Liver shunts - Golden Retrievers : Golden Retriever Dog Forums
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post #1 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-05-2013, 04:09 PM Thread Starter
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Liver shunts

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Our 14 week old golden pup was recently diagnosed with liver shunts. He is on lactalose 3x a day and prescription diet. We have been asking a lot of questions to our vet. We are interested in hearing others stories, knowledge, and experiences with liver shunts as we are brand new to this. Please share.
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post #2 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-06-2013, 07:19 PM
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Contact Dirks Fund in Missouri--GR rescue that's seen more than its fair share of goldens and golden/poodle mixes with shunts. Some have been successfully surgically repaired and others have had surgery but the dog will not likely have a long life.

There is also Shalva on the forum with her pup Bing who is suspected of having a liver shunt. Hurry up & get to 15 posts & then you can PM her.

Is this the pup you kept from your other pets' litter? Have you checked in with the rest of the pups to see that they're in good health?
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post #3 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-06-2013, 07:30 PM
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Contact Dirks Fund in Missouri--GR rescue that's seen more than its fair share of goldens and golden/poodle mixes with shunts. Some have been successfully surgically repaired and others have had surgery but the dog will not likely have a long life.

There is also Shalva on the forum with her pup Bing who is suspected of having a liver shunt. Hurry up & get to 15 posts & then you can PM her.

Is this the pup you kept from your other pets' litter? Have you checked in with the rest of the pups to see that they're in good health?
Bing is not suspected of having a shunt... Bing has an intra hepatic shunt, micro vascular dysplasia and a severely under developed liver, and moderate to severe Inflammatory Bowel disease that was diagnosed by endoscopy, MRI and CT Scan... he had surgery to repair the shunt in January of 2010 by Chick Weisse at the Animal Medical Center in NYC... he is now 4 years old... Then in 2011 we rescued a flat coated retriever who was diagnosed with an extra hepatic shunt by CT Scan; again we drove to NYC from our home in NH and that shunt was also repaired by Dr. Chick Weisse at the Animal Medical Center... Cody was then placed in a great home where he is living the high life.

I am happy to answer any questions that you might have. In large dogs 80% of shunts are inside the liver... with intrahepatic shunts IBD is a co-disease and I would add several medications to your protocal... metronidizal is important to keep the bacteria in the gut down so to help keep the toxins from the blodstream in addition to Prilosec to reduce stomach acid and prevent ulcers from forming. Remember the stool needs to be the consistency of soft serve ice cream. In addition we give Bing a daily herbal formula and pro biotic....

you are welcome to email me directly and I am happy to either email you or we can talk by phone... if you go to my website linked below you will find a contact me button and use that to email me... or I can answer your questions here... whichever you prefer... I can also tell you a bit about surgical options it is difficult to find information on shunts in large breeds online as they are fairly rare ...the disease process in large dogs is totally different than in small dogs where the shunts are fairly common.

Shalva

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post #4 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-06-2013, 08:06 PM
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My pug was diagnosed with a liver shunt at 1 yr old, prognoses was maybe 2 to 3 yrs without surgery and a special diet. He was having a lot of diarrhea throwing up and some seizures. Surgery was expensive but well worth it. He is now 7 yrs and very healthy with no special diet.
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post #5 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-06-2013, 08:17 PM
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the problem is that the disease process in large dogs is very different than in small dogs ... in small dogs the shunt is almost always outside the liver... in large dogs it is generally inside the liver which makes traditional surgical options much more difficult... there are some new procedures ie. interventional radiology that are more effective with a higher success rate for dogs with intrahepatic shunts... the key is going to be finding out what kind of shunt your dogs has...

start with your standard bile acid test
don't waste your money on an ultrasound ... go straight to a CT Scan

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post #6 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-07-2013, 09:36 PM Thread Starter
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Yes, Linus is out of our litter. He was the runt and mother did not want to care for him so we forced her. We spoke to our vet and she told us normally the runt is the one diagnosed and the rest of the liter was fine. We have only had one set of blood work ran. We were advised to wait to get more test done after we were certain the lactalose and prescription diet were affective on his personality. He is coming up soon to having blood work ran again.

We were told by our vet that surgery was very risky as the liver does not process the anesthesia well. How was your dogs recovery after surgery? If it would expand his life we would be willing to fork out the money for it. We were also told that sometimes they can not always repair the shunts once they are opened up. Do you think we need a second option from a vet who has dealt with this more?


We were the ones who asked for blood drawn and took video footage for vet to see. He just was a very sleepy and withdrawn puppy. He would also have appear clumsy and sometimes shake a little when sitting or standing. He also was not gaining weight. It has been a week since his last check up and he has gained 10 lb. it has been a month since his blood was drawn.
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post #7 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-07-2013, 10:05 PM
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post #8 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-08-2013, 04:42 PM
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Yes, Linus is out of our litter. He was the runt and mother did not want to care for him so we forced her. We spoke to our vet and she told us normally the runt is the one diagnosed and the rest of the liter was fine. We have only had one set of blood work ran. We were advised to wait to get more test done after we were certain the lactalose and prescription diet were affective on his personality. He is coming up soon to having blood work ran again.

We were told by our vet that surgery was very risky as the liver does not process the anesthesia well. How was your dogs recovery after surgery? If it would expand his life we would be willing to fork out the money for it. We were also told that sometimes they can not always repair the shunts once they are opened up. Do you think we need a second option from a vet who has dealt with this more?


We were the ones who asked for blood drawn and took video footage for vet to see. He just was a very sleepy and withdrawn puppy. He would also have appear clumsy and sometimes shake a little when sitting or standing. He also was not gaining weight. It has been a week since his last check up and he has gained 10 lb. it has been a month since his blood was drawn.
The first step is to find out where that shunt is... if it is inside the liver then the old traditional surgeries were very dangerous and many dogs did not survive but the new interventional radiology procedure is expensive but has a high success rate and recovery rate... if the shunt is outside the litter then the traditional repaire methods are worth doing as the surgery is very invasive but the success rate is high...

it is very difficult to provide a recommendation when you are not sure where that shunt is... an ultrasound will not tell you as an ultrasound can show that there is a shunt but is not good at telling you where you the shunt is located... so my experience has been that ultrasounds are a waste of money and that going directly to CT Scan is what is needed you can take the money you would have spent on the ultrasound and get definitive information.

your vet is correct that the anesthesia is metabolized by the liver and that shunt dogs have a hard time with the anesthesia but it is the only way you are going to know what your next step is. Until you know where the shunt is there is not much advice to give as you would deal with a shunt inside the liver and one outside the liver very differently

Both Bing and Cody did fine with the anesthesia... it was stressful but they did fine and yes I would give Dr. Chick Weisse at the Animal Medical Center in NYC a call... he is outstanding and has done a ton of procedures and he is going to give you the down and dirty information that you need. He can be hard to get hold of as he travels around the world teaching his procedure... but he is the guy to talk to.... he specializes in shunts for large dogs... Karen Tobias at the Universtiy of Tenn specializes in shunts in small dogs

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Last edited by Shalva; 01-08-2013 at 04:50 PM.
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post #9 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-08-2013, 04:51 PM
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post #10 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-08-2013, 09:01 PM
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Originally Posted by CCasper1 View Post
Hello-

Our 14 week old golden pup was recently diagnosed with liver shunts. He is on lactalose 3x a day and prescription diet. We have been asking a lot of questions to our vet. We are interested in hearing others stories, knowledge, and experiences with liver shunts as we are brand new to this. Please share.
We had a golden that was diagnosed with a liver shunt when she was 10 months old. We medically managed it the best we could with a low protein diet(Royal Canin hepatic 14) and medication. We lost Lucy this fall after 3 1/2 years. Her immune system started attacking her red blood cells and she wasn't reproducing red blood cells either. She did really well until this past fall and everything came crashing down so fast. Did you have a bile acid test done on Linus?
And I agree, Shalva will have good advice.

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