Copper-associated hepatitis of Labrador Retrievers
This form of hepatitis is caused by a defect in hepatic copper metabolism, which most likely originates from a genetic defect.
The clinical features are similar to those of chronic hepatitis dogs, with late-onset (8 - 9 years) weight loss, anorexia, polyuria, polydipsia, icterus and in advanced cases, hepatic encephalopathy and ascites.
Liver biopsies usually reveal elevated copper levels (> 300 μg/g of dry weight).
Pathological changes observed on histopathological analysis include centrilobular hepatitis characterized by macrophages with abundant intracytoplasmic copper and hemosiderin.
Diet may also be an important factor in therapy since it has been shown that high dietary copper and low dietary zinc levels are significantly associated with high hepatic copper levels in this breed and feeding low copper diets is recommended.
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