My Mochi is a Maltese =)
She was born on March 19, 2007...I can't believe she's turning 9 human years in two months! My baby is a aging too quickly. Time needs to slow down.
In November 2011, she was swaying heavily and we took her to the emergency Vet. They found that she has a liver shunt. It was very shocking because she was completely, if not too healthy, before!
What is a liver shunt?
-it's a birth defect that, in some cases, doesn't show signs until 4-5 years. Basically, the liver has a hole somewhere and the toxins leak. Apparently more common in small breeds and purebred dogs.
She went on two medications, which immediately lowered the amonia levels in her brain and the toxins in her blood. The doctor recommended that we do surgery on her. The surgery would attempt to close the shunt. But there's a chance she has multiple internal shunts, which would not be repairable. The only sure way to know is to have surgery.
We had two options (without health insurance):
1. Have surgery. She could possibly die from surgery. Stunt may not be repairable. Will have to continue medication afterwards regardless of fixing shunt.
2. Live with shunt. Be on medication and have possible shorter life span.
With the chance of the surgery failing, we decided to live with the shunt. Paying close attention to her condition and being meticulous about her meds.
After a LOT of trial, error, and 3 diffrent vets. We finally got her dosage right.
Medications (Mochi is 5.7 lbs):
How to treat liver shunt?
**Please be aware that these medications may not work with your dog!!! This information only shows what works for my maltese. You should have your pet checked by a professional veterinarian as liver shunts are a very serious matter.
Metronidazole Benzoate 43 mg/ml susp. Given 1 ml every 12 hours. (equiv to 27 mg/ml metro base) chicken flavored. We order this through a compounding pharmacy
-one Vet recommended we stopped usage. We tested out 0.7 ml once a day, but Mochi showed negative signs (dizzy, unstable, fatigue, staring) So we increased back to 1ml twice a day.
Generlac 10 gm/15ml solution 5 ml by mouth every 8 hours. But we give twice a day.
Probalance (AVN) canine wellness formula this is a powder packed with essential vitamins that somehow helped balance her system.
Actigall/Ursodiol 30 mg/ml susp. Given 1 ml every 12 hours chicken flavored.
Diet: Perscription Diet L/D for Canine. We watch her weight carefully because weight gain is easy.
Of course, we assumed our dogs would be healthy and did't get insurance. A huge mistake in hindsight! These health issues are very expensive. Our family jokes that we spend more on their healthcare, than our whole (human) family combined.
Why am I telling you this?
Mochi is family. We are doing everything we can to give her a healthy and happy life. This post is meant to be informative for those that may have a dog that has a liver shunt as well. She is doing very well, so have hope that your pup will be fine as well!