Is Elevated Liver Count in Dog Bad News?

A dog with an elevated liver count may be just fine.


Q. I just took my 7-year-old West Highland White Terrier to the vet. Her blood work revealed that her “liver count was up.” She is going to have follow-up blood tests soon. What do think they are looking for?

A. The results of routine lab tests can sometimes come back as abnormal, and this can wreak emotional havoc on dog owners and human patients alike.
Although early detection of disease is important to successful treatment, there are often circumstances where one or more of the values are up for no apparent reasons. The result can be expensive follow-up tests, anxiety, and possibly unnecessary treatments that carry significant side effects.
If your dog has routine screening tests, it is important to match up any clinical signs, or symptoms, with abnormal test results to help determine if the out-of-range result is significant and warrants follow-up.
In the case of liver tests, it is not unusual for one or two of the liver enzymes to be mildly to moderately elevate in a middle-aged dog. However, if there were to be signs such as vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, fever, loss of appetite or other changes that went along with the abnormal results, there would be more urgency.
Tests such as liver biopsies and ultrasounds can end up being costly wild goose chases for dog owners if there are no clinical signs to confirm possible liver disease.
I would discuss the need for further testing with your veterinarian, specifically asking what diseases are being considered. If your dog has been acting normal, it would not be unreasonable to suggest re-testing in another year, or sooner if anything changes.
One exception to this suggestion is in geriatric dogs (more than 10 years old). It is important to closely follow any abnormal blood values, and twice-a-year routine testing is recommended.


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Inez   Whittier, California

7/10/2015 5:50:24 PM

My Chloe got too nervous to go get her blood test by her regular vet and that perhaps when they were about to take her blood test her to guess turned purple so they had to stop!. So tomorrow I will have to take her to another one closer to us to see if her regular vet's recommendation of putting my baby girl on li er supplements Ts in the first place was even ideal at all for her because now she's in pain, won't hardly eat, has thrown up, but at least now she's been drinking water on her own yet just lays there lathargic. This worries me greatly cause first of all she was fine before ever starting in those liver supplements he started her on in the first place, said he did cause her blood results had shown a slight elevation on her Alk Phosphatase, or something. Now he's saying g it may not be reversed. I'm in tears for my baby girl. What can I do to save her?!

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Inez   Whittier, California

7/10/2015 5:38:07 PM

What is an Alk Phosphate at 985 (High), for my 12 yr. old female Pomeranian mix?

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Sharon   Las Vegas, Nevada

7/10/2015 10:17:28 AM

Yikes I give my dogs chicken every day. My boy just came back with high liver count and he is a 14 year old havanese

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Crystal   Lake forest, California

5/13/2015 10:08:20 PM

Lydia I would say keep looking for good recipes and research how to use bone meal too .

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