Do not take any portion of this web page without permission!
My liver shunt baby is Finnegan, "Finn" for short.
He is a beautiful orange and cream bicolor Persian cat. He lives in Columbus, Ohio with his loving mom and siblings and was born September 2, 2008. He was diagnosed with an extrahepatic liver shunt in early December 2009.
Finn's cellophane band surgery was on December 22, 2009. He had seizures for 3 days and we almost lost him. It was a very sad and scary time. I only had two other cat parents to talk to who had their cat's liver shunt repaired. So little was known about cats and how they react to the surgery at the time. Finn is now recovered from surgery and recently stopped taking Lactulose. He is still on Hills k/d prescription food and has no signs of hepatic encephalopathy.
Finn also has hydrocephalus (water on the brain) which tends to occur in Persians. We were not aware of this prior to surgery. The seizures from the surgery caused the hydrocephalus to fall out of balance - he is now blind due to this. He's been through so much but seems happy, playful and has a voracious appetite, in spite of everything. And of course, he is spoiled rotten. ;-)
There are other liver shunt cats out there who have had surgery and are living long, happy, healthy lives. I hope that sharing Finn's story helps other cat owners struggling with this diagnosis. It does not have to be a death sentence!
Melanie & Finn
Update May 2012:
Finn has recovered very well from his surgery 2.5 years ago. He has been eating regular food for a year now and stopped needing any medications. The greatest piece of news is that his vision has returned! Nothing makes me happier than seeing my boy gaze up into my eyes and know that he sees me once again! His neurologist said that his brain repaired the damage that had occurred. Hooray! Some vets seemed to have started giving anti-seizure medications prior to surgery, the thought being that it will keep the cat from having surgery related seizures. I cannot help but wonder if this had been done with Finn if we could have avoided the traumatic post surgery seizures and long recovery. If you are considering surgery, talk to your vet/surgeon about this approach.