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Thread: Elevated liver enzymes

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    Elevated liver enzymes

    Has anyone had a piggy with elevated liver enzymes?


    We have an ultrasound next Tuesday, but Iím sick with worry, especially after we had to go to an emergency clinic last night because my piggy had painful urination. (We left the vet with painkillers and antibiotics that donít affect the liveróhe had a lot of bacteria in his urine.)


    My poor buddy isnít doing so great.


    I guess Iím looking for experiences with the liver enzyme partóIíve already googled all of the other symptoms and they, of course, left me feeling hopeless, so Iím not looking for pessimistic guessing. Thank you! ♥️

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    Re: Elevated liver enzymes

    What a cutie he is! Love those piggy lips!

    I wish I had some input for you, but with all the various issues my cavies have been through, I have no experience with elevated liver enzymes. I did a bit of online searching, but didn't come up with anything other than anecdotal information. I know that it is an eternity to wait until Tuesday, but it sounds as though you have no other choice. From experience, I know that few Vet clinics do their own ultrasound and instead have a traveling ultrasonographer who only makes occasional visits. On the optimistic side, consider that it could have been a lab error.

    I presume that the Vet did a thorough physical exam including palpating the abdomen and liver? Was there any evidence of an enlarged liver?

    The symptoms sound more like a UTI or even a bladder stone. One thing that you can do over the weekend is to syringe copious amounts of fluids to flush the bladder and help to remove any possible sludge that sometimes builds up. My cavies have all loved unflavored pedialyte and will happily drink syringes of it. Just be sure to get the unflavored and buy the generic which is about 40% cheaper than the brand name.

    Wishing you all the best! Please do keep us posted.

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    Re: Elevated liver enzymes

    Quote Originally Posted by spy9doc View Post
    What a cutie he is! Love those piggy lips!

    I wish I had some input for you, but with all the various issues my cavies have been through, I have no experience with elevated liver enzymes. I did a bit of online searching, but didn't come up with anything other than anecdotal information. I know that it is an eternity to wait until Tuesday, but it sounds as though you have no other choice. From experience, I know that few Vet clinics do their own ultrasound and instead have a traveling ultrasonographer who only makes occasional visits. On the optimistic side, consider that it could have been a lab error.

    I presume that the Vet did a thorough physical exam including palpating the abdomen and liver? Was there any evidence of an enlarged liver?

    The symptoms sound more like a UTI or even a bladder stone. One thing that you can do over the weekend is to syringe copious amounts of fluids to flush the bladder and help to remove any possible sludge that sometimes builds up. My cavies have all loved unflavored pedialyte and will happily drink syringes of it. Just be sure to get the unflavored and buy the generic which is about 40% cheaper than the brand name.

    Wishing you all the best! Please do keep us posted.
    Thank you for all of this! The vet had done a thorough exam weeks ago when Chewy started losing weight. Chewy acted like a normal pig—slightly annoyed, but jovial. We didn’t get Pedialyte just because I’m nervous introducing anything into his diet now—although we did turn to syringe feeding him water. After two tense days of our boy huddled uncomfortably in the corner (with little life behind his eyes), he turned a corner. He’s started eating again, drinking, and moving around the cage making little squeaks. I think the Baytril is working against the bacteria. He had his ultrasound this afternoon, and his vet said he does have some silt, but no stones in his bladder BUT he is getting crystallization in his gallbladder, hence his high liver enzymes.

    The vet is researching overnight how to go about this, as he knows how he would treat dogs and cats but not piggies. (He is an exotics vet, I just don’t think this is a common occurrence. I might call around tomorrow after getting his plan to see if other vets have encountered this.)

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    Re: Elevated liver enzymes

    Quote Originally Posted by Kturn283 View Post
    We didnít get Pedialyte just because Iím nervous introducing anything into his diet nowóalthough we did turn to syringe feeding him water. After two tense days of our boy huddled uncomfortably in the corner (with little life behind his eyes), he turned a corner. Heís started eating again, drinking, and moving around the cage making little squeaks. I think the Baytril is working against the bacteria. He had his ultrasound this afternoon, and his vet said he does have some silt, but no stones in his bladder BUT he is getting crystallization in his gallbladder, hence his high liver enzymes.
    You really have little to fear with regard to giving him pedialyte. It is simply an electrolyte solution to replenish those lost in diarrhea, dehydration, etc. It does have a little dextrose added which is probably why cavies love it so much. One of Sparky's heart meds comes in a tablet which has to be crushed and mixed with liquid. I mix it with pedialyte and he thinks that it is his treat.

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    Re: Elevated liver enzymes

    To add thoughts to my previous post.......

    As you know, the gallbladder stores bile which is made in the liver and secretes it into the digestive system when triggered, to aid in digestion and the breakdown of fats in our food. Now where fat comes into play in a cavy diet is a bit of a mystery to me. Crystals in the kidney or gallbladder as often the beginning of stones. When the crystals coalesce, they begin to form stones. There are two types of gallstones: cholesterol stones and pigment stones. Approximately 80% of stones are cholesterol stones which are caused by too much cholesterol or bilirubin (a component of bile), not enough bile salts, or improper emptying of the gallbladder. The cause of pigment stones is unknown but they tend to form in those with liver disease or blood disorders.

    In cavies, a poor diet and excess calcium are implicated in the formation of both gallstones AND bladder stones. Keep in mind that dark leafy greens are high in calcium as well as carrots. Keeping your boy on a low-calcium diet will probably be good in any event.

    It seems virtually impossible to find anything about liver issues in cavies, and only more so with the gallbladder. Only if one has access to veterinary databases might you find any solid information. It's not surprising that your Vet needs to do some research.

    I'm so happy that your boy is doing better. I suspect that most of us find it quite stressful when our fur-babies are ill and in pain. For me, I often know what to do for a human, but am at a loss when it comes to cavies because the knowledge often doesn't apply when it comes to diagnosing and treating cavies.

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    Re: Elevated liver enzymes

    Well, hereís my sad update: we put our dear Chewy to sleep this morning.

    After his ultrasound, he was super out of it from whatever they gave him and he had the munchiesówhich Iím happy about because it was the last time Iíll see my buddy enjoy food. The next day he was hunched again, fluffed fur, some squeaking while urinating. We continued the antibiotics while waiting for the vet to have two prescriptions ready: one for his liver disease that weíd likely give for the rest of his life and the other for the silt I believe. We went to bed and when we woke up, I was frightened.

    Chewy was ďthrowing upĒ (I know they canít throw up). We drove him to the vet immediately and left him there for observation. Of course our vet has the day off and was unreachable. This vet gave him painkillers and some hydration, but nothing helped. Eventually, she took an X-ray even though he had just had an ultrasound, just in case something was lodged in his throat. Unfortunately the X-ray showed a stone in his urethra, completely blockingóthey had to syringe empty his bladder. The stone was hidden just perfectly in the silt during the ultrasound. We left for the vet again, pretty sure we were putting our buddy to sleep. As the vet told me that the bacteria infection, liver disease, and bladder stone (not to mention his bout of pneumonia last year) were unrelated.

    I wanted to wait until our vet could explain. They assured us that it would not be cruel to take him home for the night. Plenty of painkillers and an emptied bladder. The night was filled with tears and wishing Chewy had life behind the eyes as we cooed to him our love. Eventually the pain meds from the vetís injection were wearing off, so we syringed more in his mouth that he promptly regurgitated. From there we experience guilt for putting him through it.

    The next morning our vet told us yes, all the Illnesses were related: liver disease=comprised immune system. Learn from me and advocate for your pig. We were at the vet three times (over a month because of weight loss) before they successfully drew blood (he would get pale or faint when they attempted). They gave him the Valium for guinea pigs, and they were collect blood (elevated liver enzymes). By then, it was too late.

    He was in so much pain (they think thatís why he was retching). When they sedated him, it was a sad relief that he was so relaxed. Our vet cried with us, and I feel sort of empty, like I canít believe. We lost his brother to illness just a year ago. Iím halfway through illustrating a childrenís book with him as the main character. This piggy was my best friend.

    *sorry for the typos: I swear every other word is autocorrected to the incorrect word.

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    Re: Elevated liver enzymes

    I'm very sorry about Chewy.

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    Re: Elevated liver enzymes

    It's always so devastating when we have to make those choices for our beloved little friends. I've said it before: They are so sweet and gentle they do NOT deserve to have medical issues like this.

    I'm so sorry you've lost Chewy. Rest in peace little fella.

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    Re: Elevated liver enzymes

    Fly free over the Rainbow Bridge, Chewy! Sparky sends his best for your new and peaceful journey. You must know how much you were loved.

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