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Who would have believed a simple bet between a twelve year old and her
dad could have such a profound effect on a family, but this particular bet
sure did!   After a scoreless first day of a soccer tournament, my daughter,
Kirby, and her team had been decimated in the first two games.  On a whim,
Kirby bet her dad she could make three goals the next day in exchange for
the Yorkie puppy she had been begging for over two years.  To make a long
story short, with her coach, teammates and their parents encouraging her
by barking as she ran up and down the soccer field, Kirby scored her third
goal of the game with one-minute left to go!  Poor Dad.  There was just no way
to renege on this bet in front of all those kids and their parents! 

Well, Jeter wrapped our hearts around his tiny paw from day one.  The vet
gave him a “clean bill of health.”  His only apparent problem was being
finicky with any food we gave him.  He would eat it a day or two, and then
turn up his nose after that.  Later we found out that it was our first sign
of a possible liver problem.  I believe I went through every quality brand
name food at the pet store with little success. 

Jeter was only six months old when I noticed a little blood in his urine. 
Upon ultrasound, I was told he had a bladder stone.  It was going to cost us
at least $600 to remove the stone, and we were told he might have this
problem repeatedly!  The vet encouraged us to euthanize him.  We chose to
have the bladder stone removed and were determined to make sure he ate
the right prescription diet to keep stones from forming in the future.  Surgery
went well and Jeter was back home with us.  About two weeks later, I awoke to
find Jeter almost comatose.  We raced him to the vet.  Later the vet called to
tell us that Jeter continued to have rolling seizures and again recommended
euthanizing him.  His only alternate suggestion was to take him to a 24-hour
veterinary hospital about an hour away where they would have a better
chance of getting him out of the rolling seizures and perhaps perform surgery,
if that was even an option.  That facility put him on intravenous Phenobarbital
and stabilized him.   They administered a bile acid test and his post B.A.
number was 246 indicating a liver shunt.

During the night Jeter spent in intensive care, I searched the internet
through my tears for some answers.  I found a website with information
about liver shunt in Yorkies.  I started getting immediate help from Terri
Shumsky and Maria Lelinho.  Within a few days, with their encouragement
and guidance, and financial assistance from TSFMLS, I took Jeter to Dr. Karen
Tobias at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville so he would have the best
chance of survival.  It all happened so quickly, and I left with only a few hours’
notice and drove with my 12-year-old daughter 11 hours to Knoxville.

Upon Scintigraphy, it looked like Jeter had one extrahepatic shunt that
would be repairable with the ameroid constrictor.  However, the next day
Dr. Tobias called to say when she opened Jeter, he had multiple shunts
coming out of his liver in one clumped area, which made it “appear” as
one large shunt.   I asked Dr. Tobias why she couldn’t close off those shunts. 
She explained it would have killed him.  The shunts were formed by his own
body to help keep his blood pressure down.   Liver and gallbladder biopsies
were taken on Jeter.  Due to complications, Jeter ended up in ICU for over
a week and we were forced to drive home in tears leaving our precious baby
behind.  The results of his biopsy showed he had multivascular dysplasia
(MVD) and moderate fibrosis.  We expected the diagnosis of MVD, but the
diagnosis of “moderate fibrosis” paralyzed me with fear.  Working in the medical
field, I knew how serious that was.  I felt it was his death sentence.

Jeter had a few rough times those following few months.  He had two more
bouts of rolling seizures, was put on Phenobarbital IV’s in ICU and we nearly
lost him each time.  However, with more education, reading and understanding
of how to handle his physical problems, his last seizure was in October of 2003! 
Jeter is now 4 ½ years old and doing great!

Had it not been for some wonderful, nurturing people I met on chat, especially
Maria Lelinho, I would not have been able to get through the next few months. 
With the prayers, support, love, concern and direction I learned how to deal
with this dreaded disease.  I learned MVD is not necessarily a death sentence. 
Jeter eats a low protein diet, is on a couple of prescriptions and different herbals. 
Jeter sees a traditional vet once a year for blood work, but regularly sees a
holistic vet who administers acupuncture and Chinese herbals.   No one
who meets Jeter can believe he has a serious liver problem.  In fact, it would be
so easy to forget that he is sick and start feeding him things that could harm
him.  However, we monitor his eating and his potty habits closely to give him
the best chance for a long and happy life.  We treasure every minute we have
with Jeter and wouldn’t trade him for the world!  Oh yes…one last lesson learned…
never make a bet with your child unless you are certain you can
pay up because they will win that bet every time!