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My 12 Year Old Yorkie Liver Problems
04-11-2018, 11:00 PM,
My 12 Year Old Yorkie Liver Problems
Hello All,

I am new to this site although I read forums whenever my dogs are going through something and they have proven to be quite helpful in a crisis. I unfortunately have not been able to read one that has quite the same symptoms as my Caesar! Caesar is a 12 year old yorkie and has been such a joy in our lives. We have been so fortunate that he has had only minor health issues up until this point. 

Last Thursday, we got up at 6:30 AM and everything was normal with Caesar. He went out, drank water and ate normal. Around 8:30 AM he was acting strange and wouldn't come into my office. Finally when I called him he could not walk without falling over. He then ran away from my and continued to fall over until I picked him up. I of course rushed him to the vet and he was still not able to walk correctly so the vet decided to observe him for a few hours while she took blood work and a urine analysis. She asked us to go home and see if he got into anything, which I know he had not but I double checked anyway. About an hour later she told me that his liver panel was high and that he had some crystallization in his urine which would indicate some liver issues. We decided to do a fasting blood panel the following morning. He had to fast from 8pm to 8am and then they take blood, feed him high fat food, and then take blood again. The results were that he had 2x the levels he should before the food and 2x the levels he should after the food. She said that this indicated some liver problems. To what degree she said we would have to do an ultrasound to see. So, today was the ultra sound and it came back that he has a large mass in his liver. She took X-rays for free to show me She said that it most often in these cases is malignant (meaning cancer!) but would have to do an invasive needle biopsy to be able to be certain. She said it most likely was not necessary. She gave me liver supplements and some special dog food and said that she would like to see him back in 2 months and she would do free x-rays to see if it had grown or changed. She said that her prognosis is 6 months to a year to live.

I cannot believe this diagnosis. Besides a little arthritis he is perfectly healthy and happy. He plays, barks at the neighbors dog, chases squirrels, his appetite has not changed in the slightest, and he drinks the same amount of water as always ( A LOT!!). I have noticed no diarrhea, no weight loss, and no vomiting. Other than the Thursday incident he has not had any further issues or previous ones. Can anyone help me figure this out? Have any of you gone through something similar and if so how long did it take for symptoms to get worse because as of now I'm looking at the same boy I've been looking at for 12 years!

Anything is helpful!
04-14-2018, 01:24 PM,
RE: My 12 Year Old Yorkie Liver Problems
Hello, so sorry your dog is going through this.
It can be that this was caught at its earliest stages and your dog is subclinical. With liver cancer though you would generally expect to see loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, increased drinking and lethargy. Seizures can be seen when toxins that would have otherwise been excreted by the liver enter the bloodstream. Although liver cancer sounds grave, it is not a death sentence. There are good options.

Has the stumbling resolved? It could be that you are dealing with two different problems and the elevated liver values were a coincidental finding. The stumbling may have been caused by what is known as "old dog vestibular disease." This can subside and get better within a few days/weeks. It can be triggered by an ear problem.

I am not sure what liver values were elevated, but it is fairly common in old dogs to get nodules on the liver and these may cause elevations in certain values such as ALP:

It may be worthy of getting a second opinion sometimes. Seeing a vet specializing in internal medicine may be particularly insightful. I hope this helps.

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