Your four-legged friend’s internal system is quite complex, and one of those highly specialized and unique organs is your dog’s liver. The liver plays a critical role in your dog’s overall health, but it can cause serious issues if a problem develops.
Often, liver ailments go unnoticed by pet owners until it is too late. Studies have shown that the liver can be compromised by up to 75 percent before any real signs are discovered. This is why it remains important to maintain a steady visitation schedule with your knowledgeable veterinary provider.
You can report any issues or concerns, and ensure annual tests are done to make sure all is working well. The good news is that most liver ailments are treatable, and your dog will continue to live a happy life if recognized properly.
Find out more about liver issues in dogs and how you can keep an eye out for the problem.
What is ALP in dogs?
Alkaline phosphatase (ALP) is an enzyme produced by the liver. It is made by the liver cell membrane and is part of your dog’s normal body functions. As your pet moves from a puppy to a full-grown dog, there is a natural increase in its ALP levels.
What causes high ALP in dogs?
The normal ALP levels range from 20-200 units per liter. There are several factors that can lead to (elevated alkaline phosphatase in dogs. Cushing’s disease is one potential cause. That is when the adrenal glands produce more hormone, which affects the liver and its production of ALP. This disease is common in dogs, but is often underdiagnosed due to the complex testing it requires to discern the problem.
Another cause of high ALP is a result of aging. Older dogs can develop areas of benign liver growth known as nodular hyperplasia. That growth produces more enzyme, leading to elevated ALP levels. Bile duct or gallbladder problem can also lead to increased ALP, as well as certain medications, including certain steroids and heartworm medication.
What are the symptoms of ALP?
ALP is difficult to determine on its own. However, your dog may be dealing with symptoms that may indicate a larger issue. Some of the symptoms include:
- Loss of appetite
- Increased drinking/urination
- Weight loss or weight gain
- Abdominal pain
If your pet is exhibiting these symptoms, you should take them into the vet for further examination.
Is there an ALP blood test?
Dogs that show symptoms of liver problems will undergo a quick blood draw. Your vet should be able to perform this procedure quickly and without much pain for your pet. The blood sample will help the vet assess how the internal organs are functioning, the levels of electrolytes and the number of circulating enzymes.
What causes low ALKP in dogs?
The blood test may also reveal that your pet has low levels of ALP. While rare, if a dog is suffering from malnutrition or salvation, the amount of ALP will read below acceptable levels.
Are there certain breeds susceptible to high ALP?
A recent study showed that Scottish Terriers, in particular, are at risk for high ALP levels. Elderly dogs of all breeds may see increased levels of ALP.
What are ALT levels?
ALT stands for alanine aminotransferase. This particular enzyme is released with increased cell membrane permeability or cell death – two clear factors of a specific liver injury. Even though (ALT and ALP levels in dogs) can be elevated, this alone does not equal a poor prognosis or an incurable ailment.
How to lower alkaline phosphatase levels in dogs?
Fortunately, for pet owners with ALP or ALT issues, the liver is a very responsive organ with the ability to regenerate over time. When considering next steps for (elevated alkaline phosphatase in dogs, treatments) are not severely invasive and are primarily effective.
Your vet may suggest a mix of treatment options, including monitoring your dog’s liver values for several months. If there is still a concern, X-rays or an abdominal ultrasound may be scheduled for pinpoint the problem. A liver biopsy also could be suggested to further drill down on the issue. Medicinal remedies include Vitamin E supplements, which is a fat-soluble vitamin found in the liver.