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Old 08-30-2006, 11:25 AM   #1
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Default Liver Shunts?

Henry, almost 7 mos old, ate some Marigold petals last Friday (also a day after flying from MN to Seattle--in MN I believe he may have been exposed to some Round-Up). He began to vomit and I posted a thread to the health chat board.

Henry continued to vomit and I rushed him to the hospital. While the vet felt that he didn't eat enough to poison him, he did feel that at the very least it upset his stomach. He was also quite dehydrated. After meds and SQ fluids, I was sent home with instructions for a bland diet and to F/U with my vet Monday.

Labs were drawn this week because of Henry's history of finicky eating, refusal to drink fluids and no weight gain in the past 2 months (previously chalked-up to the 1st 2 issues). Both the ER vet and my regular vet hinted that Henry may have what is called "liver shunts". His lab work came back and shows that he does have problems with his liver. Next he'll have what is called a bile-acids test and then an ultrasound to determine if and where the shunts are located.

Does anyone have information or experience with any of these issues? I'd really appreciate your help. I am very worried. alley
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Old 08-30-2006, 11:43 AM   #2
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Hi Alley,

I hope Henry doesn't have a liver shunt. I posted this link after your other question on the other thread, but I'll post it here, too. There is lots of info available at different links on the bottom:

http://tsfannymaelivershuntfund.home...m/Gazette.html

Also, you can do a search of this site using the "search" button on the blue bar above the threads. Just type in "liver shunt" and you will find a lot. You can also google "liver shunt" for lots of info.
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Old 08-30-2006, 11:57 AM   #3
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Here's the best and most complete information on liver shunts that I have ever come across.

http://www.geocities.com/class_act_k...ver_shunt.html
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Old 08-30-2006, 01:49 PM   #4
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Just so you know, liver shunts are GENETIC. Did you sign a contract?
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Old 08-30-2006, 02:00 PM   #5
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Cali was diagnosed with a mile unternal Liver shunt at 8 months of age. Sh3 had been a very finicky eater, went hypoglycemic 3 times and threw up more than normal etc. She had the Bile Acid tests done 2 times and both were elevated. Then they did an ultrasound which didn't show anything so then they did a liver biopsy which showed a mild internal, liver shunt. They did not feel it needed to be treated but I watch her protein intake. They also didn't feel like her medical issues were related to it. SHe is now 14 months old and doing well and almost 5 lbs. Hopefully Henry's BA tests will be normal. The Er vet said that other things like an infection stomache problems can throw off the liver tests so hopefully he will be fine. Keep us posted.
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Old 08-30-2006, 02:11 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Henry's mom
Henry, almost 7 mos old, ate some Marigold petals last Friday (also a day after flying from MN to Seattle--in MN I believe he may have been exposed to some Round-Up). He began to vomit and I posted a thread to the health chat board.

Henry continued to vomit and I rushed him to the hospital. While the vet felt that he didn't eat enough to poison him, he did feel that at the very least it upset his stomach. He was also quite dehydrated. After meds and SQ fluids, I was sent home with instructions for a bland diet and to F/U with my vet Monday.

Labs were drawn this week because of Henry's history of finicky eating, refusal to drink fluids and no weight gain in the past 2 months (previously chalked-up to the 1st 2 issues). Both the ER vet and my regular vet hinted that Henry may have what is called "liver shunts". His lab work came back and shows that he does have problems with his liver. Next he'll have what is called a bile-acids test and then an ultrasound to determine if and where the shunts are located.

Does anyone have information or experience with any of these issues? I'd really appreciate your help. I am very worried. alley

My little Gucci had liver shunt surgery last Thursday, she had an ameriod constrictor placed.. I pmed you when you get a chance read it and let me know what questions you need answered and I hope to help you , the unknown is very scary. Gucci did well with surgery and recovery in the ccu, and was released last Sunday. Gina
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Old 08-31-2006, 01:21 PM   #7
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This is a paragraph from the link I posted earlier - maybe the marigold ingestion has caused a liver problem.

POISONS: Toxic substances ingested by mouth or absorbed through the skin into the blood stream that can have deadly consequences to your animal such as Oleander, Azalea, Rhododendrons, Poinsettias and Japanese yews to name a few. Causes liver malfunction and can mimic Liver Shunt signs and symptoms.
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Old 08-31-2006, 06:05 PM   #8
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Liver Shunts are not always genetic. They can be acquired also. I have a shunt- survivor that had the surgery. Her's did happen to be inherited. If it is a repairable shunt, and you elect to have the surgery done, your dog can live a long happy life after recouperating. Unfortunately, the surgery is very costly, and a lot of people can not afford to have it done, but there are places that will help. Terri Shumsky Liver shunt foundation is one that helps. You can read about shunts here, and how we found it in my dog. http://www.yorkieviews.com/livershunt.htm
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Old 09-01-2006, 08:52 AM   #9
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I have a new little girl she is 16 weks old and is very fussy well actually no I have to force feed her 3 times a day because she won't eat. She got her shots two weeks ago had vomitted and diareah, I got her to the vet in time Thank God for Nuti cal because I believe that is what kept her alive till we reached the vet. She had hypoglyscemated. She had an IV inserted and had all kinds of things injected into her. When I brought her home but then she quit eating so I had to force feed her I brought her back to the lady I bought her from to see if she'd get her back on track like eating on her own, she had her for a week. I picked her up on Tuesday and she still doesn't eat on her own but she is back to a happy puppy. I mentioned having her tested for the liver shunt but the breeder doesn't think it necassary What do you guys think? Should I have a bile acid test done or a liver shunt test ? Linda
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Old 09-01-2006, 11:37 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yorkiesforever
I have a new little girl she is 16 weks old and is very fussy well actually no I have to force feed her 3 times a day because she won't eat. She got her shots two weeks ago had vomitted and diareah, I got her to the vet in time Thank God for Nuti cal because I believe that is what kept her alive till we reached the vet. She had hypoglyscemated. She had an IV inserted and had all kinds of things injected into her. When I brought her home but then she quit eating so I had to force feed her I brought her back to the lady I bought her from to see if she'd get her back on track like eating on her own, she had her for a week. I picked her up on Tuesday and she still doesn't eat on her own but she is back to a happy puppy. I mentioned having her tested for the liver shunt but the breeder doesn't think it necassary What do you guys think? Should I have a bile acid test done or a liver shunt test ? Linda
Definitely liver shunt is something that is commnly found in the Yorkshire breed, if caught early your pup can have a long normal life. My vet recommends that all his new yorkie, maltese owners get their pups tested.The reason so many dogs die of liver disease or failure is beacuse liver malfunction is not caught early enough before the start showing symptoms. He says that it hits so fast and can be treated if caught early. If shunt is suspected during spay a biopsy can be performed and if it is a shunt possibly repaired.
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Old 09-01-2006, 12:06 PM   #11
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To Yorkies4ever:

Does she have any diarrhea? If so, I would think it could be coccidia or giardia causing the anorexia.

Light colored stools might indicate a liver problem.

If I had a 16 week old not eating, I would definitely have a blood test done to see if anything shows up there and then decide what other tests may be necessary from the results.

Here's some info. on symptoms of liver shunts and the testing available.



SYMPTOMS:
Keep in mind that these symptoms can mimic other problems as well.

Sporadic Weakness

Dizziness

Disorientation

Loss of coordination

Vomiting

Diarrhea

head-pressing

Mental unawareness

Aggression

Urinary Tract Infections

Bladder stones

Low tolerance to sedatives

Bleeding disorders

Light colored stool
Behavioral Changes

Drooling

Stupor

Anorexia

Pacing

Blindness

Seizures

Coma

Circling

High puppy mortality (6-14 weeks)

Lethargy

Distended abdomen

Jaundice

TESTING:
There are several Test that can be used to determine if more invasive test are warranted but it is unrealistic to test every puppy or Adult dog unless some signs or symptoms are seen that justify the testing to be done.

The simple test are inconclusive at best and there are no test at this time other than the invasive ones that can give an accurate diagnosis.

There are many many problems that can lead to liver dysfunction and some are not genetic so it's not as simple as to say to test every puppy for liver shunt because the test are not always accurate and they do not do a conclusive diagnosis of liver shunt but as to a liver dysfunction.. We all wish it was as simple as testing every puppy but it just isn't that simple. 28% of test to date have shown to be inaccurate for the diagnosis of liver shunt. Not very good odds when your condemning a puppy to more invasive measures or being put to sleep due to the cost of the more invasive treatments.

There has also been a concern as to using the inconclusive test on Yorkies since Yorkies have been found to NOT have a determined consistent acid bile level even in healthy unaffected specimens.

Bile Acid Test - Serum Bile Acids - A Liver FUNCTION test, not an enzyme test. Performed by taking a blood sample, givng a meal, taking another blood sample 2 hour after the meal. The sample are then compared giving us an accurate measure of liver function. This does NOT give a CONCLUSIVE diagnosis of liver shunt only a reading of liver function. More invasive test would be needed for any diagnosis as to the liver problem.

Urine Acid Test - Ammonia tolerance testing - A urine test to determine existance of lvier disease. Could result in finding annomium biurate crystals. Not always accurate. More invasive test would be needed for any diagnosis as to the liver problem.

Blood Ammonia Value Test - Sensitive indicators: less reliable than Total Serum Bile acids because of analytic problems.

STOOL SAMPLE: A dog that has abnormal pigmented stool could indicate liver disease. Obstruction of the biliary system and normal bile pigments are not secreted to cause the normal dark color of stool.

X-Rays - An enlarged liver on a radiograph is called hepatomegaly, an abnormally small one is called microphepatica. Both be signs of a liver problem.

Ultrasounds - Is highly beneficial in the diagnosis of liver disease. Ultrasounds are usually used after the Enzyme or Bile Acid Test prior to Imaging or Biopsy. Is unreliable at best.

Liver Imaging: RADIOGRAPHY - Invasive - A dye is injected into the spleen and the dye is tracked through Radiograph through the blood vessels. A blood vessel bypassing the liver can easily be seen on the image. This is the only universally accepted method of confirming a shunt, short of major surgery, it however is extremely invasive and is a poor choice for "screening" purposes.

Liver Biopsy - Extremely Invasive - A valuable test in the diagnosis of liver disease. A sample of the liver is obtained during exploratory surgery. Can be life-threatening if the diseased liver hemorrhages into the abdomen so a coagulation panel prior to any liver biopsy is necessary.

INVASIVE SURGERY and AUTOPSY are the only two that can positively identify a LIVER SHUNT.

Also keep in mind that Liver Shunt has to this date not been proven to be genetic. No genetic markers to date have been found and no research has proven that it is genetic. However there is every logical reason to believe that SOME FORMS are genetic.
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Old 09-05-2006, 11:36 AM   #12
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A bile acid test is what I would recommend. with this test if the readings come out very high you can suspect a definate liver problem. With my shunt girl, the bile acid test had readings over 300, and the university that did the surgery re-did the bile acid and then did more testing to diagnose that it was definately a shunt, but the first bile acid did put off the alarm. I have all my dogs, and every puppy I produce bile acid tested before I sell any of them. Liver shunt is a genetic problem, and puppies are born with it. True, the DNA marker has not been identified yet, but it is known that it is passed down through the linage of the dogs.
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