Copper Storage Hepatopathy is a liver disease cause by abnormal accumulation of copper in a dog’s liver leading to cirrhosis of the liver. A liver disease is more common in dogs than you’d think, I decided an article regarding Copper Storage Hepatopathy would be in order.
I recently came across a question in the forums regarding this issue. The owner said her dog had this form of liver disease, and she was looking for ways to help her dog. Because this disease requires diagnosis and treatment by a vet, I’m going to focus on the causes, symptoms and treatment of this disease.
Copper Storage Hepatopathy
So let’s get into it. I’m going to talk about everything you need to know about this disease and what to do about it.
Like many diseases, primary copper liver diseases fall into three categories: Subclinical, acute, and chronic.
- Subclinical – The disease is present in the organ, but no abnormal signs or changes are present in the dog.
- Acute – Sudden onset of disease which causes the death of the liver tissue. This is most common in younger dogs.
- Chronic – Chronic, progressive disease. Symptoms are often detected when the dog is middle-aged. Results in degenerative, progressive damage and scarring of the liver, also known as cirrhosis.
Symptoms of Acute Copper Storage Hepatopathy
- Dark urine
Symptoms of Chronic Copper Storage Hepatopathy
- Weight loss
- Plydipsia and Polyuria (excessive drinking and urinating)
- Fluid in the abdomen
- Black or tarry stool
- Nervous system dysfunction
Copper Storage Hepatopathy is a disease in which results in abnormal accumulation in a dogs liver, and it can affect dogs at any age. The primary factor in this disease is genetics. The disease is most common in Bedlington Terriers. However certain breed lines of Westies have shown high instances of the disease. It has also been reported that 4% to 6% of Doberman Pinschers mmay have chronic hepatitis caused by Copper Storage Hepatopathy.
Treating Copper Storage Hepatopathy
Your vet will do a complete battery of tests to determine if your dog has this form of liver disease and whether or not it is acute or chronic. After that, your vet will most likely recommend a diet low in copper to help mitigate the accumulation of it in your dog’s liver. This has been shown to be quite effective in most cases. You should also avoid any supplements containing copper. In addition, medication such as penicillamine and supplements like zinc may be used to help eliminate excess copper from the body.
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Copper Storage Hepatopathy Requires Vet Attention
If you dog is showing any of the signs of Copper Storage Hepatopathy, take him to the vet as soon as possible. This disease requires diagnosis and treatment as soon as possible. Always remember that your vet is your single best resource for keeping your dog as healthy as possible for as long as possible. Even if you find your dog doesn’t have Copper Storage Hepatopathy, with the symptoms associated with the disease, chances are good that your dog has something significant brewing.