Liver enzymes

From Dog

The liver produced a vast number of enzymes which are liberated into general circulation and detected levels in the blood are a reliable reflection of liver pathology.

Elevated levels of a number of these enzymes may help elucidate an underlying pathology such as hepatitis or cholangiohepatitis but by themselves are not a specific indicator of one particular type of liver disease[2].

Enzymes of importance include:

  • ALT - alanine aminotransferase
  • ALP - alkaline phosphatase[3]
  • AST - Aspartate transaminase
  • GGT - Gamma-glutamyl transpeptidase
  • Bile acids

Interpretation of liver enzyme changes is complicated by dog breed variations and extrahepatic diseases:

- benign familial hyperphosphatemia in Siberian Husky and Scottish Terrier breeds[4][5].
- hypertriglyceridemia in Miniature Schnauzers with moderate increases in ALP and mild increases in ALT activity[6]
- Shetland Sheepdogs
- Hepatic carcinoma[9]
- Pancreatic adenocarcinoma
- Mammary tumors
- Lymphoma


  1. Colossus Kennels
  2. Comazzi S, Pierlasi C, Bertazzolo W. (2004) Haematological and biochemical abnormalities in canine blood: frequency and associations in 1022 samples. J Small Anim Pract 45:343-349
  3. Itoh H, Kakuta T, Genda G, et al (2002) Canine serum alkaline phosphatase isoenzymes detected by polyacrylamide gel disk electrophoresis. J Vet Med Sci 64:35-39
  4. Lawler DF, Keltner DG, Hoffman WE, et al (1996) Benign familial hyperphosphatemia in Siberian huskies. Am J Vet Res 57: 612-617
  5. Gallagher AA, Panciera DL, Panciera RJ. (2006) Hyperphosphatemia in Scottish terriers: 7 cases. J Vet Intern Med 20:418-421
  6. Xenoulis PG, Suchodolski JS, Levinski MD, et al (2008) Serum liver enzyme activities in healthy miniature schnauzers with and without hypertriglyceridemia. JAVMA 232:63-67
  7. Hess RS, Saunders HM, Van Winkle TJ, et al (2000) Concurrent disorders in dogs with diabetes mellitus: 221 cases (1993-1998). JAVMA '217:1166-1173
  8. Webster CRL, Cooper JC. (2009) Diagnostic approach to hepatobiliary disease. In: Kirk's Current Veterinary Therapy XIV. St. Louis: Saunders Elsevier; pp:543-549
  9. Fukui Y, Sato J, Sato R, et al (2006) Canine serum thermostable alkaline phosphatase isoenzyme from a dog with hepatocellular carcinoma. J Vet Med Sci 68:1129-1132
  10. Gaskill CL, Hoffmann WE, Cribb AE. (2004) Serum alkaline phosphatase isoenzyme profiles in phenobarbital-treated epileptic dogs. Vet Clin Pathol 33:215-222