Liver numbers up - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-13-2012, 12:13 PM Thread Starter
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Liver numbers up

OK, this information is relayed through my wife, but long story short, Trinity has been having pain in her right hip for the past month. Started giving her some glucosamine, and it hasn't seemed to help much yet. We took her to the vet yesterday to try to get something else, but knew there would be an issue since she has had elevated liver numbers in the past, and she'd need to be checked again.

The results came back today, and the numbers were still high. ALT level? I don't know, that's what my wife said. Normal is something like 12-120, and her level is at 347. She's been over 300 in the past as well. We were hoping they had come down. She's on a supplement, and she eats normally, weight is holding well, etc. Guess it was wishful thinking.

I can't remember what the vet game us, but it's a narcotic pain killer. I was kinda hoping for something that might reduce inflammation and she'd be OK after a little while. It's pretty obvious that she injured it, as it came up suddenly. No, we didn't do x-rays. She's a large girl, and all signs point to hip displasia, and the xray will only confirm that and cost money - we're not going to give her a new hip.

I was a little bummed about the liver numbers being up still, since she's not showing any signs, and both vets are at a loss for why. We opted after the first several thousand dollars to not open her up to do a liver biopsy, because I think it's too much stress on her just to tell us nothing more than she's having liver failure.

I guess the question is, has anyone ever used anything to help the hip symptoms that maybe doesn't affect the liver much? Or anything "homeopathic" other than the glucosamine? She's a big girl, and it's tough to keep her from being active to give things time to "heal" (as much as is possible given that it's probably degenerative).
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-13-2012, 12:25 PM
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How old is she?

Sometimes inflammation can cause liver numbers to go up, according to a non-vet person I know (I always forget to ask my vets).

Tramadol is my guess on the med. It really does help pain (I snagged a 1/4 one last night after I hurt my back). Tramadol helps pain but doesn't do too much to things like the liver.

I have had 2 liver dogs - and did not do biopsies on either because they are painful (according to people). But I have a lot of info saved up if you want links. Lots of things like milk thistle can help. Is she on Denamarin? Just let me know if you want info like that and I will link purge.

Has she had an ultrasound for the liver?

For the hips, Adequan is great. In huge dosages (see their Beagle study - HUGE) it can do stuff to the liver.

This can also be a back issue - so crate rest might help. Or her knee...

This website has info on the Adequan: Adequan for Dogs
And other stuff here - look at the bottom links on pain management: Holistic Care for Pets
Pain in Dogs and Cats: Introduction and Basics Pain in Dogs and Cats: Injuries, Mild Pain, Arthritis, First Aid Pain in Dogs and Cats: Post-Surgery, Severe Pain
Also this one: Health: Arthritis in Dogs

Good luck with your girl!

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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-13-2012, 12:39 PM
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My girl Kiya is on seizure meds which wreaks havoc on the liver, her numbers average in the 350 range, talk to you vet about adding milkthistle into her diet. I have kept Kiya's numbers down considering she's been on the meds since 2005. There is also a liver cleansing diet that you can look into.

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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-13-2012, 12:40 PM
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I believe the ALT number can be elevated for many reasons including stress, pain and dehydration. Ask your vet for possible causes.

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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-13-2012, 12:44 PM
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SAM-e is support for the liver. Surprised they didn't offer you this as we work with a few vets in different places who know of and prescribe this.
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-13-2012, 12:45 PM
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Has your dog's copper levels been assessed? Called Copper storage disease.

A holistic Vet that specializes in Nutrition may be needed...A home-made diet would be best, commercial diets contain very toxic substances including the synthetic vitamins and minerals themselves....these stress the liver and kidneys.

What is great about the liver is it's ability to rejuvinate - create new cells and heal. But not if constantly filtering inorganic wastes.

Things like milk thistle and dandilion are used to re-build and detoxify along with antioxidants and immune system modulators...

Adding spot on treatments should be stopped if haven't already as the elimination of pesticides are direct w/liver and kidney.

If it is copper storage disease, then a Holistic Vet can help chelate this mineral.

As for hip problem - good old fashioned bone stock...take raw bones, water and 1/4 cup vinegar, cook 24 hrs min. (use slow cooker), strain bones, bring to room temp refriderate over night, scim layer of fat - portion and freeze - I do 4 day portions at a 1/2c per day....but you can use a cup a day spliit am/pm

The use of chicken bones/cartilage is emphasized for type II collagen, but adding chicken feet, necks, beef soup bones (if really big bone, reserve cool it and re-use in next stock, just sadd more chicken bones)

Here's a link re: properties of bone stock (you will also note a very important relation to amino acid glutathione and the liver in this link)
The Healing Power of Bone Broth Transition Now

and copper storage disease
Liver Disease (Copper Storage) in Dogs | petMD

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Last edited by GatorBytes; 11-13-2012 at 12:49 PM.
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-13-2012, 12:49 PM
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Yep, milk thistle and SAM-e in combination. Ask a vet for the dosage, this is a common and effective treatment in humans, cats, and dogs. I used this combo on my cat in severe liver failure and brought him out of it.
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-13-2012, 01:12 PM
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Originally Posted by stealthq View Post
Yep, milk thistle and SAM-e in combination. Ask a vet for the dosage, this is a common and effective treatment in humans, cats, and dogs. I used this combo on my cat in severe liver failure and brought him out of it.
Yes, I forgot milk thistle, but our vet prescribed both those things, at another clinic, the dog in question was prescribed SAM-e (without milk thistle).
Your vet will need to get your dosage for you, consult them before starting the products
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-13-2012, 01:32 PM Thread Starter
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Wow! Thanks for all the great responses. Sorry I babbled, and didn't give specifics on my first post.

She is 8, probably almost 9 years old now. Back in about May of this year she started losing a lot of weight, and pretty much stopped eating, and starting peeing in the house, drinking a lot and peeing constantly. It wasn't a UTI as we had originally suspected, though she was treated for one just in case. She was also put on SAMe, and she is now on S-Adenosyl which also has milk thistle, and is a whole lot cheaper from Amazon.

Although she lost a lot of weight originally, the vet wasn't worried 'cause of her size and the desire to keep them thin. So, in other words, they were telling us she was fat. She's about 80 pounds now, is back to eating regularly and normally, and has pretty much all of her energy back. That's why I was a little frustrated that her numbers were still high, though I guess I shouldn't have expected any miracle cure, since they could never tell us what was causing the numbers to be elevated.

I think I remember them doing the copper test, but I don't remember for sure. I'd have to ask. They also did a needle biopsy on her galbladder (??) if memory serves. That seemed to be the last fairly non-invasive thing they could come up with. They were looking for an infection, which could cause the liver problems. They didn't find anything.

I did ask about diet a while back. Trinity is VERY sensitive to diet changes, and in the vet's opinion, since she seemed to be feeling OK, best not to mess with the diet, since it could wind up causing more problems. She does seem to have one "issue" that I think is related. She seems to get a little backed up, and as a result, although she goes out several times a day, about once or twice a week, she unloads in the house.Beyond her not waking us up barking to go outside, I don't think she can help it because she's not had this problem before she got sick.

I'll read through all of the other ideas in detail and try them out.

Oh, and YES, it is Tramadol that she prescribed for her, but told us to use it ONLY as needed. She's never shown any hip issues until about a month ago. The problem is, our deck is about 7 steps off the ground. If I let her out the front door instead, she ends up on the deck. Creature of habit. I'll sit there calling her, and she'll be sitting by the back door. Not the sharpest tool on the shed. She has pretty much learned to stop at the bottom of the steps and carefully climb them instead of coming up like a freight train. She will still try to jump instead of using the steps when she's at another deck that is lower. That's when it really hurts her. I had the same problem with my first Shepherd, but he was a tad smarter, and learned that certain things hurt, so don't do it, and he lived with it just fine.

Crating isn't possible. She tears them to shreds and breaks out. We've thought about getting her a stainless steel, welded frame crate (very expensive), but then I'm afraid she'll break her teeth on it. She put a big gash on her snout the last time she took apart a metal crate. Fortunately she's not alone very often, as my wife is home, when not running around with the kids.
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-13-2012, 01:39 PM Thread Starter
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BTW, we give her one 425mg pill of the S-Adenosyl per day, which is what is recommended for large dogs. I can ask if we can go up to 2 pills, or possibly supplement even more milk thistle.
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