Elevated Liver Enzymes in Dogs – What are Normal Level?

With the help of elevated liver enzymes in dogs, you could easily recognize the liver health of your dog.

The enzymes level can be traced by taking blood from the dog and evaluate different enzymes like AST, ALKP, GGT, and ALT.

As a dog owner, you must be informed about all the basic information and important facts of the dog liver enzymes.

Following you will get all important information about this topic which does not only help you to recognize the liver problem of your dog at an early age but also help you to find out a better solution in terms of treatments.

You will also stop asking the question “How long can a dog live with high liver enzymes?”.

1. Importance of Elevated Liver Enzymes in Dogs

2. What are Normal Liver Enzyme Levels in Dogs?

3. Symptoms of Dog Liver Problems

4. What Causes a Dog’s Liver Enzymes to be Elevated

5. Dog Liver Enzymes Levels

6. Additional Foods for Dogs With Liver Disease

7. Best Food to Feed a Dog with Liver Problems

8. What are the Treatments?

9. How to Prevent It?

10. Final Verdicts

Importance of Elevated Liver Enzymes in Dogs

The liver is not only an important organ for the human but also for any living thing in the world including dogs.

The main function of the liver is to remove the toxin from the blood and help with blood clotting and digestion.

That’s why, as a dog owner, you must not ignore any early signs which could be related to the liver diseases because if you ignored it at the early stage, then your pet could die because of this.

The easiest way to determine the health of a dog’s liver is to take the test.

This test tells the level of liver enzymes in the dog; whether low, high or normal.

Each level has its own importance. Somehow the high and low could be death-related if ignored.

The veterinarians look at AST, ALT, GGT, and ALKP of the liver.

What are Normal Liver Enzyme Levels in Dogs?

The enzyme levels in dogs should not be very low or very high as these both mean that there is a problem with the health of the liver.

The normal liver enzyme levels in dogs could depend on many factors which included the size of the age, breed, weight, sex and even the physical activities which your dog does on a daily basis.

So, even in case of normal levels in dogs, you should still concern with the vet.

Typically, the normal enzyme levels in dogs are:

AST (aspartate aminotransferase) = 5 to 55

ALKP (or ALP) (alkaline phosphatase) = 10 to 150

GGT (gamma-glutamyl transpeptidase) = 0 to 14

ALT (alanine aminotransferase) = 5 to 107

These should be in the normal rages, not very high or very low.

Symptoms of Dog Liver Problems

It could be impossible to recognize any liver problem in dogs at an early age.

That’s why the vet suggests periodic wellness blood panels once the dog reached a specific age.

Usually, the dogs start facing the liver-related problems once they reached 10 but these problems could happen earlier.

As a dog owner, you should not ignore the following symptoms of your dog as they could be related to liver problems:

  • Loss of appetite and decreased activity level
  • Diarrhea and continuous vomiting (once a day)
  • Weight loss and difficulty in walking
  • Increased in thirst and need to pee
  • Blood in your dog’s poop or pee

Defiantly, there could be other signs too which could make you worried but you should not ignore the above one and take your dog to vet immediately.

What Causes a Dog’s Liver Enzymes to be Elevated?

The main cause of elevated liver enzymes is genetic and aging.

Sometimes it could be caused by the trauma or the infection to the area.

These could be very painful. Other causes of liver diseases in dogs include:

  • Diabetes and issues with pancreas
  • Unhealthy, unbalance and fatty foods diet
  • Molds grow on corn and untreated heartworms
  • Uses of specific medicines e.g. painkillers
  • Vaccine Adjuvants
  • Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals (hormones, pesticides, and herbicides)

Most of these causes are related to the diet and medications of the dog.

So, if you notice any issue related to the dog’s liver health, then your vet will ask about the diet and medications of the dog first and then recommend the medical tests and treatments.

Dog Liver Enzymes Levels

Levels over 2000 – 3000

If your dog liver enzymes over 2000, then you should reach the vet immediately.

Levels over 1000

Level over 1000 suggestive of acute viral hepatitis, ischemic injury, medication/toxin-induced injury or autoimmune hepatitis.

More rare causes include Wilson’s disease and acute biliary obstruction.

High Alt In Dogs

Elevated ALT levels can mean liver or hepatic alert as to liver cell death.

But this enzyme also comes from the kidney as well as the intestines, so liver issues aren’t sure the only cause of elevated ALT and the next research is necessary.

Additional Foods for Dogs With Liver Disease

Regardless of whether you are feeding prescription food or homemade diets, add extra foods to your dog’s diet.

Suitable options include:

  • Milk products, like yogurt, goat cheese, cottage cheese, and ricotta cheese
  • Fish, eggs and high-quality proteins such as chicken and turkey without the bones,
  • Oatmeal, canned plain pumpkin, barley, and white rice
  • Omega-3 fatty acids, like as fish oil
  • Coconut oil
  • Fruits such as seedless watermelon, blueberries, figs, and papayas

Best Food to Feed a Dog

with Liver Problems

Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein Dog Food

This high protein dog food produced from natural ingredients – real chicken, fruits and vegetables – enhanced with vitamins and minerals.

Pros:

  • Without chicken by-product meals, corn, wheat, soy, artificial flavors or preservatives
  • It fits for all types of breeds
  • A precise mix of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals
  • Contains healthy carbohydrates including sweet potatoes and peas
  • Grain-free formula
  • Contains calcium and phosphorus

Cons:

  • Some negative reviews from buyers lately

Check Price & Availability & Buyers Reviews


Honest Kitchen Human Grade Dehydrated Organic Dog Food

Honest Kitchen Dog Food is a dog meal produced with free-range chicken and dehydrated for maximum nutrition.

To serve, simply add warm water, wait 3 minutes, and serve for a fresh, wholesome and delicious meal!

Pros:

  • Only natural ingredients
  • All ingredients dehydrated
  • Non genetically modified and free of any chemicals & preservatives
  • Hormone and antibiotic-free
  • All ingredients are finely diced
  • Great for both puppies and adults of all sizes
  • No by-products, preservatives or GMO ingredients

Cons:

  • Contains garlic

Check Price & Availability & Buyers Reviews


ROYAL CANIN Canine Hepatic Dry Food

ROYAL CANIN Canine Hepatic Food produced to reduce the load on the liver.

Pros:

  • Reduced sodium content to steady dog’s blood pressure
  • Low copper and boosted zinc content to decrease metal accumulation in a dog’s liver.
  • Vegetable protein and carbohydrates for easy digestion.
  • Forced fiber and B vitamins
  • Enlarged omega-3 fatty acids to decrease inflammation in your dog’s system
  • Provide the nutrients your dog’s liver needs to get healthy again

Cons:

  • Some dogs made a bit hyperactive.
  • Large chunk for small and medium dog

Check Price & Availability & Buyers Reviews


What are the Treatments?

The cause of the low or high level of dog liver enzymes and their symptoms will help the vet to decide which treatment is best for the dog.

Some dog gets treated with the diet changes while others required the surgery.

Other facts like age, size, and weight of the dog also help the vet to determine which treatment will be most suitable for the term to get the positive and quick results.

Generally following are the options available for the vet to treat liver-related problems in the dogs:

Healthy diet: The vet will suggest a better nutrients diet and limit the calories. Also, you must avoid processed prescription liver diet.

Supplements: There are many supplements of dogs that are specifically designed to provide better nutrients to the dog which helps in better liver health and helps the liver recover fast.

Medications: At first preference, the vet tries to recover the liver with the help of drugs as this is the easiest and effective way to treat liver problems. The vet may also suggest changing the current medication of the dog.

Surgery: If there are cysts or tumors then vet could suggest the surgery of the liver so that tumors could be removed.

How to Prevent It?

You can help out your pet by catching the liver disorder beforehand and doing little revisions before it grows in a heavy form.

  • Visit your veterinarian annually for exams and vaccinations. Make sure that he has the necessary knowledge and skills.
  • Feed your pet only wholesome and healthy food. Fat in dog food can damage a dog’s liver.
  • Avoid places where dangerous animals and insects to the dog can be found.

Video: Liver Disease in Dogs

Click here to see the video.

Final Verdicts

A better diet, regular visit to vet after a certain age and timely vaccinations could help your dog to prevent the liver problems and keep the level of dog’s liver enzymes normal. The fats are good for the dog but after a certain age, they should not eat the excess amount of raw food, excess fat and unhealthy food including several fruits like blueberry.

For better care of your dog, you should ask the vet to give you a perfect diet plan for your dog so that you can keep your pet healthy at an early age instead of wait for the time when he starts showing signs related to the liver problems.

What do you think? Feel free to share your opinions in the comment section below!

4 Comments

Bobbie Panter

my 11 year old cocker spaniel became suddenly ill vomiting her water up with loss of appetite and diarrhea. My vet drew a comprehensive metabolic profile on my pet and discovered high liver enzymes/ She suggested a bland diet to start of chicken and rice however Phoebe won’t even eat .that We returned to the vet within 72 hours aftr the vomiting and diarrhea came back and they gave her lactated ringers under the skin, a penicillin injection and some blue pills to help the live enzymes. I am praying that these treatments work. She was also given a shot for nausea and one for inflammation. I am praying for return to health.

Ammie McDonald

My 10yr. old cocker spaniel also has very elevated liver enzymes. We have been monitoring them for the last 6 months. We did an ultrasound last month which really didn’t show anything significant. The Dr. put him on 3 different antibiotics to see if there was an infection. He is scheduled for a repeat ultrasound on Tuesday and I just had his blood work done and his levels are still creeping up… so worried

kerri miller

My 10 yr old mixed breed just had geriatric bloodwork and his liver enzymes came back pretty high. He’s having an ultrasound on Wed. praying everything is ok.

Patty Trout

So my 12 1/2 year old lab/retriever mix annual blood results came back for the second year in a row with raised liver enzymes not terribly high I don’t think. – no noteworthy increase year over year. Last year did not follow up with the vet recommended ultrasound and here I am again. At this stage in life, I have a dilemma. Separate issues with his sister. I’m trying to be pet realistic/cost responsible vs #lovemydogs. Any advice?

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