Skip to comments.Liver Shunt in Dogs
Posted on 09/09/2011 10:25:53 AM PDT by sistabrista
I've never posted on FreeRepublic before, so I hope I'm doing this correctly. I was hoping to get some advice/information from any dog owners who have had a dog with a liver shunt. I have an approximately 3 year old Shih Tzu which I believe has a liver shunt. I took him in last week for his routine yearly exam and bloodwork, and his liver values came back high. So the vet did an X-Ray of his stomach, liver, etc. and everything looked fine. So I took him back in for a Bile Acid test and once again, the value came back higher than the normal range. The next step is an ultra sound to determine if he does have a liver shunt. He is not showing any symptoms of having a liver shunt, so for now the vet is putting him on a low protien diet. If I do the ultrasound, and find that he does have a liver shunt, should I go ahead with surgery? Anyone ever expierienced this before?
I have a 3 yr old mini-dachshund that was diagnosed with a liver shunt when she was 6 months old. Hers was a congential defect. In some dogs the symptoms can be controlled with meds and diet. Hers was too severe; the liver simply did not get enough blood flow to filter anything. She did respond well to meds and diet so that we could get her stabilized. She had surgery 3 months after the diagnosis. She is no longer on meds and is every bit a typical stubborn, loving clown of a dachsie. We keep her on the low-protien Science Diet “L” food as a precaution. The surgery is not cheap. And yes, I have a big “Sap” on my forehead. Make sure to discuss all options with your vet - by the way, it is a specialized procedure so your local vet may or may not have the experience or facilities to do it. Good Luck!
Ummm....What Is a liver shunt? I have cirroshis(?) of the liver, (from too many PEEPS), but I don’t know what you are talking about.
We’re on our second ST; first one went 18 years...
Hopefully, there will be many ST responses her, and it will be a keeper!
Thank you for explaining that.
Thanks for the information!! I have been reading up on this online and was getting conflicting information. I was afraid that this was a death sentence for my dog. About how much did the surgery cost?? This dog is my “baby” so I will probably do just about anything for him. He was a stray that my boyfriend rescued from standing in the middle of the interstate. I have a feeling he was dumped from a puppy mill or back yard breeder because he was “defective”.
A liver shunt is where one of the blood vessels in the dog by-passes the liver, instead of going through it to filter the blood. I hope I explained that correctly.
It is a bypass of the liver when the dog (or cat) is in utero because the mother is purifying the blood in her own system.
After birth, it atrophies and the liver takes over the blood purificaation requirements. If it fails to atrophy, the liver is being bypassed by the shunt and blood is not being purified.
Simple explanation for a complex issue.
This sounds like what happened to my basenji a few years ago. He became very jaundiced and almost died. The vet said he had a defect in his porto-systemic shunt. His liver enzymes were through the roof and he had severe cirrhosis. At first, he was on a lot of medications, including prednisone, vitamin E, milk thistle, sam-E, and a prescription called ursodial. Also, the low protein diet. He HATED the Science Diet liver disease formula! I mostly cook for him. Chicken or turkey boiled with some rice and vegetables. Sometimes, he’ll eat some egg or cottage cheese. I add a small amount of dry dog food(Pedigree), for fiber. The high-end dog food isn’t the best in this situation. You actually WANT to use a dog food with more fillers. The milk thistle is the most important thing for detoxifying the liver. The prednisone will make your dog ravenously hungry and cause his muscles to atrophy, so don’t keep your dog on that too long. I hope this helps. My dog was diagnosed after his 11th birthday, and the vet didn’t expect to live more than a year. He’s almost 16 now! Good luck!
People who dump animals and run puppy mills really p*$$ me off. If they don't want the animal, take it to a shelter, for Pete's sake!!!! My little gal was rescued from a back-yard breeder.
Correction: The vet didn’t expect my dog to live more than a year.
Look in to Milk Thistle. I’ve had a senior dog blood values on liver enzymes come back high, vet put him on a milk thistle “supplement” for several weeks, retested and everything was back to normal values.
You are not a Sap. I think it’s wonderful what you have done for your pup. I would do the same.
Agreed great job
I have no experience with liver shunts in dogs directly but these websites have excellent information on the causes and holistic treatment of them.
The first link is the one I’d try first, if it were my dog because dog food *is* notoriously junky stuff, even the high quality brands.
Good luck with your pup!
Thanks. She, my terrier mix and “their” kitty are wonderful companions.
Totally agree! Milkthistle is amazing. We have an Alaskan Husky with liver disease and apply 10-15 drops of milkthistle, her appatite is great and she is spunky again. Still not gaining her weight back yet but I think that is a diet issue. Go with Milk Thistle! Get the pure stuff online.
Start looking for articles by Karen Tobias, D.V.M., about the PC shunts.
You might want to try Denosyl which is a liver function medication. It is a major liver booster. Our Beagle Buddy ate a bad mushroom and he almost died. His liver shut down almost completely. The vet put him on Denosyl and after a few days he recovered and his liver is pretty much back to normal. Its actually not even a prescription drug. You can buy it online at the pet websites. The vet told me they use it because its homopathic but it works like a charm.
Milk Thistle should also be given to dogs who take lifetime medications that affect the liver, such as thyroid meds.
[and so should people who use pain meds, long term]
Great post, BTW.
If my dog needed expensive surgery, I’d beg borrow or steal whatever it took.
He has health insurance but -first- I have to pony up the money and *then* I get 90% back.