reiley’s story


Where to begin with Reiley’s story? I got her as a 9 week old puppy and was by her side as she passed away at 9 years old. She was my devoted companion before my husband and daughter came along and she was my “furry” baby. I could not have asked for a more loving and special companion and I was devastated when she died in late October. I miss her and think about her every day and am so thankful that she was in my life.

In March of 2008, I took Reiley into the vet because her appetite had decreased and she wasn’t eating as much as she previously had. The vet found she had a high temperature (103.5) and put her on antibiotics. After 10 days of high fever and even further appetite reduction & vomiting due to the antibiotics, I made the choice to take her off of the antibiotics to see how she responded. Her fever went away and her appetite returned so…. I thought she had recovered.

Throughout the summer of ’08 there were days when Reiley didn’t eat all of her food, but didn’t have a fever or any other signs of illness. Needless to say we were shocked when she was diagnosed with cirrhosis of the liver in mid-October.

We received the diagnosis of liver disease during some routine bloodwork for a dental procedure. Reiley’s appetite had decreased somewhat and she was being a pickier eater than normal, but she was still eating and otherwise acting normal. When the vet ran her pre-op bloodwork, she had 4 times the normal level of ALT and ALKP and her bile acids were about 3 times the normal levels.

After an ultrasound which definitively name cirrhosis as the offender, we took Reiley to a internal specialist for a consult. By the time we saw the specialist, Reiley wasn’t eating at all and she had to be hospitalized due to a serious liver infection. Despite our best intentions and the hard work of the hospital staff, Reiley passed away 2 days after her hospitalization with my husband and I petting her and talking to her, letting her know we loved her and would miss her.

The hardest thing about Reiley’s liver disease is how subtly it worked and how quickly she became ill. There we only minor symptoms displayed to us; symptoms that could have been attributed to several other things and not something as serious as liver disease. This is the primary reason I created this website and foundation – to spread the word about this disease and how it affects our beloved pets. If just one family can save their pet based on the information I have compiled, then it will help me begin to heal from the sadness I feel at losing my best furry friend.

Please feel free to email me at: lisasmith@canineliverdiseasefoundation.org to include your success story, tribute, memorial or other story about your dog and liver disease.

Thank you for reading,

Lisa Smith

Founder of The Canine Liver Disease Foundation

In Memory of my Reiley Monster

October 21, 1999 – October 30, 2008