I know this blog was intended for me to write about Mia, but one of my other babies is on my mind today. We adopted our oldest baby, Kolby with a K (the black and white dog), from the Humane Society of Marathon County in June of 2006. When we got him the vet estimated that he was 3 years old and in very good health. He is a Boston Terrier, albeit a very big Boston, and typical to his breed he has had lots of eye problems in the past. After fighting an eye ulcer for over a year we finally went ahead with a procedure to burn his cornea and that ulcer hasn't come back. Since then he's has some bladder infections and ear infections, but nothing serious. Until now. We had him into the vet because he was drinking a lot and peeing a lot and the other dog was licking his ears which is a clue to us that Kolby has an ear infection. Of course the vet found a urinary tract infection and an ear infection so started him on some antibiotics. Since Kolby is getting to be middle aged, the vet suggested we get a senior panel done to check on his organ function and to get a baseline for the future. This senior panel, which is not cheap, told us that he's in really good health overall. However, his liver enzymes were off the chart. The vet thought that the levels were due to the infection and the antibiotics so didn't really seem too concerned.
Two Thursdays ago Kolby woke up with a swollen face so I took him into the vet later that morning. She diagnosed it as an abscessed tooth and told us that he'd need to have surgery to have the tooth removed, but first they needed to deal with the infection so he was prescribed antibiotics and pain killers. I was also instructed to bring him in for a blood test a week before the surgery. This is when they found that Kolby's liver enzymes had not gone down in fact they had gone up. They were nearly 8 times higher than normal. The vet canceled his surgery because his liver wouldn't be able to process the anesthesia and asked us to take him off all medications for a week so they could another blood test. So we took him back to the vet yesterday for another blood test and were surprised to find out that his liver enzymes did not go down as we had hoped they would after being taken off all meds, but instead they went up another 300 points!
At this point the vet suspected toxins in our home, but the other dog's not sick and neither is Mia (the most susceptible candidates). I informed the vet that we live in a new home so lead paint can't be a factor, we don't use bleach on anything, we clean with only green cleaning supplies, and we steam our floors kitchen and dining room floors instead of using chemicals. We even wash our bodies, dishes and laundry in environmentally friendly soap. Kolby doesn't stay outside long enough to get into anything out there. He has no access to the garage so he can't be lapping up oil or antifreeze. So toxins are very very unlikely.
Since we ruled out toxins his liver issues are a bit of a mystery so the vet suggested we take Kolby to Green Bay, Appleton, or Madison for an ultrasound and possible biopsy to dry to diagnose the problem so we can figure out how to treat this. This could cost us between $500 and $1000. Just to diagnose it!! This is a lot of money we just don't have right after having a baby. We should've gotten pet insurance.
We'd like to take Kolby to a different vet for a second opinion. Not because we think our vet is incompetant or trying to rip us off, just to see if someone else has a different idea of what to do next. The good news is that Kolby shows no physical signs of liver failure and the liver can regenerate quickly if we can figure out how to treat the problem.
I spent a good chunk of time searching the web for information about high liver enzymes and I learned that copper in water can be a problem. We just had our water tested because of Mia and it checked out fine for human consumption, but even if the copper is okay for people it may be too much for a dog. So I have to dig out the report to see if our copper is 1/10 or higher. If that's the problem switching him to bottled water may bring his levels down. If that's not it then we can try changing his diet. Dr. Dobbs a specialist in canine liver disease suggests a diet of human food based around fish or white meat chicken, including vegetables, grain, but no wheat. The meal should have 50% meat; cooked vegetables such as potatoes, pumpkin, green beans, peas, carrots, squash, spinach, zucchini, yellow squash, baked or boiled sweet potatoes or yams, and kale; grain either oatmeal or white rice. Keep the dog on this diet for 6 weeks and it's supposed to help fix the problem. Obviously we're not talking human size portions the whole thing should total 3/4cup twice daily for a dog Kolby's size.
Have any of you gone through this? What should we do?