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Dr. Amanda
Dr. Amanda, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 799
Experience:  Associate Veterinarian
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My 3 y/o spayed Havanese mix has the same eye issue with

Customer Question

My 3 y/o spayed Havanese mix has the same eye issue with lethargy. I've taken her to the vet twice in the last 36 hours. We could not find any eye issues after several tests. Labs came back showing liver problems. Baby has had several severe seizures over the last few days; incontinence while seizing.
My question, if Baby has liver shunt problems will she ever bounce back? Baby has always been bubbly and loving. Now she's like a zombie without a hunger drive.
I can barely look at her face or I cry. Of course I am holding her a lot.
Baby is scheduled to have the liver test Monday. Unfortunately, everything I've read is discouraging.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Amanda replied 1 year ago.


My name is***** and I am sorry to hear that Baby is so sick. Just to confirm, the working diagnosis after initial blood work is that she may have a liver shunt? Do you have copies of the bloodwork? If you do, can you send it to me?

If she does indeed have a liver shunt, the prognosis is not good. Most dogs that have later onset shunts have microscopic shunts that cannot be corrected with surgery. They can be medically managed with low protein diets and some other medications to keep the blood ammonia levels low.

What other questions do you have?

Dr. Amanda

Expert:  Dr. Amanda replied 1 year ago.

This is a link to a webpage with an extensive discussion on liver shunts.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The vet is thinking microscopic shunts. My main question then is her life. Even with the low protein diet; is Baby coming back or is her new lethargic being going to last? What percentages are we looking at? Baby had horrible seizures!
Also, last weekend I babysat my niece with developmental disabilities. I was washing the dishes on Sunday and didn't see Baby leave the kitchen. I heard Baby scream in pain (Baby's a docile dog who will not bite even if she's being tortured by a child). I ran in and my niece dropped Baby on couch and Baby shook for five straight minutes! Baby had a weird breathing thing (sounded like reverse sneezing) until the seizures started and now it's completely gone but now Baby is lethargic. I don't know if any of it can be related.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The weird breathing started after the squeezing incident. I'll go get labs.
Expert:  Dr. Amanda replied 1 year ago.

It is hard to predict what Baby's life will be like now that she is having symptoms from the shunt. If she responds well to the medications, her personality can return to normal and she can have a good quality of life. If she doesn't respond well to medications, she will continue to be really lethargic. Unfortunately, these guys don't seem to have a great extended quality of life. They often pass within 1-2 years at best after diagnosis.

If you want to get a second opinion, you can also consider a referral to a board certified internal medicine specialist or you can see if your regular vet has one she can talk to on the phone.

I will look for the blood work results.