Tiki is our Liver Shunt/MVD Maltese. Her real name is Onyx Mystique. Sounds a lot like “Honest Mistake” if you say it out loud, doesn’t it?

That was our joke because she was such a terror when we brought her home as a puppy. She was a demon dog! She attacked her sisters and bit their feet and played hard for a little ball of white fur. She loved to play and was spoiled rotten. She would bark “Up-Up” when she wanted to be picked up.
It wasn’t a request, it was a command.

When Tiki was 3, she started acting differently. She stopped “talking”. No up-up commands. She started sleeping a lot. She wasn’t playing. She wasn’t herself! I noticed her eyes-fixed at the floor. I wondered if she could see or hear, because she was acting so strangely. We made an appointment with the vet for a checkup the next day. That night she got worse. She was walking down the hall and leaning against the wall. She had never done that before either. The next morning she fell down. We rushed her to the doctors and told them it was like she had eaten a poison lizard or something, but that she wasn’t herself. Not much to go on, but they could tell she was very lethargic at this point.

When we thought about the poison lizard it was like a bell rang. I started researching online for liver disease in Maltese (because the liver detoxifies the body) and came up with Liver Shunt. I called the vets and asked if it could be a shunt. The vet said she would have been dead 2 years ago if it was a shunt. I went back to the computer and researched some more. The more I read, the more I was convinced she had a liver shunt. I found the Liver Shunt and MVD Support Group on Yahoo and joined and asked a few questions, checked the information in the files, and printed a few things, and called the vets office back and told them I wanted blood work checked for liver shunt. They argued, but relented.

We had a rough few weeks after this. Tiki ended up with a referral to a veterinary specialist and they confirmed the shunt. We had a choice of whether to try and repair the shunt or not, and at her age, they thought there was a chance it could be repaired, so we said try. They did the surgery and a liver biopsy. They couldn’t repair her shunt because she had multiple microscopic acquired shunts. The liver biopsy showed she also had MVD. They sent her home after a few days in recovery, with a low protein diet, lactulose and neomycin, and when I asked about the Marin and Denysol, the vet said it might help, and it couldn’t hurt. They said that 2-5 years was average for the lifespan with an inoperable shunt. Devastated doesn’t come close to how we felt. Tiki was the baby. Tiki was the shoulder dog. She was always being held. She slept on Linda’s pillow with her at night. How could we lose Tiki? She was too feisty, too young, too alive, but at that point she was so sick, we wondered if she would recover from the surgery.

Linda set up an intensive care unit in the living room, and slept in her recliner with Tiki in her bed on the floor right next to her. She had to be kept quiet and away from the other dogs. She was weak and sore and bruised and had to be fed with a syringe and nursed back to health. In just a few days she started feeling much better, but we had to get the lactulose adjusted before she could go back to sleeping on Linda’s pillow! She was jumping on and off the furniture after the first week, so she had to be watched or held all the time to keep her from pulling out her stitches.

It is almost a year now since all this happened. Tiki is back on the desk by the computer where she was a year ago. Anyone who goes near her will be attacked (dogs only). Her medical protocol seems to be working well. She is better than ever. She doesn’t get annual vaccinations anymore because it would be detrimental to her health. She has turned into a vegetarian with no problems. She begs for apple and watermelon. It seems as if she has learned to tell time, because she will go to the kitchen and bark when it is time for her to eat if we aren’t in there getting her next meal. She is back to her commands, and we are at her beck and call!


Tiki was born 06/03/04 and this story was written on 1/23/08

Her Moms are Linda Rodman And Beth Beeco