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Liver Shunt in Dogs

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Liver Shunt, also referred to as Portosystemic Shunt, is a canine disease in which there is an inherited abnormality (hereditary disorder) of the portal vein (which brings blood to the liver for cleansing). In this condition some of the dog's blood bypasses the liver and the unfiltered blood flows throughout the dog’s body; this then poisons the dog’s heart, brain, lungs and other organs with toxins.

Blood work is done to look for either high serum bile acid levels after a the dog has a meal or an increase of fasting blood ammonia levels.


Surgical treatment is the best option, and most effective, in cases where it can be performed and the prognosis and benefits outweigh the risks. When surgery is not an option, Portosystemic Shunt is treated with dietary protein restriction, antibiotics and other medicines which help to reduce ammonia production and absorption in the intestines.

Cost to Treat: $2,000 to $5,000

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