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Liver shunt help needed.

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Liver shunt help needed.

Post  beckyb30 on 2/28/2012, 5:05 pm

Hello all my name is Becky I am 20 and I am the proud owner of a 1 year & 4 month old pug named Winston. I brought him home and he was a bundle of energy the first day he entered my family... the second day did not go so well. He was so out of it would not eat or drink a thing and was awake but would not move from where he was sitting/laying. We got him to a vet after realizing this is not normal, the vet got fluids into him and some food she was concerned he came from a backyard breeder or puppy mill situation since he wouldn't eat on his own and carpet/grass/floors seemed unfamiliar to him. It broke my heart and still does wondering where he really did come from. Months went on and he seemed to be doing very well eating, playing.. just being a puppy! At about 6 months he started pacing around one day and would try to fall asleep but would jump up and begin to pace again. The vet held him overnight flushed out his system she thought he had swallowed part of a toy and it became lodged making him pace and feel uncomfortable. He got better and a few months went by. Looking back at his first year he always seemed to fight sleep somewhat, he would close his eyes and then jump up and not allow himself to sleep we thought like babies he did not want to miss anything so he'd stay awake watching us or grab a toy, we just thought he was a stubborn little pup haha. But at about 9-10 months when he began noticeable pacing we had no clue what was going on with him our vet questioned food allergy, and sure enough after having him tested he is allergic to rice, fish, and mildly allergic to a few others. By one year old he was on a completely new diet and this was not helping him. We began having to take Winston to the vet more frequently and try different treatments nothing helped!! One night he became so bad he did not know who I was he was pacing but running into walls trying to walk into walls salivating very heavily he looked like death. We rushed him in and she ran SEVERAL tests and found his bile levels were through the roof.. he was diagnosed with liver shunt. We began a low protein diet, antibiotics, and lactalose. This seemed to somewhat help for a few days he still would pace a little but that was short lived. This treatment no longer helps him even a little bit and for the past 2 weeks he has been at the vet more than at home. I never thought my dream of becoming a pug owner would lead me to this, my heart is broken and although I try to stay strong for him it is so hard not to cry knowing what he is going through. I am concerned with the surgery being so expensive has anybody out there done the surgery? If it brings my baby back to life I of course want to do it!! Any advise on this would be GREATLY appreciated thoughts on the surgery? Where to have it done? Cost involved? And if anyone knows of any sort of fundraising I could do to help with cost that would also be appreciated! I am currently working 3 jobs to try to save up its hard to save while still paying vet bills.. I just don't want to prolong this if it can help him I HAVE to do it! I don't want him to spend days on end at the vets office hooked to IVs I just want my dog back :,(
Thanks for reading and any advise is appreciated thank you!!!!
Becky
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beckyb30
 
 

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Location : Wisconsin

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Re: Liver shunt help needed.

Post  Aussie Witch on 2/28/2012, 5:24 pm

I am so very sorry you and your boy are going through this! Yes, my Pearl was diagnosed with a liver shunt when she was 12 months old. She was a very sickly little pug until then but since the surgery has never looked back and is now as healthy as I could wish her to be, 3 years later.

A question, what type of shunt is it, internal or external? External is easier to fix.

Right now, the best thing you can do for him before surgery is change his diet to a very low protein one. Hopefully Blanche/Northern Witch will chime in. She gave me a brilliant diet for a liver-shunt pug, unfortunately I didn't keep the details as I never wanted to need it again. Following the diet STRICTLY is paramount. Basically giving things like cottage cheese, unflavoured non-fat yogurt, tofu, white rice, pasta, with no more than 20% boiled chicken is where you need to head. But whatever Blanche recommends, follow it to the letter.

The sooner you have the surgery done the better. It's not something you want to shop around to get the "best price" on, as it needs to be done by a specialist. I am in Australia so you can't really compare prices, but my girl's surgery was in the $6000 - $10,000 range, can't remember the exact amount. I guess you really need to speak to the vet. I would be ready for something in the $5000+ range. A lot of money, I know.

The longer the surgery is left undone, the worse the outcome. But with an external shunt on a young dog, my Pearl is testament to the benefit and wonderful result.

The very best of luck!
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Re: Liver shunt help needed.

Post  Renee on 2/28/2012, 5:29 pm

We have had more than one through rescue that has gone through liver shunt surgery.

Yes, it is expensive. I believe the surgery cost us (rescue) approximately $4,000-5,000 each time. It had to be done by a veterinary specialist, so you won't be able to find a "cheap" vet to do it.

But, it is a very successful surgery! Both dogs made full recoveries.

In the mean time, it is very, very important that you are getting him the lactulose on a rigid schedule. Also, he should be on a very strict diet. There is a prescription liver diet made by Hills (I know, ugh!). But, we used it for our liver shunt pug as we knew it would do what it needed to do.

The sooner you get the surgery, the better!

Good luck.
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Re: Liver shunt help needed.

Post  northernwitch on 2/29/2012, 12:01 am

Becky:
Private message or email me your email address and I'll send you some stuff on Portosystemic shunts and liver diets. The reality is that much depends on what kind of shunt it is. The liver diet and meds should be working for him as I have a former foster who was operated on for a single congenital external shunt (has the best prognosis for full recovery after surgery) and she was in that 15% who grew back the shunts and she grew back A LOT of them. She has a life expectancy of 6 months to two years--and she's well surpassed that and is doing fine on a diet and meds.

In the meantime, google portosystemic shunts and read anything and everything by Karen Tobias. She's the expert on shunts.
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Re: Liver shunt help needed.

Post  beckyb30 on 3/1/2012, 7:31 pm

Thanks all for the help it is much appreciated! I am really leaning towards the surgery that seems to be best... Any opinions on university of Tennessee? I've searched a little online seems many people say they are the best for LS surgery...? Does it compare price wise?
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beckyb30
 
 

Number of posts : 3
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Re: Liver shunt help needed.

Post  northernwitch on 3/2/2012, 12:08 am

beckyb30 wrote:Thanks all for the help it is much appreciated! I am really leaning towards the surgery that seems to be best... Any opinions on university of Tennessee? I've searched a little online seems many people say they are the best for LS surgery...? Does it compare price wise?
Whether he gets surgery will depend on whether the shunt(s) are internal or external, acquired or congenital. Sorry--I haven't read all your posts--has an ultrasound been done?

As to University of Tennessee, I can't say. I live in Canada and we had Leila's surgery done at our local emergency and referral hospital--mind you they are excellent and among the best in the province.

I would caution you against moving a dog that is this ill to Tennessee--driving him or flying him would be very stressful and that would be a bad thing for an ill dog. I'd consider contacting UW: http://uwveterinarycare.wisc.edu/
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Re: Liver shunt help needed.

Post  leslyeb on 3/8/2012, 8:26 pm

I replied to your other post. I had a pug with a liver shunt. I live in Tennessee now and would recommend the University in Knoxville for any procedure, but I also highly recommend the University of Madison in WI. I lived in northern Illinois for 4 yrs and used that facility as well. Animals get tons of attention at the clinics due to the specialist and all the interns.
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