"Skippy" is a 12 year old male neutered Shih Tzu that came to our clinic for having difficulty sitting and standing. His physical exam was unremarkable, so a blood panel was submitted to look for an underlying cause for his symptoms. The results of "Skippys" blood tests revealed elevated liver values. Elevations in these numbers can mean a variety of different things and he was not clinical for liver disease, his appetite was fine , he was not losing weight or vomiting.
So our next step was to have an abdominal ultrasound performed to get a better look at "Skippys" liver. This showed that he had gall stones which were the likely cause of his elevated liver values. One treatment option for gall stones is surgery, however his owners decided it was not in his best interest so medical management was chosen as his treatment.
We started Skippy on a two week course of an antibiotic combination and a drug to decrease the amount of bile acids his liver produces. Also, he was started on a supplement called SAM-E that helps protect the liver. Upon recheck one month later he was felling well and his liver values had begun to come down, he will likely remain on the SAM-E and the other drug for an indefinite period.
This case demonstrates the importance of blood work in older animals. Their medical issues are not always that obvious and blood panels can help us pick up medical issues and intervene prior to the animal getting seriously ill. I reccomend yearly blood work on any animal past middle age in order to establish a baseline for future reference.