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Reasons for an Elevated AST Liver count in a puppy???

February 25th, 2010, 01:15 PM
So I just took Phoebe (7 month Chihuahua) in for her pre-spay bloodwork. The vet called today and said everything looked normal except her liver AST. She said a normal count is around 120 and hers is 159. She wasn't too concerned and said they were still comfortable to proceed with the spay, but should follow-up with more bloodwork in a few months...."If its still high then we will have to explore it further"....what does this mean? What could it be?

There have been no changes in her mood, energy, eating habits (although if you read my past posts this has been an ongoing issue).

Has anyone else experienced this? Any ideas what it could be?

February 25th, 2010, 06:56 PM
ALT is short for alanine transferase. This is an enzyme that is present in the cells in the liver. In order for it to be found in elevated quantities in the blood stream, liver cells have to be leaking the enzyme. So rises in this enzyme indicate damage to liver cells sufficient to cause them to leak the enzyme. Rises in ALT, even large rises, can occur due to problems that don't cause much change in liver function, though.
Trauma, liver toxins, blood clots and other insults to the liver which damage a large number of cells in a small area of the liver may produce high rises in ALT that are essentially meaningless, as the liver will recover with no problem.

On the other hand, chronic liver diseases that constantly produce damage to the liver but do so slowly may never cause strong rises in the ALT levels even though liver function is deteriorating significantly.

oops you said AST.
Aspartate aminotransferase (AST) is also an enzyme found in the liver, red blood cells (RBCs) and in muscle tissue; damage to any of these can result in increased levels of AST in the blood. An elevation in AST signifies more severe damage to the cells than an elevation in ALT. I still am not sure that there is anything to worry about , but you may want to wait and see if the levels "level out" before you send her in for an operation.

February 25th, 2010, 10:54 PM
everything looked normal except her liver AST. She said a normal count is around 120 and hers is 159.

Are you sure your Vet said AST and not ALT?

The ALT range is 10-120 while AST range is 15-40. You might want to clarify that when you take her in for her spay.

February 26th, 2010, 08:56 AM
I just went back and read my scribbles that I feverishly wrote while the vet was talking on the phone and it is ALT! Thank you very much for your advice. We will deffinately be following up in the next few months to see what happens.

I am still undecided about whether to proceed with her surgery....I want to be comfortable with the vets word to continue, but I am concerned that bad things could happen (although I'm not clear what)