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ALT? What causes it?

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ALT? What causes it?

Post Number:#1  Unread postby ipoGSD » Fri Jul 06, 2018 11:20 am


Can anyone give me some info on ALT? What causes it? Is it hereditary?

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Re: ALT? What causes it?

Post Number:#2  Unread postby Nymphadora » Fri Jul 06, 2018 12:19 pm


ipoGSD wrote:Can anyone give me some info on ALT? What causes it? Is it hereditary?

Not that I'll likely be any help in this case, but could you please specify what "ALT" stands for?

Thank you! :oops:

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Re: ALT? What causes it?

Post Number:#3  Unread postby akane » Fri Jul 06, 2018 2:30 pm


:? It's the abbreviation of a liver value and otherwise I dunno what else it applies to in rabbits. :shrug:
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Re: ALT? What causes it?

Post Number:#4  Unread postby Deer Heart » Fri Jul 06, 2018 3:40 pm


akane wrote::? It's the abbreviation of a liver value and otherwise I dunno what else it applies to in rabbits. :shrug:


Literally my only findings too after a pretty thorough google search. :oops: I'm pretty curious now.
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Re: ALT? What causes it?

Post Number:#5  Unread postby ipoGSD » Fri Jul 06, 2018 4:49 pm


I dont have much info to go on either. A rabbit I sold to someone last year is getting neutered. Blood work came back saying he has ALT. (Its all the girl told me) I dont know if it's something the buck got from the parents or if it could be from what has been fed (said moldy food can cause it or coccida) but that's all I know. But if it's something mom or dad passed down I dont want to breed them because I believe in bettering for the breed/temperaments.

Here is the text message I got from the woman,

"Hi! It's kate, Basil's owner. I just wanted to let you know that Basil is getting neutered today. Before going into surgery they wanted to do a health check. They took a sample of his blood and discovered that he has ALT. They aren't super concerned so they are going to proceed with the surgery but they do want to keep an eye on him so he is going back in a few months. I just though I should let you. Also do you know about it? There isn't much stuff on line about it so I'm going to talk with his vets about it"

So that is all I literally know.. ?? I'm perplexed.. I did tell her to please keep me informed because I replied and told her I have never heard of it before right now

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Re: ALT? What causes it?

Post Number:#6  Unread postby Deer Heart » Fri Jul 06, 2018 5:49 pm


She needs to re-read her paperwork or talk to the vet, because as akane said; ALT is just an abbreviation for a liver value. As in, all rabbits (and humans, and anything with a liver so all animals, I guess?) have it and the vet simply measured the levels her rabbit has. Was it low? High? (Think of Cholesterol levels, your bad cholesterol might be too high from one exam but just needs rechecked again sooner than usual just to make sure it's stable and not shooting up.) Clearly, it's not a big deal to the vets or they'd be ordering all kinds of tests before even thinking about surgery. It's possible his numbers are completely within normal range, too, just slightly bordering on too high or too low. I've had vets and doctors mention levels being right on the edge of normal before and it was just more of a FYI than anything else. Based on her message though, I get the feeling a vet is going to set her straight on that in the near future. They should have also given her detailed paperwork on it along with an actual diagnosis if there was a problem.

In short, sounds like a molehill turned into a mountain via miscommunication.
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Re: ALT? What causes it?

Post Number:#7  Unread postby MaggieJ » Fri Jul 06, 2018 5:55 pm


I googled ALT in rabbits and there were a number of references to it, but I found the info difficult to understand. It seems to me that if it was something to be very concerned about, RT members would have talked about it by now.

I can believe that the vet found the abnormality in the rabbit's bloodwork, but I can also believe (I admit, I'm cynical) that the vet sees an opportunity for more office visits.

Do follow up with Basil's owner if you can and update us, ipoGSD.
Last edited by MaggieJ on Fri Jul 06, 2018 5:55 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Reason: typo
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Re: ALT? What causes it?

Post Number:#8  Unread postby ipoGSD » Fri Jul 06, 2018 6:29 pm


I already texted her (right after I replied here) and haven't heard back from her. But if I hear from her, I will definitely let you all know what's happening/been said.

The little bit I could understand from google also was that it just meant an increased level. And I know rabbits are a high stress animal so I wonder if these certain elevations can go up with stress?

-- Fri Jul 06, 2018 6:29 pm --

And she didnt say high/low about ALT. just that he has it.

I just hope she doesnt think I'm a bad breeder. I care for my bunnies so much and spoil them and always deworm/pre-cocci treat because we do feed fresh foods. I have a nice size garden just for them. They always get out of cage time, so much so that if they dont get let out, they get mad and bite the cage.

I try and teach as much info as I can to new owners and always offer lifetime support and even tell people, even if u choose someone else to get a bunny from I will always help answer questions.

I always give transition pellets-which is a given but I also give hay and if I have some new ones made up..a toy because I always make them for our bunnies. And a small piece of blanket that smells like home but I always tell the people watch them and if they chew it, take it away and only let them have it if you're right there supervising.

I try my best to always prepare people. The good and the bad, moody does, spraying bucks, cage aggression, bunnies aren't for little kids because bunny can get hurt/bunnies dont like to be treated like ragdoll etc. I'd rather not let one go if I don't think someone will be a good bunny owner.

I just feel bad and hope their wont be hard feelings, ya know?

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Re: ALT? What causes it?

Post Number:#9  Unread postby Deer Heart » Fri Jul 06, 2018 7:04 pm


There's not much you can do about your rabbit having a perfectly normal liver enzyme it's supposed to have, LOL. I figure once she talks to the vet about it properly, she'll drop it. My guess is that they told her that it's very slightly elevated which means nothing without any clarifying tests from the vet - which they clearly have no plans to do (they likely even drummed off a bunch of possible causes for ALT increase and probably gave her a super generic paper on what it could mean, but again, not actually telling her the rabbit has ANY of those things). Based on her direct quote of what the vets said, I'd honestly assume nothing specific is wrong with the rabbit in question. I'd just ask her to let you know what they said after the post surgery follow up. Basically, only what you asked of her already. I wouldn't push the "But ALT is a normal enzyme" issue with her because she would probably feel bad once it's been clarified by the vet. I guarantee she'll drop it once it's been explained to her better by the professionals and the follow-up clears him. Pushing her to discuss it after it's been clarified might make her feel stupid/embarrassed/defensive and that doesn't help anyone. Not that I'm implying that was your plan. Just advice.

Just ask again for an update a few days after that follow up if you don't hear anything right away.

If it were my rabbit that I sold, that's what I'd do. Just offer an ear and ask for updates and it's up to the buyer from that point to continue the discussion if they want to.

Also, unless they do tests and find a specific cause, don't change any of your husbandry practices. You could cause more harm than good by suddenly changing things if it's just a false alarm with no cause.
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Re: ALT? What causes it?

Post Number:#10  Unread postby ipoGSD » Fri Jul 06, 2018 7:15 pm


Ty deer heart, that's great advice that I will definitely follow:)

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Re: ALT? What causes it?

Post Number:#11  Unread postby Deer Heart » Fri Jul 06, 2018 7:21 pm


NP! Good luck! Just let us know what she says if she says anything. :)
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Re: ALT? What causes it?

Post Number:#12  Unread postby akane » Fri Jul 06, 2018 8:07 pm


High levels of ALT and low levels of other enzymes can be a sign of fatty liver disease that is a common problem of all animals including myself. It can also mean a variety of other things or nothing at all and fatty liver disease may never result in symptoms. If you suspect a possible risk of it then you want to try to reduce any excess weight but very carefully because sudden weight loss will stress the liver and result in the symptoms you are trying to prevent by getting rid of excess stored fat.

That's only for an abnormal value though and 1 value tells you very little when looking at health issues. That's why most blood work will contain a few things in ratios that are relevant to each other for helping diagnose a problem and all values should have reference ranges for that lab. If they are within the reference range they are generally considered normal but since reference ranges are just based on standard populations sometimes a human or animal could have symptoms when they are just within reference range or no problem when just outside of it. Average for a population/species and normal for an individual are not always identical. I take thyroid medication despite being just high enough to test within reference range for thyroid and doctors ignore my liver values despite being just outside reference range because of what I do or do not have symptoms for and likely benign causes such as sudden weight gain a few years ago. Animals are no different but there is less info since lab work is done less often on them so interpreting results can be harder and reference ranges may be less reliable for some things.
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Re: ALT? What causes it?

Post Number:#13  Unread postby michaels4gardens » Sat Jul 07, 2018 4:25 pm


Thanks, akane..-- I had no idea what " ALT " was,
--- but- I have never had a rabbit "blood tested" either.[except for EC] .. When I read research done on hepatic coccidiosis, it mentions "blood testing" to find the "liver values" , to determine if the rabbit has been cured- or not...
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