Idiopathic Chronic Hepatitis
This is not one disease, but a group of poorly understood liver diseases that culminate in chirrosis. With the exception of copper-associated hepatitis, the diseases appear to have an autoimmune basis. This establishes an inflammatory process that progresses to liver failure.
The basis for the autoimmune reaction is unknown.
Treatment involves the use of corticosteroids and immunosuppressants such as azathioprine (Imuran). Supplements such as SAM-e, antioxidants, and milk thistle are often helpful. The prognosis varies. Some dogs respond well and can be taken off medications, while others will require life-long treatment. Dogs who respond poorly generally have advanced liver disease with cirrhosis.
Please contact your veterinarian for more information regarding this condition.
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