I posted about this in Health and Nutrition, but didn't get any responses. I thought maybe I might here in Lab Chat.
One of Dee's liver enzymes is elevated (ALT). It's not super high, but my vet wants to repeat blood tests in a couple of weeks. Six months ago it was just a touch above normal and now it is 79 (normal is up to 60). The vet isn't super concerned at this level, but I guess feels it should be followed up on.....seeing as it's up from six months ago. I'm wondering if anyone's dog has had had this issue and what might cause it. She had extensive x-rays and nothing abnormal showed up......i.e. masses of any kind. FYI - She is not ill, great appetite, good weight etc. etc. I don't know if it can possibly be related to something she's eating/ingesting or not.
One other issue with her blood tests - They also noted mild numbers of something called "acanthocytes".....which appearantly can indicate damage to the red blood cells. I'll ask my vet more when I see him, but wondered if anyone had ever had this show in their dogs blood results?
The normal "range" for ALT seems to vary depending on where you look, but a conservative range is 5-80. Technically you would still be in the range of normal. Infections can be the cause of elevated liver enzymes, like a cracked and infected tooth ( something that you cant always see). My Deacon was just just test and had ALT and ALKP levels just above the high end of normal. We rested and he went up again by a slight amount. The vet has put him on Milk Thistle and we will retest in a month of so.
bearsdad - The top end of normal from this particular lab facility is 60 and Dee's came back at 79 this time. Perhaps they are really on the conservative side if some labs go as high as 80.....not sure about that. About six months ago it was 62 and he really only repeated it because I asked him to. Now because it's gone up to 79 he wants to repeat it within 3 weeks. The comments on the report actually say "ALT is high - may support hepatopathy or cholangitis, check for masses in view of CBC." She had x-rays of her abdomen because I guess they did everything when they were doing her hips and front end.....and nothing abnormal showed at all. Once she's had the next blood test (he's going to run all the tests again because the cost is pretty much the same as just doing a couple) we'll see where the ALT is. If it's up more the Vet said next thing would be an ultrasound....to check for any tiny mass that might not have shown up on an x-ray I guess. Can I ask how high Deacon's levels were and what that lab considered the top end of normal? I'm just wondering how worried I should or shouldn't be. Thanks in advance. I really appreciate your taking the time to answer.
Just to add....She doesn't have any infections at all that I'm aware of. She did have a few teeth scaled while she was under sedation for the lump biopsy, but they weren't bad. Aside from the ALT being high and the results mentioning something called "acanthocytes" the rest of it was okay and she certainly doesn't appear to be unwell in any way. Her stool had been a bit softer than usual (noticed when I went to bag it), but even that seems okay now. I'm hoping she doesn't need an u/s as well.
Last edited by Top Of The Hill; 04-18-2013 at 08:39 PM.
Does she take any medications? Some of the arthritis meds will raise the levels.
Jody - She isn't on anything orally. I sometimes use a vet prescribed cream on her paws and chin when her itchies/allergies are acting up. It is a cortiscosteroid/anti-inflammatory/antibacterial/antifungal cream. We put a cone collar on after we use it, but I'm sure she does manage to lick some of it off. In fact she tries very hard to get at it right after we put it on. This isn't something we use on a daily basis.......just when things are acting up and she's been chewing or scratching (or rubbing in the case of her chin). Sometimes we may use it a few days in a row to settle things down and other times we might go a couple or more weeks without using it. The cream is called Viaderm - K.C. The only other thing I use on a fairly regular basis is Otomax Ear Cleaner.....and I don't suppose that would have any effect. I have used both of these for years and I'm sure her ALT etc. has been tested before, but perhaps it's possible that it wasn't during a period when I was using the Viaderm??? She is not on any any specific medication for arthritis, but she has been on a vet diet since she was a year old (Royal Canin Mobilitily). She has hip dysplasia, but touch wood is doing okay. Anyway, the diet contains green lipped mussel powder and I think glucosamine/chondroiton. So far (touch wood) we have not had to use any pain meds etc.
My vet did this latest blood test while she was in to have a small lump removed, so she may have been sedated already when they took the blood. I asked about that beforehand and he said that it wouldn't make any significant difference in the result......and indeed the other result (a pancreas test called Spec cPL) that came back slightly elevated six months ago was actually totally normal this time. It sounds like a lot of things can easily affect the ALT level though, so I guess I'm just trying to think of the simple possibilities rather than something more complicated like liver disease.
The only other abnormality noted in the blood was something called "acanthocytes" which it says support microvascular injury to the rbcs (I assume that is red blood cells) It says "slight acanthocytosis present" and "slight echinocytosis present" and 1 + Poikilocytosis is present. The pathologist only commented further on the acanthocytes though......so I'm just guessing the other two weren't a big issue.
One other thing (and we've just realized that she's doing this).....she licks her bed. We thought she must be drooling at first when we'd see these big wet patches in the middle of her bed..... because it was pretty much odorless (so obviously not urine). She sleeps on the floor right beside our bed on a couple of thick beds (the ones Costco sells that I believe have cedar chips inside). I can only guess that she licks the bed because she knows she's not supposed to lick herself. Honestly I think some of this licking has got to be more of a habit than an allergy. Anyway I noticed her doing this the other night and then started to wonder if she could be getting anything off the bed that might be an issue.....maybe I'm grasping at straws, but who knows!? So we have now covered the bed with a sheet and towel, so if she licks it will just be the clean sheet or towel she's licking.
Thanks for replying. Would appreciate your thoughts on any of this.
Last edited by Top Of The Hill; 04-19-2013 at 12:57 PM.
Check the other thread you posted on this. You have been sent some really good info.
Maxx & Emma Jean
Ozzy - 10/16/02 - 06/28/11 - Always in my heart.
Sometimes the hardest part isn't letting go - but learning to start over.
Deacons ALT is at 129, the high side of normal per the lab is 107.
bearsdad - thanks. I'm assuming that they are using the same method of measurement. On Dee's results it says 60 IU/L is the top end. Odd that it's so much lower at this lab than at the one they used for Deacon's test.....unless as I said they are measuring it on a different scale. Would you happen to know if his were measured by IU/L? Normal range at this lab was 5 -60 IU/L.