Biliary Disease in Dogs

Biliary disease is an umbrella term for issues with a dog’s liver and gallbladder. Though it is not a disease itself, the condition implies that something is amiss with the biliary system. This article will help you better understand what biliary disease in dogs is and how to treat it.

What is Biliary Disease?

Biliary disease is a condition caused by inflammation of the bile ducts. The bile ducts are small tubes that drain bile from the liver, through the gallbladder, into the intestine. Biliary disease can develop because of an infection in your dog’s body or because his immune system has been weakened by another illness. It’s important to know that not all cases of canine liver failure are caused by this condition; however, it is one of the most common causes.

If left untreated, biliary disease can cause serious complications for your pet—including liver failure and death.

Common Symptoms of Biliary Disease.

The signs of biliary disease are often vague, which can make it difficult to diagnose. The most common symptoms include the following:

  • Jaundice—a yellowing of the skin and eyes caused by abnormally high levels of a substance called bilirubin in your dog’s body
  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea (sometimes with blood)
  • Weight loss you cannot account for

Biliary disease may also cause liver failure, kidney failure and death if left untreated.

Causes of Biliary Disease in Dogs.

Biliary disease in dogs can be caused by a number of factors, including:

  • Obesity. When you put on weight, your liver has to work harder to process the extra fat and cholesterol in your body. This may lead to problems with bile flow, which can cause biliary disease.
  • High-fat diet. If your dog eats too many fatty foods, his liver may not be able to process all that fat and it will build up inside his body instead of being broken down into smaller components that are easily absorbed into the bloodstream for use by other organs or tissues throughout the body (which is another reason why fat is bad for us humans too). The buildup of this excess lipid material increases pressure on vessels within the liver, causing further damage and promoting blood clotting at those sites—a condition known as atherosclerosis (or arteriosclerosis).
See also  Why Your Dog Is Scooting Across the Floor

Diagnosing Biliary Disease in Dogs.

In order to diagnose biliary disease in dogs, a veterinarian will perform a physical examination and conduct blood tests. If the symptoms are mild, imaging studies like ultrasound and x-rays may not be necessary. However, if there is any doubt about what is causing your dog’s symptoms or whether they’re getting better, it’s best to have them checked out by an expert.

The following diagnostic tools may also be used:

  • Blood tests – These can help determine if there’s an infection present in the liver that might be causing inflammation or damage to the bile ducts
  • Ultrasound – This test uses sound waves sent into body tissue to create images of internal organs on a monitor screen; it can show whether there are enlarged lymph nodes around the liver as well as if there are any masses (tumors) inside the organ itself

Treatment of Biliary Disease in Dogs.

The primary treatment for biliary disease in dogs is surgery. Surgery may be performed by a veterinarian or at an animal hospital. The surgery takes about two hours and involves removing the gallbladder and any stones that are present. In some cases, if there are not many stones present, it may be possible to remove just the stones rather than the entire organ. After surgery your pet will need supportive care to help him recover from his surgery and heal properly. This is important because without proper post-operative care there can be complications such as infection and even death!

The Prognosis for Dogs with Biliary Disease.

The prognosis for dogs with biliary disease is dependent on the severity of the condition. Some dogs may experience only mild symptoms and require little to no treatment. However, others may suffer from severe inflammation that requires surgery or other intensive treatments.

See also  What to Do if Your Dog Is Throwing Up Clear Liquid

A pet owner should never assume that a dog’s prognosis is hopeless without consulting with their vet first, as there are many factors involved in determining what course of treatment will be most beneficial for your pet.

Biliary disease is a painful condition that causes dogs to have problems with their liver and gallbladder.

Biliary disease is a painful condition that causes dogs to have problems with their liver and gallbladder. The liver is responsible for filtering toxins from the blood, while the gallbladder stores bile that is needed to digest food in your dog’s stomach. Symptoms of biliary disease include vomiting and diarrhea, but in some cases these symptoms may go unnoticed if your dog has been eating less due to pain or nausea.

The most common causes of biliary disease are cancer, inflammation, or infection. Diagnosis is based on blood tests, ultrasound imaging (ultrasound uses sound waves to create images), and biopsy (taking samples of tissue). Treatment varies depending on what caused the problem—if it was an infection then antibiotics may be prescribed; if it was cancer then chemotherapy may be recommended; if it was due to inflammation then steroids would be given


If your dog is diagnosed with biliary disease, there are some important steps you need to take to treat it. If left untreated, the condition can lead to serious problems such as liver cancer or kidney failure. Fortunately, there are several options for treating biliary disease in dogs. Some of these treatments include medication and surgery but others like acupuncture may also work well. The first step is finding out what type of treatment would work best for your pet based on their age and health history.