The diagnosis of hepatocutaneous syndrome

Zoe’s skin lesions continued to deteriorate. Her paw pads appeared that they might just crumble off her feet…she licked on them continuously, so we alternated pain meds and Benadryl to try to give her some relief. In the midst of this, her lip margins began to have big black scabs appear all along her muzzle.

Understanding that Zoe was so sick and not knowing what was wrong was such a helpless feeling! It was so scary and feeling like at any moment, she was going to die and what IF we could have done something to save her?! But we HAD to have a diagnosis in order to know what to do!

Our vet arranged for us to be seen at Auburn’s Veterinary School in order to get her off the phenobarb, so we could continue to give her a anti-fungal for her paw yeast infection, since the interaction was so bad before! My husband and I drove the 2 hours there with me in the back seat just loving on her to keep her comfortable.

Within 10 minutes of having the vets at Auburn examine her, we had the diagnosis: hepatocutaneous syndrome, but they wanted to do a liver ultrasound to determine if she had the honeycomb appearance consistent with the disease and unfortunately, she did. We did NOT want her to go thru the needle biopsy of her liver, since her symptoms so closely matched the disease, we opted to forgo thatimage test. The news was not good, the prognosis was just plain AWFUL!

I started my research immediately! I found TONS of information about Dr. Jean Dodds and her liver cleansing diet and started Zoe on that right away. The diet was very time consuming at first until I got the hang of how to make enough food for about a week and freeze it. Also, found poly-vi-sol with iron to help with her anemia and Missing Link supplements to add to each meal.

15 thoughts on “The diagnosis of hepatocutaneous syndrome

  1. Lisa Bahnken

    Thank god I found your site. My baby Toby is suffering with this disease for about 3 months now. I have tried everything. I am now doing laser therapy which I don’t think is working. I started giving him all the things you have listed. He was already taking denamarin, zinc and vitamin e. I soak his feet with the solution and use bag balm. Under his tail and penis are really bad. His feet are getting a little better. Thank you for all this information before I just cried everyday now I feel there is hope. I will continue to do as you post.

    Reply
    1. Jamiegoff Post author

      Hi. Lisa, I’m so glad you found us!! Is Toby getting stock now? If you need anything, please call or email any of us! We have all been in your shoes and want to help any way we can! God bless! Jamie

      Reply
  2. Lisa Bahnken

    Hi Jamie, yes toby is getting the stock right now with the eggs. I cook 3 meals a day for him he also has bad allergies. He is a really tough little guy. He has had both his ears removed full ablation and anal glands removed due to allergies. Toby is going to be 14 in June and this is the hardest struggle for him. Thank all of you for helping my little angel out. God bless!

    Reply
  3. Mona

    Hi Lisa – Wanted to let you know there’s also a Facebook page for this disease. I have private messaged members who have been really helpful. Our dog Shelby was diagnosed in December and she’s only 8 years old. Trying everything you are right now and hoping for some improvement. Hugs to you and your Toby while you go through this too.

    Reply
  4. Mona

    Hey everyone – Just checking in and still have a few more questions. Shelby’s paws don’t seem to be improving. Her back paw is so red she can’t put any weight on it. Soaking them even if I dry them good and put the balm on, just seems to make them worse. Wondering how bad other dogs feet got before they got better and how long in between was that? I’m also questioning how much food I’m giving her. I probably asked this before, but how much at EACH feeding should she be getting for her weight? She’s 30 lbs……how much meat, how many veggies, etc? I read on Dr. Dodd’s website that they should get 2 – 3 % of their body weight. So do you actually weigh the food out or just guess? Can I substitute other meats for the chicken for variety? She’s still eating well but because of her sore paws she barely walks. Even when she’s laying down she seems to be in pain, turning over a lot like she’s uncomfortable. Really having a hard time caring for her when nothing seems to be helping. I’m questioning if I’m doing the right thing, trying to have patience but not sure how long I can do this. Right now she’s only a small part of the dog she used to be, and am I being fair to HER? I hate to bother you guys cuz I know some of you work full time and have your own animals to care for. When I found this site I was really hopeful that I could help Shelby, now I’m not so sure. Thanks again for everything!

    Reply
    1. Jamiegoff Post author

      Hi Mona,
      Sorry for my delay…..I’ve been working really late the last week, so sorry! First of all, the redness is indicative of a possible infection. When Zoe was first diagnosed, she did several rounds of antibiotics and antifungals for both bacterial and fungal infections. I would have your vet evaluate.

      I have never weighed Zoe’s food, but used Dr. Dodds parameters to increase the amount of food by 25-50% over what I had been feeding her with commercial dog food. I had fed her 1-1/2 cups of dry commercially made dog food, so I fed her 2 cups of the liver cleansing diet food per meal. It took about 6 weeks to see “real difference” in her paws, but once all the dead skin started falling off, it was remarkable.
      I’ve never used the bag balm on Zoe’s feet, as I didn’t want to increase the risk of infection, as she is diabetic and is prone to infections. Others on the blog really like it, though!

      Hope this helps and I hope you start to see some improvement soon!!!
      Jamie

      Reply
  5. Lisa Bahnken

    Good morning everyone…I am happy to say that Toby is getting much better. Its been about 10 days since I started with everything you told me to do. The only thing I do different is I had cone around Toby’s head so he couldn’t lick his paws or penis. I put the bag balm on very thick and wrap his paws his feet are 70% better and all the sores are gone on his face. His penis is 60% better and looking very good now I just have to get the butt under control. I can’t thank all of you enough for all your help I could not have done it without you. xoxo

    Reply
    1. Jamiegoff Post author

      Thanks for the update, Lisa!! I’m so glad you are seeing improvement! It can talk quite a while to get everything cleared up, so I hope you continue in the right direction!

      Reply
  6. Mona

    Hi Jamie – The redness on Shelby’s one paw is gone now. It actually had a crack thru it and now has scabbed over. She still won’t put any weight on it though, she holds it up and hobbles to where she needs to go. I’m worried about infections too so I haven’t done as many soaks and stopped using the bag balm. When I did have it on and bandaged it, she’d actually eat the whole bandage. Bad dog! 🙂 I’ll give it til after the weekend and decide if we need to see the vet. I will increase the food and see if that helps any. I had been giving her the collagen chewables at the times when I wasn’t giving her the stock, did you ever do that or always use just the stock you made? When reading the bottle it says to give ONE for a 50 lb dog so wondering if I should just give that once a day. I just feel like I’m trying all this stuff without really knowing if I’m helping or hurting her…….maybe I worry too much, just feel like I’m winging it. Did you do blood re-checks with your vet when you first started giving the stock? If you did how long did you wait in between? Thanks for taking the time to reply, we appreciate it. Lisa – happy for you that you’re seeing changes for the good, hope it continues.

    Reply
    1. Jamiegoff Post author

      Mona, the secret seems to be the frequency. I’ve always done stock (except when I got busy a couple of years ago and her lesions came back….that’s when I started the blog!).

      For Zoe, stock is the key and the frequency seems to be of utmost importance for her! During waking hours, she gets it every 4-6 hours: ie. 8am, 1pm, 6pm, 10pm. At 8 and 6, she gets it with her meal and and 1 pm and 10pm, she gets it with her eggs. In addition, she also gets collagen supplements, but supplements alone doesn’t keep her from having lesions.

      Hope this helps!!! Let us know any other questions or concerns!!!

      Reply
  7. Mona

    Jamie – Can you tell me which Missing Link supplement you use? Saw a bunch of different choices and not sure if you use the one that needs a vet prescription.

    Reply
    1. Jamiegoff Post author

      Mona, I don’t use it any more….just use Poly-vi-sol with iron. It’s easier to give her just 1 cc twice a day, than the Missing Link powder. The one I used was ultimate hip and joint…had a black dog running thru water

      Reply
  8. Mona

    Jamie – Did Zoe ever have a time where she stopped drinking water? We’re at the point where Shelby’s not drinking and struggling to get her to take her pills. I think her back paws are infected again so probably off to the vet tomorrow. 🙁

    Reply
  9. Darlene

    Gee I havnt been getting any of these posts! I hope I still get them! Maybe I forgit to hit the notify me of new posts. Hello to everyone. Sparky is finally doing great! After 2 1/2 yeas he is crust free! And is back to his old self! I’m so worried it will return. Continuing with all the supplements and collagen. So great to have him back to his old self again! Thank you so much Jammie and everyone for your help and support! I could not have done this without you all! I will help anyone with this that I can. I and my husband are so greatful. God Bless! ❤️

    Reply
  10. Darlene

    What am I doing wrong? I just got an email from World press and it kept saying I was unscurcribed to receive posts from this site! What? And there was no way to change it. I would like to still be a part of this! What can I do?
    Darlene

    Reply

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