Article Text

Companion Animal Practice
Diagnosis of canine liver disease
  1. Nick Bexfield

    Nick Bexfield graduated from the Royal Veterinary College in 1999 and spent four years in practice. He then completed a three‐year residency in small animal medicine and oncology at Cambridge, where he is now a small animal medicine clinician. He holds the RCVS diploma in small animal medicine.

  2. Penny Watson

    Penny Watson graduated from Cambridge in 1989. After four years in mixed practice, she returned to Cambridge to take up a residency and subsequently a lectureship in small animal medicine and clinical nutrition. She is now a senior lecturer at Cambridge. She holds the RCVS certificate in veterinary radiology and the RCVS and European diplomas in small animal medicine.


LIVER disease is relatively common in dogs, but its diagnosis presents a challenge. The liver's large reserve capacity means that many dogs show no clinical signs until late in the disease process and signs are often non‐specific. Findings on blood tests and diagnostic imaging are also relatively non‐specific and a biopsy is often required for definitive diagnosis. This article outlines a logical approach to the dog with suspected liver disease, describing the rational work‐up from first suspicion of disease to final biopsy‐confirmed diagnosis.

Statistics from

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.