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So, I got the Blood Test Results today... :( Not good. UPDATE Pg. 5

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  • So, I got the Blood Test Results today... :( Not good. UPDATE Pg. 5

    My mare is in liver failure.

    I'm simply.... devastated. There isn't a whole lot we can do for her. The vet said to me, in the softest voice possible, that we were dealing with three things.

    Anemia.
    IR
    Liver failure.

    She said, "you tell me how aggressive you want to be. If you tell me you want to put her down, I won't argue." I couldn't help but tear up.

    I think the plan is going to be just to support her... and let her tell me when she's ready. I'm not going to do anything heroic. I'm not going to put her through all kinds of testing. Just supportive, loving care.

    I guess liver failure in horses is pretty darn rare. Just my luck.

    I feel like she's had a good life with me. She's 19, almost 20... she's been pampered the entire time I have owned her. Since she was 4. She's my baby, my heart horse. I'll do my best by her, without wigging her out... it's not her style.
    Last edited by Liscar; Dec. 7, 2010, 01:02 PM. Reason: Update
    ******
    Shadow Dancer 2/17/91-12/23/10 - My Horse, My Heart <3

  • #2
    Argh. I'm so sorry to hear this, and sorry for what you are facing. Hope you are able to give her some more good time, and wish you strength when that runs out.
    "One person's cowboy is another person's blooming idiot" -- katarine

    Spay and neuter. Please.

    Comment


    • #3
      I'm so sorry.

      I think your plan is a good one. She's lucky to have had such a great life with you.
      Brothers and sisters, I bid you beware
      Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.
      -Rudyard Kipling

      Comment


      • #4
        Wow - I'm so sorry!

        I've never had any experience with this in horses. What are the symptoms?

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Liscar View Post
          My mare is in liver failure.

          I'm simply.... devastated. There isn't a whole lot we can do for her. The vet said to me, in the softest voice possible, that we were dealing with three things.

          Anemia.
          IR
          Liver failure.
          .
          What were the values for the liver? If you haven't done so already, I would recommend doing a liver biopsy...that will give you a better idea of the extend of liver damage. Even moderate amount of liver damage can respond to supportive therapy.

          Comment

          • Original Poster

            #6
            Originally posted by Larbear View Post
            What were the values for the liver? If you haven't done so already, I would recommend doing a liver biopsy...that will give you a better idea of the extend of liver damage. Even moderate amount of liver damage can respond to supportive therapy.
            Her GGT was 253. AST was 753.

            I just don't want to put her through anything. The vet said she would not recommend a liver biopsy on her.

            What kind of supportive therapy is there? Is there a certain way that is best to feed them? I guess I need to address her IR as well. Her Glucose is at 312. She is suspected of having Cushings as well, so she is on 1mg of Pergolide/day. Her diet was supposed to be "cool" for the Cushings (and IR), but with her glucose that high, I don't know!! She has lost so much weight. I'm not sure which way to go with her. The end is probably a lot closer than I wish to believe it is.
            ******
            Shadow Dancer 2/17/91-12/23/10 - My Horse, My Heart <3

            Comment


            • #7
              Jingling for your mare and you.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Liscar View Post
                Her GGT was 253. AST was 753.

                I just don't want to put her through anything. The vet said she would not recommend a liver biopsy on her.

                What kind of supportive therapy is there? Is there a certain way that is best to feed them? I guess I need to address her IR as well. Her Glucose is at 312. She is suspected of having Cushings as well, so she is on 1mg of Pergolide/day. Her diet was supposed to be "cool" for the Cushings (and IR), but with her glucose that high, I don't know!! She has lost so much weight. I'm not sure which way to go with her. The end is probably a lot closer than I wish to believe it is.
                Is she still eating? If they're still eating ok that is a good sign. With my horse, his ALK was 440, AST 545 and GGT was 183. His SDH was was 12 and bile acid measurement was also quite high. Did you get an SDH and bile acid measurements as well? If not I would ask for those tests as well.

                For supportive therapy, there is milk thistle (milk thistle seed powder, I fed or rather I am feeding about 1 tablespoon twice a day in the feed) and SAMe (5x425 mg/day...this is what was recommended to me by the equine hospital vet). the SAMe you can crush up and syringe. Flax seed is a good source of omega-3 fatty acid and good to help reduce inflammation. I would also look at minimizing the amount of protein being fed to decrease the load on the liver.

                So if it were me, feed the supps mentioned and then retest the blood work in a week or two to see how the values are. In my case I did blood work after one week, then two, then three and then four weeks. I'm hoping next week will be my last set of blood work (all of his enzymes went back down in the normal range except for GGT...hoping this time round it will be in the normal range. As a timeline, this started for me or rather I caught it, back in early September). Good luck with your horse...hopefully your horse is still eating ok and responds to mild therapy.

                Any idea what set this all off? Is she on other medications?
                Last edited by Larbear; Nov. 12, 2010, 04:01 PM.

                Comment

                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  Oddly... I noticed a change in her when I switched her from Essential K (a ration balancer, made by Tribute Feeds/Kalmbach) to Purina Strategy Healthy Edge. BIG MISTAKE. That's when she dropped all her weight, started looking like absolute hell, etc. I switched her back to the Essential K and added Kalm Performer, but she has not recovered. She eats fine. What is SAMe?

                  The Blood Test results are in front of me, but I don't see the numbers you're talking about - SDH and bile acid measurement. Her ALK is 261.

                  She is on Pergolide, but all this happened before the Pergolide. All of this happened before anything. I suspected she was cushingoid. Vet thought her RB was too much protein (a different vet btw), which is why I switched her to the Strategy, and away we went... we've been on a downward spiral since.
                  ******
                  Shadow Dancer 2/17/91-12/23/10 - My Horse, My Heart <3

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Liscar View Post
                    Oddly... I noticed a change in her when I switched her from Essential K (a ration balancer, made by Tribute Feeds/Kalmbach) to Purina Strategy Healthy Edge. BIG MISTAKE. That's when she dropped all her weight, started looking like absolute hell, etc. I switched her back to the Essential K and added Kalm Performer, but she has not recovered. She eats fine. What is SAMe?

                    The Blood Test results are in front of me, but I don't see the numbers you're talking about - SDH and bile acid measurement. Her ALK is 261.

                    She is on Pergolide, but all this happened before the Pergolide. All of this happened before anything. I suspected she was cushingoid. Vet thought her RB was too much protein (a different vet btw), which is why I switched her to the Strategy, and away we went... we've been on a downward spiral since.
                    That's great that she is still eating (usually a positive sign for liver problems). My horse went off his feed for a bit.

                    SAMe is S-Adenosylmethionine. It is reported to help protect the liver cells from cell death and possible help in the repair process. You can buy it as Denosyl.

                    http://www.nutramaxlabs.com/vet/products/Denosyl.aspx

                    SDH and bile acid measurement are add on tests...ie you need to ask for them in addition to regular CBC blood work or liver enzyme panels (or at least I did).

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Liscar View Post
                      My mare is in liver failure.

                      I'm simply.... devastated. There isn't a whole lot we can do for her. The vet said to me, in the softest voice possible, that we were dealing with three things.

                      Anemia.
                      IR
                      Liver failure.

                      She said, "you tell me how aggressive you want to be. If you tell me you want to put her down, I won't argue." I couldn't help but tear up.

                      I think the plan is going to be just to support her... and let her tell me when she's ready. I'm not going to do anything heroic. I'm not going to put her through all kinds of testing. Just supportive, loving care.

                      I guess liver failure in horses is pretty darn rare. Just my luck.

                      I feel like she's had a good life with me. She's 19, almost 20... she's been pampered the entire time I have owned her. Since she was 4. She's my baby, my heart horse. I'll do my best by her, without wigging her out... it's not her style.

                      Liscar, I'm very sorry, and I feel that you are doing the right thing. Jingles!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        So sorry to hear about your horse, thats just awful.

                        While I dont have a lot of experience with equine liver cancer, I deal with cats/dogs all the time with liver issues. There are a TON of drugs available to buy you time, and extend a quality life.

                        As another poster mentioned, at this point if you dont want to put her through further testing... I would hit her hard with Milk Thistle. Overdose her, it doesnt matter at this point. Its homeopathic (which I am usually not a fan of), but Ive known some patients to do VERY well on it.

                        Denosyl is also a popular in small animals, sounds like its also used in horses.

                        I have also heard of Ursodiol being used in foals with liver problems, not sure if that would be of any help...?

                        Anyway, Milk Thistle is cheap, and wont harm. Worth giving it a try, may make your horse feel a little bit better.

                        Jingles

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by SquishTheBunny View Post
                          As another poster mentioned, at this point if you dont want to put her through further testing... I would hit her hard with Milk Thistle. Overdose her, it doesnt matter at this point. Its homeopathic (which I am usually not a fan of), but Ive known some patients to do VERY well on it.

                          Denosyl is also a popular in small animals, sounds like its also used in horses.
                          Just wanted to clarify...milk thistle seed powder (the actual powder) is not homeopathic. It is used very frequently for liver damage (used for people, small animals (in fact there are products out there for cats and dogs that combine the active components of milk thistle, silymarins, with SAMe).

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Jingles...she has lead a good life it sounds like and you will know the right time...............

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Jingles... Leave it to CotH to have another poster (Larbear) going through the same thing. So much support on this board!

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                I don't have anything to add other than don't give up yet. I admire your courage in seeing the big picture and what is best for her, even if it is not what is best for your heart I will be thinking about you and hoping for her.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Best wishes- sounds like you're doing a great job for her.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Can I ask you a few questions, for my own research?

                                    Feel free to not answer or PM.

                                    Has this horse ever been power packed? If so, How often?
                                    "Kindness is free" ~ Eurofoal
                                    ---
                                    The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      A friend of mine had her horse MISDIAGNOSED with liver failure...he was on pergolide for Cushings and was losing weight (pergolide can kill the appetite) and was generally listless and lethargic. She had $600 worth of blood work done and the vet misread it and said he was in liver failure...the vet was ready to euthanize but luckily my friend's husband is a doctor and questioned the blood work. They got a second opinion and it turned out the horse is simply anemic and needed to come off the pergolide. He is now eating, running around, gaining weight...I guess what I'm trying to say is that I'd get a second opinion before doing anything drastic. I'm sorry for your news, though, and am sending jingles!
                                      JB-Infinity Farm
                                      www.infinitehorses.com

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        abbydp said it all, jingles
                                        Being terrible at something is the first step to being truly great at it. Struggle is the evidence of progress.

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