several years.

The night time ‘leaks’ went away. I stopped the Urilin.

Recently the incontinence had returned. along with excessive drinking. Initially the vet thought kidney trouble, and did blood and urine analysis, but results showed Liver not kidney issues.

Sooooooo my roundabout first question is - What causes liver damage?

I thought feeding Forth Glade was a good healthy choice?
I have tried ‘raw’ but the older one wasn’t convinced, and wouldn’t eat it.
She recently got ‘zapped’ by the electric fence in my horses field, could that be enough to cause the stress to cause liver damage? (this had happened prior to the original onset too, the vet says ‘just a coincidence’)
(I’ve changed the set up so it can’t happen again)

And more importantly how do I feed her to help her liver regenerate?
The vet has ‘given’ her ‘Denamarin’ a Milk Thistle’ extract. His advice was to buy the ‘Hills Science diet’ (I’ve googled that too- no thanks!!)

I am really keen to help her back to health through good food, and any helpful ideas would be great.
thanks in advance

edited to add…
Neutered Bitch
age 11 years & 4 months.
Current weight 15 kgs, usual weight 15kgs
Feed 1.5 packs of Forthglade a day, for the last year, previously 1 pack with Burns kibble in am.
Not eating ‘properly’ at the mo, wont eat Forthglade.
Will eat home cooked meat and veg.
Occasional Nairns oat biscuits as treats.
General Health has been good, and is still keen to go for slow walks, but tires quickly.
Thanks again

Has the vet mentioned the possible cause of the liver damage? I would think that the most common causes are tumours, toxins or age related disease. The other one is liver shunt but you would probably have known about that much earlier. I have had elderly dogs with the age related liver disease and one that had a liver tumour age 12 years - she just reached 13 years when she died. She was on the same drug as you are giving and Samylin which was prescribed by the vet. I found it a bit expensive but there are plenty of other supplements that might (or might not) be as good and cheaper.

My vet suggested Royal Canin prescription Liver food and I bought the wet variety for palatability but that was pricey too. At the time I just followed advice and didn’t research the matter much because I knew she was terminally ill so it was all about making her comfortable. I mention this because I was wondering if your vet had given you a prognosis? If it is poor or guarded it might have an effect on the way you approach treatment.

Regarding diet, I think it is best to ask the vet for advice re the analysis of the food in terms of dry weight of protein/fat/carbohydrate. Once you have this it is a basis to search for a suitable product. Forthglade is a great food but like many of the quality wet food products, it is high in protein and fat (check out the dry weight dials in the Dog Food Directory). This is why your dog might not want the food anymore - she probably instinctively knows that it is too much for her system.

If you are minded to continue with home cooking, I feel that it is a great way of managing it. You could choose lean meat for the protein (e.g. white fish, chicken, lean minced beef, cooked egg) and for the carbohydrate, mashed sweet potato or well cooked brown rice. Veg such as carrots, green beans and parnsip would be good and when I cook for my dogs I chuck in a bit of fruit e.g. blueberries. Remember that you could cook up a big batch and freeze in small portions. We have a section on home cooking so have a look to see if there is anything that might be of use.

If you decide to go for kibble, I would think that something low in fat would be best and I would advise you to soak it first to help with digestion. You might want to look at the cold pressed products as they are easy to digest and low in fat. Again, take a look at our cold pressed thread.

Please post back if you need our help to source something suitable and as ever, we would like to hear of your dog’s progress and your choice of food.

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