Below is information about the structure and function of the canine liver. We will tell you about the general structure of the liver, how the liver works in dogs, common diseases that affect the liver and common diagnostic tests performed in dogs to evaluate liver function. Many diseases of the liver begin with “hepatic” which means liver. For example, “Hepatopathy” means disease of the liver and “Hepatitis” means inflammation of the liver.
What Is the Liver?
A dog’s liver, a very complex and hard working structure, is the largest organ in the body. The liver filters the blood and has hundreds of other functions, most of which are necessary to life and are not done elsewhere in the body. Every part of the liver is capable of performing all of its tasks, and it is the only organ in the body with this capability. The liver has an amazing ability to recover from injury and regenerate new tissue.
Where Is the Liver Located in Dogs?
The liver is a multi-lobed organ located in the front of the abdominal cavity. It lies directly behind the diaphragm (the muscle that aids in breathing and separates the chest from the abdomen) and directly in front of the stomach. The liver is positioned horizontally across the front of the abdomen, with proportionally more of the liver on the right side.
What Is the General Structure of a Dog’s Liver?
The normal liver is a deep red color with a firm consistency. It is divided into several different lobes, and each lobe is made up of multisided units called hepatic lobules. Each lobule is composed of a curved sheet of cells, which enclose numerous blood filled cavities known as sinusoids. These sinusoids give the liver a spongy texture and enable it to hold large amounts of blood.
Two major blood vessels enter the liver: The portal vein carries most of the blood to the liver and contains nutrients from the gastrointestinal tract, as well as chemicals and drugs that have been absorbed into the body. The hepatic artery carries oxygen-rich blood to the liver from the heart and lungs.
Two major conducting structures exit the liver. The hepatic veins drain blood from the liver. The bile ducts take bile from the liver cells to the gall bladder, a pear shaped pouch located under the liver.
What Are the Functions of the Liver?
The liver regulates the levels of many different chemicals and substances in the blood, and it excretes bile, a yellowish-green digestive fluid. All the blood leaving the stomach and intestines passes through the liver. The liver processes this blood and breaks down the nutrients, chemicals, and drugs into forms that are easier for the rest of the body to use. There are more than 500 vital functions associated with the liver. Some of these functions include the following: