One Year

October 30, 2009 by Lisa  
Filed under Blog

Hello to all of you that have used our website and contacted me this past year.

From the time I put the website up in January to this past week, the affirmation that I have received from you all has been amazing.  I used to get 1-2 emails per month asking for resources, sharing stories or just looking for a sympathetic ear and now I get 1-2 per day.  We have over 3300 visitors to the website each month and we are #1 on google for various search terms related to canine liver disease.  Our site has become successful beyond what I could have imagined.

The good news is that the website is helping to inform, give hope and connect people who are dealing with this terrible disease.  It is becoming a premiere resource for people searching for information to help their pets and dear friends & I am SO grateful that I can be a part of making a difference, even a small one, in the lives of a family and their furry friend.

It has been 1 year on this exact day since our beloved Reiley passed away and I am reminded each day through the work I do for CLDF that her death was not in vain.  I miss her each and every day and am very sad that she was taken from me at only 9 years of age by something so terrible as liver disease.  I am angry that more is not done to help understand and eradicate this problem and I am working toward trying to make a difference in the prevention and early detection of CLD.

Thank you to all who have written to me, called and emailed, it is for you and your pets that I do what I do.  Thank you for helping me to keep Reiley’s memory alive and well each and every day, I do miss her very much and love her still.

Sincerely,

Lisa Smith

Founder, Canine Liver Disease Foundation

Dedicated to my first “baby”, Reiley – I love you, miss you & we are making a difference!

Preventative Maintenance

January 2, 2009 by Lisa  
Filed under All Info, Yearly Prevention

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1. LISTEN TO YOUR INSTINCTS. You know your dog better than any vet or specialist. If there is something “not quite right”, encourage blood tests to see what is going on. The symptoms of canine liver disease are so subtle and can be mistaken for so many other things, ask for a liver panel test to rule it out.

2. Educate yourself about the signs/symptoms of canine liver disease so that you are able to recognize them if any are present in your dog.

3. Feed your dog a high-quality balanced diet with easily digestible protein (beef and fish are harder for dogs to digest), no animal by-products, fillers or allergens.

4. Know your dog’s normal body temperature and take it regularly and if/when they show behavior changes. Temperatures above 103F may be linked to internal infection and may be affecting the liver.

5. Know your dog’s eating and bathroom habits. If there are even slight changes that extend over a period of a week or so, seek out the advice of your veterinarian.

6. Do not allow dogs to roam freely where they can encounter animals or insects, standing water or poisonous plants.

7. Routinely vaccinate dogs for infectious canine hepatitis and leptospirosis.

8. Take your dog in for a yearly exam that should include blood, stool and urine samples in dogs 8 years of age or more. (Veterinarians will do these tests on dogs under the age of 8 as well.)

9. If tests are abnormal or presenting high range numbers, seek out the advice of an Small Animal Internal Medicine Specialist – your vet should be able to refer you to someone in your area.

10. Practice good dental hygiene for your dog. Brushing your dog’s teeth helps rid the gums and mouth of harmful bacteria that, if left unchecked, can spread to the heart, liver and other vital organs.

11. Avoid medications such as Cortisone, Rimadyl and Phenobarbital if at all possible. Also try to minimize exposure to flea and tick products, heartworm medication, anti-fungals, etc.

* If Rimadyl cannot be avoided:

A blood panel should be taken and analyzed prior to initiating Rimadyl therapy.
Every 6 months this panel should be repeated.

* If Phenobarbital cannot be avoided:

Have a chemistry panel with the liver enzymes ALT, GGT and alkaline phosphate
done every 3 to 4 months.

If all three liver enzymes are severely elevated (more than just a few points
above normal) then you should do a urine bile acid test or a pre- and post-meal
bile acid test to see what kind of damage has been actually done to the liver so you
can change the diet to the liver cleansing diet and/or reduce the Phenobarbital.

Monitor Phenobarbital levels every 6 months, more frequently if you do not have
seizure control or if there are any signs of toxicity like ataxia, wobbliness, and hind end
weakness (not after a seizure).