Juvenile fibrosing liver disease is a scarring process associated with an increased and altered deposition of extracellular matrix (ECM) in the liver of the young dogs. Liver fibrosis is the excessive accumulation of extracellular matrix proteins especially collagen that occurs in most types of chronic liver diseases. It is caused by a variety of stimuli and if fibrosis continues unopposed, it would progress to cirrhosis which poses a significant health problem in dogs.
This condition is caused by the accumulation of scar tissue in the liver. This replacement of healthy liver tissue with scar tissue impairs the ability of the liver to function properly. If the condition causing the scarring is not treated, liver fibrosis may progress to liver cirrhosis and complete liver failure, a life-threatening condition.
Young or juvenile dogs, specially of large breeds, are predisposed to this condition. The suspected causes include chronic exposure to toxic bile, exposure to intestinal toxins, and liver injuries although the exact cause remains unknown.
Common symptoms that are associated with liver fibrosis include
Blood in stool
Loss of appetite (anorexia)
Distended abdomen (ascites)
Stunted growth, poor body condition
Increased frequency and volume of urine (polyuria)
Increased thirst (polydipsia) and consumption of water
Stone formation in kidney, bladder, or urethra
Nervous symptoms may be seen due to hepatic encephalopathy