Liver toxicity and your pets

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Did you know that some medications and items around the house can cause damage to your pet’s liver?

The liver is the organ where toxins go to be filtered by the body, so if your pet consumes something they shouldn't, such as some medications, food or household items, your pet’s liver can be damaged or compromised. 

Common culprits

There are many common household items  that can cause liver toxicity, some of them include: cleaning supplies, pesticides, pest control products like rat poison, or medicines meant for humans (in fact you should never feed your pets medicines designed for humans, without advice or a prescription from your vet). These items should always be kept out of reach from pets; cats in particular can get into hard to reach places, so make sure to put these items away in a cupboard or a drawer that they don't have access to. When cleaning around the house you could also consider using non-toxic cleaners and pest control methods to reduce the risk of your pet getting sick.  

Some foods commonly consumed by the family are also toxic to pets, as are a range of plants commonly found in Australian gardens. For example, some foods dogs should not eat are chocolate, grapes, yeast or avocado. Lillies, tea tree and aloe vera have also been reported to cause toxic effects to pets, it is recommended that you talk to your vet about plants common to your area that are poisonous, and ensure you don’t have any.

If you see your pet consuming any of these substances, it is best to take them to the vet than take a wait-and-see approach – liver damage can be swift and deadly.

Spotting the signs

Symptoms of liver toxicity can vary depending on the duration of exposure and the type of toxin. The following symptoms may be observed in cats or dogs with liver toxicity:

Gut symptoms
  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea

  • Skin symptoms
  • Jaundice - looks like yellowish discolouration of the eyes, gum or skin.
  • Petechia - minute red or purple spots on the surface of the skin as the result of tiny hemorrhages of blood vessels in the skin
  • Ecchymosis - the escape of blood from ruptured blood vessels into the surrounding tissue, forming a purple or black-and-blue spot on the skin.

  • Nervous system symptoms
  • Weakness
  • Behaviour changes
  • Stupor
  • If you notice any of these symptoms it is recommend that you take your pet to the vet, as liver toxicity can be fatal if not treated.

    Providing support

    Pets that are more likely to need liver support include those on long term medication as well as senior pets with elevated liver enzymes. While prevention and early intervention is key to protecting your pet from liver damage, you can also support their liver health with supplements. 

    PAW Denamarin® contains S-adenosylmethionine (SAMe), a precursor to the potent antioxidant glutathione. Glutathione’s antioxidative properties protect liver cells from damage and death. Denamarin® also contains a patented form of milk thistle which is easily absorbed by dogs to provide additional antioxidant support to the liver. Available through vets, Denamarin® is recommended to improve hepatic glutathione levels in pets to help maintain and protect liver function. It aids in liver detoxification mechanisms in both dogs and cats, and may protect against negative effects on the liver caused by some medications

    Your vet may also recommend Denamarin® to help treat tissue oxidative injury caused by certain toxins or drugs related to reduced glutathione concentrations. It has also been shown to protect liver cells from cell death and may be useful in cell regeneration.

    Related products

    PAW Denamarin ®
    Enhanced support to aid in liver detoxification mechanisms.Denamarin® is sold exclusively through veterinary clinics as adjunctive treatment for liver disease or dysfunction.

    PAW Denosyl ®
    Antioxidant liver support therapy. PAW Denosyl® is sold exclusively through veterinary clinics as adjunctive treatment for liver disease or dysfunction. Available for small, medium and large animals.