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High liver enzymes in my 11-year old dog

My dog went in for a annual exam this week. He had high ALT (112 U/L) and ALKP (396 U/L). Everything else was in normal ranges (but they did not do a CBC even when I asked). The vet thinks it is Cushing's disease.

He is 11 years old and has been slowing down a bit and also suffering with the heat; we moved to a very hot and humid climate (Texas) 10 months ago. This was the first time at the vet's since moving to Texas.

At the same time we moved across country, I changed his diet from Nutro to Natural Balance. That helped control his weight as his hips are hurting. He also had a series of Adequan shots.

Does anyone have experience with abnormal liver enzymes? Could it be due to stress? He pants a lot and we live next door to two very terretorial barking big dogs; he sometimes runs right back in the house when they bark at him even though he is bigger (but much older!).
24 Responses
616449 tn?1221222062
Abnormal liver values have nothing to do with stress. The liver has many functions, including detoxification and processing waste materials, storing nutrients, regulating glucose, and producing bile for fat digestion. The normal range varies, but generally ALT is 10-75 and AlkP is 25-100. A high ALT indicates liver damage from any cause, including disease or drugs(corticosteroids, antibiotics, aspirin) A high AlkP indicates liver damage from any cause, cholestasis, hyperthyroidism...

Cushings can cause liver enzymes to elevate. Have his ACTH level checked. Other signs of cushings are weight gain, hair loss, lots of drinking/urinating, panting...So it could be Cushings but it could be a multitude of other things, depending on the rest of his bloodwork, symptoms he presents, etc. An xray and maybe an ultrasound might be a good idea as well, to get a better view and rule out masses, enlargement...

I would talk to your vet again to find out all possibilities, and would definitely have bloodwork done, including liver enzymes, glucose and ACTH periodically to keep track of his levels.

On another note Adequan should be used with caution in dogs with liver impairment.
462827 tn?1333172552
Did your Vet offer you any medication (Such as Denosyl or Zentonil) to help support his Liver? In my experience, these DO work.......Karla
Avatar universal
I am going through this right now only this is far more severe, monitor your dog and watch for the following signs. My dog Baxter, a chow chow who is 9.5 years old has been very sick since last Tuesday. Out of nowhere he started vomiting and when taken to the vet last Tuesday, his levels were fine but his xrays showed air in his stomach and intestines and a swollen liver. They gave me Cerenia and ear medicine for a minor ear infection and told me to monitor him. Then he still seemed really sick all week, lethargic, panting heavily, drooling and would not eat, (even chicken, rice, pizza crust, peanut butter, bread...nothing), so i took him back on Friday and his ALKP level was 2000 on Friday and today when I took him back for another round of blood after a weekend of IV, denamarin and ampicillin, his levels were so high they could not be registered. Im so confused because the doctor said this is all so very serious, however, he seems to be in very high spirits and has been in a great mood for the last two days. His normal personality has come back and he's acting completely like himself again. He has even started to eat again, bread and peanut butter with the denamarin and he ate an egg yolk today. He has never been sick before and I am worrying sick about him. The vet has given me little hope and basically told me today that I should consider the option of putting him down. However, he's happy!! Urine is not super yellow like it was in the last week and he's not panting or drooling too much anymore. His gums were light pink earlier today and they have since gotten a little darker. I am planning on taking him for an ultrasound on Wednesday but I am so confused. I wish there was another indicator besides the levels on a piece of paper to tell me he is sick. Anyone have any advice? Does anyone know if the levels can come down safely once they are so high????? please help me, I am sick about this and so confused. I am just hoping his levels will drop. I read that after the liver is afflicted, the following two days or so the levels spike then it can take weeks for them to go back down. I never had any indication that anything was wrong with him. He has lived a normal, happy life. Please help.
Avatar universal
is he eating pedigree food for large or small breeds?? my dog was eating that brand and it was recalled three weeks ago for salmonella poisoning!!!! the vet told me just now that was definiitely the reason a healthy dog in every other way would have become ill. i just put in a request for contact with pedigree. i will keep you posted.
Avatar universal
Our (10) year old dog has been on various medications (steroids) that had caused her liver enzymes to be extremely elevated.  My husband and I both take Milk Thistle for our liver health along with various other herbs and vitamins.  I started giving our dog (a large German Shepherd) one Milk Thistle capsule per day, in hopes of getting her liver enzymes within the "normal" range.  We had her bloodwork redone approximately (3) months after starting the milk thistle and her liver enzyme levels were/are totally normal.  Obviously you should consult with your vet before giving your own dog any new herb/medication, but I believe Milk Thistle (the same capsules we take and got from our local vitamin store) is the reason for her improved liver health.   For us we really thought it was worth trying, and we are sure glad we did!
675347 tn?1365464245
COMMUNITY LEADER
This is so true, and thanks for adding this. Milk Thistle is a wonderful herb for the liver. It does work wonders to lower the enzyme levels. It is also considered a safe herb when taken correctly, both for humans and dogs.
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