Liver Shunt Stories Page 2


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!


Harely's Special Story

Harley's mom and dad came to us for help because they couldn't afford the surgery
costs to treat his Liver Shunt. He has had the surgery, and is doing just fine!


In Loving Memory of Sophie

Sophie wasn't a yorkie, but she was one of ours.

Thanks everyone for your support! There's not many people who understand how special these babies are. I feel the need to tell Sophie's story to those of you that don't know. Forgive me...I have to talk about her. Sophie was my sweet Pug baby. We purchased her when she was 7 weeks old. She was sickly from day 1. The vests first found a heart murmur that would get worse and then better. Then they found crystals that indicated a shunt. Because of the 2 things together he was confused at what this could be. We never imagined that she could have 2 separate problems! We then took her to see Dr. Tobias. She and the staff were great!! they had scheduled the shunt surgery for the next day! I was sooo excited. Later that afternoon she called me and said that she had a significant shunt (2% liver function) and also... arterial stenosis!!! The blood vessel to the heart was narrow!! There was nothing they could do with the heart and the shunt surgery was too risky because of the heart problem. I could not believe she had 2 totally separate major problems! So after many tears, we took her home and kept her very spoiled for a year. She brought so much joy to our family (and our Boston Terrier, Belle... who misses her).

It was a Godsend to have this group to talk to and listen to! I learned alot more then I could have ever learned in a vet's office! Thanks again!



In Loving Memory of Bailey

Emily went to Petland Pet Store in a mall and paid $1500.00 for Bailey as a puppy. When it was time to have Bailey spayed she took her into the vet that the pet store told her she needed to go to. When they drew blood prior to spaying her they saw that something was dreadfully wrong. Instead of sending her directly to a specialist they ran blood test after blood test until Bailey's Albumin was at .6. Even at that point the vet did not send her to a specialist.

We contacted Dr Tobias who suggested With that severe decrease in albumin she does not have a single congenital shunt that is fixable. She may have liver, intestinal, or kidney diseasethat is causing such severe protein loss or decreased production, but her disease is not surgical. Your veterinarian should contact a specialist ininternal medicine to determine what other tests need to be run. Dr. Tobias

Emily's vet still did not send her to a specialist. She wanted $750 more to do a blood transfusion before she would give her a referral to a specialist. YTNR was able to get her an appointment with a specialist.

They did the ultrasound and found many many shunts...they cannot perform any type of surgery to save her. Even if they could, she would not be stabilized to do it. They doctors suggested taking her home and letting her be with her family for the last couple of days/hours. Her liver is at 10% and can not be restored. It is soely up to God now..we hope that he takes her to a better place where she won't be in any more pain.

Mary Elizabeth, thank you for everything. Your advice, thoughfulness and dedication to saving Bailey makes my heart not want to shut down. I cannot explain the gratitude I have for you and your fundraising. When things slow down here, I want to be a part of helping your foundation. Whether it's finding donations or being a part of the support team...i dunno..

I wanted to tell you on the phone, but I cannot even begin to talk right now...
Bailey passed away just after 10 am. I am at complete and total frustration, loss, sadness and I can't even think. My heart is so very empty as I feel like I cannot love again. My first puppy/daughter..gone. Not even 6 months old...she was ill with this disease.. I am so angry for what that petstore and Vetselect allowed to happen. All they did was pick and poke until we've had enough. I am angry for my baby, who is now one of God's angels..I am mad that my first family love has suffered and then taken away from me. Mary Elizabeth, I cannot thank you enough for helping us..even though there really wasn't anything anyone could do. You were our angel during this. After things slow down here..I wan't to start up/continue to support the liver shunt foundations..I wan't to have bracelets made up for animal lovers to wear, news stations to broadcast the truth about bad breeders and pet stores. I want to and will forever honor Bailey.

I regret to inform all of you...
Bailey passed away this morning just after 10:00. I told Bailey that it was okay to leave momma and to close her eyes. She did instantly and then She went very peacefully. We took her to my parents house in Ohio, were she was buried in a hand made casket by my father. She was wrapped in her favorite pink blankey, with her favorite "orange" sqeauky and chewy. On top of her grave rests two for love and one for friendship. I wanted to share my gratitude and love to all of you who read my emails, talked to me, or even just prayed for us. Bailey was my first love and sadly enough, I am not sure how I will cope with all of this. I wish everyone the best of luck and love with their little ones..and once again thank you from the both of us.

Emily & one of God's newest angels..

Bailey currently weighs..5 lbs 4oz. We paid $1,499.00.
Date of Purchase: 11/29/04
Petland Novi
27200 Novi Rd.
Novi, MI 48377
pet id: 13373
dob: 8/25/04
when i bought her she was 3 lbs..(estimate)
Her michigan department of agriculture animal industry division states:
at birth: 2 lbs. 6 oz.
t= 100.2 degrees


Teko's Special Story

In December I purchased my first yorkie, Teko. He is also the first dog I have owned since moving out of my parents. I have had animals all my life and it was a big change not to be around them anymore when i went away to school. I knew nothing about liver shunts until I took him to the vet after he started acting abnormal. Luckily I took him To Kansas State University sense that is where I attend school and their great staff was able to detect it was a liver shunt in the first visit. Teko has been on medication and a diet for the past few months and it seems to help most of the time. He is now five months old with the gracious help from the YTNR Liver Shunt Fund I am hoping to schedule surgery soon with Dr. Sicard at K-State. Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers.

Jenny and Teko


Missy's Special Story

This is Missy who went to Dr Tobias with high bile acids tests that indicated a liver shunt. However after a nuclear scan a liver biopsy is being done. Dr. Tobias thinks that her blood vessels are too tiny and the blood is getting backed up inside of the liver causing the same symptoms and effects as a shunt.


Roo's Special Story

Roo was turned in on May 6th, 2003 by his owner in Greenwood, VA because he had been diagnosed with a liver shunt. Roo's bile acids were pre-meal 159.4 and post-meal 474.0.

His surgery was performed and a liver biopsy determined that Roo did not have a shunt, but was suffering from microvascular dysplasia (MVD). Roo has been placed on a low protein diet and is alert, active and happy. Roo will have to remain on a low protein diet for the rest of his life.


Cooper's Special Story

This is Cooper. Cooper is a Yorkie Poo that is currently 13 weeks old. My girlfriend and I brought him home when he was 7 weeks old and he started his life as a happy, seemingly healthy, puppy. Slowly he became more and more lethargic and began eating less and less. When my girlfriend came home to find him drooling, walking off balance, as well as head bobbing, we knew something was wrong. We thought it could be anything from a neurological problem to hypoglycemia, we had never heard of a liver shunt before. After blood work and an ultrasound it was confirmed that he had a congenital liver shunt. We were devastated because this little guy is truly the most innocent and loving animal I have ever encountered.

Right now Cooper is doing all right. We put him in the hospital for a couple of days and we are giving him lactulose and amoxicillin along with a low protein diet to keep him stable. We could not and will not put him down. We need to do everything we can possibly do to save him. We want to take him to a specialist that performs the same surgery as Dr. Tobias does and hope for the best. Cooper is a tough little guy and we are trying to give him the best life possible while he is still with us. My girlfriend and I just recently graduated from college and unfortunately have not had the opportunity to start saving money yet. We hope that if someone can help us we could do the same when we are more established in the working world.


Tuffy's Special Story

5/04 I have a little yorkie named Tuffy (4 lbs) that is really living up to his name. He is now 18 months old and has had trouble all his life since I've had him. He was 6 months old when I got him and that should have been a clue, but I had never heard of hypoglycemia, liver shunts, hypothermia, bladder stones, or any of the other problems in little yorkies. It all began when I got him home and he wouldn't eat anything but chicken, beef, etc. people food. Would not eat dog food. I had had him about 3 days the first time he fainted. I hurried him to my vet and he did a test on him and said he is hypoglycemic. Told me to give him Karo syrup. In order not to wait until he faints, I began putting about 1/2 tsp. Karo in his drinking water. It has solved the fainting problems.

Now for the bad part. When he was about 1 year old, he had a seizure and then went into a coma. It was after business hours so I rushed him to the pet emergency hospital. He was in a coma for about 10 hours and they said they doubted if he would ever wake up. But thankfully, he did. They had done test and informed me of the liver shunt. I had never heard of this. I took him to my regular vet to "fix him" but he said he couldn't. He suggested I have him put to sleep. I wouldn't even consider it as I had just had to put a little Shih Tzu to sleep due to heart disease. He said, "Well, you might try to raise him by putting him on a no protein diet. Vegetables, pasta, rice, etc. I told him I would do anything. This little guy is my life. He has been doing fairly well and has stopped vomitting which he was doing regularly before this happened.

Then when he was 15 months old, he was urinating straight blood. Back to the vet. X-rays showed a bladder stone as large as the bladder. The vet removed it and I cried all day. I stayed and held him after surgery and rocked him. He would look up at me so pitifully. After a few days, he was feeling good and has been doing well for the past three months (knock on wood). I know it is just a matter of time, but I can't think of that. I just cry my eyes out. I have had lots of dogs, but none have touched my heart like this little guy He is like a shadow and stays in my arms or my lap all the time. He has slept up next to me in bed ever since day one.

I forgot to tell you, he is hypothermic. His body temp is subnormal and he gets cold real easy. Also, he poisoned himself when he was 7 mos. old by chewing on a bromeliad plant. They are very toxic to dogs and can poison them. Got him over that just before it was too late. Also, two weeks after I got him he had a bladder infection and couldn't urinate. He literally screamed everytime he would try to go. Got him over that. I guess all the life and death crisis events is why I am so attached to him. I have about everything taken care of except the liver shunt. This is the scary part. I know I am going to lose him and I can't handle that. I am a single disabled retired lady and I live on a fixed (very low) income and I can't afford the surgery. I would give my life if I could. This little guy is my love and my life and he is such a fighter. Nothing or no one has ever loved me like he does. The tears are flowing and I can't see to type so will end this. Pray for my little Tuffy.



Taz's Special Story

Here is the "Team Taz" photo from left to
right is our student, Jodi Preti who graduates
next week from UT and heads to Massachusetts to
do her internship, Dr. Krahwinkel in the back,
me with Taz's back- he must have known he did
not look his best and would not face the camera
(talk about vain!) and Dr. Tobias. Missing
is Dr. Adam Gassel who was the intern on the team
from CA originally and enjoyed talking to Mike
about their CA days.


Update 12/08/2004
"Taz is doing great after his surgery with Dr Krahwinkle at the University of Tennessee. He is a healthy feisty Yorkie and full of life! Thank you for encouraging us to take him to TN - It was well worth it! Best to you this Holiday Season."

Cindi and Mike Ingalls


Toby's Special Story

Toby was born 6/1/2003 and the first time I saw him (August of 2003) he stole my heart. Here was this scrawny little guy, a picky eater... that just loved to be held! I had read about liver shunt and wondered if he might fit the stereotype...but I didn't push for a bile acids test...he had my heart!! Within a week of bringing him home, I took him to the Vet because he seemed disoriented and was acting 'funny'. He walked with an arched back and just didn't seem right. The Vet just shrugged his shoulders and when I mentioned liver shunt he didn't think it was an option. I took him home and over the fall I adjusted to a puppy that slept alot and was loveable...when he was awake. When he ate, he ate alot and would be active for a while afterwards, then he slept for looooong periods of time.

Toby had retained testicles so we knew he would have to have surgery to get neutared. When I would take him in for his shots, I would ask the Vet about liver shunt...Toby's hair had started to break off and in general, did not look healthy. The Vet said he didn't have any symptoms of a shunt...he wasn't head banging or exhibiting any extreme symptoms. He slept so much for a puppy and I just felt that something wasn't right!! The Vet told me to wait until he was about 8 months old to get him neutared and we could do the pre-anesthesia blood workup...that might give an indication if there was anything wrong.

On 2/19/04, we had the blood drawn and sure enough, his results were indicative of a shunt. We did a bile acids test and the diagnosis was made....I did not want to waste any time...I contacted and was able to get help with surgery for Toby. I live in Omaha, Nebraska and quickly found there was no board certified surgeon here. I called the major Vet schools in the midwest and ended up taking Toby to Kansas State.

K-State is about a 3 1/2 hour drive from Omaha. I took Toby there on 3/4/04. He saw Dr. Gretchen Sicard, Dr. Esterline (resident) and Carmin Bieberly (student-to-graduate-in-May). They did a CT scan and found there was one large shunt; crystals in his bladder from the ammonia in his body; an enlarged kidney; retained testicles; and they would remove the retained baby teeth, if they could, while he was under!

Toby had surgery on 3/5/04 and has been the trooper we knew he was. He was in intensive care for 24 hours and had no symptoms of hypertension or any problems at all!!!!!!!!!!!!

Toby is recuperating well. Every day he seems to feel better and becomes more feisty. 3/22/04


Molly's Special Story

Hi Everyone,
My name is Molly and I am a liver shunt survivor. I am an 8 year old, 5 pound Yorkshire Terrier. I had my surgery at the University of Tennessee the first week in March of 2003.

Right now I live with my Foster Mommy and Daddy. They helped me recuperate from surgery by giving me my medicine and making sure I got lots of rest. Now I feel a lot better. I still eat that special Liver Diet food, but my Foster Mom slips me a green bean or carrot every once in awhile. She says I know how to beg really well!!!

My Foster Mom says I am blossoming and turning into a beautiful little swan!!!! She say I am coming out of my shell. I give lots of kisses now and I like to smile. My Foster Mom says I look like snagglepuss because the doctor pulled 18 of my teeth. I can wiggle my butt really fast and I love to be picked up and hugged. I love to lay in laps amd I will let you pet me for hours and hours.

Thank you Dr. Tobias for my new liver shunt ring, and YTNR for giving me a second chance to have a good life. I prayed real hard to God and asked him to send me help ......and he did!!! Not only did he make sure I got better, but he also sent me a new Mom!! She is waiting in the wings for me to get well so I can go to my new home. I will be an only furchild, and my new Mom promises that she will let me sleep in bed, cuddle me on her lap, take me for walks, and love me with all her heart.

Life is good. Please help Dr. Tobias and YTNR help all the other dogs with liver shunts so they can have a new life - just like me!!!!!


Update 2/2004 Molly has gained two pounds since that time and she is doing great. Her black hair is slowly growing, the inside of her ears are turning pink again, and she is getting healthier and healthier every day.

She has been on a regiment of Eukanuba FP, IVD canned, benedryl and Malaseb shampoo for her allergies and we seem to have gotten them somewhat under control. We are getting ready to take Molly to a dermatologist at Auburn University for her allergies, and hopefully, they will be able to help her.

Molly is a very sweet, although very shy little Yorkie. She is still coming out of her shell a little at a time...but she is beginning to realize she is in a forever home.

Donna Rose


Gizmo's Special Story

It's me Gizmo, the liver shunt baby! I'm at my new home in Virginia. I really love it here! I have two brothers now (they're the ones in the picture with me). Their names are Logan and Conner and, even though they are two-legged kids, we have a great time running and playing! They both play baseball so I will get to go to a lot of baseball games this Spring! Maybe I'll get my own baseball jersey!! I also have lots of two-legged cousins AND fur-cousins! I have a new fur-friend named Reilly. He is a Westie and we have lots of fun chasing each other around the backyard!

I am SO grateful to Dr. Tobias and all of the wonderful people at YTNR for helping me with my liver shunt problems. I was such a sick baby!! Now I feel GREAT!! I am especially thankful for my foster mommy and daddy, Donna and Richard Rose. They gave me such a warm and loving home until my new forever mommy and daddy found me! I will always remember them and, even though I love my new home, I will miss them and their fur-kids! THANKS YTNR!! I'm making up for lost time now!!


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