Copper Toxicosis

Copper toxicosis is known by several different names including copper storage hepatopathy, copper-associated hepatopathy, copper storage disease and Bedlington Terrier hepatitis. This is a pet health condition that occurs when excessive amounts of copper accumulate in the liver causing serious health issues.

Copper Toxicosis

How it Affects your pet

Small amounts of copper can be naturally found in your pet's liver, bones, brain, kidneys and heart. However, in some cases, the liver cannot process copper as it should. When this happens, the mineral builds up and copper toxicosis results leaving your pet vulnerable to renal failure, hepatitis, cirrhosis of the liver and death.

Common symptoms

Typically, pets will not exhibit any symptoms during the early stages of this pet disease. However, as the condition progresses, there are several warning signs you may notice. If you notice your pet displaying any of the following symptoms, you need to take your pet to a veterinarian right away. Common Symptoms of Copper Toxicosis in Pets: Unexplained Weight Loss, Depression, Lethargy, Vomiting and/or Diarrhea, Dehydration and/or Excessive Thirst, Generalized Weakness, Bloody Stools, Abdominal Pain, Paleness or Jaundice and Shock.

Treatments

In the case of copper toxicosis, an early diagnosis is essential for the best chance of recovery. Your veterinarian will perform various blood tests and a urine test to find out if there is any liver damage in your pet. However, a liver biopsy is required to make a final diagnosis of copper toxicosis. Treating copper toxicosis involves reducing the amount of copper that has accumulated in your pet's liver. This can be accomplished with such medications as zinc acetate, penicillimine or 2-3-2 tetramine. Anti-oxidants and a special diet that is low in copper is recommended as well. 

Breeds Affected

Copper toxicosis is thought to be caused by a genetic defect, which prevents the liver from processing copper properly. It most commonly occurs in various dog breeds; however, it can also be found in sheep, cattle and pigs. It rarely occurs in cats. Some of the dog breeds that it is most often found in are as follows: Bedlington Terriers, Dalmations, Skye Terriers, Doberman Pinschers, West Highland White Terriers, Anatolian Shepherds and Labrador Retrievers.

Copper Toxicosis Affects

  • Small amounts of copper can be naturally found in your pet's liver, bones, brain, kidneys and heart. However, in some cases, the liver cannot process copper as it should. When this happens, the mineral builds up and copper toxicosis results leaving your pet vulnerable to renal failure, hepatitis, cirrhosis of the liver and death.

Similar conditions

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