Hepatoencephalic syndrome describes a disorder of the brain resulting from insufficient detoxification of the liver.
Compromised liver function results in a buildup of both metabolites and toxic substances in the blood, and this can have dramatic effects on the central nervous system. The animal shows sudden fit-like symptoms and changes in their behavior. For example, the animal may become disoriented or collapse. Heavy excitement is common along with increased salivation. An affected dog may appear blinded, and stagger and collide with objects in his path.
The underlying cause of the condition is always a hepatic disease. Acute hepatitis, hepatic injury after poisoning or chronic degenerative processes of the liver may be causing clinical symptoms associated with hepatoencephalic syndrome.
Treatment is aimed at the underlying cause of the liver impairment. Hospitalization and intravenous infusion is often necessary in order to reduce the harmful effects of toxic substances in the blood stream. Antibiotics and pro-hepatic drugs will have to be administered concurrently. Depending upon the stage of the condition, symptoms may be reduced or reversed fully.
The condition should be considered a clinical emergency and requires immediate treatment at a clinic or by a vet. As hepatoencephalic syndrome is often caused by poisoning, please take a look at the following paragraph which lists a number of toxic substances and their affect on the body.