We Need your Help with Liver Shunt!

Below we have added dogs that have currently needed our help. These dogs have been diagnosed with Liver Shunts and needed surgery. The cost of this surgery is extremely high. You can help by making a donation to our fund.

YTNR cannot accept donations for a specific dog, but your donation to the YTNR Liver Shunt Fund will help replenish the funds that will be used for these and future dogs coming to us for help. The numbers are high.

Before you buy a puppy make sure you have a Bile Acids test run pre and post with results under 25 to insure the liver is functioning normally.

Thanks for helping these little dogs.

Make checks payable to:

Yorkshire Terrier National Rescue, Inc.
Liver Shunt Fund
c/o Mary Elizabeth Dugmore
1065 Lewis Road
Chapmansboro, TN 37035

or you may donate online with Pay pal below:
Donate here


You may donate money here to help replenish funds for future Surgeries:
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Jax Special Story

This is Lynn and Jackson, Jackson had a liver shunt and went to the University of Tennessee to have his surgery. He also had stones removed. He is recovering happily at home with Mommy.


You may donate money here to help replenish funds for future Surgeries:
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Mini/s Special Story

Mini was surrendered to YTNR in early July of 2008 as she was diagnosed with Liver Shunt. Mini’s family, who lived in Las Vegas at the time, was getting ready to move to Australia and didn’t think it would be a good idea to take her as she would have had to spend time in quarantine. They loved her a lot so it was very heartbreaking to have to leave her behind but they wanted to do what was best for her. They even drove her from Vegas to TN so she would be comfortable and they could spend more time with her.

Mini had surgery on August 22 and what the doctors at UT thought was a single shunt turned out to be multiple shunts. It was very disappointing and upsetting to get that news.

When Mini came to us she was extremely shy as she hadn’t been socialized much with other people and not at all with other dogs. She hid behind the recliner in our living room for two days before she finally started coming out and sitting with us. Within a couple of weeks she became part of the family and was running and playing with the other dogs and getting just as excited as the rest when someone came to the door. On October 6th I flew with Mini to Boston where she was adopted by two wonderful ladies who had fallen in love with her picture when they saw it on the website. In the updates I have received they tell me that she adjusted to her new home fairly quickly, was already playing with them, her old toys and the new ones they bought that first evening, and that she just loves going for car rides and meeting all of their friends. We miss her but know that she has gone to a wonderful home where she will get the care and attention she deserves.


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Moses' Special Story

Update - 6/08
Moses is doing pretty good. Our vet and everyone else is surprised, because his symptoms have started to clear up on their own. My husband takes him to work with him everyday (he’s their office mascot) and we pour as much love and attention on him as possible. We haven’t given him any more pain meds for the past week and his demeanor is improving. Here a recent photo. Thanks, Angela

(Update on Moses / 5-08)
Hello everyone,

Dr. Berkowitz, our local vet, determined through Moses’ urine culture today that he has a strain of e-coli bacteria. Unfortunately, the strain is resistant to all the antibiotics he’s on now, and the doctor thinks the only way to fight this is through a series of 7-10 days worth of shots. Poor guy! We’re researching other options, but please let us know if you have any ideas. Dr. Tobias of UT is consulting with our local vet. Attached is a picture of our sick boy, we’re just trying to keep him comfortable while we figure out a treatment plan (we’ll start tomorrow).

With love,



Hi all,

My name is Angela, I am the proud but worried mommy of a sweet 6 year old Yorkie named Moses who had liver shunt surgery at UT back in February 2006. Moses is on a L/D diet and takes a cosequin and lactulose.

Earlier this year we noticed blood in his urine and our vet prescribed an anti-inflammatory called Metacam which seemed to help at the time, but now we’re noticing a bloody film in his stool. The vet has prescribed two medicines, and it clears up only while he’s on the meds.

Moses is going to need another surgery so we are collecting donations to help him. Anything you can do to help is greatly appreciated.

Donations made for Moses from: Caren Browning $100, Liana May Shipley $100, Kate Cummings $40.00, Angelika Ridulfo $50, Ian Gray $20. Thanks so much!


You may donate money here to help replenish funds for future Surgeries:
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Ollie's Special Story


Hi Everyone,
I thought I would share the fantastic news that my little foster baby, Ollie, has had his bile acids retested and they came back better than normal. His pre was 2.6 and post was 10.2. Ollie is a little guy that came to me from California just after Christmas. He was 7 months old, weighed about 5 lbs and would have some awful bouts of vomiting. He had his surgery at UT on January 5th and within a week became the lively happy puppy that he was supposed to be. He now weighs 9 lbs and is healthiest happiest little guy anyone could ask for.

Ollie loves to wrestle with my little Dixie who is also a liver shunt survivor. They both have a new lease on life and show it in everything they do.



You may donate money here to help replenish funds for future Surgeries:
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Dixie's Special Story


She just had surgery and is doing well. Her Story below:

Dixie was born on February 28, 2006 after a couple of friends decided to mate their Yorkies. She is an only child and from all appearances a very happy healthy little baby. When she was old enough she was adopted out. Not long after going to her new home Dixie started having seizures and was returned. Dixie had been treated with Advantage not long before the seizures started and they thought that she was having an allergic reaction. She was taken to the vet who decided to do a Bile Acid test. The results came back with her premeal level at 78.6 and the post meal 115.7. Dixie was put on Lactulose and L/D Science Diet and the family told that she would require surgery to correct the problem. On June 22, 2006 her then mom made the decision to surrender her to YTNR as she didn't have the time required to look after a sick little one.

I wouldn't have known there was anything wrong with Dixie as she was such a happy, energetic little puppy. Dixie was admitted to UT on June 29th for tests which confirmed the shunt and her surgery was done the next day. Dixie had only one shunt and did very well in surgery. I got to take her home the next day. Dixie bounced right back from the surgery. It's only been a little over a week and she is right back to being a happy, mischievous little baby bouncing around everyone's feet and chasing her foster brother and sisters around the house.

Heartfelt thanks go out to everyone that looked out after this little baby and especially to the caring staff at UT for her excellent care.

Wee Willie

Adoption donation is $700

Wee Willie's Special Story

This is Wee Willie! He is a little Bichon that had a liver shunt and it has been corrected with surgery and he is now ready for adoption. If you think you can give him a good home, please let us know.


You may donate money here to help replenish funds for future Surgeries:
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Skyler's Special Story

I have a puppy that will be five months next week. He has had many similar problems that I have read about on these pages. He is in the vet/hospital right now being tested and restored from a bad hypoglycemic spout. He seems to be prone to the hypoglycemia. He goes through times where he just won’t eat. We try our hardest to force some nutrients down his throat and it has helped many times. But last night was bad. The Karo and honey didn’t seem to work. Our vet seems to have no clue. Our sweet baby Skyler has been taken to the emergency room twice and they never tested him for anything. He has been so sick, depressed, and sleeps all the time since we got him home from the breeder. I feel like he hasn’t had a puppy-hood yet. I just feel almost all hope is gone. He was tested for liver shunt, but the vet said it wasn’t really off by much. Due to how underweight he is and from the hypoglycemia, she cant do the test that requires him to fast for twelve hours and then feed, taking the results before and after. I have spent over a thousand dollars in vet/hospital bills on him in the three short months I have had him. Not to include the visit that is occurring today. I hardly have the means to pay for any test, much less any surgery. I heard that there is a way to get help to pay for it. Can you tell me in the event he is diagnosed with liver shunt. I have a very strong feeling he will be. I cant just let him die. Some people can, but I am not that person. I want to fight for him. Please give me any advice there is to offer. Thanks so much.


(update 10-14-04)
Skyler's family could not meet his mounting medical costs and has given Skyler to YTNR. He was flown to Nashville and rushed to the veterinary hospital at the University of Tennessee – Knoxville (UTK) where Dr. Tobias and her staff took charge of Skyler’s medical conditions. He had a scintography test done and it revealed he did have a liver shunt. Skyler had surgery to correct the liver shunt and had a rough recovery. Skyler was 5 months old and weighed only 1.5 pounds. He was in the hospital for almost a week before he could come back to his foster home near Nashville. Once back from his surgery, Skyler had a difficult time keeping any food down and was still weak. After several days and not improving, Skyler was rushed back to UTK and placed in intensive care. Dr. Tobias and her wonderful staff took round the clock care of Skyler and determined that he had a stress ulcer and a bacterial infection. They treated the infection with medication and he is on a very bland and low protein diet to help his ulcer heal. A feeding tube was placed in him so that he could be tube fed while his ulcer healed. Skyler is currently being fed via the tube, but is also allowed to try to eat by himself before using the tube. There are good days and there are bad days, but generally Skyler is slowly, very slowly improving day by day. He has started to eat by himself, but not enough to sustain him, so the feeding tube is used to supplement his daily food intake. Only through generous donations to the Liver Shunt Fund has made miracles out of Skyler and countless other dogs that have been helped by the Liver Shunt fund. Please keep Skyler in your prayers and we will continue to give updates as he progresses.

You may donate money here to help replenish funds for future Surgeries:
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Bailey's Special Story!

6/05 I hope you can help me. My Yorkie is 20 months old. He is going today for an ultra sound to determine definitely that he has a liver shunt, but my vet is pretty sure that is truly the cause of Bailey's problems.

My problem is I can't afford the surgery needed to correct the problem. Is your program able to assist financially with the cost of saving my baby's life? It breaks my heart to see him just lying around and not eating. I don't know what else to do at this point but to plead for help in obtaining surgery for Bailey.

Please let me know if you can help and if you are not able to do so, do you have any suggestions on where I can turn for help?

Thank you for you consideration.


You may donate money here to help replenish funds for future Surgeries:
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Sadie's Special Story!

5/05 Sadie is our sweet little Yorkie puppy who is 6 1/2 months old. We got Sadie at 8 weeks for our daughter who is struggling for her own life and well-being. At the advice of her doctor and therapist, we felt that the love and affection of a pet would be great medicine for her. Sadie is exactly that - a constant companion offering unconditional love.

4 weeks ago Sadie was having bouts of confusion and appeared to be drunk! On the 3rd day of this she had what seemed to be a convulsion, and collapsed into a semi - comatose state. She had fixed pupils, salivating profusely, limp as a dishrag. We rushed her to the vet where they started and IV and did a blood workup. Her numbers pointed directly to a livershunt condion. A bile acids test could not done at that time, because she was not conscious enough to eat. They kept her for 2 days, got her to eat and ran the bile acids test which confirmed their suspicions of a livershunt. An ultra sound was done but her liver was too tiny. She improved over the 48 hours while they kept her, with medication and special food and they sent her home to "grow up" for a month. She is doing well as long as she religiously takes her medicine and stays on the special food.

Her breeder found your website and I have been reading the stories in awe of the puppies who have made it and with sadness for those who have not. Shawna (our daughter) is a college student and we have hit rock bottom financially between her doctor bills and helping her out since she has not been able to work. We also hae 3 other children. Sadie has been such a gift. This is more than one life in jeopardy. Can you tell me if you can help us and what I should do next? I have read the application instructions and have available all the numbers you need. I also have some darling pictures. We are willing to do whatever it takes to make Sadie well. Although we live in Michigan we are very willing to go to Knoxville to the University of Tennessee. I hope you can help - we love her so much!


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Zoe's Special Story

4/05 Zoe gets her staples out Thursday morning. I can't wait. She needs a bath something horrible!!! She has "sticky" mouth and "stinky" bottom. LOL Thank you all for you assistance she has done better than I could have ever expected. When I come in the front door she charges toward me, turns so quick I fear whiplash for her. She is still eating canned L/D food, it seems to agree with her better than the dry. She can have whatever she wants! We are going to have the groomer do a summer do on her when she can get in. She hates her top knot so I think we are going to cut her bangs and top. :( I don't want to cuz I want her to wear pretty bows and be my little girly girl. NOT! I have 6 boys and 1 girl (shes a tomboy too) I was hoping for Zoe to be prissy. Oh well, she's healthy and thats all that matters. I will take pictures after her hair cut. Until then I don't really have any pretty ones to send. They are of her in the hospital and with her doctors.


You may donate money here to help replenish funds for future Surgeries:
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Tank's Special Story

In cooperation with the Terri Shumsky Fanny Mae Liver Shunt Fund and YTNR Liver Shunt Fund we were able to help Tank.

Tank a male Yorkshire Terrier 14 weeks old and weighing just over one 1 lb. was posted on a puppy web site. He came into our lives on March 1, 2004. I traveled with a friend all the way from Milwaukee, WI to St. Louis, MO to pick him up. It was told to me by the breeder on the phone that once I arrived in St. Louis to call her for the directions to her home. When I arrived I had asked for her address and was told she would come to me. I asked that she brings both babies she had. She informed me then that she only had the one left (TANK). When she arrived to my hotel the poor baby was scared and shaking. He had hair missing from the side of his head and legs; he was also covered in puke. It wasn't long after I sat with this woman that I realized she is what you call a puppy mill. Tank being the first dog I have ever owned as an adult I was never really educated on the facts about puppy mills. I really feel though even if I did know prior to, I still would have given her the money for him and ran for our lives. And that’s what we did. We started our lives together that day and can't stand to be without one another for long periods of time.

It wasn't long after I brought him home that I new something was wrong. After we brought him to the vet for his shots and for the worms that he had brought home with him. I kept telling my vet that he had been doing strange things and that I thought something was wrong with his eye site. He checked him over time after time and still said Tank was fine. As months went on Tanks symptoms got worse: head pressing, falling over, blind spells, excessive salivating, and even seizers. It wasn't until I brought Tank back to this vet for yet another seizer that he had given us something for him. I believe that some of you may already know what happens to a dog with a liver shunt when you give him Phenobarbital. It made his symptoms worse, after that first night of giving him the medication I phoned the vet that very next morning. They told me at that time to give him a smaller dose. Our second night was not any better his symptoms where so severe. I cried just thinking how he must be feeling through all this. I told my self that if this is how his life would have to be that I would not be selfish. How could I let him suffer, I just wouldn't! So again I phoned the vets office and was told at that time by a woman I knew who worked their that I should take him for a second opinion. She also gave me the name of the vet she took her dog. I placed the call to the new vet that day and was seen the next day by Dr. Work of Greenfield Veterinary Clinic in Milwaukee, WI. Within minutes of Tanks exam he explained that Tank showed text book signs of a liver shunt and what a liver shunt was. We had to do blood work, something the last vet never suggested Tank have. After a complete blood panel I was told that I had a liver shunt baby. Tanks bile acids where 294.6 this was not going to be easy.

Dr. Work explained that I had options but none where hopeful. He said that if Tank had the surgery there was less then a 50% chance he would survive. I was beside myself and later that next day I posted a message on a web message board. I needed to know if their wear anything more I could do.

That same day I received two very special e-mails and these women would soon become my main support through the road ahead.

I was ecstatic to hear that we could apply for Tanks surgery to be funded. I knew this would be the only way he would get better. There was just no way I personally could have afforded surgery on my own. I am a single mom with one wonderful daughter 8 and have been raising my 17 year old sister since she was 12. It seemed as though time stood still well we waited to hear about funding. Then the news came we were funded and on our way to UT.

Arriving in TN we were fortunate to be able to stay with and get to know yet another amazing woman. Ruth Ann Shultz and Husband Doyle have opened their hearts and home to Liver Shunt babies and their families for sometime now.

I brought Tank to the University of UT on March 31, 2005 and handed him over to Dr. Tobias. I was worried but I knew that if Tank had a chance his best odds where hear with Dr. Tobias and her wonderful staff. Tank survived surgery and was back in his mommy’s arms with in 3 days. It was yet another miracle performed by the good Dr. T and her colleagues.

I can't tell you all how wonderful it feels to wake up each day knowing that my Tankie will be ok. This whole experience has been one of a fairy tale story with highs and lows and eventually ending with a ride off into the sunset just “me and my Yorkie”.

Thank you everyone for what you have done for us! For this I am eternally grateful. Just want to name a few; YTNR/LIVERSHUNT FUND, Mary Elizabeth Dugmore, Sarah Hodson, Georgia Stampley & Family, Ruth Ann & Doyle Shultz and Lorraine Iervolino a very special THANK YOU to you all.

Gratefully Your's
Dawn, Tank, Kaylind and Samantha


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Vegas's Special Story

4/05 I have an incredible yorkie named Vegas. I bought him a year and a half ago from a breeder. About a month ago I had to take him to emergency for the first time because he was acting listless and disoriented. There the vet told me that he suspected a portosystemic shunt. After 2 bile acid tests another emergency scare and an ultrasound it has been confirmed that he has a liver shunt. I am attaching a picture of Vegas from everyone to see.

Vegas' symptoms I don't believe are too bad. According to one surgeon here in Miami, dogs with liver shunts usually have seizures. I am very lucky to say that Vegas has never had a seizure. His first emergency was about a month ago, he could barely move, could not hold his head up. Pretty much all he could move were his eyes. I took him to emergency where they thought he might be intoxicated or that he had a shunt (but he said most likely a liver shunt). He stayed overnight on an IV and i picked him up the next day. The emergency vet fell in love with him. The vet suggested i do a bile acid test. the results were Pre Meal Bile Acids 23.0 and Post Meal 77.2. They did ultrasound and there were no abnormal findings. A week later Vegas was disoriented and could barely move so I took him to emergency again (it was 2am) and the same vet told me that it had to be a shunt and i should do the bile acid test again. This time he sent me home with Lactulose. He was so wonderful he didn't charge me that time! emergency is $$$ :) So 11 days after his first bile acid he had another BA test.... this time the results were Pre Meal 35.6 and Post Meal 124.1 thats a big difference for 11 days. Vegas is now eating Hills L/D and Lactulose and Denosyl. He has been better since then. I am going to schedule an appt with Dr. Tobias now. I will keep everyone informed. Thank you so much.


Max's Special Story

3/05 Max was a little rescue that came to YTNR through St Louis. He was a very sick little puppy when he was transported to us via our YESS Team. He was taken to The University of Tennessee to have his liver shunt repaired and was the Beau of the Ball so to speak during his stay. He quickly wormed his way into the hearts of all of the UT staff and most especially into the heart of Dr. DeNovo who requested to adopt him. He has found his perfect home and is living happily ever after in the Yorkie Capitol of the World! A Special Thanks to the UT Staff that takes such good care of all the little ones we send there.


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Toby's Special Story!

5/04 Toby is 16 months old and has been diagnosed with possible liver shunt. He is on his way to the University of Tennessee to meet with Dr Krahwinkle to have his scintigraphy and surgery if needed.

(update 10-14-04)
Toby was diagnosed with a liver shunt and was operated on by Dr Krahwinkle at the University of Tennessee – Knoxville (UTK). Toby stayed in the hospital for about a week and then was allowed to go back to his home in Nashville, TN. He rested for 3 days once he got home and slowly regained his strength and energy over the following week. Toby rebounded from his surgery like superman! Ten days after he came home he was chasing his brother Jake around the backyard! Toby had his bile acid tests rechecked 2 months after his operation and they dropped dramatically compared to his pre-surgery results. Over the next 2 months, Toby’s body transformed from a skinny little dog to a great looking Yorkie. He immediately put on a pound and his body started to develop to look like a normal dog. Over the next 2 months, Toby put on 2 pounds and has fully grown to a normal size dog. He is such a playful and energetic dog today compared to his pre-surgery days. Toby is another miracle survivor and proof that the liver shunt surgery works! Only with the help of the liver shunt fund was Toby able to get the surgery needed to give this little guy a chance at living a full and normal life. Thank you for everyone who donates to the Liver Shunt fund! You are really making miracles happen every day!

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