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Dog Liver Disease Diet

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Canine Copper Storage Disease

There are a number of dog breeds that inherit a form of dog liver disease which causes dog kidney failure. It's called canine copper storage disease, or canine copper hepatotoxicosis.

The dog breeds that are genetically prone to canine copper storage disease include most terrier breeds such as Bedlington Terriers, Skye Terriers, West Highland White Terriers, Airedale Terriers, Wirehaired Fox Terriers, Kerry Blue Terriers, and Bull Terriers.

Cairn Terriers are not susceptible to this disease, however, they are prone to another liver disease called Liver Portosystemic Vascular Anomaly (PSVA) otherwise known as Liver Shunt.

Some other breeds that are born with this genetic abnormality to the dog copper storage disease are Bobtails, Boxers, Bulldogs, Cocker Spaniels, Collies, Dachshunds, Dalmatians, Doberman Pinschers, German Shepherds, Golden Retrievers, Keeshonds, Pekingese, Poodles, Samoyeds, and Schnauzers.

A Healthy Canine Needs Some Copper in Their Systems

Copper is a necessary metal element in a dog's body as it aids in the production of melanin, the pigment that colors the coat and the skin. It is also linked with metabolizing iron. Deficiencies of copper can cause a bone disorder and anemia even if iron intake is normal.

The problem with the breeds that are genetically susceptible to copper related hepatopathy, is that this condition causes them to store an excess amount of copper in the liver. These breeds accumulate and store the copper in the liver instead of releasing it in their urine.

Storing toxic amounts of copper in the dog's liver, causes problems in these animals with the way the liver is supposed to function. It makes the dogs targets for liver diseases. Some of the liver diseases associated with storing excess amounts of copper are hepatitis and cirrhosis of the liver. A genetic link to copper hepatopathy toxicosis in these breeds has been discovered through research.

Many of the terrier breeds, especially the Bedlington Terriers, develop chronic hepatitis as a result of this inherited metabolic defect. In the United States alone, as many as 66% of Bedlington Terriers may be affected.

The symptoms of copper related hepatophy include a dull, unhealthy looking coat. As the disease progresses, the affected dogs will lose their energy, become depressed and lethargic. They can show signs of loss of appetite and weight loss; yet, they will be seen drinking more water and urinating much more frequently than usual. The first signs of dog depression can be lessened by changing their diet to a diet designed for liver disease.

More advanced signs of cirrhosis of the liver are jaundice (yellowing of the gums, whites of the eyes or skin).

Other possible signs of liver disorders include dark-colored urine, pale gums or a build up of fluid in the abdomen (ascites) that could be mistaken for sudden weight gain.

It is crucial if any of these warning signs exist to get your dog to the vet for an accurate diagnosis.

The only way the dog can be diagnosed for this disease is through blood tests, which include toxicity testing to determine if there is an excess of copper in the blood stream. Your veterinarian can administer these tests to diagnose liver disease.

Diets for dogs with copper related hepatophy liver disease should be created specifically for the individual dog. This specific diagnosis will be provided by your veterinarian nutitionist expert.

The vet should be basing the dog's diet based on the dog's breed, the age of the dog, the level of the dog's daily activity and most importantly; the progressive state of the liver disease.

There are 4 Goals for a Canine Liver Disease Diet:

  1. Supply the right level of nutrients to fuel the dog's energy levels and to meet the daily requirements of vitamins and minerals.
  2. To get the dog's liver damage under control by preventing the storage of excessive amounts of copper in the dog's liver.
  3. To support the cell regeneration of the liver with natural supplements specific to liver disease.
  4. To prevent the progression of the liver disease to the blood stream.

Diagram of a Normal Dog Liver

Normal Dog Liver Diagram

Normal Dog Liver Diagram

Scroll to Continue

Disease Must Be Controlled

If the disease is not controlled, the toxins from the liver can enter the blood stream causing advanced abnormalities of the brain.

This progression of toxic substances moving from the liver to the blood is called hepatic encephalopathy. Overflow from the liver can also cause ascites, which is a buildup of fluid in your dog's stomach.

Dogs with liver disease are usually suffering from a condition where less protein is being broken down. This results in increased energy needs; which in turn means they will need more protein. Often it will appear that the dogs have sunk into a dog depression when they are actually in need of a diet change, and vitamin and mineral supplements.

Canine Liver Diets Low in Copper

Obviously, these breeds of dogs need to be fed diets that are low in copper. High-quality proteins are better digested and have an amino acid content close to the levels these dogs need. At least 25% of their daily caloric intake should be protein.

The proteins that contain low amounts of copper that can be tolerated by these dogs are beef and chicken; dairy products such as cheese and eggs; and plant proteins such as soy isolates or tofu (soybeans) and wheat gluten. A canine liver disease diet must also be low in fat.

The exception to this is if the dog has contacted Canine hepatic encephalopathy, a condition in which the liver disease has advanced so far that the brain has become affected. In this case, a low-protein diet is recommended.

Most veterinarians recommend that owners feed their dogs a mix of animal-based and plant proteins since the use of soybean is found distasteful to some dogs and lactose-containing dairy protein diets may cause diarrhea in some dogs that are not used to eating them.

dogs need vegetables in their diet

dogs need vegetables in their diet

Dogs Need Vegetables in Their Diets

Especially for a Dog Liver Disease Diet

Fresh, cooked vegetables that are low in copper are essential for a dog on a liver disease diet that has been caused by the body storing the excess copper. They are also essential for preventative measures for these dogs that are prone to this genetic malfunction.

The vegetables should be mixed into the dogs protein food. These vegetables could include broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, green beans, sweet potatoes, tomatoes or squash for a canine with a copper related liver disease. These vegetables will add more fiber and calcium to the dog liver disease diet without adding any fat.

Adding a cup or two of cooked brown rice (not dried brewers rice hulls), or cooked whole wheat pasta to the mix will be adding a healthy high fiber starch that dogs do like to eat. The amount you add will, of course, depend on the size of the dog.

Blending the vegetables into a juice and adding the juice to the dog food mix is another excellent way to add the vegetables to their food. Flax seed is another healthy addition that should be included in their dog liver disease diet, as the seeds encourage healthy joints and a beautiful shiny coat. The omega 6 and 3 fatty acids help with that condition.

Blending the vegetables helps to digest the enzymes for your pet. This is similar to the wolf in the wild eating the contents from the stomach of their prey. Your dog's diet will need a variety of different vegetables daily to maximize the potential for the best vitamins and nutrients for this disease.

Moderate amounts of soluble and insoluble dietary fiber can help a dog with liver disease. Soluble fiber such as beet pulp lowers the production and absorption of ammonia and helps the growth of beneficial bacteria.

Fiber (both soluble and insoluble) also helps your dog rid itself of bile acids. Insoluble fibers (lignin, cellulose, hemicellulose) help to normalize the transit time it takes for feces, prevents constipation and binds the toxic copper so that it can be passed out of the system.

Magic Bullet NutriBullet Pro 900 Series Blender/Mixer System

I love this NutiBullet for quickly blending up the necessary vegetable and fruits into a juice for both the dogs and myself. It is a heavy duty system that quickly liquefies the food while retaining the fiber and vitamins.

I use mine every day and love it. It is the perfect solution when having to change your dog's diet because of liver disease.

I use to use a big heavy juicer, but never liked the idea of throwing out all of the fiber that our bodies need. This NutiBullet is a much better solution. It is quieter than my old juicer, takes up very little counter space and blends everything into a smooth juice retaining all of the vitamins, minerals and fiber found in the fruits and vegetables.

no pork allowed for a canine liver disease diet

no pork allowed for a canine liver disease diet

Dogs predetermined for copper retention should not eat pork, lamb and duck.

All of these protein meats should be avoided as they are very fatty and difficult for the dog with liver disease to digest.

Always check with a veterinarian nutrition expert for a complete list of the foods that should be eliminated from the diet of a dog that is storing copper.

Vitamin Supplements Should Be Administered

Vitamin supplements should also be given to make sure the dogs are getting the proper nourishment and nutrients that their bodies need, however, additional Vitamin C should NOT be given to these breeds that are susceptible to copper hepatopathy disease or liver disease. Vitamin C may increase the damage to the liver. Extra Vitamin E should be supplied as it is an antioxidant that aids in the healing of the damaged liver.

Zinc is a mineral that is very beneficial in the prevention of this liver disease in dogs as it helps the dogs to pass the copper out in their urine as they should be doing.

Again, always check with your veterinarian to find the correct levels of supplements that are necessary for your breed of dog. The diet should be calibrated based on the digestive capacity of the diseased liver. The age and the activity level of the dog will also be factored into the veterinarians diagnosis.

It can be a very serious disease, and if left untreated, can be fatal.

Drug Therapy for Dogs with Liver Disease

Treatment for dogs that have already been diagnosed with a liver disease will often be treated with the use of penicillamine to increase urinary excretion of copper.

Zinc acetate helps to bind copper preventing its absorption. Affected dogs are placed on a low copper diet, preferably with less than 0.5 PPM of copper.

The use of copper binding agents in the Doberman Pinscher dog breed is controversial since the disease tends to progress even if copper levels are decreased to normal.

Traditional treatment for this disease includes the feeding of a special diet based on dairy or soy protein, along with drug treatment to help the body rid itself of copper.

Natural remedies, such as glutathione, pyridoxal 5'-phosphate, zinc and milk thistle can be helpful in treating hepatopathy by supporting the liver function, repairing the liver and by helping to detoxify the dogs body.

Milk Thistle is a Natural Liver Remedy

Milk Thistle for Dogs with Liver Disease

Milk Thistle for Dogs with Liver Disease

Milk Thistle for Dogs

Milk Thistle Detoxifies the Liver

Milk thistle (Silybum marianum) is a flowering plant in the Aster family. A native of Europe, it has been used since the time of the Roman emperors as a liver tonic. Milk thistle is one of very few traditionally used herbs that has been widely accepted by conventional science to have significant medicinal value.

Uses in Canines

Silymarin, which is itself a combination of several other active compounds, has been extensively studied around the world, and has been shown to be safe and effective in treating a variety of liver diseases and other conditions.

It specifically protects the liver against toxins (including some drugs and heavy metals), activates protein synthesis, and stimulates the growth of new liver cells to replace those that are dead or damaged. Milk thistle also has strong antioxidant (destroys oxygen free radicals) and anti-inflammatory actions.

Silymarin reaches high levels in the bile and liver (it also reaches significant levels in the lungs, pancreas, prostate, and skin). It can be used in the treatment of hepatic lipidosis, chronic hepatitis, cholangitis (inflammation of the bile ducts), and peri cholangitis (inflammation of the tissue around the bile ducts).

It may be useful in preventing or treating gallstones by thinning the bile. Many dogs with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) have concurrent inflammation of the liver/bile system and the pancreas. This suite of symptoms is called "triaditis." Because milk thistle's beneficial actions concentrate on the liver and bile systems, it may also be helpful in dogs with IBD.

Today we know the active ingredient of milk thistle seed extract as a flavonoid compound called "silymarin." Most milk thistle extracts available today contain about 80 percent silymarin.

Milk thistle should be considered as an aid to healing after drug therapy, vaccinations, and infections such as canine parvovirus, as well as a potential adjunct treatment for cancer.

Researchers at Case Western University concluded from their work that "silymarin possesses exceptionally high protective effects against tumor promotion . . . " One human study even suggests a role for milk thistle in diabetes mellitus through its normalizing effects on red blood cells.

It may also help prevent diabetic neuropathy, a common complication of the disease that causes degeneration of the nerves controlling the hind limbs, which consequently produces weakness and an abnormal gait.

Read the rest of this article at: The Canine Epilepsy Guardian Angels to get the proper dose to give your dog.

Give Milk Thistle to Dogs - Works in Dogs and Humans

Hope For Healing Liver Disease In Your Dog: The Complete Story

Hope For Healing Liver Dog Liver Disease

Hope For Healing Liver Dog Liver Disease

This is the ONLY book that specifically addresses Healing Canine Liver Disease - the 5th leading cause of Non-Accidental Death among dogs!

Cyndi Smasal thought all was lost when her cocker spaniel, Norman, was diagnosed with cirrhosis of the liver and their vet said he only had a month left to live. Figuring she had nothing else to lose, and her dog to gain, Cyndi began her mission to save Norman.

Cyndi began reading and testing everything she could get her hands on about proper diets for dogs with liver disease, alternative healing methods, herbal remedies and vitamin replacement.

To make a long story short, the results of her research, trial, and error, was the saving of Norman's life by healing his liver disease. You can read the complete story of how she did it in her book "Hope for Healing Liver Disease in Your Dog - The Complete Story".

Quote from Cyndi's Vet

".....The concept of a special diet for liver disease is not a novel one. But in this book, Cyndi addresses the topic from a very personal and truthful level. She has tried everything that could possibly be helpful for her dog, much more than what she's listed in these pages. She's put all the results of her research into an easy to read, concise book that fills a tremendous need in the pet-lover community.

You will find her determination inspiring in addition to solid information about a complex disease. This book is by no means the answer to all of your dog's needs, but it provides a great start for treating your dog with liver disease in collaboration with a qualified veterinarian.

"This is vital information that needs to be available for every pet-lover who has a dog with liver disease."

Deb Forster, B.S., D.V.M. -


Hills Prescription Diet l/d Canine

I Received a Question on Another HubPage About this Dog Food

Someone asked what I thought of Hills Prescription Diet l/d Canine as a dog food for a terrier that is storing excess copper in her liver. This is a copy of the ingredients in this dog food that is intended to be for dogs with liver disease, which it does state on the package:



Brewers Rice, Pork Fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols and citric acid), Dried Egg Product, Soybean Meal, Pasta Product, Soy Fiber, Flaxseed, Pork Protein Isolate, Dicalcium Phosphate, Chicken Liver Flavor, Soybean Oil, Powdered Cellulose, Potassium Chloride, Glycerol Monostearate, Calcium Carbonate, vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (source of vitamin C), Vitamin A Supplement, Niacin, Thiamine Mononitrate, Calcium Pantothenate, Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin, Folic Acid, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Menadione Dimethylpyrimidinol Bisulfite (source of vitamin K)), Choline Chloride, Iodized Salt, Taurine, minerals (Zinc Oxide, Manganous Oxide, Calcium Iodate, Sodium Selenite), DL-Methionine, L-Arginine, L-Carnitine, L-Tryptophan, Ethoxyquin (a preservative).

Average Nutrient Content:


Protein 14.5 min

Fat 20.5 min

Carbohydrate (NFE) 46.9

Crude Fiber 3.5 max

Calcium 0.50 min

Phosphorus 0.40 min

Sodium 0.20

Potassium 0.83

Magnesium 0.080

Carnitine 150 ppm min

Iron 118 mg/kg

Zinc 283 mg/kg

Copper 4.5 mg/kg

Vitamin K 0.02 mg/kg

Intended for:

Dogs with liver disease.


The first two ingredients that I highlighted, in my opinion are not good for any dog, least of all a dog prone to or having a liver disease. The first ingredient in this food is brewers rice, which is a low-quality grain as it is not the whole grain. This is only the hulls of the rice and is there as a filler. This should never be the first ingredient in dog food.

The citrus acid, in this case, is being used as a bonding agent, as it will bind to minerals and metals, to help metabolize the copper. It is not to be confused with ascorbic acid (Vitamin C).

This is followed by pork fat, the second "main ingredient, which is the primary source of protein in a food that has a zero meat content. Pork, least of all pork fat, should not be fed to a dog that has liver problems.

Fresh egg and fresh soy beans are sources of quality protein, but, in this case, the dried egg product and soybean meal are low-quality protein. Soybean meal is only the ground hulls of soybeans that are left after all of the oil has been extracted. There is very little nutritional value in the hulls and are only used as a filler.

Next we have pasta product. Since it does not say whole wheat or whole grain, or spinach pasta, etc., we can only assume what it may be made out of. Who knows? Could be anything. Maybe it's white flour, maybe it's corn or soy. Your guess is as good as mine.

Pork Protein Isolate - I am guessing what this is because I couldn't find out anything about it. The only place it is mentioned on the web is in this brand of dog food, so I am guessing that it is pork fat mixed with soy protein isolate.

Dicalcium Phosphate - is used as a dietary supplement to replace calcium in human cereal, dog treats, and some deodorants. It is practically insoluble in water and is used to give the dog energy.

Glycerol Monostearate (GMS) is a fat. It is labeled as a fat and the FDA considers it to be a saturated fat. It isn't something I would consider purposely consuming in quantity as it is the equivalent of eating lard. This is not something that should be consumed in great quantities by a dog with a liver disease.

GMS is used in a lot of human food as a food additive for thickening, emulsifying, anti-caking, and as a preservative agent. It is also used as an emulsifying agent for oils, waxes, and solvents; a protective coating for hygroscopic powders; as a solidifier and control release agent in pharmaceuticals; and as a resin lubricant.

It is also used in cosmetics, hair care products, ice-cream and whipped cream to give it more volume.

The rest of the ingredients are synthetic vitamins and minerals, except for the Ethoxyquin (a preservative). This preservative I am not happy with at all. Ethoxyquin was banned from use in human food because it was found to be carcinogenic.That means it is a known cause of cancer. Like many chemicals, it is produced in several forms. One form is used to prevent the breakdown of rubber; another has been used to protect apples from scale insects.

Ethoxyquin is manufactured by Monsanto Chemical Company. It has been used in dog food for many years in the US, but it is banned in Europe. Some local breeders and competitive dog food manufacturers have blamed ethoxyquin for a variety of maladies, including skin, reproductive, allergies and nerve problems.

The complaints have led to a review of the scientific literature on ethoxyquin studies by the FDA and a recommendation of new tests. However, the chemical was not yet been removed from the market.

The one last thing that I would like to mention is the amount of sodium in the food. Again this is my personal opinion, but I do think it is a little high for dog food.

Four things that I think are good is the low copper content, the flax seed, the soy fiber and the vitamins, even though they are synthetic vitamins.

Well, there it is - that's my breakdown, now you decide.

Hepatic Disease Diet

From Home Cooked Food for Liver Disease

There are only 2 basic choices for a liver diet for your dog. What I mean by that is either one you prepare at home or one that is a processed dog food that has been specially formulated for dogs with this disease.

Many veterinaries will attempt to sell their patients owners commercial liver disease dog food. Be very careful of what the vet tries to sell you. Do your homework. Regular dog foods are not recommended because they are often full of fillers and chemical additives that can be toxic or difficult for the sick dog to digest.

Often the best solution is to prepare your dog's food at home.

Cottage Cheese, Tofu, and Rice Diet (moderate sodium)

1/2 cup cottage cheese, 1 percent fat

2/3 cup tofu, raw firm

1/-1/2 cups rice, long-grain, cooked

1 tbsp chicken fat

1/4 tsp salt substitute - potassium chloride

3 bonemeal tablets (10-grain or equivalent)

1 multiple vitamin tablet

Provides 651 calories, 36.9 grams protein, 21.8 grams fat.

Supports caloric needs of a 20 lb dog

2 to 3 oz or more of raw potato can be added to increase bowel movement frequency.

Cottage Cheese and Rice Diet (high sodium)

1-1/2 cups rice, long-grain, cooked

1 cup cottage cheese, 1 percent fat

1 tbsp chicken fat

1/4 tsp salt substitute - potassium chloride

3 bonemeal tablets (10-grain or equivalent)

1 multiple vitamin tablet

Provides 598 calories, 34.5 grams protein, 17.1 grams fat

Supports caloric needs of an 18 lb dog

2 to 3 oz or more of raw potato can be added to increase bowel movement frequency.

Tofu and Rice Diet (low sodium)

1-1/3 cups tofu, raw firm

1-1/2 cups rice, long-grain, cooked

2 tsp chicken fat

1/4 tsp salt substitute - potassium chloride

3 bonemeal tablets (10-grain or equivalent)

1 multiple vitamin tablet

Provides 700 calories, 43.1 grams protein, 24.1 grams fat

Supports the caloric needs of a 22 lb dog

2 to 3 oz or more of raw potato can be added to increase bowel movement frequency.

10-grain = 648 mg. I used bone meal powder instead of tablets.

Recipe ingredients can easily be multiplied to accommodate your dog's caloric needs. Do not multiply the vitamin tablet.

The most recommended diet for dogs with liver disease is either a low-copper food or a food with no copper at all. Always check with your vet to find out what type your dog needs, as most healthy dogs do need a small amount of copper.

Fresh ingredients such as beef and eggs should be fed raw to provide a healthy easy to digest protein. Since dogs suffering from hepatic disease do not absorb and digest food effectively, the diet should be high in fiber from grains and vegetables to help with their digestion and to assist with the absorption of excess ammonia and stomach bile acids.

Find more Dog Liver Disease Diet Recipes at: Sunny's Miracle Diet


anonymous on March 29, 2012:

Very informative articles! I come from Taiwan and search "dog liver disease diet" on google. Thanks.

anonymous on November 12, 2011:

Very informative articles! I have a dog (Scottish Terrier) suffering from Liver problems and gall bladder issues. He is on milk thistle and another medication which costs $90 a month. I am definitely going to add some vegetables to his diet. More fiber the better! I am going to juice them for optimal digestion. Thanks again for the great info.

buenasmichelle on July 21, 2011:

People can die of liver complications when they are not eating well and this can happen to dogs as well. you are his master and you are responsible of his overall health. This is why you should still think of your dogs diet even if he is just your pet. You can ask a professional vet for diet solutions that can be applicable to the kind of dog you have.

More information of dog accessories Here!

KonaGirl (author) from New York on May 30, 2011:

@anonymous: My hope is that people take the initiative to not just take the vet or dog food manufactures word blindly. Learn how to read labels for their animals and their own food. Advertisers will lie for a buck!

KonaGirl (author) from New York on May 30, 2011:

@blujeanmomma: Some of it of course is genetic, but some of the other human diseases animals are getting, such as cancer, I believe we humans cause. Not only to ourselves individually but also collectively as a society that creates and dumps toxic chemical waste without regard to the human, animal and environmental consequences. Thank you so much for stopping by and leaving this comment.

anonymous on May 29, 2011:

This is excellence in action! May many lives be saved with this information and much heartache avoided!

blujeanmomma from Rocky Mountains on May 29, 2011:

I had not heard of this before. I shouldn't be surprised since our pets can get the same diseases that we do. I wish that more was publicized about diseases that dogs may get and what can be done to help them get through it. Your lens has opened my eyes and has given me needed information to be on the look for. Thank you.

KonaGirl (author) from New York on May 23, 2011:

@anonymous: John, I am so sorry to hear about your dog and hope that John is doing much better. My only suggestion would be to go to a pet store or a health food store in your area of Canada and start reading the ingredients on the labels of the dog food. Keeping in mind that I am not a vet, what you are looking for in a processed food is a low copper level around 10 ppm and not to exceed 25 ppms. Please double check this with your internal specialist. Also ask if you should completely eliminate copper from John's diet all together or should he still get a minimum amount. Be aware that many process dog foods are not recommended because they contain fillers, chemical additives and preservatives that are harmful to a diseased dog and are difficult to digest. Remember to make the change in food a little at a time until John is able to accept the new food without getting stomach distress. You may want to feed John more fresh homemade food and raw protein such as beef and eggs. Do start giving John yogurt that has all of the natural bacteria in it. If you get your vitamin E in a fish oil form it can be mixed into John's food a little at a time. Or perhaps by giving it to him in the form of sardines, salmon and tuna, he will be willing to eat it without too much stomach distress. Fresh beef, beef & veal liver, oysters, and wheat germ are 4 foods high in zinc that your John may like eating. I hope I have helped a little. The best of luck to you and John.

anonymous on May 21, 2011:

Great Information. My CKC Spaniel, John, has had substantial liver issues complicated by bad Purina One dog food and mercenary vet treatment. After finally finding an exceptional internal specialist, we have settled on the following treatment: Cyclosporine (to keep the immune system from attacking the copper-laden liver), penicillamine (to help remove liver), actigall (to help with stomach absorption) and milk thistle (to help rebuild the liver). John does not do well with digesting Zinc or Vitamin E; have tried it several times and given up because it causes stomach distress. Have been using IAMs food but want to find some other food that is without copper. My specialists claim that John has a canine version of "Wilson's Disease" in which a genetic deficiency keeps his body from removing copper from the liver.

John has been stable with the above treatment for almost a year but it is very expensive and I am not sure of the long term effects of the immune suppression. Thinking of trying the zinc supplement mentioned in this article and trying a method for getting him to accept vitamin e.

BUT any recommendations for a new dog food would be greatly appreciated; have tried the L/D dog food and do not find it helpful -- my dogs do not like it at all.

fadibody on January 09, 2011:

Great lens!I had a great time reading your post. Thanks!

duluth personal trainer

KonaGirl (author) from New York on June 12, 2010:

@anonymous: The life expectancy of any mammal is predetermined genetically. Other factors, or course, are involved such as diet, disease and fatal accidents. With a dog that is prone to this type of liver disease, or one that is already showing signs of canine copper hepatotoxicosis, the diet can have a significant effect on the life span of the dog, however, there is never a guarantee as to how long anyone will live, not even a dog. IMHO, it is in the hands of the Great Spirits once we as human caretakers have done everything humanly possible to care for our animals as responsibly as possible. The average life span of terriers is guestimated at 10 to 14 years.

anonymous on June 11, 2010:

Can this diet increase the animals life expectancy?

KonaGirl (author) from New York on March 29, 2010:

@kimmanleyort: I am so sorry to hear this Kim! I am not a vet, however, I have studied herbal healing for humans for over 35 years and don't believe much in medical doctor's unless it is for something drastic. I would make a few phone calls to a couple more vets in your area for second and third opinions on your little Cairn. It may be that she is retaining copper even though a Cairn is listed for being predisposed to the PSVA liver disease aliments. Meanwhile I will do some more research on PSVA and post back here on my findings. One thing that is certain, any dog that is genetically predestined to any liver disease, should be watched carefully. I would keep an eye on what she is eating and seriously look into using milk thistle. Check at your local health food store too for additional information.

kimmanleyort on March 27, 2010:

Well, this is a fantastic lens and I plan to read it again very thoroughly. I have a cairn terrier diagnosed with copper storage disease (which, according to what you say may not be the case) and her vet recommended the Hills l/d diet as well as Vitamin C and adenosyl. She had not shown any symptoms but her liver markers kept going up. She is just starting to show signs of lethargy, excessive thirst, and a tender and swollen stomach. I think I need to get her started on a special diet right away. Thank you for this great information. I will let you know how she does.

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