View Full Version : GSD having hepatitis

07-06-2006, 07:19 AM
Hello everyone

My GSD was diagnosed 3 months ago having unknown ethiology hepatitis.
He was eating Royal Canine German Sheperd 24 and was up to date vaccinated.
After aprox 3 weeks of treatment (LIV 52 adjoutant) the blood work came up really good. Basically all values went back to normal. Because of the diet the dog became faily thin.
Now the doctor suggested that we should put it back on dried food. So I slowly take him back to Royal Canine.
My problem is that this food contains 24% protein and 19% fat. Isn't that to much fat for a dog recovering from hepatitis?
Does anyone have a food option solution for me?
I will also repeat the bloodwork again cause I do not like how the dog looks and the faeces start loosing colour again.

Please help me with a better solution

07-06-2006, 09:56 PM
About 10 years ago one of our shepherds was diagnosed with the same thing - same progression, bad to better to bad again.

More blood work was done (I suggest you do this too and get a second opinion) and it was discovered that he had PANCREATITIS (common to shepherds) and the bad liver results were caused by the pancreatic ducts being blocked.

Pancreatis is worsened by fat, not proteins and so a low fat dry food was prescribed along with an antibiotic. He thrived and the acute attack of pancreatis resolved. We kept him on that diet and he passed away 4 years later at the age of 14. Please ask your vet if this might be a possibiity for your dog and if a dietary change should be made.

07-06-2006, 11:35 PM
Thanks for the hint. I'll try to test the dog for Pancreatitis.


07-17-2006, 03:51 AM
Hi again

I've tested my dog also for pancreatitis, kidney and liver problem.
I also did a complete bloodtest (hemoleucoghram) and everything is saying that the dog is ok.
However he is not gaining weight not even after changing to Acana Lamb and Rice and giving him nutritional suplements (Cafortran +).

H E L P!

tigger the turtle
07-17-2006, 10:58 AM
Could the dog have diabetes?
before i was diagnosed for diabetes I lost a lot of weight until they found what was the problem.(I was 2 years so can`t tell how much weight was lost)

07-23-2006, 08:50 AM
Hello Petsalive

Are you able to tell me what were the tests to determine Pancreatitis on your shepherd? I'm not sure that the doctor (I've got a 2nd opinion) is right.... All the Pancreatitis' manifestations are present on my dog....
Maybe there are different blood works that need to be done or something.
An one more question, did your vet tested also the dog's feaces? Mine didn't...

Please help

PS: I'm sorry to bring this up, but did your dog died at age of 14 because of Pancreatic failure or just old age? Our vet told us that if our dog is having pancreatitis he has a lifehope of 4-5 years max (he's 4 now)...

07-24-2006, 10:53 PM
Yes my vet tested the stool as well.

Our dog died of cancer , NOT pancreatitis.

We currently have another dog with pancreatic insufficiency who takes pancrezyme (a powder that predigests his food for him - we mix it with the food and a small amount of water 1'/2 hour before we feed him) and he has been eating this way for 7 years. Your vet is very wrong and you need to get a second opinion. At least TRY the pancrezyme - it will cost you about $70 a month initially if your vet is money hungry although if he gives you a RX you can buy it online cheaper.

Can you tell me what your dog's stools are like? Do they look 'fatty', greasy or loose?

Good luck.

07-28-2006, 12:11 AM

I finally got a 3rd opinion and now from a Digestive Disease/ Disorder specialist. My dog is now diagnozed with pancreatic insuficiency and also with gastritis.
So you were very right! The treatment is pretty much the way that you discribed it plus the gastritis treatment.
The vet said that there are good chances of total recovery so I hope for the best.

Thank you very much for your support

07-28-2006, 12:29 AM
You are very welcome,

Your dog is very lucky to have you as his guardian. Not everyone would go to the lengths you did to find a way to make him feel better.

He should be fine with this treatment and you should start seeing results soon. Please let us all know how he is doing.

07-28-2006, 12:53 AM
What an amazing thing.
A forum really working for what it was untended.
Congrats on finding the cause of your dogs illness. I shudder to think of how long it would have gone undetected had Sara not been here.
Thanks Sara!

Keep us posted on your dog Cosmin!

07-31-2006, 02:43 AM
I hope that I'll get back on the forum just to say that my dog is starting to gain weight. On Saturday we have the "official dog weighting day" so keep your finger crossed for us. He'll be then on 10th day of treatment so the scales must show some gain. :D

By the way, the diet food prescriebed is Mill's i/d which I will not normally feed to my dog because of its contain (a lot of corn,meat by product and soy). Can anyone recommend some other veterinary food for pancreatis insuficiency?


07-31-2006, 05:05 AM
At this point the food you feed is not that important. The most important thing is the medication and making sure you use it correctly.

We add the powder to the food (we use dry food so if you're using ID make sure you use the dry as opposed to the canned) 20-30 minutes before feeding with a sufficient amount of warm water to stir it completely. EACH piece of food MUST be covered with the water/pwder solution and the best way to accomplish this is to stir the mixture every few minutes so that the medication is able to 'pre-digest' the food for him. This takes a bit of getting used to as the resulting 'goop' does not look that palatable. However he WILL eat it. Also do not give him ANY treats as if they are not treated with the pancrezyme he will continue to lose weight.

The dogs we are currently treating are both eating Iams mini-chunks. I think your vet just wants to make sure that initially the food he eats is bland and that is fine. If he does well you can GRADUALLY switch him to another food over time.

08-06-2006, 11:43 PM

Sadly I have no good news. My dog didn't gain any weight but nor did he lose any so it's not too bad.

What's really bad is that he started having problems breathing and I took him again to the vet thinking maybe he'd catch a cold. At a first general inspection the vet discovered that the glands (in his neck area) are swollen. An ECO on his abominal followed and the spleen looked like it had a lot of small black holes through it. The prognosis is now leukemia.
It is very sad how from 4-5 vets no one saw those swollen glands (half of fist like).
The plan now is to have a biopsy of one gland to see for sure that he has leukemia and what kind.
If leukemia is proven I don't think that I will take him through the nasty treatment with chemiotherapy and so on as he is already very weak. I still have some small hopes left but I think that I'm lying myself. I would give anything to see him healthy again as he is still calling me to play with him and he's still climbing into my arms.

Life's not fair,

08-07-2006, 03:19 AM
I am so sorry to hear this terrible news.

I hope that the veterinarian gave him prednisone to take to make him more comfortable and to slow the progress until the biopsy comes back. The prednisone (which some vets call 'chemo'' but actually is not in the same class of drugs) will reduce the inflammation significantly so that he doesn't have trouble breathing in the meantime.

I just need to say that a dog's reaction to chemotherapy is not like a human's. The side effects that we expect do not happen and a;though it does not 'cure' leukemia' it often can give the dog another very comfortable year or two before it comes out of remission.

This is a hard decision to make and I am sure that loving him as you do you will make the kindest decision for him.

My prayers are with both of you.

08-09-2006, 11:30 PM
I agree with Sara. My dog was diagnosed with a serious form of cancer almost two years ago and given just two-three weeks to live. I opted to try the chemo. yes, it was very expensive (try care for credit) but he is still alive and happy, still going trail riding and still the joy in my days. He had NO suffering from the chemo. Did not lose any hair (dogs do not), still had an appetite, still romped and played...the day of the chemo he was a little more tired than other days but after a good nights sleep he was back to himself. If you can afford it, or if you just want him around for a while longer, I would also suggest it. It isn't bad for them at all. Attached is a pic of Zack on the way home from a hike Tuesday. We hiked for three hours, clearing a trail in our area, and this is his exhausted self on teh way home (no he isn't that fat, it is just the angle of my camera phone!).

08-12-2006, 10:13 AM

So I went for the biopsy of one of the lymph node by aspiration (cytology). First opinion was: no leukemia, no lymphone but some type of cancer (tumor) was present in his organism. So I went for a hi-q radiography (the whole body). No changes were detected.
So I took 2 days off from office put the dog in my car and drove for 800km to a University Clinic. Three more cytologic exams were performed and compared to the initial one. Althought it looked the same the Morphopathologist Specialist doc said that although there were some atypical cells he cannot pronounce himself whether it was cancer or not.
He put my dog on a cure of combined antibiotic and prednisone for 5 days and his lyph node decreased by 20-30% in the third day. On Monday some other specialist will take a look at the cytology's exam and give a feed back.
So right now I'm in the situation that I don't know whether is cancer or not...
If it proves to be I will most probably take him through chemo no matter the expenses.
I'm praying still for some good news as I cannot imagine our life without him.

Best wishes

08-12-2006, 10:27 AM
Hi Cosmin,

What a wonderful 'dad' you are!!!!!

I am so happy they put him on prednisone to shrink his lymph nodes (he must be more comfortable now) but I hope they gave him enough antibiotics to 'cover' the decrease in his ability to fight off infection that the prednisone *might* cause.

Here is my 'gut feeling'. I do NOT think your dog has cancer. I DO think he has some kind of infection that is causing his lymph nodes to be inflamed. That is their purpose - to help fight infection and when they cannot do it they become enlarged. Perhaps he has an undetected inner ear infection that he showed no signs of until the lymph nodes swelled. Make SURE they check for that AND a badly infected tooth (German Shepherds often break their teeth chewing on things). The problem with specialists (animal AND human) is that they usually look no further than their 'specialty' so while the oncologists and radiologists are looking for malignancies they may miss the obvious which can be something as minor as an ear infection.

Do not be afraid to ask them to check those things out.

Looking at his picture I see a lot of LIFE in his eyes and his attitude. I pray that I am right and that he will be fine in spite of these 'bumps in the road'.


08-13-2006, 06:48 PM
please continue to keep us posted. He is a sweetheart.

08-15-2006, 11:49 PM

I have no good news! The cytology seems to prove that the cancer exist in the form of lymphona. The good news is that it is not the normal aggresive form but a more moderate one.
As I cannot pull the plug on a dog that is very much active and loving I will walk with him through the chemo, no matter what it takes. Some say that due to the lymphona's form it might go into remission without coming back from it, but once again I don't want to begin with false hopes.


PS: What is very sad that we were planning to go with him on the seaside for our holiday (900km away) but I guess that has to be postponed now.

08-16-2006, 12:25 AM
Maybe not (postponement). If it is anything like my dogs chemo, it is just once a week that he has to go. So you can get it done and then head out. I barely noticed any difference at ALL in my dog. He was still happy and active etc....so you might be able to get his chemo and go ahead on your vacation with him!

08-20-2006, 11:47 PM
I decided to wait a while before beginning the chemo as my dog (Hamann) is not coping very well with its pancreatic insufficiency. He lost again about 1 kg in about 2 weeks so he's now very thin. He used to be 40kg so he lost almost 25% of his body mass.
I will try a more in depth treatment of his pancreatic insufficiency by using a new and more powerfull digestive enzyme (Kreon) and also feed him pig's pancreas.
I'm trying all of these because in the status that he is I'm not sure that he will survive the powerfull chemo that is needed for first lymphoma induction. And by the way I'm not convinced that he has lymphona. The signs began in April this year and if he had lymphoma from that time he'll be dead several times.
The sad thing is that I've consulted in all 9 vets about his condition so you'll understand my totally frustration about this.

Best regards to you and your pets

08-22-2006, 02:03 AM
Hello Sara

Can you please tell me your dog that has pancreatic insufficiency how many times per day he gets his meal. I recently read on "Merck Veterinary Bible" that I should feed my dog at least 3 times per day small food quantities together with the pancreatic enzymes.
Sadly in Europe pancrezyme is not available for now but I think now I've managed to get a better treatment that I was using (switched on Kreon).
Also some vet told me that Hill's I/D which is intended for pancreatic insufficiency will make him lose weight so I'm thinking to switch him on some "Lamb and Rice" highly digestible food. The thing with "veterinary prescription food" is that they are pretty low on protein (not good) and low on fat (which is good).


08-22-2006, 07:10 AM
Please send me your mailing address and I will send you the pancrezyme. I checked with my vet and he will cover the prescription.

We feed Iams mini chunks and we feed twice a day. The pancrezyme breaks it down so there is no need for prescription food. Generally I find that over the long term dogs get tired of lamb and rice (if your dog eats it that is fine but if he takes a 'dislike' to it you can safely switch to Iams mini chunks.

I wouldn't feed him more than twice a day (too much for his intestines to handle until he perks up a bit). I would start out giving him 2 1/2 C each feeding. Sprinkle the pancrezyme on his food, add warm water and stir it completely. About 10 minutes later stir it again. EVERY piece of food needs to be 'broken down' by the pancrezyme in order for it to work 100%. Five minutes later stir it again and give it to him. It will be 'mushy' but that is ok - he WILL get used to it.

Make sure you give him NOTHING else during the day - even one dog biscuit if not 'treated' with pancrezyme will undo all the good the medication has done. That means NO treats at all - EVER - no cheese, no rawhide (it gets eaten and goes through the intestines) NO pigs ears, no veggies - NOTHING.

I will order the pancrezyme today so please send your address ASAP

08-22-2006, 06:15 PM
Please make sure you do not post your address here - make sure you PRIVATE MESSAGE Sara with it...

That is really nice of you Sara.

08-28-2006, 12:34 AM

First week of chemo just went by without any major problems. Although Hamann is a little bit "quiet" everything seems ok. He still plays and does all the things he's supposed to.
So 1 down, 5-6 weeks to go.


08-28-2006, 03:56 AM
Hello Cosmin

Good News that he is tolerating the chemo well!

I have ordered the pancrezyme and it should be here today or tomorrow at which point I will mail it to you. Will let you know when it is mailed. I hope it doesn't take too long to get to you.


08-28-2006, 09:20 AM
Best of luck to you a Hamann. Keep us posted.

09-02-2006, 02:33 AM

The 2nd week of chemo went by without any worries. He's doing quite well.
However a problem still bothers me. Since the lymph nodes begun swalling he started to wheeze like something was bothering his breathing.
After beginning the chemo and also administering Prednysone everything went back to normal so we thought that because of the lymph nodes pushing again his windpipe the breathing was problematic.
But now, after 2 weeks of chemo, and reduced dose of Prednysone his breathing problems returned and also our concerns. I also did a chest and neck radiography and a faringian flora analysis without finding any problems.
The vet suggested to re-increase the Prednysone dose again for one week but I'm kind of reluctant to do so because I'm not 100% sure that the main cause of his breathing problems it's the cancer.
Has anyone experienced something like this or has some experiences using Prednysone for a long time?


PS: In the beginning when we were wainting for the analysis to prove cancer we've administered him some antibiotics (amoxicilin) with Prednysone to easy his breathing problems. The response was instantly and now I'm beginning to think that he responded to the antibiotics and not to Prednysone. The anoying thing is the the vets have no clear idea why his breathing problems returned because right now the lymph node are smaller because of the cemo. :( Apparently there is no additional infection in his organism...

09-02-2006, 03:53 AM
Call your vet and ask him for amoxicillin again. It IS possible that there is a low grade infection going on in his lungs and it is even possible that the swelling of the lymph nodes was his own bodies attempt to fight it. There should be no reason at all that the vet wouldn't give you more antibiotics - every time we have given chemo to one of the dogs here the vet has ALWAYS covered them with amoxi or something similar as the chemo represses the immune system and makes any 'small' infection more likely to be a problem.

Call him today if you can - you are probably correct. and even if you are not the antibiotics cannot hurt him at all.


09-02-2006, 07:22 AM
Agree with petsalive. When our dobilab, Booker, was on Prednysone for a tumor on her heart, she was also on an antibiotic.

Best wishes and luck to you and your GSD.

09-02-2006, 02:01 PM
What a beautiful well loved boy. Good luck with all your treatment! X

09-06-2006, 11:28 AM

After trying all the "human use" pancreatic enzimes that I could find I came across a site dealig with EPI that decribed the procedure of treating the dog with ...pig's pancreas. (http://www.ellsbury.com/cheetah.htm)
So I followed their prescription noticing spectacular results. Hamann actually stopped losing kilos and started putting some weight in just a few days. Nevertheless I'm still interested to try Pancrezyme because the pig's pancreas (200g/day) start to make him more.... "windy" and this "treatment" is also pretty hard to come across (nobody actually sells pig's pancreas, although all the human use pancreatic enzimes are extracted from it).

Regarding the breathing problem I guess that increasing the Prednysone dose did the trick. I also tried the antibiotics but it didn't work (nevertheless I will still give him a 5 day cure to better support his imuno-system). Now he is back to breathing normal although I was not a very big fan of this solution.

Keep you posted and thanks for your support
Cosmin and Hamann

tigger the turtle
09-06-2006, 05:38 PM
That`s great news!!!!
Glad to hear it!

09-06-2006, 05:43 PM
You are an amazing friend to your dog. Thank goodness you never gave up, kept listening to advice and kept surfing the web for help.

Please keep us poted. LOVE the picture.

09-06-2006, 11:48 PM
Congrats to your doggy and you! He's very beautiful and I'm glad things are turning up.

09-07-2006, 10:33 AM
Thanks for sharing your great news. Yay, Hamann! Cosmin, you are a great dog caregiver.

09-16-2006, 12:19 PM

The good news continue! I weighted Hamann again today after 1 week and the gain is... 2kg. So the treament really works. He gained 4,5 kg in 3 weeks so we are very happy about how things are evolving in this direction.

On the other hand the chemo is going well and his lymph nodes are diminushing. I'm not very happy with the respiratory problem which seems to return each time the Prednysone dose is reduced but for now I have no other options.

However overall we are doing... better!

Regards to everyone

09-16-2006, 12:29 PM
How wonderful to hear of his weight gain and continued good progress.

Just curious - do you have heartworm in your country? If so, has he been tested? Also has he ever had an echocardiogram? There may be something unrelated that is a minor constriction in the arteries leading to his heart and which when the prednisone is given improves because the inflammation is reduced.

I sent the Cosequin via AirMail - please let me know when you receive it (I hope it is soon)

09-16-2006, 07:24 PM
Thanks for keeping us posted. We are all rooting for your good boy.

10-01-2006, 11:28 PM
Hello all,

It seems that Hamann is steadly gaining 1 kg/week which is very good. His overall status is good as he is playfull and happy. I've also tried the Pancrezyme that I've received from Sara with very good results (Thank you Sara once again.) However the pig's pancreas seems to work better for Hamann, or maybe his organism just get more used to it.
The lymphoma seems to be in regression and we have just 2 weeks left of the induction protocol. After that we have one year of "maintaining the regression" protocol.
I'm hoping that maybe we get lucky and due to the fact that it's not a classic form of lymphoma the cancer will never return. I also read on this site http://www.sparkyfightsback.com/ that things like this happened before.

So keep your finger crossed for us!


10-02-2006, 10:40 AM
All fingers are crossed for your Hamann. Our best to both of you.

10-30-2006, 05:32 AM
Hello all

Now I can say it: Hamann is back! He has recovered all his weight loss and now he's back to 40kg. If it wasn't for his fur condition due to chemo I can register him for the Dog Show Competition (the fur become a little bit lean but no major hair loss).
So all in all it's a success. I'm still very worried about lymphoma and how long he'll stay in remission but because its form was not aggresive I have hopes it will never return.

Here's a photo taken yesterday in the woods after a lot of running and playing!

Best regards,
Cosmin and Hamann

10-30-2006, 11:22 AM
Cosmin - he is GORGEOUS and looks the picture of good health!!!!

This made my day!

PS - I don't think he ever had lymphoma - he doesn't have the 'look'.


10-30-2006, 05:14 PM
He is one beautiful dog, your verylucky to have been able to bring him around. Keep us posted and keep up those great photos!!

12-05-2006, 12:40 AM
Hello all

The news are bad. Hamann never went into full remission so we're trying again an induction protocol. Overall status is good but I'm very worried about the future :cry:


12-10-2006, 06:42 PM
Sorry to hear this news. We will stay positive and send him our get well thoughts. Keep us posted.

01-08-2007, 02:23 AM
Hello all,

It seems that my worries were not true. I did all the test again and he's still in remission (fine needle aspiration, eco, CBC, etc).
Have a nice 2007!


01-10-2007, 03:22 PM

He looks gorgeous!!!

01-12-2007, 09:00 AM
Go Hamann, you look so festive!