Author Topic: Liver Shunts and Puppy Mills: Louie's Story  (Read 864 times)

Offline PeterK

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Liver Shunts and Puppy Mills: Louie's Story
« on: September 19, 2012, 11:24:19 AM »
First post here, but I didn't see anything written here about liver shunts so I wanted to shed some light on the issue because it does happen in mini schnazuers.  I purchased Louie from a pet store June 2010 (born May 5 2010).  I now know the unfortunate reality of puppy mills and had no idea being this was my first puppy and dog.  When i first got him he had kennel cough which was treated with a normal course of antibiotics.  He also tested positive for parasites.  In retrospect these were the least of the issues I faced.   About 2 weeks after getting him he was terrified to go into his crate and threw up that night.  I didn't really think anything of it until he started standing in a corner looking at the wall and not responding much to a command.  This was the first night he was rushed to an emergency clinic where doctors tried to figure out what was wrong with him.  He was scared with a locked jaw and almost looked as if he was just plain out of it.  After being on an IV i was able to take him home the next day.  That night the same thing happened again and the emergency room decided to take a blood test and other tests to discover what was wrong with him.  No one could figure out what was wrong till our 4th visit to the ER when they took a bile acids test to see if he was having some results from eating.  His bile acids were extremely high likely suspect to be a liver shunt.  

If you don't know about a liver shunt it is a condition where blood bypasses the liver because when the puppy is born that certain vein doesn't close off in birth.  To make matters worse this condition can be a single vein or multiple veins depending on the condition. So began my long journey with Louie to figure out how to get him on the right course.  Immediately Louie was put on a stringent low protein diet because protein toxins not processed by his liver is what causes his neurological problems.  Additionally, he needed to be given lactulose 3 times a day which is a laxative to help prevent the proteins being processed and cause him to go to the bathroom more frequently.  This is all at his development stage when protein is critical.  The next step was to get a portal scintigraphy where they inject him with a dye and try to discover if its one shunt or multiple shunts.  The doctor from the scintigraphy could not tell exactly if it was one or more but leaned on the side of it being one.  I then started to do research on best surgeons to take on this procedure.  University of Tennessee is a pioneer in this field but logistics of getting him over there proved to be too difficult.  Luckily I was able to find a surgeon who was local to me who studied at University of Tennessee and was familiar with this procedure.  My puppy had to gain weight before he was ready to go to surgery and see if it was even feasible (being one shunt or multiple we wouldn't know till he was opened up).  October came with a surgery date and thank goodness it was one shunt.  In the past they would just tie off the vessel but that created such an extreme amount of blood flow to the liver it was dangerous.  What they do now is put a little constrictor ring that tightens on the vessel over time using the internal fluids as a reactant (unique concept).  So surgery went good but with anesthesia there is always a risk in puppies so I got him hope staples and stitches all across his belly and the dreaded cone.  With discharge procedures they till me he can jump or it might tear his stiches and I thought to myself how do you keep a puppy from going up stairs etc hahaha......well I ended up having to sleep on the floor right by his side for a week.  He eventually was able to be pulled off his special diet and back to a regular food which he continues to this day.

What an experience for a first puppy I ever got.  Everyone told me to return him to the store but that would have been a death sentence for him.  Soooo.... 10,000 dollars in vet bills I sued the store in Civil Court, but they didn't want to settle because of a pending class action suit they have against them as well my attorney advised to just sue them in small claims and not burn much more money in civil court.  At the end of the day I was able to save one mini Schnauzer and I feel quite proud.
Louie, Miniature Schnauzer, born May 5, 2010

Offline Doris

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Re: Liver Shunts and Puppy Mills: Louie's Story
« Reply #1 on: September 19, 2012, 12:39:30 PM »
Welcome PeterK and Louie.  I was terrified reading this concerned about the outcome.  I can't imagine going though what you did with Louie.  You have reason to be proud.  Wow!  Thank you for saving his life.   :heart:
Rudy: ms DOB e 8-5-07, rescued 8-5-11 - Our First Three Years with Rudy
Izzy: :cat: dsh, tabby, DOB e 4-06, rescued 4-22-07

Offline PeterK

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Re: Liver Shunts and Puppy Mills: Louie's Story
« Reply #2 on: September 19, 2012, 01:38:56 PM »
Thanks for the words Doris, yes it was a battle lots of tears fears and heartache but his daily actions and love towards me I think in some ways he knows I was fighting the battle along with him all the way.   :smiley:
Louie, Miniature Schnauzer, born May 5, 2010

Offline Peter

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Re: Liver Shunts and Puppy Mills: Louie's Story
« Reply #3 on: September 19, 2012, 02:41:16 PM »
Wow, that would have been even harder to read if I hadn't known he lived.

Anyone would like to have a father like you!

Welcome to the forum. I'm sure your post will help others, and not just our forum members. Our posts our found in Google searches.

Peter
Mukaluka Dirtypaws, male black Miniature Schnauzer, 11/09/07, 15-1/8", 17.5 lb (goal) [medical]
Pukalu, male S&P Miniature Schnauzer, 03/27/10, 15", 15.5 lb (goal) [medical]
Also: About Peter ~ Our Therapy Dog Work ~ Our Tricks Video ~ Muka's Scrapbook

Offline Gisele

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Re: Liver Shunts and Puppy Mills: Louie's Story
« Reply #4 on: September 19, 2012, 03:12:02 PM »
yikes!  :skull: Louie is one lucky dog!  sorry about all that you went through.  Fortunately he is well now.  Thanks for being such good parents  and welcome to the forum :smiley:

Gisele
Kokos (pronounced Koukos), Female S&P Miniature Schnauzer, born 3/7/2007 in Norway
Adopted 8/18/2012 - 17 lbs Natural ears and tail
Riley Male S&P Miniature Schnauzer born 10/7/2009
Fostered since 11/6/2012 - 15 lbs ears cropped and tail docked.
US Grand Champion Riley is no longer a foster.. he found his forever home with me :)

Offline PeterK

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Re: Liver Shunts and Puppy Mills: Louie's Story
« Reply #5 on: September 19, 2012, 04:17:30 PM »
Thanks to everyone for the kind word my hope too is that if anyone on here also stumbles upon the same circumstance I would be able to share my story and help their schnauzer to have timely treatment.  The incident also caused my love of dogs to increase dramatically.  As a side project I am getting www.dawgcastle.com off the ground and needless to say Louie is spoiled with toys.
Louie, Miniature Schnauzer, born May 5, 2010

Offline Valerie

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Re: Liver Shunts and Puppy Mills: Louie's Story
« Reply #6 on: September 19, 2012, 04:38:44 PM »
Louie is one lucky baby, to have a kind, loving daddy like you! Not a lot of people would have done what you did.

You deserve the price for the best daddy :blueribbon:
Sushi, Miniature Schnauzer, born August 26, 2011
In memory:  Pullup, silver Miniature Schnauzer, 12 years and dearly missed

Offline Sara

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Re: Liver Shunts and Puppy Mills: Louie's Story
« Reply #7 on: September 20, 2012, 12:04:41 PM »
That is a lot to go through. You and Louie are meant to be! So glad he is ok.

What a good dad you are!!  :heart:
Sissel, female B&S Miniature Schnauzer, born September 14, 2010
Sophia, female B&S Miniature Schnauzer, born June 18, 2013

Offline Janet

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Re: Liver Shunts and Puppy Mills: Louie's Story
« Reply #8 on: September 21, 2012, 05:33:50 PM »
What an excellent discussion of liver shunt! When my Coley (first dog...) was a puppy, the breeder (who breeds toys, which shouldn't really happen) called and said that his litter mate had livershunt and I should get Cole tested for liver enzymes. Luckily it was OK. The next dog I got was from a more reputable breeder!!
Cole: black Mini 4 years old and 9 lb (5/27/07)
Jenny Girl: S&P Mini 3 years old and 15 lbs (9/10/08)

Offline Pat & Cliff

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Re: Liver Shunts and Puppy Mills: Louie's Story
« Reply #9 on: September 21, 2012, 07:49:11 PM »
Welcome to the forum Peter.  Louie is more than a lucky dog.  Liver shunts have come up frequently lately.  I've know a number of people whose dog had to have surgery.  Not all were successful.  Louie's baby photo is of a real cutie.  Post lots of photos.  We like them.
Thanks for being here, Pat and Her Boys:
One dog loving husband:  Cliff
Chester Field (motley mix) 11 yrs and counting
Go Mi Nam (aka Jeremy) 6/09/12  Male B&S Miniature Schnauzer
Go Mi Nyu (aka Gemma) 1/20/14 Female B&S Miniature Schnauzer

Offline PeterK

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Re: Liver Shunts and Puppy Mills: Louie's Story
« Reply #10 on: September 24, 2012, 01:21:59 PM »
Thanks Pat and Cliff if you know anyone that has an ongoing issue of it let me know.  I would be more than happy to guide them in the right direction.  You can PM me or e-mail me via my website; much of my info is on there www.dawgcastle.com
Louie, Miniature Schnauzer, born May 5, 2010

Offline Saoni

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Re: Liver Shunts and Puppy Mills: Louie's Story
« Reply #11 on: September 24, 2012, 04:55:20 PM »
Wow, I don't know how I missed this post.

What an ordeal, you are such a great person and Louie is a lucky boy.

Thanks for sharing that valuable information about the liver shunts with us.

Welcome!!
Bruno, male black Miniature Schnauzer with a white glove, born April 1, 2011
Scrapbook:  Bruno through the Weeks
Blake, male black mix, circa May 2013 (Thinks humans exist only to cuddle him.)

Offline Harriet

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Re: Liver Shunts and Puppy Mills: Louie's Story
« Reply #12 on: September 25, 2012, 07:45:44 AM »
Peter,
  I also missed this post.  What a heart warming story you have.   God Bless you for your care of Louie.  You are a special human to have given so much and your reward will be ten fold.  Please keep us updated on Louie and how his love for you has grown.

Harriet & Pitty Pat
Pitty Pat aka Raven  02-14-2009 14 lb
In memory:  Star 2001 to 2009

Offline PeterK

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Re: Liver Shunts and Puppy Mills: Louie's Story
« Reply #13 on: September 25, 2012, 10:42:31 AM »
Thanks everyone for the welcome.....his condition as of now is great he is a little barky at people on walks because i wasnt able to socialize him when sick but we are working on it.  I do have to say the whole situation traumatized me.  I cant even go into a pet store anymore and see a puppy in a little cage.  I am trying to find the video link to the puppy mill my dog came from.  Dont know if this will work. http://dl.dropbox.com/u/32423598/CAPS_UI_Nebraska_030%20-%20Copy.ASF
Louie, Miniature Schnauzer, born May 5, 2010