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Anyone w/ experience of liver disease in older dog?

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Anyone w/ experience of liver disease in older dog?
  • Sugar is age 14.5 years.  She just have lab work (blood and urine) as she needs a procedure which requires anesthesia.

    Unfortunately, the lab work came back with all 3 liver enzymes sky high!  She is now on antibiotics for 8 days (Clavamox), and a liver supplement, Denamarin.  We will redo the blood work at the end of the 8 days.  Meantime, I now have to work with the specialist who was going to do the original procedure, to work in an ultrasound as well.  Until we have that, we don't have a specific diagnosis, just a "it looks like she has" liver disease. 

    This came out of nowhere, she has no symptoms of anything other than the original issue.   I've done some reading online, none of which sounds good.


    Original issue:  Sugar has a polyp in the nasal passage.  Due to where it is located, they can't grab hold of it and remove it roots and all, then cauterize the area.  Instead they do a lavage, flushing out as much of the polyp as possible.  The roots remain.  She has had the lavage 3 times already (in the 5 years I've had her), so this will be the 4th.  We usually go 18 months in between, but this time is it just 7 months.  The polup grows large enough to block the nasal passage, causing her to gasp for air.  So this was what was going on the past 2 weeks, and why we got the blood work.  And got thrown for a loop!  Apart from this she is a healthy little girl, often confused for a puppy as she bounces around. 

  • I don't, but.  I emailed Callie to alert her to your question.  Callie knows a ton of stuff that many of us don't because she tends to rescue dogs with health issues and she absolutely will have some herbal ideas.

  • Here is a good site to get information on canine liver issues:  http://www.dogaware.com/health/liver.html

    Articles (read in order):

    http://www.b-naturals.com/newsletter/the-liver/  (replacement for broken link http://b-naturals.com/Mar2003.php in the next article)

  • Denamarin is a good product -- it's a combination of denosyl and marin.  THOSE are pharmaceutical grade SAM-e and milk thistle (a/k/a silymarin - latin name).  I have some problems with the company.  My only real gripe with denamarin as it stands is you can't give "lots".  It IS a pharmaceutical so you don't have the safety of the herbal.

    Milk thistle's highest and best use is as a protectant.  Often given to protect the liver from toxins (like big drugs, environmental toxins, etc.)  It also has some really good detoxing properties.

    SAM-e is the super detox -- it will help get the liver numbers down, however to be truthful?  I would tell you to use the actual ground milk thistle seed powder AND I like CellFood SAM-e **far** better.  It's a liquid and tends to be absorbed much more easily.  The capsule (a gelcap) that denamarin comes in tends to be difficult for some dogs to break down and absorb.

    You **can** add more milk thistle.  You're far better off to either use a tincture (which is more ramped up) like HerbPharm or you can also use just the ground herb powder.  (you can get it in capsules but they are pricey **and** again it's more readily available to the body JUST in powder form.  it's NOT bitter at all. 

    Truthfully -- even tho this is not Lacey (and hence a dog it's easier to give meds to) I would STILL tell you to use the liquid SAM-e and the milk thistle powder.  Just one bottle of milk thistle caps is about $20.  That's about 1 1/2 oz. of herb.  You can buy an entire POUND of milk thistle (the best you can get) for $20 at Leaves and Roots - on the left choose "M" - you want the ground milk thistle seed powder CP (co is "certified organic").  I'd add AT LEAST 1 1/2 teaspoons (heaping) to her food twice a day. 

    Milk thistle is also a darned good facilitator -- it helps the liver work *better* (especially when it's "sick").

    You can safely add that to the denamarin. 

    don't jump to "fatal" yet -- but you and I should talk.  I've done dog liver stuff TONS of times and I've learned, that if you can find the toxin that created the problem you can often resolve it easier.  Has this dog been on deramaxx??  (notorious to hurt liver and kidneys -- but worse on the liver).  Any other long-term meds?

    I'll email you my phone -- it might be easier for you if we chat.  I can tell you lots to do.

  • calliecritturs
    My only real gripe with denamarin as it stands is you can't give "lots".  It IS a pharmaceutical so you don't have the safety of the herbal.

    True, but I did give extra milk thistle when Willow was on the Denamarin with good results. 

  •  Glenmar, thanks for letting Callie know.

     Callie, got your message, will call.


    Thanks everyone for the info!

  • willowchow

    My only real gripe with denamarin as it stands is you can't give "lots".  It IS a pharmaceutical so you don't have the safety of the herbal.

    True, but I did give extra milk thistle when Willow was on the Denamarin with good results. 

    Um, maybe I didn't say this correctly - that you said is **exactly** what I meant.  You can't give "lots" of the denamarin.  But you CAN, while the dog is *on* denamarin, give EXTRA (lots) of milk thistle.  You just can't increase the dose of the denamarin itself.

  • No, that was me, Callie.  I was just trying (badly) to let her know she can give both if she wants too, LOL. 

  • You may want to add L-Carnitine (500mg/50pound) and L-arginine (250mg/50pound).  L-Carnitine prevents protien starvation and L-arginine aids in hepatic circulation and oxidation.  These amino acids would also likely benefit with the polyp.

    While supplementing is great, diet is also important.  Have you considered doing a liver cleansing diet ....temporarily?  You gotta feed the right foods when detoxing the liver!

  •  Oh boy, you are talking WAY over my head, lol.  I don't know what half of that stuff is!  The other half - I can't pronounce it!

     Changing diets with Sugar is a real problem.  She is a bichon -- read "highly allergic."  She can not have anything with fish in it; she has to have a low protein diet to avoid protein itch; it took almost 2 years to find a food she can deal with.  SO I am not keen on tampering with her diet!

     So may I take it one step at a time?

    The amino acids.  How do they benefit the polyp?  The prednisone works to reduce the swelling of it, so she can breathe through her nosebetter.  She is NOT breathing WELL, even with the pred, so this is why I need to get her well enough for the lavage.  I don't know what the amino acids would do.  

    How is protein starvation coming in to play? And . . . hepatic circulation and oxidation, I do not know what any of that means.  Could you please expand a bit?

    Normally, Sugar eats Halo Spot's Stew chicken formula, kibble, with some chicken broth added.  I also use Joint Care 3 (from Drs Foster and Smith) and Pet Tabs.  For treats, she gets Plato Farmers  Market chicken and vegetables.  I have had to add Halo canned food, to get all that milk thistle powder and tincture and the SAM-3 in her.  So she gets the canned - about 1/4 cup - morning and night, and the kibble at her main meal.  She is just LOVING all this food ha haaa!  She is a small girl, 12 pounds, so I need to watch how much she is eating now I've added 2 mini meals per day.

  • Freedom
    you are talking WAY over my head

    LOL... a lot of it is over my head as well.  I learned of these supplements on a cancer forum where dogs use them for strengthening the immune systems and helping with chemo drug induced liver problems.

    How is protein starvation coming in

    L-carnitine will just help the body utilize the protein it's getting.  Plus it helps fatty acids get where they need to be....instead of building up in the liver. 

    L-arganine ehlps with blood flow to the liver and helps with inflammation.  Reduced blood flow to the liver means reduced nutrients, oxygen and also less toxins being filtered (at least i think).  It's also well known for producing Nitrix oxide...known to relax blood vessels....thus helping with inflamation in the body (polyp??).  AND....it helps the body heal faster AFTER a surgery!  Wink

  •  Thanks for the info! I will read up on both of those.

  • Sandra -- Johnny knows his stuff -- and he's given you gold here!!

  •  So far, Sugar has no changes; but she HAD no changes when the blood work came through, so I think we are doing well! 

    One thing I need to work on is delivery.  I started Sunday night, giving Sugar the extra stuff in some canned dog food.  I normally feed my dogs at noon, so she has in effect been getting THREE meals instead of one.  Guess who has put on a bit of weight?  LOL  So I need to work on that.

    I did quickly look up L-carnitine online; seems it is for heart issues in dogs?   And  L-arginine also sounds like it relates to the heart, too.  Sugar's heart is fine.  One of them (can't remember now which) had side effects with asthma and I don't know if it would impact her breathing issues with the polyp.

    Tomorrow (Thursday) I am phoning in to Dr. Carol, who has a radio show, Ask the Vet.  I have sent her Sugar's info, what the vet prescribed, what we have added, and also the 2 page lab report.  I also included questions on L-arginine and L-carnitine.   This is from her web site:  Dr. Carol combines high quality Western Veterinary Medicine (as in surgery, antibiotics, advanced medical therapeutics, etc) with Eastern and Alternative Veterinary Medicine (such as Acupuncture, Traditional Chinese Medicine, Bach Flowers, Nutritional Supplements and Diet, etc) offering the best of both worlds to optimize pet health, wellness and longevity for dogs and cats.

    Tomorrow is the taping; I will learn on Friday when the broadcast will air, and I can let everyone know.  It is an internet radio station, so I will get the link (don't have it just now, someone sent me the contact info).  

    I also raised Sugar's issue at Willy's Agility class on Tuesday evening; 3 of the folks also use a homeopathic vet (who knew?!), seems we only have one in our small state.  The 3rd has learned lots of stuff on her own over the years.  All three were quite impressed, Callie, with this and with Lacey's stuff, they all applaud that you got me to do this!

    Unfortunately, the darn polyp is growing?  and making Sugar's breathing worse, so I need to keep on this, because I have to get her in for the lavage soon.   I have to figure out how long to wait before redoing the blood work, and based on that second lab report, figure out what she is having while under anesthesia (ultrasound is what the vet suggests).  I've also included all of this in the info I submitted to the online doctor.

  • I'm in RI too.  There are 2 holistic/homeopathic vets that I know of--Wolf Rock in Exeter and Dr Doolittle(yes, that is really her name, LOL).