Information All About Copper Toxicosis (CT)
Copper Toxicosis (CT)
Copper Toxicosis is a metabolic disorder in which copper is accumulated in the liver. The copper accumulation eventually results in cirrhosis of the liver, and will eventually be fatal if left untreated.
Copper toxicosis appears to be an autosomal recessive disorder in a number of dog breeds, however, its mode of inheritance has not been determined in all dog breeds effected by this condition.
Dogs with copper toxicosis usually do not show early clinical signs. As the copper level accumulated within the liver becomes significant the dog may show weight loss, listlessness, anorexia, vomiting, abdominal pain, and some dogs may show jaundice. This accumulation of copper within the liver creates pressure on the surrounding cells. Eventually the pressure will lead to the destruction of liver cells. These destroyed cells become scar tissue as they accumulate. By definition cirrhosis is the replacement of healthy cells by scar tissue.
Due to the complexity of this condition and no obvious initial clinical signs, the age of onset can be difficult to determine.
Most often clinical indications occur in dogs approximately four years of age or older, although copper may begin to accumulate as early as five to six months of age.
Presently, the primary means of diagnosis is through liver biopsy. Once diagnosed by your veterinarian, there are a number of treatments available to help give your dog a healthy, normal life.