Lolly is an adorable 8 1/2 year old female Pekingese. Lolly has a special condition known as a portosystemic shunt.
A liver shunt is a blood vessel that carries blood around the liver instead of through it. Because the blood bypasses the liver in dogs with shunts, toxins may build up in the bloodstream and kidneys. Additionally, the animal lacks the necessary materials to give it a ready source of energy to help it grow.
The most common clinical signs include “stunted” growth, poor muscle development, abnormal behaviours such as disorientation, staring into space, circling or head pressing and seizures. Less common symptoms include drinking or urinating too much, vomiting and diarrhea. Pets with a liver shunt often take a long time recovering from anesthesia. Behavioural clinical signs may only occur after eating high protein meals. Some pets do not show signs until they are older, when they develop urinary problems such as recurrent kidney or bladder infections or stones.
Dogs with shunts are usually stabilized with special diets and medications to reduce the amount of toxins that are produced and absorbed in the large intestines. Dogs that tend to do well with longterm medical management are usually older at the time of diagnosis, have more normal bloodwork, and have less severe clinical signs. Surgery is necessary for more severe cases.
Lolly is very fortunate to have such a dedicated and loving owner, who fashions the most amazing jackets, beds and blankets for her. Her owner has been instrumental in our annual Fundraise for Farley foundation, by contributing some of these phenomenal beds and jackets for sale.