Signs & symptoms of liver problems in a pug

Written by catherine hiles
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Signs & symptoms of liver problems in a pug
Pugs are susceptible to liver disease. (happy fawn pug image by Paul Hill from

The pug is a breed of dog known to carry many genetic diseases and disorders, including liver disease. Liver disease in pugs can be diagnosed by a vet through a physical exam, chemistry panel, bile acid test, blood count, biopsy and imaging techniques. If your pug has any signs of symptoms of liver disease it is important to take him to the vet as soon as possible to be tested.

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Diarrhoea is often a sign of liver disease in a pug. This is an early sign and is often paired with one or more other early symptoms.


Occasional vomiting is normal for dogs, but if your pug is vomiting often or for days at a time, it is worth a checkup. Vomiting is an early sign of liver disease.

Loss of Appetite

Loss of appetite is an early symptom that suggests liver problems in a pug. This is to be taken extremely seriously if your pug has always had a healthy appetite and suddenly loses interest in food.


Pugs are, as a breed, energetic and lively dogs. Pugs who show a sudden disinterest in exercise could have a medical problem including, but not limited to, liver disease.


Constipation can be a symptom of canine liver disease. If your pug is struggling and straining when he tries to defecate, he could have the early stages of liver disease.

Swollen Abdomen

When the liver is not functioning correctly it causes fluid accumulation in the tissues separating the abdomen and abdominal organs, leaving the dog with a swollen appearance.

Orange Urine

The liver is responsible for processing bile in the body. Bile produces a high excretion of bilirubin, which is a bile pigment that turns urine yellow. Without the correct processing of bile, not enough bilirubin is excreted, turning the urine an orange colour.

Pale Gray Stools

Pale grey stools in pugs are the product of the liver not processing bile correctly. Bile pigments are responsible for turning faeces a brown colour, and a lack of bile pigments in stool results in them being a pale grey colour.


Jaundice is when pale skin becomes tinged yellow and is the result of the liver not processing bile pigments as it should. The pigments crowd together in the pug's body, producing a yellow hue to the dog's skin.

Neurological Problems

Neurological problems, including seizures, changes in behaviour and pacing, can be symptoms of liver problems in pugs. These neurological problems are the result of the liver's inability to remove toxic substances from the pug's blood. These symptoms should be treated as an emergency; if left untreated, they could result in the dog losing consciousness and not being able to wake up.

Extreme Weight Loss

If your pug is losing weight fast but has not changed his eating or exercise habits, he could have liver problems. The liver helps the body retain and put on weight, and the failing of the liver causes a dog to lose weight rapidly.

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