Wednesday, March 20, 2024

Natural Treatments for Hepatic Microvascular Dysplasia

yorkie with hepatic microvascular dysplasia

Updated & Revised: 3/20/2024

Hepatic Microvascular Dysplasia is a congenital liver disorder characterized by abnormal development of the blood vessels within the liver.  It appears more predominantly in certain breeds like Yorkies, Maltese, Shih Tzus, Pomeranians,  Miniature Schnauzers, Chihuahuas, Cocker Spaniels and Poodles.  Essentially, the tiny blood vessels (microvasculature) in the liver are malformed, leading to inadequate blood flow and impaired liver function. This can result in a range of symptoms and complications, including liver failure if left untreated.

Symptoms of Hepatic Microvascular Dysplasia

The symptoms of Hepatic microvascular dysplasia can vary  depending on the severity of the condition. Symptoms may include:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Lethargy
  • Jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes)
  • Vomiting
  • Increased thirst and urination

  • Abdominal swelling or discomfort

These symptoms can be subtle and easily overlooked, especially in the early stages of the disease. 

Diagnosing HMD typically involves a combination of clinical signs, blood tests, imaging studies (such as ultrasound), and sometimes liver biopsy to confirm the diagnosis. Once diagnosed, management of the condition focuses on supportive care and minimizing stress on the liver. In severe cases where liver function is significantly compromised, more intensive treatments such as fluid therapy or blood transfusions may be considered.

The Inspiring Story Of Sprocket

Hepatic Microvascular Dysplasia Success Story


Here is an inspiring story about Sprocket! She is an adorable 12-year-old Pomeranian, who outlived her prognosis of Hepatic Microvascular Dysplasia by 6 years!  Sprocket's Mom is a dedicated pet parent who used a holistic approach along with conventional veterinary treatments.  The veterinarian had projected that Sprocket might survive an additional 2 years when she was diagnosed. 

 Sprocket's story:

"My beautiful 12-year-old Pomeranian Sprocket has been doing great on a homemade diet and supplements. When she was four years old, Sprocket was diagnosed with Microvascular Liver Dysplasia which was not correctable through surgery, and we were told she would only live maybe two more years. We were very concerned about how to give her a good quality of life. We wanted to use natural treatments as much as possible and found Ask Ariel.  Ask Ariel provided us with a diet suggestion and supplements that have kept Sprocket going strong.  It is now 8 years that we have been following this regimen for Sprocket and it has been wonderful to see how well she is doing.  The Ask Ariel supplements we have  given her for liver support are:   Kidney Health (as well as another liver support supplement from the vet), and fish oil. As she got older and started limping, we started her on Curcumin for Pets, Arthrosoothe and Ultra-Flex for her collapsing trachea. Sprocket is feeling well and we are so happy we took this holistic approach. Everyone thinks she is far younger than she is and she often acts like a puppy. We sincerely believe that Sprocket has the looks and life that she does due to her diet and supplements from Ask Ariel. We tell everyone with a pet about Ask Ariel."  (Sprocket's story continues below) M. Matsumoto - New MexicoDiagnosis and Management

 Natural Treatment For Hepatitic Microvascular Dysplasia In Dogs 

Dietary management: Dogs with liver disease need a low-fat, high-fiber diet with moderate protein. They often have allergies too because they have difficulty processing and clearing toxins.  To minimize the workload on your pet's liver, it is important to avoid high-allergen foods such as beef and choose more hypoallergenic, low fat proteins like fish and venison.  Feeding your dog foods that contain antioxidants such as green vegetables and carrots is helpful to support liver health.

Natural Supplements
Supplements can play a supportive role in managing Hepatic Microvascular Dysplasia (HMD) by aiding liver function and reducing inflammation. They may also be used to help manage specific symptoms.

S-Adenosyl methionine (SAM-e): SAM-e is a compound that supports liver function by promoting the production of glutathione, an antioxidant that helps protect liver cells from damage. It may also help reduce inflammation and improve bile flow. Ask Ariel's Special SAMe is a powerful antioxidant scientifically proven and widely prescribed for osteoarthritis, liver support and detoxification, and cognitive disorders. It is especially important to use if your dog is taking pain or anti-inflammatory medications, which can negatively affect your dog's liver function.

Milk Thistle:
Milk thistle contains an active ingredient called silymarin, which has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It is believed to help protect liver cells from damage and promote regeneration. Liver Support is a comprehensive pet liver support supplement that includes natural time-tested ingredients like milk thistle and artichoke. These natural herbs are scientifically proven to support healthy liver function and bile flow. A small amount of powder from the capsule sprinkled on food can help to detoxify your pet from toxins. Helps reduce elevated liver enzymes, increase glutathione levels and improve liver and gallbladder health.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Omega-3 fatty acids, found in fish oil supplements, have anti-inflammatory properties and may help reduce inflammation in the liver. They can also support overall health and well-being. PureOcean Wild Omegas is especially helpful for small dogs and cats! Contains omega-3 fatty acids from sardines, anchovies and mackerel wild-caught from the ocean. Omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil supplements are known for their anti-inflammatory properties and potential benefits for pets with Hepatic Microvascular Dysplasia.

Vitamin E: Vitamin E is an antioxidant that can help protect liver cells from oxidative damage. It may also have anti-inflammatory effects.

Vitamin K: Vitamin K plays a role in blood clotting and may be beneficial for dogs with liver disease, as they may be at increased risk of bleeding disorders.

Antioxidants: Other antioxidants such as vitamin C and vitamin A may also be beneficial in supporting liver health and reducing oxidative stress.

B vitamins: B vitamins, particularly B12 and folate, are important for liver function and may help support energy metabolism and cell regeneration.

Hepatic Microvascular Dysplasia is a complex condition that requires careful management and monitoring to ensure the best possible quality of life for affected dogs. While there is no cure for HMD, early detection and following a holistic approach to treatment can can help slow disease progression and minimize complications.

Author: Susan Blake Davis, Pet Nutritionist
Updated and Revised: 3/20/2024
Originally Published: 1/4/2027