Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Ontario, Canada
Dogs Name: Moxie, Copper & Wicca
Dogs Age: 11, 11 & 7
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We've talked about liver disease on this board a number of times so I'd advise searching out past threads. Sometimes it's easiest to use google and search dobermantalk liver issues or dobermantalk cah or dobermantalk copper storage, for eg. There have been some good discussions of this in the past with members that are no longer here so please seek them out.
I've gone through liver issues with 2 Dobermans - Ember had cholangiohepatitis which would flare up, need costly treatment (hospitalization, IV fluids, antibiotics, special diet, etc) and then we'd get into a remission-like stage, and Zeke had copper storage. I was lucky that they didn't show symptoms of these until they were 7ish. Ember lived to 11, Zekey to 10.
Liver disease is nasty, and it's expensive, and I think it's kind of trite to offer that the liver is the only organ that can repair itself (no offense ECIN, just that I think it's way more serious than that). If you're lucky, you can hopefully get them into these remission states but you're always treating it, trying to stave off a flare-up. IME, it's kind of like cancer. Once it shows itself and you fight it off and get to a remission state, the periods of what I call remission tend to shorten between each flare. IME, the dogs seem to feel well if you can get them past the flare-up, but they sure seem to be miserable during.
I would think that your vet would recommend a liver biopsy if the dog is well enough to go through it. One issue there is von Willebrand's disease - do you know your dog's status? Ember was genetically affected which was fine. She was asymptomatic until she developed liver issues. The liver is key in clotting so when it becomes compromised, vWD might become an issue for previously asymptomatic affected Dobermans. Ember could not have a liver biopsy.
Zeke did, as I recall. The treatments for the various liver issues are different in some ways. Copper storage called for pencillamine, which was awful. Thank heavens they don't take it forever. I just remember it being an extremely hard time in Zeke's treatment when he was on it. Keeping Zeke eating was a real challenge. I hand fed (force fed) him quite a number of times but he still lost a good amount of his weight.
I'm not sure what information you're looking for exactly. Liver issues are not uncommon in Dobermans, unfortunately. Hopefully, you can update us on what you're looking to learn. I'm not sure if you're giving up since you mention palliative care or whether you want to look for ways to try to fight.