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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Help!! I accidentally just deleted my last long post with all the details so I'll quickly write it all up again, but basically my pup Primrose has hair loss along her spine and on top of her head (see pics) and I'm trying to figure out what's wrong! She's now gone for three blood tests and had a urine sample and as far as the vets told me all they can find wrong is that her bile acid count is something like 2 above the normal (I think the normal was 22 and under and hers was 24?). They think this might mean that she has liver dysfuntion or possibly a liver shunt and want to do an ultrasound which is really costly and after looking up symptoms online I'm not sure that's even the problem... Any info or advice on what I should do next would be greatly appreciated!!

Some extra info on Primrose... She's a 15 month old long haired chi, I noticed the hair loss about 4 months ago, but just thought it was apart of puppy uglies or something until it persisted and I got worried. There is no redness, itching, or any sort of irritation. Also the hair loss is not complete hair loss, it's more like there's just really short sparse hairs there as opposed to her long ones. She is perky, lively, spunky and seems totally normal. She eats and drinks normal, stools and urination normal (if anything she may have an over appetite). I did recently change her food two or three weeks ago to see if that made a difference, she was on "The Healthy Dog Chicken and Whitefish" and is now on "Halo Spot's Stew Wholesome Chicken Recipe" for small dogs. It's hard to say whether it's making a difference yet because I see her everyday, but I've started taking pics. Her current food is one of the highest quality available. I also started giving her one pump of salmon oil a day mixed with her food. The only other symptoms I'd say is that her eyes do have a slight redness (bloodshot sort of look) but it's very mild and she's had it since I got her at 11 weeks old. Also she used to chew her foot once in awhile (which I know can be a sign of allergies) but seems to have stopped and I think it may have been since she's been on this new food. Please help! I just want to know what's wrong with my baby :(
 

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I know this is very fustrating, my boy Ruffio has hair loss as well. I ended up taking him to see a dermatologist. Maybe they can help. They told me it seems that this is just genetically how he his. Hos hair loss is up his legs and on his chest and head.

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Ohhh Pigeonsheep has a chi named Dexter with the same hair loss! his back is bald and so is his head (very thin) I know she had prelim tests done on him that indicated liver problems, She then took him to another vet who flew in a specialist because he had a rare thyroid condition? (if I am remembering right) I'm not sure what happened I think she said the vet who flew in the specialist pulled a vanishing act or something, it was weird! anyhow I'll tell her about your post she probably has good info for you based on Dexter!

Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
KittyD that would be awesome! I'd love to hear what she has to say and what she may have found! Ruffio, thanks for your input! I'm hoping its not genetic as then I'd worry about other problems as she's only just over a year old...


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hey there yes kitty is right Dex does have issues just like ur pup does. its kind of weird to see another dog like this on here...almost the same symptoms. since u took an acid bile test i was wondering if u took a bloodtest as well? im sure bloodtest is what they ask for before any other testing but i didnt see you mentioning this. the vet sure did pull a vanishing act... -.- but before he did so he did say it was a thyroid and elevated t4 issue but not life threatening. i really wished he would've told me treatments but alas like any other vet ive had really badluck with this one. anything to do with "skin/hair" is very expensive since vets dont know anything until many many tests are done. even before this vet i went to the #2 ranked vet in my area and spilled over $700 on the bill....only to find out he was lacking nutrition and the elevated t4 as well in the bloodtest. it could be allergies as well? for me i dont think thats the case. Dex has started losing hair ever since he was a couple months old...and i too thought it was due to the "puppy uglies". i have heard of a product called "bee pollen" meant for pets to sprinkle on their food to work on some....but if this is indeed a liver issue then doses of meds is the key. i also know someone whose chi has thyroid issues and went through a couple issues due to not knowing how much doseages to give to their chi....agh its so frustratin to actually deal with this isnt it? :( i really dont know much...as dex plays, eats (more than usual)...totally active too. his hind legs are also balding and tends to nibble his back either from habit or itch? the first thing i did test him when he started losing his hair was mange but thank god that came out negative...i hope your vet knows what to do!

here'sa pic


1 back in dec 2008 when his head started balding

and his back as well


edit:: sorry just read u took a buncha bloodtest. was there anything wrong with it? since blood is what tells that there are different things wrong with the liver? even because of the higher than normal t4 dex cant go under anathesia...and still is intact :(
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Yikes the symptoms and pics do seem very similar! I love the fast responses on here, thanks so much everyone for the help! My vet did say that if it was mild liver dysfunction then she might need to go on a vegetarian diet or a specialty diet, as the liver processes protein so if its dysfunctional then she needs to be eating less of it... I feel like there would be a tough balance there though as dogs need protein!! My reading online suggest making homemade meals. However, if its severe, they said they'd have to look into surgical options. I just don't think she has the symptoms of liver dysfunction though, other than her bile count. Just seems weird and doesn't add up to me! I don't know if I should start trying different things and see if I see any changes or if I should continue with all these random testings that are sucking me dry! Ugh, like you said, very frustrating to deal with! I just want my little girl to be healthy..


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Having just gone through shunt surgery with my Axle I would highly recommend you get the ultrasound if her bile acid levels are not normal. A shunt is not a minor condition, it can cause seizures and urinary tract issues that can permanently damage the kidneys and bladder. Even if she seems otherwise healthy get the test done to put your mind at ease, my Axle never showed any symptoms until one day he had a complete obstruction of his bladder due to his shunt and if I hadn't got him to a vet ASAP his bladder could have burst.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Pigeonsheep the vet never said there was anything wrong with the blood tests other than an indication that she might have liver dysfunction, which I think came from the bile acid count. So then they retested with her having fasted, then fed her and retested again 2 hours later. The vet said the fasted blood test was totally normal, but the after food one, the bile count was slightly off. OzChi do you happen to know the numbers for the bile acid count of Axle? Or any other symptoms he may have displayed? I think I will get the ultrasound done then just to make sure. Also, she is already spayed and has gone under anesthesia and was totally fine and reacted normal to the anesthetic, which I read she should have had adverse reactions to it if she has liver problems..
 

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Ote has a potential liver shunt. We ended up going ahead and getting the ultrasound & there was no shunt visible, which either means micro shunts or another liver problem altogether. She had no physical symptoms of liver problems - if it weren't for me insisting on pre-spay bloodwork, we would have never known. I would highly suggest getting the ultrasound. If the ultrasound is done at another veterinarian (as ours was) it also provides you with a second opinion. Definitely worth it. I drove about two hours to go to the specific vet for the ultrasound where it was the most affordable, and a lot of veterinarians have programs where you can work to pay back the amount over time - or there's always Care Credit. Keep us updated! You are in our prayers
 

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Axle had a really big shunt, only 50% of his blood was going through his liver, but he was neutered and came out of the anesthetic fine so that is no indication of not having a shunt. He presented no symptoms until the toxins from his unfiltered blood gathered in his bladder and crystallized which cut off his urine flow. With a female you are less likely to have a urinary obstruction but you could get her urine tested to see if there are any micro crystals that aren't visible to the naked eye. I'm sorry, I just sent off all of Axle's medical records to the insurance company so I can't tell you the exact level, I only know they were elevated.
 

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Re her food, I've never heard of the brands you have fed. Have you checked them out on dogfoodadvisor.com The first thing I would be doing is feeding a 5 star grain-free food and see how that goes. Better still, have you considered a raw diet?
 

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**First of all let me apologize because this is going to be long!
Halo is an acceptable dog food that uses human grade ingredients--my only problem with it (and I'm not saying it's a problem just I don't know the answer without research, then will know if I would be totally OK with it) I don't know who manufactures it. As far as your possible liver disfunction, Can you get a copy of your bloodwork if you don't already have it? The vet's office should not have a problem giving it to you. I personally think you need to know what her AST(SGOT) and ALT(SGPT) #s are. Those specifically relate to liver function. If those are normal I cannot imagine she would be having a problem with her liver, but Ozchi would know for sure about that--I would like to know if Axel's AST/ALT#s were abnormal before his shunt was repaired. Also, there are proteins that are high, moderate, and low in purines. Therefore, she may be able to have higher protein foods that are low in purines. For example, eggs; beef, chicken, lamb, and pork muscle; turkey; lamb liver; cod; Pollack; white fish; green beans; apple; blueberries; sweet potato; summer; squash carrots are just a few of the foods your dog can eat just fine. Stay away from beef, chicken, pork liver or heart; salmon; shrimp; sardines; trout; tuna; broccoli; cauliflower; peas; legumes; spinach; bananas they are high purine foods.

I have a great Liver cleanse diet: 3 cups sweet potato (boil); 1 1/2 cups chopped summer squash, 1 1/2 cups chopped zucchini, 1 1/2 cups chopped carrots or celery(all vegetables steamed);2 cups cod or Pollack (fillet) (you can poach, but I broil). Mix all of that together and feed 2x a day. I usually fed about 1/2 cup at a time. Add infants multi-vitamin 1x day. I used Enfamil Poly-vi-sol. Feed this for 2 weeks. Also, give Milk Thistle which is great for liver health and can be bought at any health food store. I got this diet from my vet when my chi Lulu had elevated liver indications on bloodwork back in February. Something about her was just "not right"--can't describe--you just know as a conscientious pet owner. I took her to the vet, and she had crystals in her urine, elevated BUN/creatinine (I really don't know if that's the same as bile acid or not) but I do know that is a blood measurement of the crystals in her urine. He also gave her 2 antibiotics, and a prescription form a milk thistle along with the diet, but 2 weeks later her numbers were all normal. I'm certainly not saying what Lulu had was anything near what you are going through, but if she is having liver issues I would think it would show on her bloodwork, and I gave you the catagories to look at, and the diet, milk thistle, and correct purine proteins won't hurt and may help.

Now all this said, let me throw this out of left field (and it is really left field because I absolutely don't know what I'm talking about with this) can this be color dilution alopecia? I know absolutely nothing about this except it seems to me like everyone who has dogs that have this has these color dogs. But then again, I have yet to really figure out what the color blue is, so I may have just given everyone a good laugh! LOL
 

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I sure would wait for another couple of months until you re do the acid bile tests. I have a dog who is having liver issues from phenobarbital (focal seizures) and they actually were better this year! The liver is the one organ in the body that can heal itself, in humans at least, and therefore I'd wait. The fact that the fasting bile acid was normal, and the 2 hour was 'slightly' off, is encouraging. As for the baldness, maybe a dermatologist vet might help?
 
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