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Knowing How to Protect and Support your Pet's Liver
For all of its simplicity of appearance, the liver is a very complicated and hard-working organ. Mostly portrayed in medical text or seen in surgery as nothing more than a large reddish-brown mass, but the liver is known to perform over 1,000 different tasks. Most of which are necessary to life and could not be done elsewhere in the body.
To list all of the functions of the liver would take an entire book, but we will list some of the more important ones.
The production of the essential protein 'albumin,' the production of blood clotting factors, the storage of fat soluble vitamins such as A, D, E, and K, the storage of energy, the manufacture of some digestive enzymes, and the detoxification of wastes and poisons are just some of these hepatic functions.
Production of essential proteins (albumin)
Major blood proteins like albumin and many of the globulins are few of the essential proteins formed in the liver. These two groups maintain the pressure gradient within blood vessels, transport all sorts of other compounds, and perform many different immune responses, which protect the body. Other proteins cause the blood to clot when a vessel is cut or damaged. While there are other protein molecules called enzymes that are important for many of the chemical reactions that constantly occur within the body.
Additionally, many of these and other proteins are stored within the liver for future use. As part of this entire system, the liver must determine which proteins are in short supply and increase the level of production before a crisis occurs. All of this is regulated closely, therefore, not only does the liver produce, metabolize, and store these substances, but it also constantly monitors the supply and demand of any proteins it affects.
Vitamin production and storage
Vitamins A, D, E and K are all either made, or stored, or are in some way regulated by the liver. Animals in liver failure must have their diet supplemented with huge quantities of these necessary compounds, if not, they will die.
Storage of nutrients
Carbohydrates and lipids are the energy stores that run an animal’s body. The storage and release of many of these is done chiefly by and within the liver. Remember, everything that is absorbed through the gastrointestinal tract arrives at the liver first and very little goes out without being affected in some way.
Glucose (from carbohydrates), the internal sugar and most important source of quick energy, is extracted immediately from the blood and converted into glycogen, which is stored until needed. While fatty acids, triglycerides, and other fats (from lipids) are also stored, metabolized, and/or changed within the liver.
Liver fulfills this storage function in a way that no other site in the body can. Also, pre-determined quantities of several metals like iron, copper, and zinc are kept within the liver for future use in the rest of the body. These substances can be irritating to other types of tissue, so it is up to the liver to make sure they are always available. Even in the liver, however, these stored quantities are carefully monitored because excessive amounts can damage the cells.
Another important storage factor of the liver is often overlooked - it is simply blood. It is estimated up to 15% of all blood within the body is within the liver at any one time. If the animal suddenly loses large quantities of blood due to injury or disease, the liver can immediately shunt a much larger quantity of whole blood with all of its constituents into general circulation within a matter of seconds.
The liver plays a major role in the digestive process that occurs within the intestines. Many of the compounds that are produced or excreted by the liver form the bile, which goes from the gallbladder through the bile duct into the small intestine to aid in the break-down of food. It is true that most of the bile is an accumulation of waste products destined for excretion from the body, but some of its constituents aid in digestion.
The liver breaks down and excretes numerous compounds. Just as the kidneys remove potentially harmful materials from the blood, so does the liver. Examples of this are by-products or wastes from normal cellular activity such as:
- Urea from protein metabolism
- Worn out hemoglobin molecules from red blood cells
- Naturally produced steroids and hormones
The liver is also the organ that breaks down some of the sedative and anesthetic agents, antibiotics, and other medications that we administer to our pets. This destruction of unwanted or potentially harmful substances is a life or death matter for the individual. If the liver fails to eliminate these compounds, the animal dies.
While a physiologist or practitioners could extend this list of important liver functions for many pages, these are the more important ones. Liver is unique and incredible organ with every single part of it capable of every task necessary. This organ has an amazing ability to snap back from injury and regenerate lost tissue to heal injured portions, and it is the only one in the body with this capability.
LIVER Damage Causes
Liver is prone to either direct or indirect damages given its various functions in the body. Direct damage can be due to:
- Mechanical obstruction
- Larvae migration
- Gall stones
- Direct liver infection
- Direct liver toxicity
- Heavy metals – Lead, mercury
- Drugs and chemicals
While indirect damage can be brought about by the following:
- Systemic infections
- Long term low level toxicity
LIVER Protection, Recovery and Support
As for liver recovery and protection, the principles revolve around reduction of the organ’s functional load and pre-hepatic breakdown of elements (nutrients).
The use of phytochemicals in liver recovery has gained grounds in the recent years. Phytochemicals are chemical compounds that occur naturally in plants (phyto means "plant" in Greek). Some are responsible for color and other organoleptic properties, and some may have biological significance, for example carotenoids or flavonoids.
These phytochemicals contain components that help the liver in the following ways:
- Enzymatic breakdown of food materials
- Reparative properties
No such thing as direct treatment to liver damage. The cause of direct liver damage has to be eliminated and liver should be allowed to repair it self. The use of hepatic prescription diet is a supportive management for pets with liver conditions, these diets will keep the liver from functioning more in such cases.
TEFROSOL FORTE apart from being a phytomedicament for liver protection and support can also be indicated for the following conditions:
- As supportive treatment in infectious conditions where numerous medications are given. This will reduce the burden of the liver for bio transforming drugs and other
- As supportive treatment in poisoning cases to support the recovery of the liver.
- As supportive treatment in fatty liver disorders and in obesity cases.
- As an aid in faster recovery of discharged patients that will recuperate from Infections.
- As an aid in liver protection where dogs/cats are fed with food scraps or pet food of poor nutritional value.
- As a supportive nutritional supplement for aging dogs where metabolic activity had
- As a rehabilitation supplement post surgery.
- As liver protection supplement for pets undergoing long term medication
- As a rehabilitation supplement for nutritionally deficient or emaciated dogs and cats.