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Pepsi is my beverage of choice, AND Pepsi is my 3½ year old female Beagle. We got her to help our other beagle get around because he was blind. Pepsi was an excellent little Seeing Eye dog. She guided the other dog around the furniture, and in and out the pet door. She slept with him, and loved him until his death 9 months later. So Pepsi was our little trooper. And she quickly became my best friend.
When Pepsi was about a year and a half old…I took her in to get her shots…you know the regular annual ones….rabies and the others…and then a week later…it looked like she had eaten a WHOLE pot roast. She also had vomited one of her favorite treats….jerky snacks. This was not good. Off to the family veterinarian we went. He did not like the looks of her either. So he took some blood work, and put her on the usual medications: Rimadyl, and Prednisone. The blood work came back with low PCV, and very high white blood cell counts. Her liver enzymes were off the chart according to the family vet. He offered to refer us to the teaching hospital at Iowa State University, and I declined thinking it would get better. However the next day the ascites (fluid in the belly) was worse. So we went back. He immediately discontinued the prednisone, and I asked to go to ISU. That was on a Friday, and we were at ISU the next Monday.
At ISU the blood chemistry was still terrible. They did a cardiology consult just in case it was her heart…it wasn’t. They did note her liver was small, and did see a shunt on the ultrasound. They put her on a medical management program. I talked with my husband about whether surgery was an option or not. For me surgery for my baby had to be done. The medical management included Lactulose, Neomycin, and Hills LD food. The staff there had not seen a shunt in a beagle before, and normally shunts appear earlier in life. But they learn something new every day.
Two weeks later Pepsi and I returned to ISU. The doctors and surgical staff had decided prior to surgery that a CT scan should be done to assure them there was only one shunt. If that was the case, they would proceed immediately to surgery for placement of an ameroid ring. That’s what they found, and surgery was done. A biopsy was also done, which came back negative for liver disease. Pepsi recovered in ICU for 2 days, without any complications, then spent two more days in regular care, and came home just in time for Christmas 2007. The people at ISU were great, they called me twice a day to tell me how Pepsi was doing, and what they had in mind to do next.
Now one year later Pepsi has been seen a few times at ISU, and the vets are AMAZED. Her liver enzymes are normal, and Bile Acids tests are too, Pre 1 Post 2. Her liver has grown to twice the size pre-surgery. She is now off the LD diet, and medications, and on Mature Adult food of 18% protein. The vets told me they never thought Pepsi would get off the diet because the shunt was so BIG. But she is indeed a miracle beagle dog. The liver shunt was not a death sentence that I thought it was. She made a remarkable recovery.
A grateful Pepsi owner-----Gina