Canine liver shunt is a condition where the normal flow of blood from the intestines to the liver is disrupted. This disruption can be caused by either an extra vessel (called a portosystemic shunt) or an abnormal connection between two vessels (called a congenital shunt). In either case, the result is that some of the blood bypasses their liver, preventing it from being cleaned as it should be by the liver.
Diagnosing liver shunt is typically done through a combination of physical examination, blood tests, and imaging studies. An ultrasound or CT scan can help identify the presence of an extra vessel or abnormal connection. Blood tests can also be used to measure levels of bile acids, which are produced by the liver and can indicate a problem with its function.
Symptoms of Canine Liver Shunt
The symptoms of liver shunt can vary depending on the severity of their condition. Common signs include:
- Poor growth
- Weight loss
- Increased thirst
In more severe cases, dogs can also have seizures or even coma.
Diagnosing Canine Liver Shunt
Diagnosing liver shunt typically involves a combination of physical examination, blood tests, and imaging studies. During the physical exam, your veterinarian will look for signs of poor growth, vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss, increased thirst or urination that can indicate a problem with their liver. Blood tests can also be used to measure levels of bile acids which are produced by the liver and can indicate problems. Imaging studies such as ultrasound or CT scan can help identify the presence of an extra vessel or abnormal connection.
Stages of Canine Liver Shunt
The stages of liver shunt can be split into three categories: pre-clinical, clinical, and post-clinical.
In the preclinical stage, there are no outward signs of their condition and it’s usually only detected through blood tests or imaging studies.
During the clinical stage, symptoms will begin to appear and treatment should be started.
The post-clinical stage is when the condition has been treated and your dog is in remission.
Treating Canine Liver Shunt
Treating liver shunt depends on the severity of their condition. In mild cases, dietary changes and medications could be enough to manage their symptoms. In more severe cases, surgery might be necessary to correct their abnormal blood flow.
Preventing Canine Liver Shunt
Liver shunt is a serious condition that can have long-term effects on your dog’s health. The best way to prevent it’s to make sure your dog receives regular checkups and vaccinations, as well as a balanced diet.
If you notice any of the symptoms mentioned above, it’s important to take your dog to your vet for an evaluation. With preoperative care and treatment, you can help your pet live a happy and healthy life.
The recovery process for liver shunt can vary depending on the severity of their condition and how quickly it’s treated. In most cases, dogs can make a full recovery with proper treatment and care.