Steroid-Related Liver Disease in Dogs

"Vacuolar" refers to small cavities within cells which contain various substances like fluid, storage products, waste products. 

"Hepatopathy" is a medical for liver disorder or disease.

Vacuolar hepatopathy refers to a reversible change in the liver cells; usually associated with accumulation of glycogen in cavities within lever cells. Glucogen is the storage form of glucose.

The condition occurs due to overuse of steroid medication, overproduction of  steroids in the body or due to endocrine disorder (hyperadrenocorticism, atypical adrenal hyperplasia).

Associated symptoms depend on underlying cause; however, some of more common symptoms include



Loss of hair (alopecia)

Increased thirst and urination (polydipsia and polyuria)

Increased appetite (polyphagia)

Abdominal distention

Muscle weakness

Bruises on skin

Friable (easily crumbled) skin


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