Jaundice Information

Jaundice, also commonly known as icterus, is a yellow discoloration of the skin.

This yellow pigmentation occurs when the body has an increased rate of bilirubin in the body, a substance that helps with the breakdown of red blood cells. Bilirubin is a normal bile pigmentation.

In a normal human body the amount of bilirubin in blood plasma must be over 1.5mg/dl, patients with this have 0.5mg/dl. At these levels, bilirubin can not leave the body at its normal rate and will begin to accumulate in tissues. Bilirubin might also increase because the body can not expel the substance.

This happens when there are certain diseases present in the body where bile can not process properly through the liver. Extremely high levels can cause an array of problems and typically indicate that there is something wrong with the liver. However, due to its toxicity, it can affect liver, kidneys, and even brain tissue.

Dogs are no exception to this disease and all types of breeds can get it. There isn't a breed that is more likely to obtain this disease. The dog's skin will start to appear yellow just like their human counterparts. However, since fur is typically in the way, most dog owners can recognize this by observing the whites of your Dogs Eyes.

You can better spot the disease by looking at your dog's stomach, his gums, and at the base of the ears. If your dog has yellow colored gums, skin, or a yellowish tint in the whites of the eyes, then there is no short-term dog first aid solution and you must visit your vet.

There are three stages that this could be classified under.

  • Prehepatic - occurs before it touches the liver
  • Hepatic - (also referred to as hepatocellular) occurs at the liver
  • Poshepatic - after the liver

Different types of genetic diseases can cause Prehepatic jaundice, however genetic diseases are not the only cause.

Common causes are:

  • Dogs that have ingested any toxins such as onions, chocolate, and other Dog Poisons.
  • Bad reaction to drugs or medication.
  • Dogs that have recently undergone a blood transfusion might have some severe reactions.
  • Hemangiosarcoma, a disease that causes tumors in the blood vessels themselves.
  • Heartworm disease and other blood parasites.

In Hepatic jaundice the liver looses its ability to process and remove bilirubin from the blood stream. This could be due to:

  • Ingestion of heavier toxins such as metals, copper, plastic, and other materials.
  • Drugs and medication.
  • Viral or bacterial infections.
  • Inflammation of the liver such as hepatitis or an inflammation of the bile duct system known as cholangitis. When both occur, this is referred to as cholangiohepatitis.
  • Cirrhosis, a disease that indicates the liver is about to fail.
  • Cancer is also a cause.

Posthepatic is also known as obstructive and this is where bile is unable to drain. Common causes are:

  • Gallstones within the bile duct.
  • Pancreatic cancer.
  • Parasites known as liver flukes.
  • Intestinal diseases that completely block of bile ducts.

Jaundice to Dog Health Issues