Liver Shunt Doctors and Research Programs

List of Liver Shunt Doctors:

University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine
Dr. Karen Tobias
PO Box 1071
Knoxville TN 37901-1071

LiverShunt Brochure 09

Dr. Tobias Brochure

Dr. Tobias Shunt Power Point Presentation

Dr. Tobias Angel Fund Update Information

Policy for Shunt Referral: To make an appointment, the referring veterinarian needs to call the soft tissue surgery appointment desk (865-974-8387). Alternatively, appointments can be approved by the soft tissue surgeon or resident on duty. If this is an emergency and no open appointments are available, please have your veterinarian contact the soft tissue surgeon or resident on duty (865-974-8387).
All dogs require referrals to UT for several reasons:

1. The surgeons on clinics rotate and I cannot approve appointments for other surgeons.

2. Some of these dogs with liver problems do not have shunts and therefore need to come in through our medicine service.

3. Many of these dogs have mild changes that do require evaluation here at UT.

4. I am overwhelmed by the number of e-mails and phone calls I am getting from the general public, many of which are related to shunts or bile acids; these folks would have their questions answered if they read our website or talked to knowledgeable Yorkie Rescue groups.

5. Most importantly, it is hospital policy so that referring veterinarians are aware the client is coming to us and so that we are sure that the client has an informed veterinarian to take care of the pet when it goes home.

As an aside, when I get 8-10 calls from worried Yorkie owners who each want to spend 15 minutes talking about their pets, I can't give the appropriate amount of attention to the babies already in the hospital. I am glad they have other sources for information and moral support.

Dr. Tobias

Chick Weisse, VMD, DACVS
Staff Veterinarian-Interventional Radiology/Surgery
Director, Interventional Radiology
Animal Medical Center
510 East 62nd Street, New York, NY 10065
Office: 212-329-8816
Fax: 212-752-2592

Director of Interventional Radiology Services Veterinary Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania
3900 Delancey Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6010

215/898-4848 (office)
215/573-9457 (fax)

Dallas Ft Worth, Texas area:
Dallas Veterinary Surgical Center. Dr. Robert D. Barstad
Phone: 972-235-2096 Fax: 972-680-0859

Fred A. Williams, Jr., DVM
South Texas Veterinary Specialists
503 E. Sonterra Blvd., Suite 102
San Antonio, Texas 78258

Phone: 210/930-8383

Southern California Dr. Vogel (949)263-0504
Southern California All Care Hospital (714) 963-0909
Liver Scan (Transcolonic Portal Scintigraphy) Dr. Broome
Orange County, California (949) 559-7289
Los Angeles, California (310) 477-4453
San Diego, California (619) 560-0418

Dr. Tim McCarthy
Animal Surgeons
Beaverton, OR

Dr Joanne Franks with Dallas Veterinary Surgical Center in
GrapevineDallas Veterinary Surgical Center
2340 W Southlake Blvd, Southlake
(817) 379-5444

Veterinary Surgical Specialists Tustin, California
Tony Cambridge

Ithaca, New York - Cornell University
Dr. Susan Center
Phone: 607-255-2000

Dr. Jim Vogt
Akron Veterinary Referral & Emergency Center
1321 Centerview Circle
Akron, OH 44321
Office: 330-665-4996

State of Washington
Dr. Cynthia M. Smith

University of Madison
Dr. Kelly Gellasch
2015 Linden Drive West
Madison, WI 53706

Dr. David A Francis
Canada West Veterinary Specialists and Critical Care Hospital
1988 Kootenay St
Vancouver, British Columbia V5M 4Y3 Canada
(604) 473-4882

Dr. Adam Gassel
Southern CA Veterinary Referral Group
17682 Cowan Avenue
Irvine, CA 92614

Dr.Jeff Geels
8650 W. Tropicana Blvd Suite B107
Las Vegas, Nevada

(702) 871-1152

Department of Veterinary Small Animal Clinical Sciences
College of Veterinary Medicine
Texas A&M University
College Station, TX 77843-4474

PHONE (979) 845-2351
FAX (979) 845-6978

Lisa M. Howe, DVM, Diplomate ACVS
Texas A&M University
College of Veterinary Medicine
College Station, Texas 77843-4474

H. Jay Harvey, DVM, Diplomate, ACVS
Cornell University
College of Veterinary Med
Ithaca, New York 14853

Lillian R. Aronson, VMD, Diplomate ACVSM
University of Pennsylvania
VHUP-Dept of Clinical Studies
3900 Delancey St
Philadelphia, PA 19104

Christopher A. Adin, DVM, Diplomate ACVS
University of Florida
College of Veterinary Med SACS
Box 100126
Gainsville, Florida 32610-0126
352-392-4700 x 5752

MaryAnn Radlinsky, DVM, MS
Diplomate, ACVS
Associate Professor
Department of Small Animal Medicine & Surgery University of Georgia
Phone number: (706) 542-9384

Advanced Critical Care and Internal Medicine

Laura Najman, DVM, DipACVECC
2965 & 3021 Edinger Avenue
Tustin, CA 92780

Andrea Wells

Care Hospital

California Animal Referral & Emergency
301 East Haley Street
Santa Barbara, CA 93101

City of Angels Veterinary

9599 Jefferson Blvd
Culver City, CA 90232
(310) 558-6111

Get directions


Advanced Critical Care & Internal Medicine
9599 Jefferson Blvd
Culver City, CA 90232

New Research for Liver Shunt as of February 2007
The Angel Fund work Dr. Karen Tobias is working on now.

We've currently got 3 projects:

1. Response of small breed dogs to steroids after shunt ligation. This is because some of the dogs- expecially the tiny Yorkies- are having signs of low cortisol (stress hormones) after surgery, leading to slower recovery and poor blood sugar control. The preliminary work was supported by the Angel Fund; the major study has been funded by the AKC.

2. DNA collection on shunt Yorkies that have a normal sibling. The sibling must have normal bile acids (less than 5 and less than 10, or less than 10 and less than 15, depending on the lab). We are freezing samples from both. This is being supported by the Angel Fund.

3. Liver tissue evaluation on Yorkies with normal bile acids, and any shunt dog 4 or more months after shunt surgery. We recently received biopsy results on a healthy Yorkie puppy with bile acids 14 and 9 that had microvascular dysplasia on the liver biopsy. Previously we would have considered these bile acids normal for a Yorkie (though our normals are less than 10 and less than 15). We had a Maltese that only had fed bile acids (they were 2); this dog also had microvascular dysplasia on liver biopsies. I'm working with a Tennessee practitioner that sees alot of pet Yorkies; she will hopefully be providing me with samples from Yorkie with normal bile acids. We'll offer free spays or castrations to our shunt owners if they'd like to come back to us. This is being supported by the Angel Fund.

We are not doing any more breeding studies. We just finished spaying and castrating all of our breeding animals and their pups and obtained liver biopsies from them. Although the two most recent pups had normal bile acids at 6 weeks of age, they were slighlty increased at 6 months of age (one was 14 and 9, the other 9 and 38) and both had MVD. Their mother Trouble had a nearly normal liver (still some mild changes) 1.5 years after surgery, which is good for a shunt dog.

All of the folks that have contacted us lately have wanted to donate dogs for breeding; I told them that the breeding study has ended. I am asking them to contact YTNR or other rescue agencies so that more experienced folks can deal with the screening of potential adoptive parents and a wider placement pool.

You're welcome to forward this info on to anyone. Dr. Tobias

UPDATE: April 2007
Dr. Center's Research

I spoke with Dr. Center at NAVC where I received a wonderful update on her current research. I believe that, through her studies and those of a second research group, a genetic marker or markers will be identified for congenital portosystemic shunts in Tibetan spaniels, Maltese, Cairn Terriers, and possibly other breeds. Hopefully these markers will be similar amongst breeds so that a genetic test will be available, at least for the small breed dogs with extrahepatic shunts. I hope that Dr. Center will receive full support from AKC regarding this endeavor; she has dedicated an incredible amount of time and effort to the project and has the facilities and expertise to produce results. Perhaps if several clubs join to support her work, she will be more likely to receive that funding.

There appears to be some confusion as to what we are doing regarding genetics of shunts in Yorkies at UT. Currently, we are following the recommendations of Dr. Linblad-Toh, one of the scientists that determined the canine genome. She has recommended that we process and store blood samples from Yorkies with shunts and from their healthy siblings that have normal bile acids. Once the genetic markers have been determined for the breeds currently being evaluated by the two research groups, we can have the stored blood samples analyzed to see if they contain the same marker. Until that time, we will continue with our other projects on diagnosis and treatment of shunts.

Karen Tobias

Research for Liver Shunt

Below are Six Important Liver Shunt Studies YOU can Participate in. Please go to each one to see what you can do to help in the study of Liver Shunt.

1) Family of Dogs Research for dogs that have produced puppies with Liver Shunts

2) New Ultrasound Test For Congenital Portosystemic Shunts for Healthy Yorkies that are 6-12 months of age in and around the Madison, WI area.

3) Portalsystemic Shunt Research Project for affected liver shunt dogs only.

4) Portosystemic shunts, by Dr. Karen Tobias for normal and affected dogs.

5) Canine DNA configuration project for Healthy dogs only.

College of Veterinary Medicine

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