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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 29691
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience
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My basenji has a high platelet count of 630, high

Customer Question

Hi. My basenji has a high platelet count of 630, high cholesterol count of 407, high triglycerides count of 1733 (range 23-291), and lipemia 3+, andALT has gone down to high of 274 (range 12-118) and Alk Phos has gone down to high of 217 (range 5-131). I give her milk thistle and denamarin. Can you tell me wat could be causing these readings?
JA: I'll do all I can to help. What is the matter with your dog?
Customer: Nothing that I can tell.
JA: Where does your dog seem to hurt?
Customer: Only between shoulder blades occasionally , due to dissentegrated disc space. No discomfort otherwise.
JA: Can you see anything that looks wrong or different?
Customer: No
JA: OK. Nothing visually obvious. Is your dog eating normally?
Customer: Yes, she's on stella and views dehydrated raw dog food.
JA: OK. No appetite problems. Problems with drinking can be serious. I'm glad you noticed it. The Veterinarian will know what to do. What is the dog's name and age?
Customer: Layla is 7 yrs 5 mo, weighs 22.5. She's a rescue, was half her weight due to starvation in April 2014. She looks and acts great.
JA: Is there anything else important you think the Veterinarian should know about Layla?
Customer: No except she has lots of energy and I haven't been able to give her long walks this summer due to record breaking heat and himidity here in MD.
Submitted: 12 months ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 12 months ago.

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Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 12 months ago.

I'm sorry to hear of this with your Basenji. Can you upload a copy of all of her test results to our conversation? I understand that you might not have a copy at home but her vet can give you one which you can scan into your computer and then give me the file link or you can photograph the pages and upload them by using the paperclip icon (if you can see that icon) or by using an external app such as

The elevated platelet count isn't a significant finding. It's not uncommon in dogs and seen in 5% of canine hematology samples. It may be normal for your dog or may represent iron deficiency anemia (easily ruled out if she isn't anemic), endocrine (hormonal) disease, splenic contraction, splenectomy, and immunosuppressive therapy (e.g., prednisolone).

Hypercholesterolemia by itself isn't significant but concomitant hyperlipidemia (due to hypertriglyceridemia, mainly) is of concern. A postprandial (post-feeding) sample needs to be ruled out. Other causes include hypothyroidism (important), diabetes mellitus (important/easily ruled out), hyperadrenocorticism (Cushing's disease/important), pancreatitis, cholestasis (bile stasis/sludging), heaptic insufficiency (rare), and the nephrotic syndrome (a severe kidney disorder easily ruled out). Idiopathic (unknown cause) hyperlipidemia is most common.

The elevation in ALT is significant; not so the AP.

To better understand why she's hyperlipidemic and has a significantly elevated ALT, ultrasound of her abdomen - in particular, her liver, gall bladder, common bile duct, and pancreas - needs to be performed. An ultrasound-guided biopsy of her liver might be suggested predicated upon the finding in the ultrasound. The triglyceride count is very elevated and needs to be reduced as soon as possible. Neurologic signs and seizures can arise at that level. Treatment primarily consists of management of secondary causes and nutritional therapy (dietary fat restriction). Medications are reserved for dogs such as she and might include menhaden fish oils and gemfibrozil and/or niacin.

Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.