Liver Function Tests
Our 10 month old Shih Tzu, Beau, was neutered at 4 months of age, and has now been found to have elevated liver function tests on multiple occasions. Our veterinarian has been running tests. Beau seems healthy and normal except for the occasional vomiting episode. Please give us direction.
Liver disease in animals, as well as in humans, is difficult to diagnose with just one test. The tests your veterinarian is recommending are not unusual, and in a dog this young finding a solution can be important to a long healthy life. A liver biopsy can be important because until you actually look at the cells in the liver, it can be difficult to say what may or may not be happening in the liver itself.
Various tests give us a picture of how the liver is functioning and tell us what by-products it may or may not be producing. The liver is a very important organ that is responsible for innumerable functions in the body, so sorting out what is or is not working can be a tedious and time consuming process. Because the liver has many functions in engineering the body, multiple other organs are affected by what the liver is, and is not, doing. So monitoring other organ function can be important in examining how the liver is responding.
Being patient is difficult for all of us and unfortunately, there is not one test that will give us the final answer we need. It is much like trying to put a puzzle together to come up with an answer. Because the liver is multi-functional, there are a lot of pieces involved. This process can be as frustrating for the veterinarian as for the owner.
Your veterinarian has your pet's best interest in mind so be sure to communicate any concerns you have to him or her.