Possible Liver Disease - Havanese Forum : Havanese Forums
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post #1 of 21 (permalink) Old 12-27-2010, 03:59 PM Thread Starter
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Possible Liver Disease

Hello,
My name is Tina and I am new to the forum and relatively new to the Havanese breed and I'm hoping someone out there can help me. I have a 2 year 9 month Havanese named Lola. A few months ago as part of pre-screening to have her teeth cleaned Lola's ALT level was 198, the Vet was worried with those numbers and put her on Denamarin for 30 days. Her ALT level after 30 days on Denamarin was 568, two weeks later (today) it was at 745. While she was at the Vets today they also did a bile acid test, we'll hear what those results are tomorrrow. However what is puzzling me and the Vet is that Lola has no symptoms. She looks and acts very much like a happy, healthy dog. She has a good appetite and energy level. Based on the bile acid results the Vet now wants to do an ultrasound of her liver. Has anyone else's Havanese experienced raised ALT levels with no other symptoms? If so what was the outcome? I'm extremely concerned about my sweet little girl.



Tina and Lola
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post #2 of 21 (permalink) Old 12-27-2010, 08:35 PM
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I am so sorry you are going through this. I am sure you will get quite a few responses and if you search the forum, there have been many threads about this in the past. I had a similar experience with Dugan. When he was neutered, his ALT was over 200. We did the bile acid test and the numbers were high, but not high enough that they indicated liver shunt. My vet decided to put him on antibiotics to see if an infection could have been causing the elevated ALT. We did that for 3 weeks and tested the ALT again and it was within normal range. We also did the bile acid again and it too was within normal range.

I have 2 friends who have had to have liver shunt surgeries for their dogs. Neither showed symptoms. Most recently was a friend with a 3 year old havanese mix who had very high ALT numbers. The bile acids were very high and he had an ultrasound which indicated he needed surgery for the shunt. He is doing great now and expected to lead a normal life.

It sounds like you are doing the right things. Please let us know what happens with the bile acid. I am surprised by how much those numbers went up so quickly. Have you contacted your breeder about this? I know in one of the situations I mentioned that the breeder reimbursed the cost of the dog to my friend to help pay for the shunt surgery.


**Karen, Mom to Brady, Dugan, and Devon
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post #3 of 21 (permalink) Old 12-27-2010, 08:45 PM
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Hi Tina, Welcome. Do you trust your Vet? I ask because this is important. If you have bad feelings (it's ok to have bad feelings) you need to ask friends, family etc. and find a second opinion or ask for a referral to a teaching vet hospital (maybe UCDavis I think four to six hours away from you). The reason I say this is it is so important to be comfortable no matter the out come. Hopefully Lola is fine and the tests were not right. Wishing you and Lola the best.

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post #4 of 21 (permalink) Old 12-27-2010, 09:08 PM
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if you are in Sac, UCD is only about 20 minutes away... might be worth calling them at least?
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post #5 of 21 (permalink) Old 12-28-2010, 09:49 AM
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You might want to rule out cushings disease. My bichon had it and alt numbers were high. The only symptoms were extreme hunger and thirst.
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post #6 of 21 (permalink) Old 12-28-2010, 02:08 PM Thread Starter
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Possible Liver Disease

Thank you for your responses. Though we still don't know the results of Lola's Bile Acid tests, the Radiologist had an opening this morning so we went ahead and scheduled an ultrasound. My poor little girl is still at the vet's office as I write this. My husband is so upset he cried after dropping her off. She was his retirement present and has been his constant companion for the last 2+ years.

The Vet's Office we go to is actually a partnership of two doctors. One of them is being cautious stating that the numbers are telling us something is wrong but that they don't know what exactly -- that it might not have anything to do with her liver as it could be IBS or a some other digestive disorder and that in her opinion a biopsy would be the last resort. The other vet is more sold on the fact that it is a liver issue and that after the ultrasound the next step is biopsy. Trouble is, Lola's primary vet is the second doctor. Depending on what we find out today, I think I will definitely get a second opinion before doing anything drastic as again clinically she is fine.

I hadn't really thought about contacting UC Davis so thanks for that suggestion. I also hadn't considered it might be cushings - she does have an increased appetite in the evening though her water consumption is the same as it has always been but I think it's worth looking into to.

If anyone else has any other suggestions or thoughts, please let me know.



Tina and Lola
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post #7 of 21 (permalink) Old 12-28-2010, 02:51 PM
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No thoughts or suggestions to offer, other than and to send good thoughts your way that your Lola will be OK.

Linda, Augie & Finn's Mom
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post #8 of 21 (permalink) Old 12-28-2010, 02:58 PM
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Hi,
I am so sorry to hear about Lola. I guess you will just have to wait and see what the ultrasound shows. If she does have a shunt, go to the top surgeon who deals with shunts. Maybe it's not even a shunt, but if it is, it can be fixed depending on what kind of shunt it is. Feel free to ask me any questions or PM me, as my Bella had a shunt. She was 1.5 when it was discovered. She had no symptoms except for being small and increased thirst. She had the surgery and will now live a normal life. Please keep us posted. I hope it's nothing to serious.





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post #9 of 21 (permalink) Old 12-28-2010, 06:24 PM
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I hope Lola's test turns out clear. I love my Vet, however when it is something that is not common I always go to a specialist, I may go back for treatment to my vet, I want to hear it twice. Also Linda is soooo right always go to the top specialist for something major like a liver shunt. Hugs and hopeing for a good outcome.

Robbie, Boo Boo, Yogi, and Misty's human.
Poohkey miss you, monkey.
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post #10 of 21 (permalink) Old 12-30-2010, 01:14 PM
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Hi Tina

I'm new here, too. I'm so sorry little Lola is having problems. I hope everything turns out ok. We are going through something similar with our Jaxon. He had a possible seizure recently, so the vet did bloodwork and the bile acid test results are high. He thinks this indicates liver shunt.

I'm trying to learn as much as I can, so I'm wondering what you meant when you said Lola's ALT level is high. What is ALT?

Dana
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