Copper Toxicosis (Accumulating)

Liver

Copper toxicosis is a condition in which affected dogs have difficulty excreting excess copper from their liver. The liver accumulates more copper until it eventually begins failing. Multiple genetic and environmental factors contribute to the development of this condition.

  • Signs and symptoms

    Signs are non-specific, including weight loss, inappetence, vomiting, and diarrhea. Jaundice, a fluid-filled abdomen, and neurologic signs can occur in more severely affected dogs.

    Signs typically develop in adults.

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  • Diagnosis

    Genetic testing, blood work, abdominal ultrasound, and surgical biopsy are all used to diagnose this condition.

  • Treatment

    Treatment includes a low copper diet and medical management to help bind excess copper. Antioxidant supplements may also be considered.

  • What to do if your dog is at risk

    Actions

    • Please consult your veterinarian for dietary advice and follow their recommendations for monitoring.

  • Genetic Information

    This mutation was first described in the Labrador Retriever. Further studies have indicated that it may play a role in Doberman Pinscher copper-associated liver disease.

    This mutation is inherited in an autosomal incomplete dominant manner, meaning that one or two copies of this gene can cause the disorder. However, it is incompletely penetrant, meaning that not all dogs with one or two copies of the mutation will actually develop the disease. Dogs with two copies of the mutation are at greater risk of developing this disease than dogs with one copy of the mutation.

    Gene names:

    ATP7B ‐ chr

    Inheritance type:

    incomplete dominance

  • Breeds affected

    This health condition affects the following breeds

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