25 May 2011

A dog so special he just gots some extra liver action going on.


Turns out that Gustavo doesn't stare for a hobby. Boy am I glad that I started him on all these blood tests. And you know what? He doesn't care. I think he forgets every time he goes in to the doctor's office that they stick him and prod him. He always pulls me to get in that door and greets everybody like they're his long lost best pals. He's happy to go off with any tech, any time.

So far, it sounds like he has a congenital form of a liver shunt called hepatatic microvascular dysplasia. Instead of normal blood vessels that go through his liver, his are special and might be taking the long way around the liver so blood doesn't keep his liver clean and healthy.

Guess what a not so clean liver gives you? Ammonia that saunters up the brain and gives you weirdo hallucinatory brain activity. Like staring at spots and drooling. Or sometimes seeing ghosties where nobody else does. He isn't talking to the mothership when he does this, ammonia is speaking to him from inside his brain.

Hopefully he doesn't have the liver of a wizened alcoholic yet. I don't think he does. He goes to the specialist next week for an ultrasound and more tests. If this is what his liver looks like, he was born with it and not much they can do to fix it. If it's an actual shunt, there's surgery that can cap it off, but we're not even thinking about that yet. He maybe just got some extra vessel action when they were passing out the blood vessels. I'm right away changing his diet to a more liver friendly low protein one, and there are some meds you can put them on as well. Gooey might become a vegetarian!

He is still a happy and fast little buddy and doesn't have a lot of the debilitating symptoms that he could. He was flying around his class last night at speeds that I think defy a crunchy, shriveled up liver. From what the internets are telling me, he could be lots, lots worse. So I'm going to just do what we can do to help him, and go forward from there. I think he's going to be fine. How could he not?

18 comments:

vici whisner said...

Wow, wow, wow. Sending good healing thoughts to both you and Gustavo. I know you have worried over him seeing dead people. It is a good thing to find out that it is physical...and a bad thing all at the same time.
Hopefully the Dr's will find a way to make the blood work right.
Veggitarian is not all that bad as you well know.
Keeping my hopes up for an easy fix.

Anonymous said...

exactly! how could he not?
valpig

Celeste said...

Indeed, how could he not? Wishing him (and you) the best tests ever. Veggies rule! And it seems like he'd be able to get whatever it is that doggies get out of protein, from some yummy supplement...

OBay Shelties said...

Just think how much more Amazing he will be when you can figure out how to control it. Poor guy probably just felt awful. It is amazing what they can put up with and still run for us.
Keep us posted and good luck to Gustavo and you.
Bernadette and the shelties

Anonymous said...

those commercial low protein diets are pretty much crap in a can. you might not want to rule out meat, or at least homemade meals. i don't have the exact info, but i'm pretty sure there is some group (yahoo?) for raw feeders with low protein options.
just a thought. we are what we eat, and so are our doggies...
all the best. it sounds like the mystery that is G is starting to unravel.
valpig

Amanda said...

It must be a relief to finally have some answers. I'd wager that all the exercise and love he gets kept him in good shape. I hope he will soon be ghost-free.

Terry A said...

must be a relief on some level to solve that puzzle, and now you can start working on the best way to deal w/it. he can only become more and more fabulousness incarnate as you get it under control. positive vibes & all that.

liz said...

Awww, poor buddy Gooey! But I agree, now at least you know why he sees the dead people. That in itself must give some relief, even if the cause isn't ideal. Looking on the bright side, maybe that means with the right concoctions you could even make the hallucinations a thing of the past?

Best thoughts for the mini Border Collie.

andrea said...

how could he not indeed? thinking and sending best of thoughts ...

Vero said...

Sorry to hear G. is having liver troubles, but glad you are getting help for him!
My little Mia was diagnosed with hepatitis about 9 months ago and we've had her on Denamarin since then along with a homemade diet. Today we got good news in her second ultrasound and bloodwork - she's doing MUCH better, and the doc says agility will be good for her!

Here's a link to subscribe to the "liver dog" yahoo group:

canineliver-d-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

Wishing Mr. G the best!
-Icon Chihuahua girls

team small dog said...

I will be very interested to see how it goes after the ultrasound. This is sort of a rare disorder as far as I can tell. Yorkies are known for having it. Maybe Gustavo is a Yorkie? I am just thinking good thoughts for him and his weird liver blood vessels.

The weirder part is the ammonia in the brain from the liver problem. The more I am learning about this, wow. My poor buddy. No wonder it's hard for him to think sometimes. The ammonia has been making him see things!

He actually just had an ammonia spell. That's what I'm going to call them for now. He was laying next to me on the couch, looked up like he saw a ghost, and wanted to stare at my sweater and twitch his ears. We used to just think, he's funny. Now I'm not sure what's funny and what's an ammonia spell because the outlaw blood vessels are stealing the blood from his liver.

Anonymous said...

Goodness gracious, good thing you pursued this and now have some answers. Sounds like Gustavo is on his way to feeling a whole lot better!

Beth & Lexi

Elf said...

Wow, I'm so glad that you found a reason for the weirdness and I hope the further tests reveal that it's fairly easily treatable. Just, wow. Yorkie, huh? Well, one never knows in those special-mix dogs!

GooseMaverick said...

What an incredible little dog he is! I learned about liver shunts when The Beagle was having seizures when he was a pup. A lot of dogs don't live past puppyhood, Mr. G is one tough cookie. The Beagle ended up at UC Davis, and turned out his liver was "normal" I put him on a raw diet and seizures stopped. Actually my dogs eat better and healthier than I. And sleep on the couch all day. I'm really glad you found this out about him, and wow, what an amazing little dog to carry on as he has.

team small dog said...

This is interesting about the beagle. We are going to Pacific where she can do an ultrasound that will hopefully tell us a lot more, am glad we can do this without going to Davis. Because he doesn't have all the sickness symptoms associated with a shunt and his blood results are very weird, they are thinking the microvascular dysplasia.

I definitely have a lot of research to do, especially about diet if that will help him a lot. But I am trying not to get too far into it until next week, in case more test results and ultrasond show we have to go a different direction. That is good to know that they thought it was poor beagle's liver, and ended up something else entirely.

Cedarfield said...

All good thoughts for Gustavo the Special and for you. I hope this is just a slight glitch on his way forward.

Anonymous said...

My friends sheltie has microvascular liver shunts. As soon as she went on meds and changed her to a low protein diet she was a new dog. Hardest part is keeping others from offering protein treats at trials. One of her favorite agility treats is cooked carrots. One of her bad trigger foods is peanut butter. Dog is now 6 years old, shiny coat and very sassy.

Foley Monster and Pocket said...

We'll be saying a prayer for the little man