My basenji just turned 11 last month. A week after that, he stopped eating for several days and was very lethargic. By the time I was able to get him in to see the vet, he had stopped drinking too. The vet admitted him in to the hospital immediately. His blood tests were off the charts in terms of his liver enzymes and he was jaundiced. The x-ray showed that Senji's liver was 1/3 of the normal size. He had cirrhosis and hepatitis(non-contagious). The vet put him on prednisone, Amoxicillin, pepcid, milk thistle, SAM-e, and urosidol(bile salts). He also has him eating Science diet-liver diet formula, which is low protein. The follow-up blood test showed significant improvement. The vet thought he was a goner for sure. The only problem now is that Senji is constantly hungry and thirsty…and needs to "go potty" about every 2 hours. Also, his muscle tone has atrophied significantly. The vet blames this on the prednisone. This dog has never been sick or on meds in his life before this happened. He's always been very strong and rambunctious.;) Has anyone ever dealt with a problem like this?
I haven't dealt with liver problems in dogs before, but when people take prednisone (a steroid) they get so hungry they'll eat anything they can get hold of. That's just the nature of steroids. Steroids can also raise blood sugar, so your vet needs to monitor Senji's sugars to make sure the steroids haven't thrown him over into diabetes. The excessive thirst and urination and possibly even the weight loss could be a symptome of diabetes.
The vet is tapering him off the prednisone. He started at 10mg twice/day. This week it's one pill/day. After that, it will be 5mg/day, probably as a maintenence dose. The diabetes aspect makes sense. I've known people who have become diabetic after being treated with high doses of prednisone.
I think it would be strange to develop Fanconi's at 11 years old, isn't it? The vet thinks he may have had a defect in the porto-systemic shunt, possibly congenital. I wasn't willing to subject the poor boy to a liver biopsy or a scan with injected dye, since it would require anesthesia, and I don't know if he could survive that. I think I'll get some test strips though, just in case.
Unusual, but not unheard of. I know of at least 1 that didn't develop Fanconi until age 16! And if I recall correctly, after successfully beating another life-threatening disease as a young dog. Inga-Kaarin, do you remember? I think the dog was in Europe. I also seem to remember another at age 15.