There’s been a connection between canine liver disease and elevated levels of copper seen in a liver biopsy since the late 1970’s when veterinarians from the Schwarzman Animal Medical Center, in collaboration with researchers from Albert Einstein School of Medicine, identified copper storage disease in Bedlington terrriers. Twenty-eight years later, researchers identified a gene mutation in COMMD1, a gene controlling copper metabolism, as the cause of the copper storage disease in Bedlington terriers.
However, the link between copper and liver disease in dogs extends beyond this gene mutation, and veterinary researchers continue to study the connection. The image below shows a graphic representation of a National Library of Medicine database search for publications that meet the search criteria “canine AND copper hepatopathy”. (Hepatopathy is the medical term for liver disease.) Several of the publication peaks seen here can help explain the linkage between liver disease and copper.