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Old 11-19-2012, 09:20 AM
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Goldy high Liver enzymes

Hi everyone!
I am from Australia but Goldies across the world are all pretty similar & I found you while trying to find a solution to my dog's health problem.
Chewbacca is an entire male who will be 10 yrs in December. About a month ago he started to go off his food & I put it down to change of seasons as we were starting to get some hot days & he still had a full winter coat. He went off his food altogether just over 2 weeks ago & was very lethargic with horribly pale gums. A trip to the vet involved tests which showed his liver enzyme to be very high & he had a slight temperature, the vet diagnosed him with Hepatitis which is spread between dogs (a lot of unvaccinated dogs in my town) He did 2 weeks antibitotics & SAMe , on top of the Hepatitis he developed a hot spot on his chest & a cyst at the base of his tail. The hot spot I treated with cream & an anti inflam shot which would not cross the liver, the cyst we opened up & cleared out twice in the past 2 weeks.The itch & cyst we are putting down to being triggered by the stress of being ill, he does not cope with new situations & is very attached to me so having to leave me even in the vets causes a problem.
A week into the treatment he started to eat small amounts again & then stopped a few days later, vet told me last week to give him anything I could find that he would eat because he can't afford to keep losing weight like this. I always kept him on a strict diet of mostly dry food due to fresh red meat causing hot spots & also to ensure he kept a safe weight plus a picky eater. A week ago I gave in & started to give him on canned dog food which he ate altho still only small meals twice daily. He refused food again 2 days ago & nothing would get him to eat. I did resort to putting his tablets in half of a cooked sausage as he was too difficult to give them any other way. He ate the small pieces of beef sausage which was good but nowhere near enuf to sustain him.He is drinking & peeing fine so no problems there.
Bottom line is we can't find any foreign object inside that he may have eaten, tried antibiotics & SAMe for 2 weeks, 1 anti inflam injection & tablets for 2 days since to treat the cyst & hot spot. The hot spot & cyst are all healing well so I am going to leave them aside for now as I don't see them as the cause for his illness.
2 weeks into treatment today & back for blood tests again to check the Liver & altho there was a slight decline in the Liver enzymes it was still dangerously high. I discussed it with the vet & decided to give it another week to try to get him to eat again. I went to the shops & bought some Goodo biscuits which are not something I like to use ever & my vet cringed when I said I knew how to get him to eat but it is not a long term diet I wish to use. I have no other options left with food, he hasn't eaten properly for a month now & he is a big boned boy who was lean to start with & this has caused him to lose weight. This evening I offered him a handful of Goodo's & he wolfed them down so another handful followed & again he happily ate them. He refused the usual dry food in between those handfuls & I decided not to give him any more until breakfast time in case they didn't stay down, the last thing he needs right now is to throw food back up.
If anyone has had problems with Liver Enzymes similar to this in a Goldy I would really appreciate hearing from you as I feel I am running out of options & altho he is almost 10 I think he has another 4 or 5 good years left. Other than this illness he was a healthy active dog with no arthritis or other health issues.
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Old 11-19-2012, 09:34 AM
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Hi, Welcome!
You might want to try "Denamarin", it is a supplement to strengthen the liver. It is made of a combination of SAMe and milk thistle.
One of our members has a dog, that was put on Hepatic Support by his vet in combination with Denamarin. That might be worth checking into, if you can get it in Australia.

InfoPets-Hepato

Denamarin for Dogs

Good luck!
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Old 11-19-2012, 09:41 AM
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My Bonnie takes milk thistle to protect her liver as she is on Rimadyl. Have you tried feeding Satin Balls? I have a 12 year old boy who was loosing weight, I made him some of those, and it really helped him get weight back on. Nothing I would want to feed all the time, but short term it could help.
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Old 11-23-2012, 08:01 PM
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Aussieladee, I just went through liver issues with my just-turned-ten golden. He didn't want food for a couple of days and then began vomiting. Trip to the vet for blood work and a shot of Cerenia to stop the vomiting. Blood work came back with liver enzymes off the chart high (for instance, alk phos high normal is about 130, Finn's alk phos was 1196). I went straight for an abdominal ultrasound (very pricey). The ultrasound vet did a guided needle biopsy into his liver, where they discovered a very high white cell count. Put him on both Baytril and amoxicillin at the same time, gave him HepatoSupport tablets and Ursodiol (for his gall bladder, because the wall was thickened badly so they wanted to address that as well). After two weeks on meds, he seemed to be himself and follow-up blood work showed all liver values down in the normal range except the alk phos, which was in the 190's. You might try the ultrasound if you can afford it; the results can tell your vet a lot. Fingers crossed that you get to the bottom of the issue and your pup feels much better very soon.
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Old 11-24-2012, 04:47 AM
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Thank you all for your information, Chewbacca had 2 weeks on AB & SAMe which seemed to help him somewhat but the blood tests say otherwise with liver enzymes only slightly lower. They offered to do XRays & an Ultrasound altho they could not find any obvious blockage or foreign object when feeling his internals, unfortunately being on a very limited income & the bill already around 1k I declined the offer & I honestly don't think he has swallowed something he shouldn't have. I did get some Science Diet food that is more suitable for liver illnesses & he is now asking for his dinner when it is time, he manages to gobble 2 cups of it altho for his size it should be 3 I am not going to argue with him. We will be going to back to the Vet on Monday since his gums are very white which concerns me greatly even tho he is acting like his old puppy self again instead of the 10 yrs that he is. I will ask if we can start back on SAMe again to help protect his liver & get a prescription dog food that is going to help. Some of the options I could go for I can only get by prescription which is a nuisance & my vet may not have the food in stock. But at least if I get a script I can ring around to find someone that does.I had never heard of satin balls before & the ingredients include beef so I won't be able to give it to him as he is highly allergic to fresh beef.I may be able to replace the beef with minced chicken so will look into that.
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Old 11-24-2012, 05:08 AM
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Hepato Support tabs are inexpensive. We're paying $30 for 180 capsules, 2x daily, 2 capsules per dose, usually hidden in his breakfast or dinner. It's my understanding that liver function is one thing - like joints - that can go south as they get into their senior years. Sometimes supplements can help the liver well.

Andy's been on Denamarin for months as well. Even with the chemo and daily Prednisone, his liver values have been in the normal range. When they started going up last visit is when Andy's doc also put him on Hepato Support tabs. You can buy both online. We pay about $110 including shipping for a month's supply of Denamarin. 2 tabs a day, at least 1 hour after or before a meal. We do it in a glob of peanut butter he licks off the end of my index finger.

Also, when Andy got really sick during early chemo someone suggested buying canned green tripe. They described it as 'crack for dogs', and it worked to get him to eat when nothing else would. Good for them too.

I wish you success in getting to the bottom of the problem. Once your docs do, you'll probably be able to control whatever is going on with meds and supplements. All the best
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Old 11-26-2012, 02:26 AM
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I took Chewbacca to the vet again today as his gums were white & his poop was dark so I had concerns about internal bleeding, I checked his poop again after the vet visit & found they were normal colour again which is great.
The vet did a PCV blood test in which his blood count came back low yet still in the acceptable range & she couldn't find anything else wrong other than his liver disease, she ordered in a prescription diet which will aid his liver in recovery & he will start on that in a few days. She said it would not make a difference by starting again on the SAMe because the last liver test showed a slight improvement & if we continue the care & diet he has now then he should recover well enough over the next few months. Given that he is an older dog he won't fully recover & it is hard to tell how long he will live so it is a wait & see thing.
He is eating well on the correct diet & no weight loss this week, he is also acting like a puppy early in the day wanting to play fetch. So life is looking good again for him & hopefully he has a good life for a few years yet.
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Old 11-26-2012, 03:42 AM
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What did they say about the white gums? That's usually a sign of anemia (low red blood cells).

Hope you get to the bottom of all this
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Old 11-26-2012, 01:16 PM
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Andy yes his red blood cell count is down but still safe enough that we don't have to take emergency steps to correct it, his vet does not want to add anything to his system till his liver enzymes are lower & in a more acceptable range. Right now the liver is in danger of failing so he is being very spoiled & treated like a king who now rules the house instead of the backyard.
The new food we ordered has been developed specifically for liver disease & it should help him with some of the problems we now face & the best thing for him is rest & no stress. Now he is eating again it is important to keep him on the safe diet that he is enjoying because he is a picky eater we can't go changing anything(unusual for Goldies, my previous one was a real hog with food lol)
This illness has triggered hot spots as well as a cyst on his tail so the poor baby has been through a fair bit in the past month so we live from week to week atm with him & treat anything new as we see it.
He will have a full blood test in 2 weeks unless he goes backwards with his health, hopefully by then he will be out of danger & we can form a management plan so his health improves & stays that way.
Will keep you all updated if any changes occur & I really appreciate the input from all of you, that has helped me get through this with some hope.
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Old 07-09-2013, 04:33 AM
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Has anyone ever come across a Goldy with an small liver & if so how did the owner manage their dog's health & diet?
We are back again to where we were November last year with liver problems but at this stage does not need medication. Chewy seemed to recover well from his illness so we did not realise his problem was still there till recently when he started to lose condition so we did more tests on him.
The bloodwork which showed his liver enzymes still high & red cell count low, we decided to do an ultrasound & XRay which proved he does not have a tumour but his liver is strangely undersized. The vet could not find a reason for the size of it not has she ever seen it before without a disease associated with it, so we suspect he was born like that which might explain why he never gained weight easily. (He is the thinnest Goldy our vets have seen even when healthy) Everything else is where it should be & nothing remarkable showed in the XRay or Ultrasound so we are left puzzled over it.

The vet said to find something he will eat(fussy eater) but I need to keep his protein intake low because the liver won't cope with high levels but he needs to keep weight on. Fresh beef is out of his diet due to allergies so looking for something to keep weight on him which is healthy that is available here.
Any ideas are welcomed so I can keep him comfortable for the next few years as he ages, the vet thinks he has another 2 or 3 good years left so we want to give him a comfortable retirement now we know what is wrong.
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