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While the very purpose of testing the liver enzymes is early recognition of problems to provide opportunities for earlier and more meaningful intervention, the veterinary practitioner is challenged to determine if the abnormal result really does constitute a problem. Veterinary internists are often asked to consult about middle aged to older dogs that have moderately elevated serum levels of alkaline phosphatase (ALK, ALP, SAP), a commonly measured liver enzyme.

If pets appear otherwise well, it is exceedingly important to verify the abnormal result before pursuing it as a potential problem. In other words, the veterinarian will need to make sure that the abnormality shows up on re-tests and not just a fluke. Repeating the lab test in one to two weeks with ideal patient preparation is common. Once the abnormality is verified, the veterinarian can try to determine whether the patient’s health is in danger.
Full article is here: When "Normal" Dogs Have Abnormal Liver Enzymes.
 

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We've had some experience with elevated liver enzymes here. Louella, my last female, had elevated liver enzymes from puppy hood. She never seemed really sick, although she'd go off her food every so often. Going off food was not necessarily correlated with high enzymes. She had ultrasounds (mildly enlarged liver), but with bassets, hard to tell what that means. She also had a biopsy that didn't turn up any thing specific. This went on her whole life, and she'd take antibiotics whenever the enzymes were really high. They'd come down with the antibiotics, but for all we know, they may have come down without them anyway. It was finally concluded that she might have had a mild inflammatory bowel disease, and that caused the elevation, but by that time she was an older hound with other more serious problems. Frustrating situation that caused us alot of consternation and money. In retrospect, though, I don't begrudge the money--we didn't have bad liver disease to content with, and that's good!
 

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One thing I'm curious about --- are bassets especially prone to liver problems?

Somehow I've gotten it into my head that they are - ? Or do liver problems in general just occur in dogs more frequently than, say, people?
 

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I could find no info on breed predilection to Liver disease in total. The problem is there are multiple causes of liver problems which some have a gentic component the most d well known may be copper toxicity in bedlington teriers. It does not appear that bassets are any more prone to liver problems than other breeds.

I also found no comparision in liver disease in people vs dogs but common sense would indicate liver problems in people is much more common than in dogs because of one reason. A very large cause of Liver disease is alchol which is not as regularly consumed by dogs as it is by humans

Alcoholic
Fatty Liver
"In the US: Approximately 15.3 million people in United States abuse or depend on alcohol. Fatty liver develops in 90-100% of patients with heavy alcohol use."
 

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 A very large cause of Liver disease is alchol which is not as regularly consumed by dogs as it is by humans
 
Obviously, you missed the meeting where we premiered the movie of Yogi drinking beer and whirling around in the Barcalounger while watching Championship Wrestling.

Actually --- terrible as it sounds :eek: --- I kind of automatically in my mind threw out human liver problems due to alcohol abuse. With that added in, I'd guess human liver problems would far surpass critter liver problems.
 

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Another common cause of liver problems is the ingestion of toxins. Dogs lower to the ground and oral fixations would logically be more likely to develop chronic problem from toxins but at a lower rate than alchol consuption in humans. As sad as it is a large percentage of disease in the human population is self induced.
 

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I guess what I was wondering about was a kind of genetic predisposition.

I know that cats, for example, are predisposed to hyperthyroidism (having lived with a couple of cats with it :D
 

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Discussion Starter #8
The only liver condition reported in BHCA's Health Survey (1998) was portosystemic shunt. This condition is known to be hereditary in some breeds, including Irish Wolfhounds and Maltese, and maybe in some other terriers. In this condition, abnormal blood vessel connections shunt blood from the intestines around the liver, instead of through the liver. Because the blood doesn't go through the liver, harmful substances aren't metabolized by the liver, and these substances build up to toxic levels in the circulation. See also What is a portsystemic shunt?.

I'm also aware of isolated reports of chronic hepatitis in Bassets. This isn't a single condition; it may have many causes and isn't well characterized in dogs.
 

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