Bobbie stayed at the vet Sunday to Monday for evaluation and to run some basic blood test. His liver values came back very high, so he will be going back for more extensive test. Most likely Bobbie will also have to have an ultrasound of his liver as well. We will have to wait for a definite answer after the follow up test and ultrasound, but we are thinking Bobbie may suffer from a Proto Systemic Shunt, also known as a liver shunt.
A liver shunt is a blood vessel that carries blood around the liver instead of through it. In some animals a liver shunt is a birth defect ("congenital portosystemic shunt). In others, multiple small shunts ("acquired portosystemic shunts") form because of severe liver disease such as cirrhosis.
Symptoms of liver shunts can be found by performing blood work. Dogs with congenital liver shunts usually have low blood urea nitrogen and albumin concentrations. They may be slightly anemic or have red blood cells that are smaller than normal. They also may have increases in liver enzymes. These symptoms would be determined by running specific blood test. Their urine may be diluted or infected and contain small spiky crystals, which would be diagnosed when running a urinalysis. However none of these tests are specific for a liver shunt only to the symptoms, but if these abnormalities appear bile acid or ammonia concentrations will be measured to evaluate liver function. A liver shunt cannot be definitively diagnosed by blood work; shunting can only be found with advanced techniques such as scintigraphy, ultrasound, portography, Cat scan ("CT"), MRI, or exploratory surgery.
If we can diagnose and start to treat Bobbie we are certain that we will be able to find him the most amazing forever home. The sooner we are able to diagnose Bobbie the better chances he has of living to his full life expectancy. Help and prayers are very much appreciated!
- Danielle Rinaldi
- Kristen Palmieri
- Johnny Holland
- Fay Leone
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