Liver Shunt Diet For Dogs


Will My Dog Always Have To Eat A Special Food And Take Medication

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Managing liver disease in dogs is a complex process, and regular reassessments will ensure that your dogs healing is moving in the right direction. You will monitor appetite, activity level, weight, and body condition. In addition, your veterinarian will periodically monitor liver-related blood tests to evaluate the effectiveness of the treatment plan and the course of healing. Many dogs with liver disease can discontinue medications and eat regular life-stage maintenance food once their liver issue is resolved. That said, it all depends on the specific diagnosis. Dogs with chronic liver disease must generally eat a therapeutic diet and take some liver-support medication long-term. Your veterinarian will work with you to help you make the best decisions on behalf of your dog with liver disease.

Recipes For Dogs With Liver Disease

The following recipes are the property of and are meant as a courtesy to our visitors. The recipes ARE NOT public domain and not permitted to be shared anywhere on the internet or copied and pasted on anyones website or shared in eBooks, etc. without the written consent of

If your dog has elevated liver enzymes which could be due to ammonia in the blood or he or she is vomiting bile, this recipe is not ideal. Detoxing your dog first is the best thing to do for a dog with any type of liver issues PERIOD! This recipe can possibly be slowly incorporated later. See the link at the beginning of the page for immediate guidance.

Again, do NOT feed this recipe if your dog has copper storage disease or hepatic encephalopathy. If youre not sure, ask your dogs vet if your dog has excessive amounts of copper in the liver. If you still dont know, treat your dog like he is storing copper and use the above link for immediate help a private consultation and a personal protocol including a meal recipe for your dog.

Most often traditional veterinarians will want to place a dog with liver disease on a prescription diet such as Hills LD. We do not recommend these types of diets at all. Homemade recipes for dogs are good for the health of dogs.

**NOTE:Since brown rice contains 50% more arsenic than white rice, there is a method that you can use to significantly reduce arsenic levels in any rice if you choose to: See Dr. Lees article here.

Diet For Dogs With Liver Shunts

Giving a proper diet to your dog with liver shunt is extremely important.

Since the liver is responsible for removing toxic byproducts arising from protein metabolism, a liver that is not functioning properly will cause wastes and ammonia to accumulate in the dog’s body.

For this reason, many vets suggest giving a protein-restricted diet to dogs with liver shunts.

However, according to Dr. Olson , proteins themselves are not the culprit. It is the ammonia that proteins produce that is the problem.

What it means for dogs with liver shunts is, they should be given high-quality, highly-digestible animal protein sources that produce the least amount of ammonia.

Examples of such protein sources include:

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Chicken And Salmon Recipe For Dogs With Liver Disease

Again, if your dog has elevated liver enzymes which may be due to excess ammonia levels in the blood or he or she is vomiting bile, then detoxing your dog first is the best thing to do for any form of liver issues PERIOD! The recipe may be used later once your dog is stabilized. Use our link above for immediate help in stabilizing your dogs condition.

What Do You Feed A Dog With Liver Disease

How I Created Tessa

You should feed your dog with liver disease a diet recommended by your veterinarian. This may feature a particular food or prescription food. You may also choose to go with homemade food. The right quantity and type of protein are important. Organ meats can be especially bad for dogs with liver disease. Proteins based on eggs, dairy, or plants are often more successful for such dogs. Focus on eggs, small fish such as cod, sardines, and salmon, and poultry.

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How Successful Is Surgical Treatment

Surgery provides the best chance for a long, healthy life in most dogs with extrahepatic shunts. If ameroid constrictor placement is performed, survival rate is over 95%. Many dogs are clinically normal within four to eight weeks following surgery. A small percentage of dogs will develop multiple acquired shunts and must be managed with a protein-restricted diet and lactulose for life.

Development Of Congenital Liver Shunt In Dogs

Congenital liver shunt in dogs can be “intrahepatic shunt” or “extrahepatic shunt” . Both of these conditions are formed while the puppy’s body is developing inside the mother.

When a dog fetus is developing inside the mother’s uterus, it requires the help of the mother’s liver for liver functions, such as detoxification, protein production, and storage of glucose. Dog fetuses do not have a functional liver until the end of gestation.

Toward the beginning of gestation, there is a “naturally-occurring” liver shunt that delivers blood through the dog’s liver directly to the heart.

In normal circumstances, the large liver shunt closes down shortly before birth so that the puppy can be born with a fully functional liver that works on its own. When the shunt does not seal closed when the puppy is born, the puppy is said to have an “intrahepatic shunt”.

An “extrahepatic shunt” occurs when there is a genetic abnormaly in which the blood flowing to the liver is re-routed around the liver instead of the blood going through the liver. This also occurs in-vitro when the puppy fetus is developing inside the mother.

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Portosystemic Shunts And Hepatic Encephalopathy

A portosystemic shunt allows portal blood to bypass the liver. The liver does not receive the nutrition it needs, resulting in liver atrophy. Nutrients and other compounds absorbed from the intestines do not undergo hepatic metabolism or detoxification and instead travel directly into the systemic circulation. Compounds, e.g., ammonia derived from the nitrogen in protein and normally detoxified to urea in the liver, as well as bacteria, endotoxins, and aromatic amino acids, cause adverse effects on other systems in the body:1,2

  • Due to effects of these compounds on the brain, portosystemic shunts are the main cause of hepatic encephalopathy , causing signs such as lethargy, seizures, ataxia, and changes in behavior. In cats, ptyalism and copper-colored irises are common signs.
  • Vague gastrointestinal signs, e.g., vomiting and diarrhea, may be seen.
  • Elevated levels of ammonia and uric acid in the urine may result in urate urolithiasis.

Surgical ligation of a congenital shunt is generally the treatment of choice. However, some pets with congenital shunts are poor surgical candidates, the owners decline surgery, or surgery is not fully successful. In these cases, in pets prior to surgery, and in pets with acquired shunts, targeted nutrition may be utilized as part of management.3,6

Is Coconut Oil Good For Dogs With Liver Disease

Liver Shunts in Dogs and Cats with Dr. Chick Weisse

In addition, Dr. Pema Melu, DVM, of Holistic Veterinary Healing in Germantown, MD, explains that medium-chain fatty acids, like coconut oil, help with physical and digestive ailments because they are âdirectly absorbed in the GI tract and go directly to the liver where they are metabolized into utilizable energy

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What A Liver Shunt Is

A portosystemic shunt or liver shunt is a disorder where the normal flow of blood, to and through the liver, is markedly reduced or even absent. Normally, blood returning from the puppy’s digestive tract is routed to the liver through the portal vein. The blood flows through the liver and then exits the liver joining the venous blood flowing back to the heart. A liver shunt is a blood vessel that connects the portal vein with the main systemic blood stream. This causes the blood to bypass the liver.

When the puppy is just a fetus, the fetus’ blood is carried from its body to the mother’s and back again through the umbilical cord. The placenta is where the fetal blood and the mother’s blood interact although they never actually comingle. Nutrients from the mother’s system are passed to the fetus and waste products from the fetus are taken up by the mother and processed through her kidneys and liver. The mother’s liver then serves as the fetus’ liver since the fetal liver is not yet capable of performing many important functions.

When the puppy is born, the umbilical cord is severed. Shortly after birth, the ductus venosus contracts, constricts, and closes. Once this vessel is closed off, the newborn pup’s blood is forced to pass through the now developed liver. If the ductus venosus fails to close, then a portion of blood will continue to be shunted around the liver through the still patent ductus venosus.

Low Protein Veggie Cakes

This recipe cuts back on protein and focuses more on green ingredients. Youll find a number of veggies in this recipe that provide carbs, fiber, and additional nourishment as well.


  • 1 cup of mixed vegetables
  • 6 tablespoons of salt-free chicken broth.
  • 2 and ½ cup of whole wheat flour.
  • 1 and ½ cup of cold water
  • Preparation

  • Bring your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit for preheating.
  • Cook all your vegetables and mash or puree them.
  • Add chicken broth to the veggie mix and then add flour.
  • Now steadily add cold water and mix until you form a dough.
  • Flatten out the dough and cut into smaller portion. Lay out these portions onto a baking tray.
  • Place the tray in the oven and bake the dough for 25 minutes.
  • Cool the cakes before you serve them or store them.
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    What Is The Treatment For A Portosystemic Shunt

    Dogs with portosystemic shunts are usually stabilized with special diets and medications, which attempt to reduce the amount of toxins that are produced and absorbed in the large intestines. Dogs that are severely ill may require intravenous fluids to stabilize blood sugar, an enema to remove intestinal toxins before they are absorbed and medications, such as diazepam to stop seizures.

    The most common medical treatment regime includes:

    • Diet Change. The goal is to reduce the amount of protein in the diet and feed only high quality, highly digestible protein diets.
    • Lactulose. Administering this sugar changes the pH in the large intestines, which decreases the absorption of ammonia and other toxins and makes the intestinal environment unfavorable for toxin-producing bacteria.
    • Antibiotics. In some cases, antibiotics are used to alter the bacterial population in the intestines, and to reduce intestinal bacterial overgrowth.

    So What Do I Feed My Dog

    Liver Shunt Maltese: How is it treated?

    what is the ideal diet that will keep your dogs liver and kidneys healthy for life?Let me help you with what foods to feed your dog.

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    If your dog needs immediate helpThe statements in this page have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The advice and suggested products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease

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    What Is Canine Liver Disease

    The name introduces the disease quite well. CLD affects the functioning of a dogs liver in various ways. Some cases are mild and only slow down the liver. Others can be more serious and may even result in liver failure. CLD is usually terminal, meaning that the disease continues to become worse. Fortunately, being able to spot the disease on time and making an effort to fight it can save or extend your dogs life.

    The liver is responsible for keeping the body free from external waste and toxins. These toxins enter the body through the food that your dog eats. Normally, they arent a big problem since the liver regularly flushes them out. However, a dog with CLD will have a poorly functioning liver. As a result, their liver wont be able to expel waste and toxins effectively. This leads to a buildup of harmful substances in the body that can be life threating in the long run.

    The liver also produces bile a substance that aids in the bodys digestive system. A poorly functioning liver also means that your dogs digestive system wont be able to break down food effectively.

    How Your Pups Diet Should Change With Diagnosis

    What to feed a dog with liver problems? The answer is often a fresh food diet that is low in phosphorus and moderate in protein. It should contain antioxidants and omega fats . A vitamin deficiency test will help pinpoint areas in which your dogs dietary plan needs to improve. The resulting food should be easily delivered and extremely palatable dogs with liver disease often have decreased appetite. Regulated dog treats may be factored into your dogs daily caloric intake. You should not feed leftovers from your meals to your dog with liver disease.

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    Diagnosis Of Liver Shunts In Dogs

    Your veterinarian will conduct a physical examination, and will need your dog’s medical history. Be sure to relate any symptoms your dog has been experiencing, along with any behavioral changes. Your veterinarian may also ask about your dog’s eating habits, or if they may have come into contact with new animals or places in order to narrow down the possible problem.

    If your veterinarian suspects a liver shunt is occurring, they will conduct several tests, including blood tests, a urinalysis, and liver function tests that measure bile acids. These may be followed by imaging tests, such as an ultrasound, X-rays, CT scan, or nuclear scintigraphy. A portography test uses a special dye to help detect an issue with the liver and surrounding blood vessels. In many cases, a suspected case of a liver shunt is confirmed during surgery.

    Liver shunts can be expensive to treat. If you suspect your dog has liver shunts or is at risk, start searching for pet insurance today. Brought to you by Pet Insurer, Wag! Wellness lets pet parents compare insurance plans from leading companies like PetPlan and Trupanion. Find the pawfect plan for your pet in just a few clicks!

    A Number Of Clinical Studies Recently Performed At The Rvc Have Been Published But The Evidence Base For The Management Of Animals With A Congenital Portosystemic Shunt Particularly Cats Remains Weak There Is No Overall Consensus As To The Optimum Therapy Although The Probability Of Survival Is Lower In Dogs That Are Not Treated Surgically

    Liver Disease Problems In Dogs Treatment & Homemade Recipe

    There is a sparse evidence base and no consensus upon which to choose which medical therapies are most beneficial, or when and how they should be given, and successful treatment can be challenging. Rather than relying on a single specialist to find the best tailored treatment for each patient at the RVC we work hard to bring in expertise from related disciplines right from the start with the aim of bringing about improved outcomes for the animals. Listen in to the daily discussions that they regularly debate together when faced with these complex CPSS cases:

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    Portosystemic Shunts Can Be Congenital Or Acquired

    Congenital PSS is the most common form in dogs, representing 80% of the cases. This means the dog was born with the liver shunt. The abnormal vessels can go through the liver directly without allowing the blood into smaller vessels to filter out the toxins, or the vessel can be outside the liver altogether.

    Congenital PSS located outside the liver is more commonly diagnosed in dogs under 1 year of age. Small and toy breeds are more commonly affected, including Maltese, Cairn terrier, mini and toy Poodles, miniature Schnauzer, Yorkie, Lhasa Apso, Bichon, Shih Tzu, Havanese, and Pekingese.

    Congenital PSS located inside the liver is more common in large breed dogs including German Shepherd, Golden Retriever, Doberman, Labrador, Irish setter, Samoyed, Old English Sheepdog, and Irish Wolfhound. Aussies and Australian cattle dogs are also over-represented.

    Acquired shunts make up the other 20% of cases. These shunts most commonly develop as a result of chronic high blood pressure in the portal vein. This high blood pressure causes small vessels to reopen that should remain closed after birth. These vessels are typically located outside of the liver near the kidneys. Liver cirrhosis and liver vessel malformations are the other common causes of acquired PSS.

    It’s A Complex Balancing Act

    These minerals do not work by themselves but work only in relation to each other. Copper and zinc are two other minerals that work in direct relation to each other. Diet Solution:The only way you can guarantee that you are creating a state of homeostasis in your dogs body at all times is for the nutrients, especially minerals, to come from a REAL FOOD source, not the man made inorganic minerals offered to them through commercial pet foods or isolated ingredients in multi-vitamin/mineral supplements.“After reading your material, I am feeling like the most horrible pet parent imaginable right now. Grain free! Healthy! Look at the pictures of fruits and vegetables on the bag! Wow, have I ever been duped!”

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    Prognosis For Liver Shunts In Dogs

    Approximately one-third of dogs with liver shunts can be successfully managed with dietary changes and medications, according to Dr. Karen Tobias, professor of small animal soft tissue surgery and a board-certified surgeon at the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine.

    Dogs who have liver shunts that are located outside of the liver and that are surgically corrected using ameroid constrictors or cellophane bands have the best prognosis, with around 85 percent being clinically normal several months after surgery, according to Tobias. In comparison, dogs with shunts that are located within the liver have a greater risk of complications although many still do very well after surgery.

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