YORK COUNTY, SOUTH CAROLINA.....Adorable Pippa is a 12-week old pure breed Mini Schnauzer. She was brought to York County Animal Control after Pippa had become very sick. The Owner had taken her to the Vet when she became Lethargic and developed a Cough. She was first diagnosed with Kennel Cough with possible Pneumonia. It was then determined she had either Hepatic Encelapothy or a Liver Shunt. Both were bad for this adorable puppy. She needed to be seen by Specialists or Euthanized. The Owner opted to take her to Animal Control.
As adorable as Pippa is, cuteness does not mean you do not get genetic abnormalities which I believe Pippa has. We did not want to see her put to sleep without first identifying what was wrong and if it was fixable. We had Pippa taken to CVRC in Charleston, SC several weeks ago and started doing a battery of tests to determine what was wrong. Dr. Kristin Welch was over adorable Pippa's Care which meant she was going to do everything possible to save this tiny Angel.
I waited patiently (which is not easy for me), but we had eight dogs in ICU coming and going so I was distracted by everything else I had going on. It took almost ten days to get all of the results back and talks to more Specialists to see what the best course of action was. Dr. Rachel Seibert was chosen to be Pippa's surgeon. Dr. Seibert wrote me the best description below to explain what was happening with Pippa.
Pippa has been diagnosed with an Extrahepatic Portosystemic Shunt. Blood from the intestines and other abdominal organs should normally be drained by a vessel called the portal vein, through the liver, and then the liver should filter toxins and absorb proteins. In dogs that have shunting vessels, this means there is an abnormal vessel that bypasses the portal vein, and some portion of this blood is then not filtered through the liver as it should be. This can result in increased levels of toxins in the blood and decreased metabolism of proteins, and failure of the liver to reach its'standard size. This results in symptoms including small body stature, behavioral abnormalities, seizures, head pressing, other neurologic problems, poor appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, and urinary difficulties.
Surgically, what we will do is place a device called an ameroid constrictor around the abnormal vessel. This device does not close off the vessel immediately, but rather slowly closes off the vessel throughout weeks to months (every patient's timeline is a bit different). This is actually best for Pippa because it severely reduces her risk of a complication called portal hypertension, which means the liver being suddenly overloaded with too much blood that it is not used to getting, and can be fatal. The ameroid will allow for more gradual slowed flow through the vessel and improved blood flow to the liver over time.
Pippa had her surgery, and the shunt was put in along with having a liver biopsy taken. She did wonderfully and was stable during the entire procedure. She will remain in ICU for three days to monitor her for seizure activity which is possible during the first 72 hours after a Liver Shunt procedure.
Diagnostics and Surgical procedure to correct the Liver Shunt problem are very costly which is why so many of these pups are put to sleep. The other issue you need someone that has done a lot fo these which is why Dr. Seibert was chosen. Please, Donate whatever you can so we can help more pups like Pippa and all the Medical Abuse cases that come into our care.
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