Liver toxicity and your pets

6741 views 3 min to read

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

As the place all toxins go to be ‘cleaned’ by the body, your pet’s liver can be damaged or compromised by many toxins found in the environment or your home – of the food and other household items variety.

Common culprits
Chemicals found around the household can cause liver toxicity – think cleaning supplies, pesticides, pest control products like rat poison, or medicines meant for humans (you should never feed your pets medicines designed for humans, nor any medicine unless including paracetamol, without advice or prescription from your vet).  This might even include any flea/worming treatments that come in tasty chews as some dogs may be tempted to take them all at once! These items should always be kept out of reach from pets; and bear in mind cats in particular can get into places you may not be able to. Consider using non-toxic cleaners and pest control methods where possible.

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

If you see your pet consuming any of these substances, it is better to take them to the vet that 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:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • 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
  • Weakness
  • Behaviour changes
  • Stupor

You will need to get your pet to a vet immediately, as liver toxicity can be fatal if not treated.

READ MORE: Liver health of cats and dogs

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

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’s also been shown to protect liver cells from cell death and may be useful in cell regeneration.



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.