hepatitis/liver not responding

pippixox

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9 April 2013
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my 7 year old new forest gelding suddenly became photosensitive and burnt his socks about 12 weeks ago now, when the UV was still relatively low (I keep an eye on it as my mare has a pink nose and my other gelding has thin white socks).
vet suggested blood test for liver- I had not really heard about it before.
results were not good- I forget all the proper terminology, bile, enzyme markers etc. so did a biopsy, and it showed significant fibrosis.
but other than the burn socks he showed no signs of anything being wrong. he was perhaps a little quiet, but I put that down to pain with his puffy socks. given a good clean healing up he picked up.
due to the bad bloods he was put on a high dose of steroids (powder and tablets) and a supplement. but after 4 weeks his bloods had got even worse. another 3 weeks and they have got worse again. so we are of course very concerned and vet is trying to think of other options.

has anyone had experience with liver disease not responding to steroids? initially the markers that suggest a current toxin had gone down and the other horses bloods are normal. land been grazed for years. he was a 'runt' off the new forest, who was very wormy and original owner got given him as a freebee when she bought another 6 month old new forest mare. he was very weak and scrawny, but quickly picked up and ever since has been a hardy tank with no signs of illness.
but I wonder if he actually damaged his liver as a baby all those years ago.

talking to vet again tomorrow. we can look at changing his field but easier said than done, or she said a months box rest on halage to eliminate environmental cause. he was away for 3 months at another yard and had just been back for a few weeks when he burnt his socks. but I have spoken to them and no other horses their have shown any signs and their place is immaculate! pristine paddocks.

so frustrated and worried. he seems so well, but concerned it could suddenly take a nose dive as his bloods are worse than horses who the vet has seen exhibiting a lot of symptoms (she has specialised in livers so treated over 50 and she is struggling with what to do)

well done if you managed to read all this! need to try and process it all. not helped by currently being 9 months pregnant- talk about timing!
 

JillA

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Sadly yes. One of mine on loan was affected several months ago when they did an ultrasound his liver was so shrunk they struggled to find it. The liver is very good at regenerating and coping with stresses, by the time it is showing significant symptoms it is usually damaged beyond the point where it can do that. Alfie was PTS a couple of weeks after presenting with the swollen legs and photosensitisation. Sorry I can't be more positive
 

ester

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So Frank wasn't as badly effected as your boy but a few things sort of ring true with his situation. He had been on livery for 3 years, with mostly home made definitely ragwort-free hay. No symptoms, even though he had had his white hindlegs close clipped for ultrasound.
Within 3/4 weeks of moving him to my parent's where he had previously lived for 7 years without issue, again home made hay he was photosensitive (end of October). Other horse who had lived there for the last 11 years was normal, nothing really to be seen on a sweep of paddock though we did switch paddocks in case (the other one having fewer weeds/clover in it).
We checked with someone very near us remembering they had had issues but theres had been mycotoxin based after a very wet winter.
We considered the possibility of fluke as we had grazed sheep previously but it seemed unlikely.

I'd be inclined to bring yours in, Miss_C's genie had a flare up several years ago that I don't think she ever nailed down but the more she was on the grass the more she struggled. She recovered off the grass.

Oh and just to add Frank's blood tests have improved every time of testing, he remains symptom free though was also very happy not even lethargic when his bloods weren't great/the photosensitisation was a problem.
 

whiteflower

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30 December 2009
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618
My childhood pony had liver problems. She went out on loan for 3 months, came back and within another couple of months was lethargic, lost weight and had the squirts. No photosensitivity as she had no white on her. Her bloods were significant in relation to the liver but not horrific. She was given a supplement called remount and put on steroids. She did improve by the second bloods though. Hers was caused by dried ragwort on the hay she was fed on loan, it was quite clear when the loaner and I checked the remaining hay from the huge stack that it was all contaminated with a decent amount of ragwort

Really hope yours picks up. It's difficult not being able to identify a cause. I know it's unlikely given the lack of response to steroids but is it worth supplementing with milk thistle/remount anyway ?
 

pippixox

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9 April 2013
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He is also on a liver supplement with milk thistle in.
We are going to put him on my friends mini almost bare paddock with haylage to try and eliminate any toxin he may still be in contact with. Vet says need to give a month to see. But the toxin markers were the only ones to drop! Unlike the inflammation markers.

JillA I want to be positive but I have a bad feeling that with yet another worse blood result that he may have had a bad liver for a long time and that it will only be a matter of time before he shows more symptoms. But especially while he still appears well in himself we will continue to try.
 

ester

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All you can do is your best and try and tick the boxes, while keeping a good eye. I'm sure someone else posted recently (unless I'm thinking of you) whose horse had very high blood results.
 

chaps89

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8 July 2009
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Surrey
My horse had liver problems, although it doesn't sound as severe as yours. We couldn't get any change in her condition until I moved yards. No idea what it was at the last place that made her sick but within 2 weeks of moving she was on the mend and bloods coming back to normal. Hopefully the move to the paddock and haylage might help. All the best with him, he sounds sweet
 

SEL

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25 February 2016
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Buckinghamshire
Mine showed abnormal liver enzymes this year, but nowhere near as bad as many have reported. No idea what caused it - I suspect toxins in the hay.

I fed mycosorb A for a few weeks plus extra vitamin E. Her last blood test was better and I'm due to have her tested again soon. She's an Appy and had photo sensitivity last year from clover, but her liver results were ok then.
 
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