Liver problems – Aloe Vera In Veterinary
Liver Problems (Hepatitis)
Liver Problems – The liver is an amazing organ, suffering considerable damage before obvious symptoms of the disease are present.
The liver is able to continue to function even though it is suffering from a disease process because it has a large amount of reserve functional capacity and has the unusual ability to regenerate.
The liver has five important functions in the body, having effects on circulation, excretion of waste products including detoxification, metabolism, immunological defence and blood formation.
Because of the complex interaction between the liver functions and its ability to regenerate, it can return to normal activity
after quite serious damage.
Causes of liver disease can be due to disease within the liver itself, and is called primary liver problems (disease) or secondary to some other disease syndrome when it is referred to as secondary.
The main causal agents are bacteria, viruses, fungi, parasites, poisons, toxins and tumours. Interestingly, few animals die of liver problems, but many die with it.
The disease can be acute or chronic, but most animals show some of the following signs; poor appetite (anorexia), vomiting, abdominal pain, enlarged liver, jaundice (icterus), discoloured urine, oedema, loss of weight, photosensitisation, poor blood clotting, anaemia, nervous signs and changes in the stools with some developing diarrhoea while others become constipated.
The liver may become enlarged and fluid accumulates in the abdomen (ascites).
Diagnosis depends on the clinical signs, investigatory blood samples, faecal analysis and liver biopsy.
Treatment of Liver Disease
- If an animal owner notices any of the symptoms described above, then the animal should be referred to a veterinary surgeon.
- Following confirmation of the diagnosis the first step will be to remove the cause.
- Supportive therapy will then be prescribed, including fluid and electrolytes, vitamins minerals and possibly antibiotics.
- Particular attention is paid to the diet, especially in relation to its carbohydrate, protein, vitamin and mineral content.
- Aloe Vera gel can help significantly with these cases due, to its detoxification, anti-inflammatory and immunolodulating properties.
This is one disease where I often find it necessary to exceed these levels – for example in horses I would give up to 4 litres oral Aloe Vera gel per day initially, decreasing to 2 liters daily as symptoms improve, lowering to 250mls per day and then to 120mls per day.
It is often beneficial to keep the horse on 60mls per day as a maintenance dose.
In dogs I may give 1 litre oral Aloe Vera gel per day, decreasing to 500mls per day as symptoms improve and then gradually lowering to a maintenance dose of 20-30mls per day.
Bee Pollen and Propolis tablets may also prove beneficial.
Cirrhosis of the Liver
If the liver is subject to disease for a period of time, it responds by laying down fibrous tissue which is referred to as cirrhosis.
In man, one of the commonest causes is alcoholism, while in animlals it con follow any of the agents described under liver disease.
Signs will be similar to those described for liver disease.
Treatment of cirrhosis – as for Liver Disease.
A yellow discoloration of the visible mucous membranes of the whites of the eyes (sclera) mouth, nose and genitals due to the accumulation of bilirubin.
There are a number of possible causes of jaundice in animals, but all fall into one of three categories, being due to:
1. Increased breakdown of red blood cells.
2. Damage of liver cells.
3. Obstruction to the excretion of bile.
Treatment of Jaundice
Any animal with yellow discoloration of the mucous membranes should be referred immediately to a veterinary
With the approval of the vet, oral Aloe Vera gel can be given as described under liver disease.