Five weeks ago I took my 7 month old Baxter in for his pre-surgery (neutering) bloodwork. His liver enzymes were slightly elevated at 124. The vet recommended we start some supplements to see if we could lower them. I immediately started giving him Sam E, fish oil and milk thistle. Just the other day we tested again and they have gone up to 175. I am taking Baxter today for an ultrasound. I realize we have no diagnosis yet but I'm a little scared because everything I've read online about liver problems seem pretty serious. Can anyone give me some advice, information or real life experience with this?

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Hi Lisa, supplements are NOT regulated by the FDA, it's purity / quality can vary from brand to brand. Avoid feeding Baxter any human food, especially greasy / fatty food / treats. Walk him 45-60 mins daily rain or shine. Keep him at a lighter weight, hold off on the fish oil for now, in some cases it causes cancer and makes the enzymes # go up. Out of all the supplements you've mentioned, milk thistle is the only one that really have proven to help the liver. Good luck and keep us posted!
Do you have a source for the fish oil causing cancer?  That seems really strange to me unless the fish oil used was not pure fish oil.

Nevermind, I did some internet searching and found it.  It's PCBs (toxic chemicals added to the oil) that cause the cancer, not fish oil itself.  


I have not heard of fish oil or vitamin E helping liver problems, but they are great things to add to your dog's diet if his liver can handle them.  I hope he feels better soon!

The Vitamin E liver study that you heard was was published in the NEJM last year.
Well, that is good to know!

Hi Rachael it's in one of the links that I hyperlink above, specifically an MSU study  published last year, PCB is a separate issue entirely. Fish oil can increase your vitamin A to a toxic level (causing fatty liver), raise your ALT, it is an anticoagulant (bleeding), truth is no one really knows the long term health benefit when it comes to feeding it to dogs, everyone assumes it's good for human therefore it'll be good for dogs too. Again, the FDA does NOT regulate supplements, NO ONE can vouch for the purity / quality of the fish oil, that's why we have a problem. 


Supplement is ONLY needed when you are lacking and cannot obtain enough from a balance diet, too much of a good thing can be deadly. OTC + Supplement is not safer than Rx, always check with a trusted medical professional.


There are better safer ways to obtain Omega 3, 1 tsp of fresh grind flax seed is good enough, no need to go with a refrigerated flax oil (easily go rancid + overdose can cause prostate cancer)

Sam's advice of no fatty/greasy  human food is very sound, your boy can have table scraps just make sure it's baked chicken,carrots, and all the good stuff. I've owned a dog with a bad liver and fat content can be key to enzyme levels the only commercial bisciuts he could have due to a 6% or less level was Nutro senior they came in a grey box.  check Out Dr. Foster and Smiths website they sell a liver support tablet that is all inclusive so you don't have to buy alot of single supplements. Good Luck =0
The results came back as Microvascular displasia. He also wants me to do a bile acid test to get some more information. We never feed Baxter any human food/ table scraps etc. so I guess we just stick to the supplements and watch for any symptoms (right now he is symptom free) and hope the enzymes don't continue to climb.
Hi Lisa, If Baxter is diagnosed with hepatoportal microvascular dysplasia with no clinical signs, that is great news! That condition can be manage with diet, usually your vet will prescribe you with Hill's L/D and Hill's K/D, it is lower in protein content (important) but high in protein quality.

A work friend has a Yorkie with a liver shunt.  Not sure if that's a similar condition, but he is doing well and my understanding is the prognosis is good.  


Hope all goes well.  If they suggest a prescription diet, please disregard all the postings on the internet about what foods are "good" or "awful."   The prescription foods are made for a reason, with science to back them up.  :)


Good luck!

That is too bad. I hope your vet can have some answers for you that will help.


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