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[b]Liver Shunt[/b]

Question:
Hi! I am new to the site and am trying to find out more information about Liver Shunt, especially in Toy breeds. My tiny puppy may be diagnosed with liver shunt and i am wary about him having surgery to correct it. Has anyone come across a situation similiar to mine? Please give me some advice based on your experiences.


Answer:
In most cases, surgery is the best way for a dog to live a normal life when diagnosed with liver shunt. May I ask why you are wary of the surgery? What is your vet's feeling about surgery? Was an ultrasound done to determine the location of the shunt? In some cases, the shunt can be controlled with medication. Unfortunately, small dogs seem to be affected most often. Did you buy your dog from a breeder? If so, was there a health guarantee. Many shunts are congenital and the breeder may cover some of the vet bills depending on the contract you signed. If nothing else, the breeder should know about the condition for their own records and hpoefully will discontinue the breeding of the dogs.
I wish you only the best of luck. From my limited experience, dogs that have the surgery do quite well and do not have any further problems.
I just found this site that talks about liver shunt in Maltese.
http://www.bhejei.com/health-pss.htm


Answer:
Thank you for your reply and kindness.
My pomeranian puppy is quite ill now and the only thing they have confirmed is that he has cocidia, an intestinal parasite. The vet is still pending on a liver shunt possibility. If it is, then I am wary of putting my puppy through the surgery firstly because he is only 9 weeks old and secondly because he only weighs 0.53 kg. I heard that it is a very risky procedure for such a small puppy. Would you have a different opinion on that? I am now waiting for result for a bile acid test before we take any other steps. The breeder has been notified of this situation and luckily, is very responsible. However the hard part is whether or not to return the puppy. Any advice from here?


Answer:
I would imagine that the surgery would be more risky on such a small puppy. Is you vet concerned? What has caused the vet to believe that your puppy has a liver shunt? How severe are the symptoms? Depending on what your vet says, I would consider how risky the surgery would be now versus letting your puppy gain some weight and do it later. If the shunt is already causing serious problems (ie. seizures), I would consider the surgery. If the only indication of the shunt is slow growth, perhaps you can wait some? I'm not a vet so I don't know if this is a logical solution. The only shunt cases I know of where on older (year old) dogs.
IMHO, I wouldn't return the dog...I would be much too attached. However, if you feel that you cannot deal with the puppies possible health problems, I would return the dog. Is the breeder willing to offer any other type of compensation?
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