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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.
 

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Karen
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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.
 

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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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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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Discussion Starter #6
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.
 

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LINDA
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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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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.
 

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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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My Bunnee was just at the Emergency/Referral Service (recommended by my regular vet). She has not been eating, but has been acting normal. Her blood studies showed High ALT, we went for a baseline ultrasound. She has been diagnosed with "Chronic active hepatitis". She will be on a liver seeking antibiotics, denamarin, vit e, vit k for 1 month then re-check her enzymes. I will see my regular vet tomorrow and find out WHAT THIS IS! Anyone have any thoughts? I am very frightened, and could use a little HF support.
 

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Metrowest, MA
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I don't have any experience with liver disease, but :hug: to you and your little one!!!
 

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Discussion Starter #13
The latest in the Lola saga is that they did a Bile Acid test right after Christmas and according to her Vet those numbers were also elevated so the following day they performed an ultra-sound and determined that her liver is small and suspect a shunt. The next step they say is to do some kind of radio-active test which may help to determine what kind of shunt it is. In the mean time we have put her back on Denamarin and a l/d dog food. Since she has absolutely no outward symptoms (which have the Vets stumped) it appears to me that the vets are just going down a checklist - ALT test, Bile Acid Test, Ultra sound, radio-active test, byopsy, etc..... The poor little thing, I hate to put her through anymore tests. Currently I have convinced the vet to test her ALT again after being on the l/d and demarin for thirty days before we do anything else.

Several of you mentioned I should try to get Lola into a specialist possibly at UC Davis however I can't seem to figure out how to get her seen there. Do I need a referral from her regular vet? Can I just make an appointment at their small animal clinic? If so, it wasn't readily apparent as to how from their website.

Also, do any of you know what the prognois would be if we did nothing further? Would Lola have years/months??

I am so confused as my little girl on the outside sure seems to be one happy little pup.

Again any help you can provide is greatly appreciated.
 

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LINDA
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Tina,
I am so sorry to hear about Lola. When you see the surgeon, he will be able to answer your questions better. In Bella's case, she had no symptoms either. Although, I did notice increased thirst. They only did the bile acid and ultra sound. They could see the shunt with the ultra sound and her liver looked healthy. She is now 6 years old, and this happened when she was 1.5 years old. The details are fuzzy, but I THINK the surgeon said she could live to about 6 years on the LD diet, or live a normal life after surgery. Although, I think I've heard of dogs living longer on the LD diet.
Please keep us posted. Lola will be in my prayers,
 

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I'm so sorry you and Lola are going through this. As I've said before, I had a bichon with cushings, and it was awful. I joined my first forum, meeting many others with cush dogs, and it helped alot. The worst thing is not knowing what's wrong.Whatever it is, hopefully it will be treatable.
 

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I'm sorry to hear about the ongoing saga. I know how upsetting it is when our furbabies have any health issues. I would just call UC Davis and let them direct you to the proper number within the system. Since you've done so much of the testing already, I would think you'd want to go this one extra step. My fear for you would be that you make what feels like an educated decision about how or whether to treat and down the road she has problems. I think you'd second guess your decision if you don't explore all the expert options.

I pray it is not a serious problem and that the next ALT test reveals much better numbers.
 

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Tina or is it Tinal, You can do as Geri has suggested. You can also ask your vet for a referrel often they work together. When ever I have needed special eye care for my two dogs that have eye problems, I have been given a referrel to NC state Vet school. We had a dog that had cancer even though most of the treatments were given here we went every three weeks to the vet school to have the specialist decide treatment. The most important thing is you are comfortable with the care Lola gets. I love the pictures of Lola, just look at those eyes!
 

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Sarah
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I haven't been on the forum in ages but just started following again, as I also am looking for support and information on liver problems.

Stogie seemed to be having more anxiety than normal lately, and not eating as much. We took him to the vet, and his weight was down a bit. They ran a full blood panel and his thyroid came back low and liver enzymes slightly high. They did an additional thyroid test and determined that the hypothyroidism is due to something called sick euthyroid syndrome. This means there is something else going on that is suppressing his thyroid.

He had a bile acid test done last week, and the results came back at 99, so very high. He has an ultrasound tomorrow. We are beside ourselves with worry, as his best fur-friend has severe liver problems (multiple inoperable shunts) and we are hoping and praying that Stogie's situation isn't as bad. Please send good vibes our way!

And I hope Lola is doing well!!
 
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