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Chronic Hepatitis in dogs

Chronic hepatitis is characterized by a prolonged period of inflammatory liver disease with persistent elevations of liver enzymes. In animals with clinical signs of liver disease the diagnosis is confirmed by biopsy, but biopsy is dangerous in animals with bleeding disorders. Affected animals might have high liver copper, serum alkaline phosphatase, alanine aminotransferase, and bilirubin. Hypoalbuminemia, anemia, and prolonged prothrombin time and/or partial thromboplastin times are common.

Additional information

Inflammation within the liver that is chronic and ongoing and results in accumulation of inflammatory cells and fibrosis within the hepatic parenchyma. Chronic active hepatitis is a syndrome in dogs with many causes; it is not a specific disease entity.

Initiated by any event that disrupts the normal hepatic architecture or activates cell-mediated immunity within the liver. Infectious agents and toxins are examples of inciting agents. Inflammatory cells, predominantly lymphocytes and plasma cells, accumulate initially in the periportal area, and released cytokines cause areas of hepatocyte necrosis. As the disease progresses, inflammatory cell infiltrates and hepatocyte necrosis bridge across hepatic lobules and fibrosis ensues. Cirrhosis and hepatic failure occur in the later stages of the disease.

Systems Affected
• Hepatobiliary--inflammation, necrosis, and fibrosis • Nervous-- hepatoencephalopathy • Gastrointestinal--vomiting, anorexia, and ascites

• Hepatitis caused by copper toxicity is associated with a genetic predisposition to copper accumulation in Bedlington terriers, West Highland white terriers, and perhaps other breeds (see copper hepatopathy). • Heredity may play a role in the development of chronic active hepatitis in doberman pinschers and cocker spaniels.
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