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Yorkie with diarrhea.

Species: Dog
Breed: Yorkie
Age: 1-2 years
Hello, I have a yorkshire terrier that 1 year old and weighs 5.5 pounds. He is a very active, always playful and very smart dog. He truly is the most important thing to me in the world. Recently he has had bouts of diarrhea. I have taken him to the vet a few times. They tested him for bile-acids which came back inconclusive. He recommended a specialist who performed a ultrasound and bloodwork. The bloodwork was normal and the ultrasound showed no liver shunt. Liver was normal in size, kidneys and intestines were also normal. He recommended to do a liver biopsy to rule out Hepatic Microvascular Dyslplasia. My concern is if everything shows normal why should we go so deep into a biopsy. I am very scared of putting my dog through this. I do not want to put him through any unneeded pain. I have read about the other symptoms of HMD and the only thing he has is diarrhea. Will changing his diet to hills prescription l/d before any operation solve this problem. Please give me some input on what I can do.

Sincerely In Need of An Answer

Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Thanks for an interesting question. I'm wondering if I could ask you a few more questions to help me be able to answer you better.

  • Is Enzo underweight?
  • Did he ever have any bloodwork that showed liver concerns? If so, do you know any of the lab values that were off?

  • How long has he had diarrhea for?

  • Has he been on any medicines to help with the diarrhea? If so, did any of them help?

Thanks! I am in between appointments this afternoon, so when I'm finished my next appointment I will respond to you based on how you have answered the above questions.

Dr. Marie.

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Disclaimer: Although Dr. Marie is a qualified veterinarian, the information found on this site is not meant to replace the advice of your own veterinarian. and Dr. Marie do not accept any responsibility for any loss, damage, injury, death, or disease which may arise from reliance on information contained on this site. Do not use information found on this site for diagnosing or treating your pet. Anything you read here is for information only.

Customer reply:

Hello Dr. Marie

I was never told he was underweight. He is a toy yorkie and they seem to be between 4-6 pounds.

He never had bloodwork that showed liver concerns.

He has had diarrhea for 2 months now. Whenever we take him to the vet they give him a shot which helps him for a short period of time.

He is only on hills prescription diet food. It is the G/D hills prescriptions diet. He still has diarrhea so it really has not helped. It seem every 2-3 weeks it starts again with the bouts of diarrhea.

Please let me know,

Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

It may be that I don't have the full picture here, but nothing you have described makes me think of a liver problem at all.

It's true that Yorkies are prone to liver shunts and microvascular dysplasia (which is basically like having several really small shunts in the liver).

I'm not sure that I would be doing a biopsy with the information that you told me. However, specialists are not usually wrong. So, if the specialist is advising the biopsy it may be necessary.

When I have a young dog with diarrhea the first thing I do is 1-3 fecal exams to look for parasites. I do more than one because sometimes we don't always see them.

I would likely also treat with a broad spectrum dewormer and also a course of a medication called metronidazole. This medication helps with inflammation in the intestines.

I may also do a diarrhea panel which is where we send stool to the lab to do DNA tests for unusual parasites and bacteria. It's a little controversial but I have cured several dogs with chronic diarrhea by doing this.

The other thing I would try is a hypoallergenic diet for a couple of weeks combined with some probiotics to help with the bacterial flora in the intestines.

If you are not sure about doing the biopsy, it's not a bad idea to see another vet and get a second opinion. That vet can look at the previous reports (including the specialist's report) and see if there is something else that should be done.

Hope that helps!

Dr. Marie.

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Dr. MarieDr. Marie is a veterinarian who practices in a busy animal hospital in Ottawa, Ontario. She created Ask A Vet Question as a resource for good, accurate veterinary advice online. Dr. Marie treats dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rats. She has been a vet since 1999.

Is an online vet visit just as good as a trip to your veterinarian? No! But, many times, asking an online veterinarian a question can help save you money. While Dr. Marie can't officially diagnose your pet or prescribe medications, she can often advise you on whether a vet visit is necessary. You can also ask Dr. Marie for a second opinion on your pet's condition.