'Blue' the puppy with a liver shunt
Blue is a very cute six month old male Labrador, owned by one of our own equine vets Suzanne Green.
Blue has always been a very happy young Labrador but Suzanne noticed at a young age that he was being picky with his food (rare for a Labrador!!!) and occasionally vomiting. This eventually progressed to him pacing around the house and occasionally head pressing in a corner. He was referred to one of the small animal vets at Oakhill who took a blood test and x-rayed his abdomen. His x-rays revealed a very small liver and unfortunately his blood test results revealed the possibility of a liver shunt.
The liver is an organ in the body that has many functions one of them includes detoxifying the by-products of food. This means if your liver doesn't work or the blood supply to it fails these by-products build up and make you feel very unwell.
In Blue's case we were suspicious that he was born with a congenital liver shunt where by the blood supply to the liver (carrying all the by products of food) is diverted past the liver.
He was immediately referred to a specialist centre and they confirmed the liver shunt with specialised imaging and discussed with Suzanne all the options for Blue.
After a lot of deliberation and tears Suzanne has decided that medically treatment would be the best for him. This involves giving him antibiotics daily, feeding prescription food and lactulose.
Luckily 'Blue' is insured and this has hugely helped with his continuing veterinary bills. Just to let you know if Blue was appropriate for surgical correction of the shunt the cost would be in the region of £5000-7000. This is due to the complexity and expertise needed plus the intense post operative care required. Suzanne felt relieved she didn't have to worry about the costs involved when making such a difficult decision.