Liver Shunt in Dogs

Dogs that develop shunts require immediate and ongoing care by a veterinarian. The condition can be managed with surgery, but has a high recurrence rate. Most dogs that have the ductus venosus shunt or patent foramen ovale are euthanized due to high costs of treatment or poor chances of survival.

Liver shunts can be managed with surgery in many cases.

In most cases, surgery is the best option for liver shunts. It is the only treatment that can permanently resolve the symptoms of liver shunts and prevent them from recurring.

Surgery is a good option for most dogs with liver shunts. However, it’s not always necessary—and some dogs are not good candidates for surgery because of their age or other health problems.

Surgery doesn’t always work to eliminate a shunt; in some cases, even after successful surgery your dog may still have one or more shunts remaining in his liver.

A patent ductus venosus foramen ovale or portal systemic shunt is an abnormal blood vessel that diverts blood flow away from the liver.

A patent ductus venosus foramen ovale or portal systemic shunt is an abnormal blood vessel that diverts blood flow away from the liver.

The abnormal opening in the fetal heart between the aorta and inferior vena cava (IVC) allows blood to be shunted from the IVC to veins in your dog’s chest and abdomen. This means that oxygen-rich blood is bypassing its way around their liver, which can lead to serious damage over time.

The liver filters toxins from the blood.

The liver is the body’s main organ for detoxification. It filters toxins from the blood and stores vitamins, minerals and glucose. The liver also produces bile, which helps to break down fats so they can be digested by your dog’s intestines.

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The liver has a special blood supply system called a shunt (or shunts), which allows some of its blood supply to bypass it and go directly into another vein instead of coming back through it before being sent to other parts of the body like it normally would if there weren’t any shunts present in first place

Failure of the normal fetal liver to develop and function often leads to shunting of blood away from the liver.

Failure of the normal fetal liver to develop and function often leads to shunting of blood away from the liver. This leads to wasted blood in the body, which can cause anemia and damage to other organs.

The signs of a liver shunt include:

  • Inability to gain weight or grow normally. It may appear underweight when compared with siblings or littermates, despite eating well.
  • Fainting spells caused by lack of oxygen in the brain (which is due to abnormal blood flow). The dog collapses suddenly while standing up; this is often accompanied by seizures and lethargy after the episode passes.

In most cases, surgical correction of the shunt offers the best results and chances for a full recovery.

In most cases, surgical correction of the shunt offers the best results and chances for a full recovery. If surgical correction is not possible, other treatments may be available. For example, in some cases, medications can be used to manage symptoms related to liver shunts that are present outside of the liver (the portal vein) but cannot be corrected surgically. In these situations, dogs often have good quality of life despite their medical conditions

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Conclusion

The good news is that many dogs with liver shunts can live normal, happy lives when they are diagnosed early and treated accordingly. In most cases, surgical correction of the shunt offers the best results and chances for a full recovery.