Chronic Active Hepatitis and copper accumulation
Hi all. I was wondering if anyone has had an experience with horses with liver problems, in particular hepatitis. My 2YO gypsy cob gelding has been diagnosed with chronic active hepatitis along with hepatic copper accumulation (basically his liver can't process copper and over time it has built up). He is being treated by specialist vets but unfortunately the treatment he has been undergoing hasn’t really helped so I was hoping that maybe someone out there might have a similar experience and might be able to offer some assistance to us. So far we have found 2 other cases world wide of copper accumulation. One involved a Friesian who died of cirrhosis of the liver as a 6 year old. The other is a 9 YO QH – but we are still trying to find out what happened with this horse after diagnosis. We are currently only treating with Vit. E as the alternate treatments have side effects that we don’t think are worth the risk when no improvement is guaranteed. He has previously been treated with Anti-Inflammatories and Anti-fibrotics.
A bit of history of his illness. In late May we though he had colic but it turned out to be colitis/toxic shock/endotoxic diarrhoea. The symptoms of the colitis were:
· Loss of appetite
· Profuse diarrhoea (didn’t start until day 3)
· Increased heart rate (he had an ECG which showed no abnormalities other than the increased rate).
· parietal pain (stomach)
· Liver failure, kidney distress +++
· No high temperature
· No weight loss (even though he didn’t eat for 3 days)
He spent 10 days in hospital and there were a number of occasions we were warned he wasn’t likely to survive. But to the fact we caught it early, treated aggressively and had the most amazing vet’s looking after him he did survive. He was getting weekly checkups after his release from hospital as his HR was elevated and his liver enzymes were elevated so we wanted to make sure he fully recovered. It took 6 weeks for his HR to return to normal but after about 4 weeks his liver enzymes started to rise again. We spoke to an internal specialist who said because of how sick he was it wasn’t uncommon for his liver enzymes to fluctuate. However, after a couple more weeks of it rising we decided to take him into the specialists vet hospital. He spent 5 days with them for tests and they made the diagnosis of hepatitis and copper accumulation. His liver biopsy showed he had mild bridging fibrosis so thankfully at the moment he doesn’t have too much permanent damage…but we are desperate to make sure it doesn’t get further damages.
Clinically he is great - You would never tell he is sick (apart from his upside down hunter clip J).
I really would love to hear from anyone who might have had a similar experience. Thanks in advance.