Darcy here… and I’ve got to tell you, it’s been a ruff few months. Long story short, I was diagnosed with “chronic active portal hepatitis (also known as chronic hepatitis) with increased copper deposits”. Evidently this runs in the West Highland White Terrier breed. Although I’m a mutt (I’m also half Chihuahua,) the Scottish in me runs quite strong. So it was a surprise to momma, daddy and me that I ended up with this. I presented with elevated liver enzymes in my blood work. We ended up going to see a specialist who conducted a liver biopsy (laparoscopic of course – don’t worry boys, no scars on my belly!)
I wasn’t acting any different. Wasn’t having problems eating or drinking. And although I don’t like to talk about it (cause I’m a lady), I wasn’t having any potty problems either. I was as normal as normal could be for me, acting happy and healthy. But my enzyme levels in my blood tests were steadily rising to the point where my doctor was alarmed by my numbers going up significantly back in October 2010. I was finally diagnosed with this in June 2011. What it means is that my liver cannot naturally get rid of copper by itself – this is what we were told runs in the Westie breed. And because of the copper deposits it’s causing an inflammation of my liver (known as chronic hepatitis in us dogs). For you humans reading this, don’t worry… momma already made sure I can’t give this to Bailey. Hepatitis in dogs is different than in you humans – all it means is my liver is inflamed. I don’t have any sort of disease or infection – so Bailey is just fine and I won’t infect him with anything. As perfect as I am, my liver just isn’t as perfect as the rest of me.
I am now taking half of a human medication of Ursodiol for my liver hepatitis once a day and a Zinc pill twice a day. Plus I have to eat a different food than Bailey – Royal Canin copper free food. There was lots of drama around the Zinc pills initially as momma and daddy thought the specialist prescribed the wrong derivative of Zinc for me to take – I was puking after taking the Zinc pill. But I’ve been doing pretty well since switching up the derivative of Zinc (sulfate now, instead of acetate). I get to take my pills with a huge glob of peanut butter which is pretty fantastic – Bailey gets to benefit from the peanut butter which I think is just wrong. Every now and then momma or daddy give me my pills with cheese instead. I’ll have a check up in November to see where my blood levels are and how my liver is doing on this new regimen.
So that’s where I am today. And I really am not sitting around licking pennies. I wish that were the case so I wouldn’t have this problem. But I’m doing just fine, I’m completely healthy otherwise and there is no pain associated to this. Every now and then when I want to get momma and daddy’s attention, I tell them that my liver hurts. IT REALLY DOESN’T, but shhhhhh, don’t tell them! It gets me extra attention and love.
Any of you pups out there have this condition too? Would love to hear from you if so.