Friday, July 31, 2009

Bad Liver, Bad!


It all started the day Lilibell was to have been spayed. We dropped her off in the morning at the vet's and left thinking that everything would be okay and we would see her the next day (which made me extremely sad as I need both of my babies in bed with me to sleep and I would be sorely missing her!). Around 10:00 that morning, I got a call from her doctor saying that they were unable to go through with the surgery because, through her pre-op bloodwork, it was found that her liver enzymes were elevated. We were advised to make an appointment to get her bile acids tested. This news put me in a tizzy because they were talking about the possibility of a liver shunt!!!

Two weeks later, it was time for her bile acid test. I don't think she was a happy camper that day, as she had to fast for 12 hours first, get poked with a needle for some blood, eat something, then 2 hours later get poked again! When I came home from work, she was bouncing all over the place at the sight of me, so I know she wasn't mad at me, she was probably mad at her father as he was the one who brought her to the vets that morning! A couple of days later, the doctor called with the results, which were while her liver enzymes went slightly down, her bile acids (after eating) were elevated and we now needed to make an appointment for an ultrasound to see if she had a liver shunt. Now, at this point I'm panicking, thinking all sorts of bad case scenarios, such as major surgery to her liver! I did have the wonderful support of my dear friend Sue, whose little furbaby went through the exact same thing. Sue was such a lifesaver as I had someone to be able to ask questions to and compare what she went through to what we were going through. And I must mention Tiffany, as she was there with us from the start giving me much needed support!

The following day, I decided to become proactive and start doing my research into this. One of the things I did was join a liver shunt/MVD group on Yahoo, I knew that I would be able to get lots of advice on there and have my questions answered. Another thing I did was ask for the results of the bile acid test so I could look it over. After looking over the numbers, doing research and consulting with others whose dogs have the same problem, I started to relax and become much calmer. The range for the bile acid number, after eating, is between 0 and 15 and Lilibell's was 21. Which didn't really point to a liver shunt, dogs with numbers well over 100 usually have shunts. Anything below 100 usually means MVD, which can be managed through diet and supplements. We were still going to keep the appointment for her ultrasound though, just in case it showed something going on with her liver.

The day for her ultrasound came (this past Wednesday). Her father took her bright and early at 7:30 in the morning. Steve said that when he handed her over to one of the assistants, Lilibell took a flying leap right back onto Steve's chest.....I guess she's just about had it with the vets and being poked and prodded! Later on that morning the doctor called me with the results. While she does not have a liver shunt (Yay!!), her liver was on the small side. They are suggesting that she get a liver biopsy done. I have now been referred to an internal specialist who will take over her liver management from here on and also do her spaying. I put a call in to him this morning and now I'm just waiting for his return call so an appointment for a consultation can be made.

To Be Continued.......



Tiffany said...

I know how frustrating this has been for all of you and I just want you to know that I am with you throughout all of it. I know in my heart that Lilibell is perfectly fine. And kudos to you for doing your own research on the subject and educating yourself. In these times, we have to educate ourselves on things concerning our babies because despite the expertise of the vets, nobody knows our little ones better than we do! It is ultimately up to us and I applaud you for taking their health into your own hands.

I will be interested to hear just what the specialist has to say!

Nadine said...

Thank you Tiffany! If I didn't educate myself, I would be blindly following what they are saying to do! With research, I can have a say in her health care, and it's made me feel so empowered!! The appointment with the specialist is on Aug. 10th, I will update everyone after that.

Draco and his Mom said...

Yea for you, Nadine, you did what you had to do to make sure Lillibell gets what she needs. Thank goodness Steve was able to take her in for the last tests...If it was me, I would have been a wreak and it would have transfered to Dra. We are pulling for you here.

Katie, Mollie and Bobo said...

Lilibell love your pictre in that hat...Very cool! What not cool is being sick. So sorry to hear that you had to have pokes and such. Give you momma one big lick for doing her research and learning all she could.

Hope you feel better real soon!

Mollie and Bobo

Bijou said...

Hi Lilibell,

Sorry to hear you had to visit the vet. I hope you soon get. My furiend Checkers has a small liver too. Your mommy should talk to his mom.

Wags & wiggles,

Cocorue said...

hey Nadine,
i have been worried about Lilibell and i'm glad you will know the qs to ask. despite all this, i know you will not rest well until you know that she's really fine......and she will be fine, my friend

Nadine said...

Bijou, thank you for referring me to Checkers. I've sent his mom an email to get her advice and counsel!!

Thank you Debra, Mollie & Bobo and Lilian, everyone's support at this time is very much appreciated....hugs to all of you!!!