Chihuahua Liver Diseases

Chihuahua Liver Diseases

What does the liver do?

The liver is an important organ in the body of the dog. It is responisble for a large number of important functions:

  1. The liver processes toxins from the body and makes sure they can be excreted
  2. It also produces the necessary building blocks that play a vital role in blood clotting
  3. The liver helps processing food by storing glucose and other nutrients (be sure to avoid poisonous foods)
  4. Damaged red blood cells are converted in gall that is necessary for the digestion in the intestines


Chihuahua Liver Diseases


Following symptoms can indicate that your Chihuahua has a liver problem:

  1. Lower appetite and/or loss in weight
  2. Lethargic behaviour
  3. Drinking noticeably more water
  4. Swollen stomach
  5. Puking
  6. Diarrhea
  7. Yellow skin

The liver functions extremely efficient even when it is extremely damaged. The flip side of this is that at the moment the symptoms start showing the liver can already be beyond repair.


A clinical examination can identify the underlying problems when faced with a liver disease. Often additional research is necessary to determine the exact cause of the liver problems. Blood analysis can indicate the presence of enzymes that indicate whether the liver functionality is damaged. On the other hand blood tests can also show low ureum and/or glucose levels which indicate that the lever has been compromised. If blood tests point into the direction of the disease of Cushing then additional tests are necessary.

Other than blood tests there are x-ray examination and echoscopy to look at the size and shape of the liver. Finally a vet can also perform a biopsy. A biopsy consists out of removing a tiny part of the liver taht can be used for additional research.


Whether treatment will be effective depends largely on how far the liver has already been damaged. That’s why it’s important that the diagnosis can be done as soon as you recognise the above symptoms that might indicate liver problems. Chihuahua’s with an acute liver problem need to be taken to the hospital to be hooked up to an infusion. In order to retainstrength it might be necessary to switch to premium food that contains a lot of proteins. Treatment with antibiotics, vitamin B and/or anti-inflammatory drugs.

Types of liver diseases

In this paragraph we list the most common liver diseases:

Symptoms Diagnosis Treatment
Portosystemic shunt Slow growth in heigth and weight Blood test + echoscopy Operation to close the afflicted blood vessel and sometimes lifelong medication
Poisoning From healthy one day to incredibly sick the other day Blood tests Flushing the blood of toxins
Liver infection Puking Blood tests Depends
Leptospirosis Fever, dehydration and/or puking Blood tests Antibitotics
Adenoviral hepatitis Blue eyes’, coughing and/or diarrhea Blood tests Anti-inflammotory drugs and a special serum
Tumor Swollen stomach, anemia and/or weight loss Blood tests, x-ray and echoscopy Specialised operation to remove a part of the liver