Willis was bought from John and Pamela Martin of Shadow Creek Kennel, Pittsburg, Kansas
as part of a pair for breeding by Michael and Georgia Stampley of Mississippi. Cassie, a
female, was bought at the same time for breeding. The Stampleys, a military family, dearly
loved their two pet Yorkies and wanted to never be “Yorkieless”. This pair involved two
different sets of parents which the Martins sold to the Stampleys to start their breeding
career. Before too long, it was obvious that Willis was not well and the vet decided on bile
acid tests which indicated a possibility of PSS (Liver Shunt). Because Cassie came from the
same kennel, it was decided to check her bile acids also. Cassie’s bile acid tests also
indicated a possibility of PSS.
The Martins did refund the price of Willis to the Stampleys even though their contract
stipulates that the dogs must be returned if a genetic problem exists and a replacement will
be given. Obviously, nobody that bonds with their dog for months and months or years will
want to exchange it like it is a sack of potatoes. However on Cassie, they insist that it must
be “something that the Stampleys are feeding”, and they refused to be responsible for a
refund, and only that they would replace the puppy. Many breeders put this on their contract
counting on the buyer bonding to the dog and not wanting to “replace” it.
Both Willis and Cassie were diagnosed with a scintigraphy at the University of Tennessee
and both had an extrahepatic shunt that they were born with (PSS). Dr. Tobias, who is an
expert on liver shunt at the University of Tennessee, states that:
“This is an inherited disease as is clinically proven in several breeds and the sire and dam
of this affected dog should not be used in a breeding program again. It is also highly
recommended that siblings of this affected dog should not be used in a breeding program
either to ensure that they are not potentially throwing the gene that is linked to this disease
as well since they could be carrying the same genetic combination.”


Bile Acid testing and Vaccinations
By Dr Karen Tobias

Bile acids are still the test of choice if performed properly (fasting and then 2 hours after
feeding). While bile acids can increase with any liver problem, they should not be up over
100 because of vaccinations. Ammonia is only sensitive if done as an ammonian tolerance
test (blood ammonia measured 30 minutes after the dog is given ammonia by oral capsule
or by enema); otherwise it can miss dogs with liver disease. BSP is even less sensitive.
None of these tests are specific for shunts- they only detect
liver dysfunction. KMT
Regarding high bile acid after feeding and lower after feeding…
The vet's suggestions were right on- scintigraphy and then possibly surgery
if there's a shunt. The results of bile acid tests are reversed in about
20% of dogs (high fasting, low fed) because either the dog was not fasted
for 12 hours before the first sample or, more likely, the dog had a normal
contraction of its gallbladder in the middle of the night (feeding cause
the gall bladder to contract, making the bile acids go up, but dreaming
about food can cause the gall bladder to contract too!). KMT

Willis After PSS Surgery at the University of Tennessee

Cassie After PSS Surgery at the University of Tennessee


(Left to Right) Karen Foster (Cassie’s Caregiver – Vet Student) Karen is holding Willis.
Colin Anderson (Willis’ Caregiver – Vet Student), and Dr David Francis – holding Cassie

UPDATE 8/13/05

Willis and Cassie had their Liver Shunt surgeries at University of Tennessee in Knoxville on February 17, 2005 when they were 8 1/2 months old. Since their recoveries they have acted like nothing ever happened.  They play and play and play!! Although still "small", they have gained so much weight. Cassie now weighs in at 4 pounds 7 ounces and Willis weighs 5 pounds 4 ounces (and is still technically smaller than Cassie). They are now 1 year and 2 months old.

We re-ran their Bile Acid's in April and both Willis and Cassie's weren't back to normal. We were told to  redo the tests again in June or July. We re-ran the BAT's in July and Cassie's indicated possible MVD. With Liver Shunt surgery, there is a 15% chance of acquired MVD. We knew this going into their surgeries. We will find out more about this in the months to come. For now, Cassie is still on her Hill's L/D and her Lactulose and is VERY healthy and happy!! Willis' BAT's weren't as bad, but weren't normal. Willis is still on Hill's L/D and Lactulose, as well. We are still praying that his BAT's will return to normal. Willis is also VERY healthy and happy, too!!!

I never thought I'd get to watch my babies enjoy their lives like this. They are little miracle babies!! The energy they have is amazing!! I just know that Terri Shumsky is watching over them every step of the way!!

Georgia Stampley


UPDATE: June 2006

Both Willis and Cassie are VERY happy and HEALTHY!! Neither of their BAT’s have returned to normal. We, along with our vets, suspect that they both have “Acquired MVD”. Willis and Cassie remain on their prescription diet and their Lactulose. I receive extremely wonderful guidance from my vets and from the GREAT people in my chat group. I’m very fortunate to have such knowledgeable and caring people in my life!!

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