Alkaline phosphatase levels in dogs, often abbreviated as ALKP, consist of important liver enzymes that are detected when running blood work. High levels of ALKP may be indicative of several disorders in dogs requiring appropriate treatments.
Alkaline phosphatase originates from a variety of tissues found in the dog's body. It consists of enzymes mostly secreted from the liver and bones.
blood sample image by Glenn Jenkinson from Fotolia.com
The alkaline phosphatase values are determined by a blood test known as biochemical profile. This blood test assesses the functionality of internal organs, measures electrolytes and determines the quantity of circulating enzymes.
Normal alkaline phosphatase values in dogs should range from 23 to 212 U/L (units per liter), according to Dogcancer.net. However, such values may vary from one lab and another and therefore should not be considered to be standard.
High levels of ALKP may be suggestive of Cushing's disease, hepatic nodular hyperplasia, bile duct obstruction, bone disease, cancer or may be due to the administration of steroid drugs or phenobarbital. Low levels may be indicative of malnutrition and starvation.
Even though elevated levels of ALKP may sound alarming, at times such high levels may not cause any clinical signs. In such cases, after having ruled out systemic diseases, the dog is often monitored until clinical signs appear (if any), so that appropriate treatment can be initiated.