Marty & Liver concerns (very long post)

Gene&Janet

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Hello,

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Background:
Our little guy, Marty (chihuahua) came to us from an animal shelter about 6 years ago when he was about 6-8 weeks old. He weighs about 9 pounds, and is pretty curious, playful and energetic. He is affectionate but can be a little nervous and sensitive. He stays by my side when I am home. More so lately. We also have three other sweet dogs. We have Andy who we adopted as a puppy about 5 months after Marty. They are very close and like to do everything together. Molly came to live with us about 3 years ago. She is probably about 6 or 7 yrs old. They are both chihuahua mixes of some kind— we think. We also have our son and daughter-in-law’s 16 year old chihuahua, Gus, with us. He’s a very gentle and easy going soul.

Marty has had an ongoing issue over the last several years that our vet originally thought was due to pancreatitis. Although his bloodwork over the years showed elevated ALT, they seemed to think that was related to the pancreatitis. Marty loves to eat and has a good appetite. He generally gobbles his food, so we have used a bumpy dog bowl to slow him down. He will also eat things dropped on the floor and if he finds something outside. We have many squirrels, rabbits, Possums, crows, hawks and big trees in our yard, so the wild animals on occasion drop their “finds” in our yard. We try to be diligent, but sometimes aren’t quick enough. When Marty got sick, we thought that it was from eating something outside or chewing up dog toys. He does seek out grass and verbena in the yard to eat too. If we offered something like turkey or broccoli when he was younger, he would sometimes have messy stools or a gurgly stomach. Our vet recommended the canned Hills ID prescription low fat food, which he has been eating for awhile. Boiled low fat chicken breast was okayed by the vet, so we give that as a midday snack. I have tried other biscuits and treats to see what didn’t upset his stomach, but haven’t found any firm connection between what he is eating and the episodes.

Typically when Marty had an episode, he would demonstrate pain by yelping, clinging and shaking. He would do more downward dog stretching. Also, he would arch his back and thrust forward upon waking in the morning. He didn’t throw up and his stools might or might not be a little softer, but not dark or bloody. He didn’t lose his appetite—it usually remained good. Also, he would have a very loud gurgling from his stomach. When he was diagnosed with pancreatitis, the vet would prescribe metronidazole and amoxicillin. It seemed to work very quickly and he would feel better the next day. Around the end of last year, he started having more frequent episodes so he was given a maintenance dose of metronidazole 1 time a day. That seemed to work for awhile.

Around the end of June, he had another episode. We called the vet and went back to giving the metronidazole twice a day. It didn’t seem to help without the antibiotic though and he appeared to be in a lot of pain. The vet prescribed a different antibiotic for 7 days and a pain med (which seemed to help) and referred to us a specialist for an ultrasound. At this time we also changed his food to a fresh frozen prescription food, “Just Food For Dogs,” metabolic support low fat. It has turkey breast, ground beef, beef liver, whole psyllium husk, acorn squash, eggs, oats, coconut oil, premium EPA/DHA.

Although they found some arthritis on his right hip, the ultrasound on July 5 with the specialist didn’t reveal any abnormalities, however the blood work continued to show elevated spec cpl and Alt. The specialist recommended a liver biopsy, either an open surgical biopsy or a laparoscopic biopsy. She said a biopsy may reveal hepatitis, copper levels, cancer, or benign hyperplasia. Additionallly, the surgical biopsy procedure might reveal more than the laparoscopy as a biopsy could be taken from surrounding areas rather than just the liver. Surgery would involve Marty staying in the hospital for 3 days instead of one night for the laparoscopy. We are just not sure that we will get answers and that this is the best way to go. It seems drastic to subject Marty to surgery, but we want to do what is best for Marty.

After this we started thinking more about how Marty’s diet might be contributing to the liver and pancreas issues, and if improved diet can help the underlying issues. We started exploring holistic approaches after I found a blog discussing the Sam-e supplement and how it improved the ALT levels for some dogs. So, we tried the powder (1/8 tsp in his food 2x a day with each meal). He seemed to do well with it, but after a week we noticed that he would vomit in the middle of the night. So we have stopped it for now.

Fortunately, Dr. Jeff was recommended by someone that we know and here we are. We have started reading and watching the videos and considering what impact the canned dog food, vaccines, or toxins may have had on Marty. Like Frontline, we’ve used frontline for fleas. We are concerned too about pesticides and antibiotics in meat and canned dog food, but didn’t know if homemade dog food would meet the right balance. We were told no table scraps or people food because chihuahuas are prone to pancreatitis and have sensitive stomachs. So we thought that we had to be very consistent about their diets. However, our dogs seem to crave things like broccoli. Marty can handle a tiny little piece, but it has caused stomach upset for him more than the other dogs. Our dogs also love romaine for some reason. We don’t feed kibble and have only used it in dog toys and cubes. I have given various treats, trying to pay attention to the ingredients and stick to organic to limit pesticide/herbicide exposure but there are still unpronounceable ingredients. Marty loves to chew rawhide, and I used to give him the organix rawhide chews. After he started getting pancreatitis, we worried that the chews were not good for him and stopped. (Marty is a very “mouthy” dog—He likes to lick our faces and arms for a long time, hold a bumpy ball in his mouth and gnaw on it, and he has a stuffed dog toy that he kneads and sort of suckles by mouthing it at night before going to sleep.)

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Questions
After watching the videos on making your dog’s food and the benefits of different ingredients, including mushrooms, we want to know what we should be feeding him. Should we add to the Just Food For Dogs or give it more time before making any changes—and what other supplements might help? Does he need pre or probiotics? What foods can be digested easily and help promote his health? I’d like to be able to give him some treats and something crunchy to chew on as well—but what? We also need to decide about the biopsy, and if so which procedure? Will the biopsy give us information that will improve Marty’s health? Today his appetite is within the normal range but his behavior is quieter, he’s less active, energy level is lower and he seems a little stiffer in his movements when he initially gets up from a nap. He is arching his back and his eyes are a little watery. We are concerned that he is going to have another painful episode and does that mean we revisit the metronidazole, antibiotics and pain meds or schedule the biopsy, or is there another way to help him through this until he improves?

Thank you,

Apologies for the length.....
 

Dr. Jeff

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Wow, fantastic post! :snowman:

Thanks for sharing it Janet (or Gene).

I'm so glad that you found HA! Please thank whoever referred you.

Marty's adorable (and he loves his "baby").

I'd give Marty's system more time with his current diet, assuming that he enjoys it.

Happiness and enjoyment go hand in hand with the healing that we're helping his body achieve.

We can do this by helping to activate things like inflammation, which are essential parts of the natural healing mechanisms of his body.

However, as we know from the cytokine storm in severe covid, too much inflammation is not good.

Balance of inflammation is essential, as this recent article from a prestigious molecular biology journal shows:


Supplements help support the body while it heals. They don't cure.

I'd advise going for the cure.

By that I mean cure of Marty and his abnormal symptoms.

When his balance is restored, diagnostic criteria like abnormal pancreatic enzymes, will normalize.

My observations over the years of healing by pets show that only by optimizing his vitality and balance can deep healing occur.

Only use supportive supplements if needed.

At this time, focus on building and preserving his vitality and energy with fresh food, sniff walks in the fresh air, nosework, happiness and loving interactions.

Perhaps even use a snuffle mat for at least 30 minutes/day:


These are the best ways to help increase the cellular energy he needs to heal and avoid further abnormal symptoms and surgery.
 

Dr. Jeff

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Oh, and one thing you may try to start adding to his food is ~1/4-1/2 tsp. of the wild blueberry-kale smoothie.

It is a combination of powerful phytonutrients that he should tolerate:

 

Dr. Jeff

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Dr. Christina

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I am so glad you joined us, Gene and Janet, and that you are learning that what is commonly recommend often does not deeply heal and may not even make common sense.

All the details are great.

While you are already learning so much that may help your wonderful Marty, he is very young to have all these problems (which is sadly very common these days).

Because of this I want to suggest one more approach to "go for the cure", as Dr. Jeff suggests - begin a full homeopathic treatment with a trained veterinarian, such as Dr. Jeff, or others who can also consult by phone. In the future you will have learned so much more that you will be able to resolve many problems yourself. For now, it may be best to have some specific help.

You could start with the drugs and Dr. Jeff's suggestions or just start with professional homeopathic treatment in addition to all the great holistic approaches.

You noticed that in the several years of the "episodes", the conventional treatment helped a while, then needed to be stronger (daily), then new drugs. This is called Palliation, or temporary help. You'll learn more about assessing responses to treatments as you learn more. Your homeopathic veterinarian will be able to do these assessments, too.

Tracking symptoms in a separate journal for each of your dogs is a great way to keep track of any changes and learn more about responses to treatment.

I would suggest waiting on a biopsy until you have done some more holistic approaches, maybe including homeopathy.

As a member, you do get a free 15 minute consultation with faculty, which may help with some basic questions and maybe show you the procedure and possibilities of a homeopathic consult.

Dr. Christina
 

Gene&Janet

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Thank you so much Drs Christina and Jeff. We are grateful to have found you. We a have a lot learn and are also learning how to be better observers. I will start a journal for all of our pets as we go forward. This week we’ve focused on play and exercise and just feeding Marty the new food. We are going to try the blueberry and kale. we are looking forward to the consultation as well.
 

Dr. Jeff

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You're welcome. I look forward to getting to know Marty better.
 

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