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Hepatic Microvascular Dysplasia

K9 Liver

Sometimes tiny vessels develop abnormally in the liver, a condition called hepatic microvascular dysplasia (HMD).

The blood vessel abnormality causes shunting (bypass) between the portal vein and circulation into the system. The blood vessel abnormality may be caused by minute lesions on the liver or irregular development or positioning of the vessels.
As a result of the malformations in the blood vessels, the blood doesn't flow to the liver as it should. The liver atrophies and can no longer process toxins or make the proteins necessary for the dog's growth and normal function.
Dogs who do need a detoxifying protocol are managed medically and treatment is focused on the severity of the condition.
Symptomatic HMD dogs must be transitioned to a diet that contains a reduced amount of high quality, highly digestible protein. Traditional veterinary recommendations are that the diet should contain about 15 to 20 percent protein, 15 to 30 percent fat, and 30 to 50 percent highly digestible carbohydrates on a dry matter basis. If pet owners are feeding a feed grade (not food grade, or human grade) extruded diet (dry kibble), these levels are recommended by the holistic community as well/
Feed grade canned and dry foods are made with lesser quality protein sources that have been extensively processed and are not as easily assimilable as human grade, high quality cuts of meat. Holistic practitioners, including myself, strongly recommend transitioning all pets struggling with impaired liver function to a home prepared, nutritionally balanced, and fresh food diet made with organic, non-GMO ingredients.
It's important the diet be balanced for pets struggling with liver impairment, which means the diet is low in copper and manganese, high in antioxidants, including vitamin E, and zinc.
The percentage of human grade, high quality protein provided will be based on how significant your dog's liver dysfunction is, but ranges from 25 to 50 percent protein, 20 to 35 percent fat, and 15 to 40 percent carbs/starches.
The diet of HMD dogs should be supplemented with a high quality probiotic that will be beneficial in decreasing toxin production and absorption in the intestines.
Other supplements I recommend include
  • milk thistle, which not only improves liver function, but also helps regeneration
  • SAM-e for assisted detoxification
  • glutathione for cellular support

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