Posts Tagged ‘UC Davis’

Health update for June

Thursday, June 3rd, 2010

One of the things we learned through our ongoing experience with UC Davis Vet Hospital is that Zoey, and possibly Abby, have some sort of liver issue.  You would never know it to look at them, but the lab results showed a slightly elevated liver value in Abby and a significantly elevated value in Zozo.

liver treats dogI freely admit that I don’t know much about the liver – in humans and especially in dogs.  When someone mentions liver in relation to a dog, I associate the freeze dried liver treats that give them the trots. 

liver colored dogThere are also liver colored coats on dogs, but I typically do not like them because the membranes are often pink.  My girls need black eyeliner around their eyes rather than pink.  Plus the pink burns more easily in the sun.

In my web searching, I found the following educational information which I offer for those interested…

Elevated Liver Function in Dogs

The liver works to convert substances in the body to particles it can use. When a dog’s liver is malfunctioning, it will cause several symptoms. These symptoms can be mild, masking the liver dysfunction in some instances. When the liver is malfunctioning, the systemic liver values will change. Testing for these values is imperative to the assessment of liver function. Treatment is available and successful in many cases. The causes of liver problems are varied, but will result in similar symptoms.

dog organ chart

The Liver

liver organ in dogThe liver’s function is to metabolize or break down foods into smaller particles that cells can absorb and use. Certain substances, like fat and protein, are harder for the liver to breakdown. The liver also breaks down medications, like antibiotics or pain killers. These substances can be taxing on the liver, though, especially with chronic use.

 

Elevated Function

One of the main determinants of liver function is to measure the systemic levels of the enzymes the liver produces. When the liver is malfunctioning, these enzymes are most often elevated. The degree of elevation will tell the vet how sick the dog is and the best course of treatment. The elevated liver enzymes can also indicate when more invasive testing, like a liver biopsy, may be in order. Testing for the level of liver enzymes is also an indicator of how well the dog is responding to treatment of the liver.

Causes

magnifying glass smallThere are two principle reasons for abnormal liver function in the dog. The first is liver disease or a problem with the liver function itself. The other is damage to the liver from medications or toxins. Certain viral and bacterial diseases can cause the liver to function incorrectly. Occasionally, the illness will leave permanent damage, forever impairing the liver’s ability to function properly. In the case of medication-induced liver issues, often stopping the medication will result in it returning to normal. In the case of toxins or accidental poisoning, supportive care, like hospitalization and intravenous fluids, may be required.

Symptoms

Symptoms of a dog with liver issues are jaundice, fever, weight loss, vomiting, diarrhea and anorexia. The malfunctioning liver will often produce excess bile that causes nausea and even vomiting. Over a longer period of time, this will result in weight loss. Jaundice is a yellowing of the skin and mucous membranes. It is the result of an increase in bilirubin, a liver enzyme, in the extracellular fluid. Jaundice is typically present with severe liver dysfunction, so if noted, the dog should be seen by a vet immediately. 

 

So there you have it – Liver 101.  We have to wait a month or so for our third set of liver labs to see if the value is coming down.  It could have been from something they ate (hopefully) or it could be congenital.  Keep a good thought for us please…

HDTV – is it worth it?

Monday, May 3rd, 2010

Any time we went  into a big box store and see the wall of giant TVs, I often wondered if all the hype about HDTV is true.  Is the picture more crisp and clear?  Does it feel real?  You might be wondering what this has to do with Abby & Zoey…

sleeping with ricky webI have mentioned before that the little dumplings are certainly sofa snugglers.  Any time we sit down to watch something, they are both up on the couch in no time.  Usually they gravitate towards our laps – but that is now something they have to “work” for and be invited, Zoey first.  If there are no humans to snuggle with, they have been known to snuggle with our cat Ricky.  sleeping with Daisy webThey even shared the couch with Daisy, before they turned into anti-social monsters.  More times than I can count we have put sleeping (and snoring in Zo’s case) dogs to bed at night from the couch.  It is sort of like carrying a sleeping child to bed when they fall asleep elsewhere.  They are heavy and groggy and would much prefer to stay on the warm fleece covered couch.

 

me or the dog tvWe sat down recently to watch our new favorite Animal Planet show – It’s Me or the Dog.  The trainer and show were recommended to us by our UC Davis experts as a resource and training model.  Victoria Stilwell has some very solid and logical approaches to dog training which we are incorporating into the daily routine.  The episode we turned on was one about a multi-dog house with fighting bulldogs.  Thought it would be right up our alley.  In the introductory video segment it showed a Frenchie and an English bully fighting.  Believe me, the picture was crisp and clear and our dogs felt it was very real!

me or the dog packZo was off the couch first lunging at the (expensive) TV to attack the fighting bulldogs.  Abby followed closely thereafter, just as worked up.  The problem with this is that the little dumplings will turn their focus on each other – because the TV does not fight back.

Snuggle time was certainly over and we put them to bed in their kennels.  We were able to go back and watch the episode, but we had to keep the volume very low so they would not get riled up from the other room.

I don’t know about you, but I think there is definitely something wrong with this picture when I have to listen to MY television really softly so THEY do not react.

So yes, the HDTV is very realistic.  Abby & Zozo never went after the television before the high def.

me or the dog bookMore on Victoria Stilwell and her show at these sites:  www.positively.com  and http://animal.discovery.com/tv/its-me-or-dog/