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    Thread: Liver Enzymes

    1. #1
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      Liver Enzymes

      Two years ago, not long after adopting Boomer, he was diagnosed with oral melanoma. My vet didn't mince words about the most probable prognosis - weeks or a couple of months at most. Luckily, in Boomer's case, it turned out to be a rarer, not-so-bad version. Testing afterwards showed his lungs, liver, & lymph nodes were clear. A liver enzyme gave a slight blip but was within normal range.

      Today was Boomer's annual vet checkup. Geri-panel & urinalysis. Results? The same liver enzyme was found to be 3.5 times the normal range (5-6 times is something to worry about). Considered okay for a dog of his vintage in absence of physical symptoms. Vet was reassuring and positive but asked me to keep an eye out for vomiting, diarrhea, increase in thirst, increase in urination, loss of appetite. He said I didn't need to measure water but I needed to get a more accurate idea of Boomer's pattern of drinking and how frequently we're filling his water bowl.

      In six months, Boomer gets tested again.

      Here's the thing - Boomer's lost weight, just 1.5lbs, but he shouldn't have. I was sick with flu twice this winter and took a long time to get my energy back. So he was far less active than usual. He should've gained weight but didn't.

      He doesn't seem to need as long a walk (which I've attributed to lack of conditioning & age). I told the vet that but forgot to say Boomer went through a few days of throwing up his breakfast about two weeks ago (seemed to happen after eating his morning snack of frozen blueberries which we discontinued). And this past week, he hasn't consistently pooped first thing in the morning like he used to.

      He hasn't thrown up since & his stool looks normal. I think that's why I forgot to mention it.

      My heart hurts a little.

    2. #2
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      Good thought that it'll turn out to be "nothing".

      Sunnie's liver enzymes were high several years ago. A course on Denamarin (wasn't told how long...just kept it up till her second good recheck) and she was back to normal. Our vet told us that sometimes that can be caused by a one time reaction to something or some such.

      Certain supplements can also cause benign liver enzyme readings...MSM is one I remember because I used to be able to take it and also gave it to previous dogs. We never noticed a change in enzymes but that's been noted for MSM. I'm in the process of trying...again...to get some into my two without triggering nausea/gurgling or actual vomiting. (they don't seem to tolerate it any better than I do anymore)
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    4. #3
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      WEll you know, in hindsight, Oban's marginally low albumin levels (low normal when I looked up UK numbers) did turn out to be an early warning clue of his Lymphangiectasia. But like Boomer, there was no other sign or symptom.

      I don't think 1.5 pounds is significant, not in what would be most Labs' normal weight range. I'm guessing, but if Boomer was less active for a while could that be just from losing muscle tone? I know how your head hurts. ONe thing is connected to something else and it's hard to see how they all mesh.

      Oh, Oban couldn't handle frozen food, not too much of it. Maybe if you thawed the blueberries? I'm making my own kefir now. Surprisingly he likes it. Might be good for you too.

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    6. #4
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      Quote Originally Posted by Snowshoe View Post
      WEll you know, in hindsight, Oban's marginally low albumin levels (low normal when I looked up UK numbers) did turn out to be an early warning clue of his Lymphangiectasia. But like Boomer, there was no other sign or symptom.

      I don't think 1.5 pounds is significant, not in what would be most Labs' normal weight range. I'm guessing, but if Boomer was less active for a while could that be just from losing muscle tone? I know how your head hurts. ONe thing is connected to something else and it's hard to see how they all mesh.

      Oh, Oban couldn't handle frozen food, not too much of it. Maybe if you thawed the blueberries? I'm making my own kefir now. Surprisingly he likes it. Might be good for you too.
      You're only the second person I've ever known who made/drank this stuff. The other was my mother. (you gave me a "smile" memory)

    7. #5
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      My kefir is too thick to drink. It varies from time to time and how long I leave it to strain but sometimes it's the consistency of fresh cheese. This article on the probiotic value of yogurt and kefir was in the paper last week.

      https://www.thestar.com/life/health_...ic-yogurt.html


      Oh. And did I make a special effort to find a hard plastic strainer with a handle so that Oban could lick the kefir off after I strained? YES I DID.

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    9. #6
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      Quote Originally Posted by Snowshoe View Post
      Oh. And did I make a special effort to find a hard plastic strainer with a handle so that Oban could lick the kefir off after I strained? YES I DID.
      Good girl....

    10. #7
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      Liver enzyme elevation in the dog are very ineffective for determining liver function. You did not mention which liver enzyme but I suspect that it was the alkaline phosphate (SAP) because most older dogs have this elevation. SAP is indicative of cholestasis which is a term used to describe reduced flow of the bile through the liver. Sort of like liver congestion. It can be elevated for many reasons but the primary reason, I believe, is because the liver accumulates a lot of toxins and byproducts over the years and in time they start to interfere. To assess liver function requires evaluation of other liver function tests such as ALT (indication of liver cell inflammation) and Bile acid profile, which is probably the best blood test to determine how well the liver is actually functioning. I had a dog in my office yesterday that has liver cancer and his liver is about 80% cancer and his liver blood test were absolutely normal. If the ALP continues to elevate and the vet cannot determine the cause (usually requires biopsy) or there is not treatment for resolution, most will use a drug to thin the bile. I personally like to focus on best diet, supplements for the liver like milk thistle, SAMe and some Chinese herbs that benefit liver. Hope this helps explain some of this. Good luck. Sounds like you are doing a great job with your pup.

    11. The Following 6 Users Say Thank You to Dennis Thomas, DVM For This Useful Post:

      Annette47 (05-05-2017), Charlotte K. (05-04-2017), Java (05-04-2017), Mollysmomma (05-07-2017), Snowshoe (05-05-2017), SunDance (05-05-2017)

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      Thanks Dr. Dennis for helping me understand more.

      All I can contribute is, like Dr. Dennis suggested, a supplement to help support liver function; i.e. milk thistle, wild salmon oil. They won't "heal" but do help support function. After Potion had a liver reaction to Deramaxx out vet suggested Hepagen C (milk thistle) and salmon oil. It took three months but all her values came back to normal. She was about the same age as your pup.

      Sending good thoughts.
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      Java (05-04-2017)

    14. #9
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      All of you have been very reassuring. Thank you so very much! I really appreciate the details you've all taken time to write and post. I think I'll make another appointment without Boomer to discuss a proactive plan (in terms of food & supplements) and to get specifics on the enzyme in question. Other than that, the plan is to build back up to our warm weather activities. Maybe we'll try paddle boarding again. He has calmed down a bit compared to last summer. Maybe I can actually get some paddling in.

      Or I'll just watch him jump into the water over and over again as I eat dog hair.

    15. #10
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      Quote Originally Posted by Dennis Thomas, DVM View Post
      Liver enzyme elevation in the dog are very ineffective for determining liver function. You did not mention which liver enzyme but I suspect that it was the alkaline phosphate (SAP) because most older dogs have this elevation. SAP is indicative of cholestasis which is a term used to describe reduced flow of the bile through the liver. Sort of like liver congestion. It can be elevated for many reasons but the primary reason, I believe, is because the liver accumulates a lot of toxins and byproducts over the years and in time they start to interfere. To assess liver function requires evaluation of other liver function tests such as ALT (indication of liver cell inflammation) and Bile acid profile, which is probably the best blood test to determine how well the liver is actually functioning. I had a dog in my office yesterday that has liver cancer and his liver is about 80% cancer and his liver blood test were absolutely normal. If the ALP continues to elevate and the vet cannot determine the cause (usually requires biopsy) or there is not treatment for resolution, most will use a drug to thin the bile. I personally like to focus on best diet, supplements for the liver like milk thistle, SAMe and some Chinese herbs that benefit liver. Hope this helps explain some of this. Good luck. Sounds like you are doing a great job with your pup.
      Thank you for breaking this down for me (and for anyone else on the board who may face this issue).
      Last edited by Java; 05-05-2017 at 01:49 AM.

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