Our breeder recently told us that she had to put to sleep one of Lindy's sisters due to a liver shunt that could not be surgically repaired. My question is, should I be worried about Lindy? Is this something that only effects some in the litter and not all? The whole litter was on the small side. Lindy eats well and is gaining weight well, should I have a test done to be sure she's ok?
Don't worry about it. It is a developmental genetic defect where it is very obvious something is wrong.It is not rare but it doesn't happen too often. Many breeders will never see it. It is not like a genetic defect a percentage of the litter would have. Normal testing often won't show anything and the definitive test is expensive.
I don't know anything about genetics and such but my next door neighbors Springer Spaniel has an inoperable liver shunt(he is 3 and is very sick). Apparently he is the 3rd male in the litter to be diagnosed with it and his is the worst case. The other 2 dogs are actually doing pretty well.
That sounds more like an acquired shunt because the dog is older. Most of the shunts are congenital.The presenting symptom is overwhelming lethagy, then they won't eat and may have GI symptomsusually in a 2-4 month old puppy. Then they get better and eat again and then get tired again. This is because of the build-up of ammonia because the liver can't get rid of it. If there is an inheritance it is not simple but probably polygenic. I have personally never heard of more than one puppy (less than 1 year) in a litter.Originally Posted by hark67
I have friends whose puppy never had any clinical sign at all and had an extrahepatic (blood shunting through a vessel outside of the liver) shunt, but had elevated liver enzymes on a preoperative panel prior to her spay, and was worked up by their vet.
If I were you, to be on the safe side (will the breeder pay for the test?), I would have your vet run a bile acids test to be absolutely sure. I think it is better to be safe than sorry.
For what it's worth, my friends had surgery done on their pup, and the puppy is doing great 4 months later.
~Julie, Rogue, Monty, and Eddy~
"The reason a dog has so many friends is that he wags his tail instead of his tongue." -Anon