Liver disease urgent help please

My beloved dog has Cushings Disease. It remained undiagnosed/untreated by a bad now ex vet for a year. He dismissed everything I described as “old dog”. So her liver was battered unnecessarily for this time. Now terminal liver disease which is killing her. On all the supplements from holistic vets, Hepaticare, which is mainly SAMe, milk thistle, fringe bark and homoeopathic medicines. Also on small meals and digestive enzymes. Holistic vets say nil else they can add.

Tried her on recommended chicken, turkey and eggs with broccoli, carrot etc. she eats chicken but leaves the veg. So blended chicken and veg, resultant paste she won’t eat. Has porridge like poo but normal colour. In despair one day I gave her a spare tin of Lilys Kitchen which she scoffed down. Normal poo.

So I have wondered if too much meat results in diarrhoea ie not enough fibre, as surely in the wild carnivores eat fur, gristle, digestive tract etc of their prey, not just the muscle meat.

I am also concerned re ammonia build up and so wanted to increase roughage.

I have just bought Royal Canin Hepatic dry as well as wet. Regular vet happy with this believes it will help. But there is so much reported that these companies are a rip off and poor quality etc. I am also concerned at some of ingredients. I know the original research has been disproved, as now established dogs need high good quality protein not less.

Her LFTs are racing out of control and her post prandial bile acids were normal, but a month later high, normal is up to 10, hers are now 25 from 9.1 previous month.

What can anyone suggest? My dog did like the Royal Canin dried but then I read bad things about kibble etc. she has eaten some of the wet.

I am so exhausted by all the conflicting reports. She is so lively and happy, loves life, mentally razor sharp. But probably weeks to go before she uses up her liver reserves and has to be euthanised. Whilst she is elderly she still runs about, shiny coat etc. kidney function normal etc. pancreas up due to liver I am told.

Help please. Time is running out fast and I don’t want to give up on her. Thanks

I am sorry that your dog is so very poorly. I had a similar situation myself a few years ago but in this case my dog had a liver tumour. Like your vet, mine advised me to use Royal Canin Hepatic so I followed the advice but I gave her the wet version to increase palatability and digestion. I didn’t know much about canine diets then but if I had then I would probably have given home cooked food, not least because they so enjoy it. Also, you can adjust the amounts of protein, carbs etc.

A home cooked diet might be worth trying. I cannot advise re specific recipes but there is a website called Balance IT that specializes in home cooked food for dogs and recipes for specific illnesses/needs. They will send you suitable recipes but I cannot give any more information than that because I haven’t used the website myself. There is a Facebook group for home cooking - check out the specific section here. Different percentages are often given for each group of food depending on whose advice you follow but in your case, arguably it might be worth using thirds i.e. one third carbohydrate, one third protein and one third fruit/vegetables.

The porridge like poo is common in end stage liver failure and perhaps it may be alleviated by carbohydrates to add fibre. Well cooked oatmeal, white rice and pasta are types of carbohydrates that may help to add bulk and reduce ammonia build up. The vegetables may be more enjoyable if they were cooked and pureed so that might be worth a try. Also consider adding suitable fruit such as blueberries. Good quality protein will be utilized better by the dog so maybe try beef, chicken, eggs, fish.

If you prefer to use commercial food, cold pressed products have a good reputation for palatability and ease of digestion. Most of them contain circa 30% brown rice so that would help with the roughage. The problem is that they are not always available in stores so you would have to contact the companies direct. The two UK ones are Gentle and Guru. They both have Facebook pages and having mentioned this to Gentle, the advice that I have been given is for you to contact the company via email and they will send a sample of their new fish variety as it might be suitable. Also they recommend that you show the ingredient list to your vet for approval. You mentioned that she enjoyed Lily’s Kitchen tinned. I understand it to be a good quality food and if she enjoyed it then why not give her that? You could always add carbohydrate to it to increase the roughage/ammonia uptake.

I have asked our administrator and owner of the website to have a look at your thread and hope that he will be able to reply without too much delay. Please let us know how you get on. I hope that you can find something suitable for your dog.

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Thank you Dottie for your kind and swift reply. I am doing the Great British compromise at the moment, some chicken with her medicines and then Royal Canin wet and dried mixed. I cannot get my head around the fact that as she is just as she always was, because I am told she is living off her liver reserves, that in a few weeks she will be gone. Unreal.

That sounds like a suitable compromise. This is a very difficult time and you need to come to terms with the terminal nature of the liver disease. You naturally want your dog to live as long as possible. Try to make what is left of her life as comfortable as you can and remember that dogs pick up on human emotion; if you can, also try not to let her see your distress. You will know when the illness becomes too much for her to bear.

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Upsetting to read this thread. I genuinely sympathise with you.

Apologies but I am typing this before reading every word on this thread. Pleaee treat my post accordingly.

As I am not a vet or dog food dietician I am very reluctant to make any recommendations that could be detrimental if acted on…

That said you may want to have a look at a raw complete called Nutriment Low Purine & Phosphorus.

Click here

You might also want to look up info on the product link below…(some interesting testimonials if you scroll down & access incorporated links)

Click here

If not already doing so consider provision of filtered water

Any decisions forward have to be carefully considered & any decision to consider any of my ramblings are yours alone ! I am incredibly aware that allegedly some vets consider there are potential health risks feeding raw based foods to dogs with certain medical conditions.’

I am very aware of the stage of illness you indicate your dog being at.

Thoughts are with you & your dog.


Thanks Coaster I really appreciate your reply. She will at times each nutriment low purine diet, but it is very spasmodic. Equally for many years now she will only drink rain water.

I am exploring every possible avenue to try and help my dog. The saga from the ex vet is absolutely deplorable. He ignored my descriptions of cushings, said that the stimulation test was a risk, the medicine was chemotherapy etc. I had actually googled her symptoms to get Cushing’s. The following night I met a vet friend in a pub for supper and unbeknown to me she examined my dog whilst I went to order food. It took her three minutes to diagnose Cushing’s and said I needed the test. Even when I very politely suggested it was Cushing’s he still dismissed it.

He has u questionably shortened her life as her liver was pounded unnecessarily by Cushing’s for a year. She could have lived for another year or two rather than the equivalent in months. She is such an amazing creature mentally razor sharp and incredibly active.

A terribly frustrating & upsetting situation.

I am hoping to trial the product I provided info to on 2nd link…on back of mine recovering from a recent medical issue albeit not associated to Cushings. The testimonials do seem genuine & include those from folk giving it to humans & dogs with various medical conditons, some liver related & many with earlier genuinely grave prognosis. I am very aware of stage your dog is at & that the condition is typically managed rather than wholly cured.

If it is any small blessing to you I can say that this thread has increased my awareness of Cushings & in turn I may well pass the conditiion info forward when rambling to intelligent fellow dog owners.

Thanks for sharing some of your painful experience - it may well benefit others. As said…thoughts with you.

So sorry to hear of your dog’s condition Elizabeth and apologies for my very slow response - I’ve been away from my computer for the last week. Can I ask how she’s doing on the Royal Canin Hepatic / chicken mix?

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