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Vet not hopeful

(21 Posts)
SuperScribbler Thu 08-Nov-12 10:23:22

A random blood test a month back showed my 7 year old springer had low platelets. Two further blood screens showed ever lowering counts (81, 72, 32). We started steroid treatment and his levels rose (149, then 252). We tried a lower dose but platelets fell to 141. We also noted that in spite of good appetite he was looking thinner. When weighed he had lost 3kgs in 3-4 weeks! Another blood test shows that his liver is in trouble (should get further blood results today). Vet is not hopeful and says that her instincts are telling her his liver is shot.

Although he seems fine in himself - has been basically asymptomatic throughout - she had told us to prepare for the worst, and that he probably won't have long.

I'm so sad and 5 year old DS will be inconsollable. Thought we had years to go before losing our doggie pal. How can a dog look so bright and alert and yet be dying?

YouveCatToBeKittenMe Thu 08-Nov-12 10:30:45

So sorry to heat this. I have a Springer too. I think they are just such bomb proof dogs they go on regardless of there being something wrong.
Crossed fingers for you

twooter Thu 08-Nov-12 10:35:04

Are you insured? Is it worth asking for a referral?

SuperScribbler Thu 08-Nov-12 10:38:30

Yes we are insured and the vet did suggest scans and/or a referral. But she thought the outcome would be the same - we'd just maybe have more idea of the exact cause of his illness.

twooter Thu 08-Nov-12 10:43:08

Quite possibly would be, but if he's on high dose steroids, his liver enzymes would increase to a certain extent anyway. I would def give it moe thought.

BeerTricksPott3r Thu 08-Nov-12 10:54:01

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Whatnowffs Thu 08-Nov-12 10:56:35

I'd want a second opinion as to WHY her liver is shot.

Whatnowffs Thu 08-Nov-12 10:57:54

twooter makes an excellent point there too about the liver enzymes. I really would be looking for a second opinion.

Whatnowffs Thu 08-Nov-12 11:02:58

go for the referral, you say your dog is fine in himself, that you are insured so i would be pushing for this, a scan is non-invasive, but at least you might be given some idea, there are loads of reasons for high liver enzymes and steroids are definately one of them, there are two general enzymes tht are tested in liver function tests, one if i remember rightly is ALKP and this would be high if the liver is having to work really hard for some reason - so a blockage in the bile duct for instance, having to process more toxins - alcohol, drugs, steroids. There is another enzyme ALT or AST (they usually test either or) and this will be the more elevated of the two if there is liver DAMAGE. So maybe the vet is interpreting the ratios of the raised enzymes, its never straight forward.

I'd need to know if it were my dog, at least a scan, that will tell you what the liver looks like, is it enlarged? is there chirossis, a tumour?

SuperScribbler Thu 08-Nov-12 11:31:43

We certainly haven't ruled out scans and referral yet. But just heard that his ALT levels are the highest the lab has ever processed - showing severe liver disease. No cause known and they are amazed he has no symptoms.

Whatnowffs Thu 08-Nov-12 11:48:58

my ALT and ALKP were pretty much off the scale too - it turned out to be gallstones!! But yes, a really high ALT is never good news without an obvious cause such as gallstones - which i am not even sure occurs in dogs to be fair. So yes, whilst it does sound like he has something nasty going on there, to be fair i think for your own peace of mind, at least have the scan and a repeat blood test done. Nothing invasive though as if he does have a terminal condition then you don't want him pulled around too much. Like you say, he is asymptomatic at the moment so just maintaining his happy life is the most important thing. Supporting his liver etc with supplements may help.

Like you say, so upsetting when a young otherwise healthy dog has a poor prognosis. At least you are in a good position to keep him pain free etc now you know what is going on. So sorry for your bad news x

SuperScribbler Thu 08-Nov-12 20:58:09

Have decided to go ahead with scan, but have said no to liver biopsy for the moment as we want to avoid invasive tests.

He will have repeat bloods on Tues for his platelets and liver enzymes. And we will be monitoring him closely for signs of distress/pain.

Have been in tears on and off all day. He's such a sweet chap and we love him.

Whatnowffs Thu 08-Nov-12 21:01:29

That sounds like a really sensible option Superscribbler - unmumsnetty hugs to you xx

BeerTricksPott3r Thu 08-Nov-12 21:04:08

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

SuperScribbler Thu 29-Nov-12 12:49:33

Sad Udate:
Our springer remained asymptomatic (apart from minor ascites). The vet ordered more blood tests and a scan to confirm diagnosis. The day she saw him he was still full of life, mobbing my pockets for biscuits and sniffing around the surgery. Next morning he ate breakfast, leapt into the car for the school run and went out for a walk. All ok. Then at 1230 I called him for lunch and he didn't come running. I found him in the sitting room, laying down but with his head up and ears pricked. He tried to stand, but was very wobbly and I just knew this was it. I called DH home and spoke to the vet surgery. The vet was due back at 3.00 and they told us we could take him into the city (1 hr drive)or wait to see the local vet at 3.00. We chose the latter as we didn't want to stress him in the car. At 1.15 he wobbled outside for a wee then came in and laid next to us. His breathing was loud and ragged for about 10 mins, then it got slowly shallower and shallower and at 1.30 he took his last breath and died in my arms. He was only 7 years and 4 months old. I have lost a dear friend and even writing this has made me sob again.

Cause of liver failure still unknown, but liver samples being analysed at the lab.

doggydaze Thu 29-Nov-12 12:56:09

Oh SuperScribbler - I have welled up reading your post. Our close friend has a Springer, they are wonderful dogs. I am so sorry for your loss.

You might not want to hear it, but it sounds like his passing was peaceful, or as much as it could be.

Thoughts are with you.x

SpicyPear Thu 29-Nov-12 13:30:45

So sorry for your loss. I have a tear in my eye for you, your boy and your family. At least he was in your arms at the end (hugs)

BeerTricksPott3r Thu 29-Nov-12 13:38:21

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

groovejet Thu 29-Nov-12 14:25:43

Am so sorry for your loss sad x

ChickensHaveNoEyebrows Thu 29-Nov-12 14:29:48

Oh I am so very sorry. But how peaceful and lovely for him to slip away being held and feeling safe with you at home xxx

GoldenOrangeWhippoorwhill Thu 29-Nov-12 14:33:40

I am so very sorry for your loss but glad his passing was peaceful at home with you. He should have had lots more years though. sad

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