Liver Shunt In Yorkies Symptoms – Medication

Last Updated on January 16, 2022 by Griselda M.

Do you wonder what is a liver shunt in Yorkies symptoms? How to spot them and react accordingly? Read this article and find out now!

A liver shunt is a common disease in dogs, so the Yorkies are not avoided by this disease as well. If you notice that your Yorkie is not feeling good, you should consider going to a veterinarian and doing a detailed medical check-up.

This health problem is no joke, and as an owner,ac you need to understand it. Only that way, you can help your Yorkie if it gets diagnosed with it. Learn the basic symptoms of a liver shunt in Yorkie in the further sections!

What Is A Liver Shunt In Dogs?

First, dog anatomy and physiology must get acknowledged by the owner before explaining the process of a liver shunt. The gateway system is a network of veins that drains blood away from the digestive tract.

This blood, which transports nutrients, hormones, and waste, is expected to pass through the liver before continuing to the rest of the body. The liver not only absorbs what it needs to operate correctly, but it also detoxifies the blood before it is sent further.

A shunt is a channel that permits “materials to move between two structures that are not normally linked.” A portosystemic shunt is a blood artery (or vessels) that links the “gateway” system that drains the digestive tract to the “systemic” circulatory system that feeds the rest of the body, bypassing the liver.

Liver Shunt In Yorkies Causes

The liver shunt in Yorkies symptoms is not any different than other breeds of dogs. There are two types of liver shunts: those that are present from birth and those that arise later in life.

Congenital shunts are the most frequent, accounting for over 80% of all cases. When dogs first exhibit symptoms, they are generally relatively young (less than 3years old).

Some breeds have a confirmed hereditary etiology, while others are questionable. Yorkshire Terriers, Dachshunds, Maltese, and Miniature Schnauzers are among the breeds with a higher than usual incidence of congenital hepatic shunts.

The Blood pressure in the veins lining the digestive system and the liver rises, therefore resulting in adult shunts. This happens most commonly because of disorders that induce liver scarring.

When compared to Yorkie with congenital liver shunts, Yorkies with acquired liver shunts show symptoms as they get older.

How To Spot Liver Shunt In Yorkies Symptoms?

what is a liver shunt in dogs

Symptoms of liver shunts in Yorkies are usually a mix of the following. We’ll go through each one so you can recognize a liver shunt early on.

  • Apettite and poor growth.
  • Increased thirst or urination and weight reduction.
  • Due to the growth of bladder stones, you may find your Yorkie having difficulty urinating or spotting blood in its urine.
  • Vomiting and diarrhea with blood may occur in your Yorkie.
  • Mental dullness, empty gazing, impaired eyesight, unsteadiness, circling, and head pressing are some of the behavioral changes that might occur.

Yorkie liver shunt diagnostic process

These signs and symptoms aren’t limited to liver shunts. A veterinarian will begin the diagnosis procedure by gathering information about the patient’s medical history, doing a physical examination, and ordering some basic tests include blood tests and urine.

If your veterinarian suspects a liver shunt, more testing will be required to establish a firm diagnosis. Bile acid tests, blood ammonia levels, abdomen X-rays, abdominal ultrasound, and sophisticated imaging examinations are all possibilities.

Based on the facts of your dog’s condition, your veterinarian can explain the benefits and drawbacks of each test to you.

Yorkie liver shunt common treatment

Your veterinarian can use special diets and medications to stabilize dogs with portosystemic shunts and limit the number of toxins generated which are absorbed in the large intestine.

Severely unwell dogs may require fluids to regulate blood sugar, a drug to eliminate intestinal poisons before they are absorbed, and medication to prevent seizures, such as diazepam.

The following is a list of the most prevalent medical treatments with liver shunts in Yorkies:

  1. Change the Yorkie’s eating habits. The objective is to provide only high-quality, highly digestible protein meals and limit the amount of protein in the diet.
  2. The administration of this sugar alters the pH of the large intestine, reducing ammonia and other toxins absorption and making the intestinal environment unfriendly for toxin-producing bacteria.
  3. Antibiotics may get prescribed to change the bacterial population in the intestines and minimize intestinal bacterial overgrowth in some circumstances.

Depending on the severity, it’s best to consult with your veterinarian and choose the best treatment for Yorkie liver shunt.

What Is The Yorkie Liver Shunt Life Expectancy?

Depending on the liver shunt in Yorkies symptoms, the life expectancy can get between 3months and 3years. That can vary a lot depending on the actions you make to boost the quality of life of your Yorkie.

In many cases, fatal liver shunts can happen after the 3rd year of the Yorkie adult life. Many treatments boost life expectancy. However, the best way to assure yourself that your Yorkie will be fine and won’t have any issues is by appointing a liver shunt surgery.

When To Consider Liver Shunt Surgery?

If all the other treatments won’t show any realistic results, it’s best to consider surgery. As an owner, if you spot the symptoms more often, it means that the liver shunt is changing the life of your Yorkie.

A good example of a treatment that you should consider if the surgery cost is a problem is the lactulose deficiency diet. The life span can get boosted by 38.5 months by this treatment.

So, if your veterinarian thinks that your Yorkie has time to try some of these treatments, you should consider that. Otherwise, surgery would be the best option.

Yorkie Liver Shunt Surgery Cost

Depending on the source of information, the price can be between 2000$ to 12000$. That price is in a large range because the medication and the aftercare treatment can get expensive. According to a source from 2008 from a Yorkie forum, the price then was between 4000$ and 5000$.

The pricing now is based on where you live and how many medical tests you will do for your Yorkie. Another factor is the after-care time, if your Yorkie stays in hospital for 3-4 more days the price can get high as 10000$.

This disease is really bad and many owners can’t afford them, if you want to get help with your veterinarian bill check this link and get some monetary help toward the surgery of your beloved Yorkie.

Final Thoughts

The liver shunt is a disease that is bad and can take away the joy from your Yorkie. It’s unfair that the last step to resolving this issue in 85% of the cases is surgery. However, many owners can’t afford it.

You must spot the symptoms and react early. Only that way you can get your Yorkie to be happy and enjoy their life.

If you have any other thoughts about this topic, comment below and share them with other Yorkie owners!