Hepatic nodular hyperplasia is the formation of benign, air and fluid filled lesions within the dog's liver. In this condition, benign lumps and/or lesions form on the liver. This condition usually appears in older dogs and can be accompanied by elevated levels of blood ALT and/or ALKP. The liver cells become enlarged and tend to accumulate fats and/or starch deposits. On ultrasound, this can mimic liver cancer and therefore biopsy of the liver is sometimes performed to rule out malignancy. The cause is unknown and liver function is usually normal.
Mainly a geriatric condition, hepatic nodular hyperplasia seldom causes any outward symptoms but is accompanied by increased liver enzyme activity, specially AP. In rare cases, it can impact liver function. General signs of liver malfunction include appetite loss, vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, and yellowing of the gums, skin and eyes.
Though no breed or sex predilection has yet been stablished, certain breeds, such as the Scottish terrier, appear to suffer from a higher incidence of the disorder.