Dogs can develop all sorts of liver issues, particularly as they get older. Regular checkups at your local animal clinic will ideally catch any issue early, prompting the veterinarian to proceed in one or more ways. One thing that will often be necessary for a pet's suspected liver issue is to take a biopsy of their organ. This involves inserting a fine needle into the dog's liver to remove a piece of tissue. The clinic will then test the tissue to determine what's going on with the animal's liver. Here are three times that your dog may need a liver biopsy.
Abnormal Blood Work
Your vet may draw blood from your dog at several different times throughout its life. Upon taking a sample of blood, the clinic can then assess it in many different ways. If the blood work shows concern, the vet may need to proceed with a biopsy. For example, unusual liver enzyme readings can indicate several potential problems with the pet's liver — unfortunately, including a risk of liver cancer. The vet will be able to learn more about the health of this organ with the help of a biopsy.
Signs Of Jaundice
Like humans, dogs can sometimes develop jaundice. This condition turns peoples' skin a shade of yellow, and while you can't always see a dog's skin to notice its color, you may have realized that the whites of your dog's eyes have developed a yellowish hue. Jaundice is a liver condition, and can be serious — often being a warning sign of liver disease. If you've noticed that your pet appears to have jaundice, or your vet has picked up on this condition during a checkup, a liver biopsy will likely be next for the pet.
Veterinarians will often use scans such as X-rays to check out the health of a pet's internal organs. If your pet has been unwell and the symptoms that you describe are a warning of something being wrong with the animal's liver, the vet will likely begin by scanning this part of the pet's body. If the scan shows some type of mass on the liver, the vet's next step will often be to take a biopsy of this organ. This will allow them to learn exactly what is going on with the dog's liver, which will help them to determine what form of treatment would be most appropriate for the animal.
For more information, reach out to a veterinary clinic near you.