Dear VetBabble: Concerns about Elevated Liver Values and Biopsy in Young Dogs
Rewritten Question: As a pet owner, I have a canine friend who is less than two years old showing higher than normal Aspartate Aminotransferase (AST) and bile acids levels, but he is not currently showing any symptoms. I’ve been told that depending on ultrasound results, there might be a need for a biopsy. My question is how might this diagnosis potentially change his care?
Understanding the Situation: Increased AST and Bile Acids Levels
Understanding what it means to have elevated AST and bile acids in a dog’s bloodwork is the first crucial step towards addressing your concerns. AST and bile acids are important indicators of your dog’s liver health. An increased level can be a cause for concern and may indicate the beginning or presence of Liver Disease in Dogs. However, keep in mind that there are other potential reasons for these values being high. We must not exclude pancreatitis, for instance, which is a fairly common condition in dogs that can cause liver enzymes to be elevated, as discussed in our article about Pancreatitis in Dogs: Symptoms and How to Treat.
Navigating the Next Steps: Ultrasounds and Biopsies
A good next step in diagnosing your dog’s health could be an ultrasound. An ultrasound can reveal many potential problems such as tumors, lumps or bumps which can cause elevations in liver values. Not all Lumps and Bumps should cause worry, but it is best to check them out nonetheless. Potentially, depending on the ultrasound results, your vet may recommend a biopsy. A biopsy is a more invasive procedure than an ultrasound, wherein a small sample of the liver will be taken and examined to determine the underlying cause of your dog’s elevated liver values. It’s important to note that biopsies aren’t always necessary, but they can provide a definitive diagnosis when other, less invasive tests have been unable to do so.
Looking Forward: How this Diagnosis Could Change your Dog’s Care?
Now, let’s address your query about how this diagnosis might potentially change your fur pal’s care. If your dog is diagnosed with liver disease, pancreatitis, or issues related to bladder stones—as we discussed in our article on Does My Dog Have Bladder Stones?—his care regimen will likely need to be adjusted. This might include a change in his diet to support liver function, an increase or decrease in physical activity, or specific medications to treat the condition. Regular visits to the vet for continuous monitoring would become highly important. It’s always important to remember—even in the fact of medical trials—that many conditions, when diagnosed early and treated correctly, allow our animal companions to continue living happy, fulfilling lives. In conclusion, it’s always important to have open, informative discussions with your veterinary healthcare provider. After all, as pet owners, we all want what’s best for our furry friends. Stay vigilant, ask questions, and trust in your veterinary team’s abilities—your pet is in capable and caring hands.