We have good news and bad news. The good news is that Kiko doesn’t have some crazy life-threatening liver disease. The bad news is that Kiko has a liver shunt. It’s basically a blood vessel that diverts blood from the liver. The liver is a blood filtration system. If the blood is diverted, it doesn’t get filtered… and toxins get all over the place where they shouldn’t be. The other problem is that since Kiko has had this shunt since birth, his liver is smaller than it should be for a dog his size. So even if the blood wasn’t being diverted right now, his liver might not be able to handle everything.
There are two options. One is to change Kiko’s diet so that it limits the amount proteins (especially red meat) in his diet. The first few days of the diet change was tough. Kiko was still under the effects of pain medication and since his stomach was upset he wouldn’t eat. And when he did eat, it was a token scrap here or there. We supplemented his food with yogurt, cottage cheese, canned salmon, pumpkin, brocolli. One day he would eat a meal with gusto. The next day he would look at his bowl for a second and walk away. If you’ve ever seen Kiko eat a meal, you know that this is truly troubling behavior. This dog’s one love in life is food and he usually eats like a machine gun. Fast and furious. He’s slowly come around though, and he now is eating with the same passion he had before this incident.
The second option is surgery. If the liver shunt is external, they can basically put a constrictor on the blood vessel. This constrictor will, over a period of 4+ weeks, slowly close the blood vessel and restore normal blood flow to the liver. The reason it takes so long is that suddenly shutting off the shunt would result in serious liver problems. The liver just wouldn’t be able to handle the new blood flow. At least that’s my understanding of it. Most dogs survive this surgery (95%). The only problem here is that it will like cost around $3000 or more. Since we don’t have that kind of money stashed in our mattress, we’ve opted to go with the diet change until we can save up enough money for surgery.
Long story… short. Kiko’s a trooper, and he appears to be doing much better now than he was when we first noticed problems. We still need to watch him like a hawk to make sure he isn’t relapsing, but so far… so good. Fingers crossed and all that.
As for Bentley. His back is still bad. I mean, you can’t slip a disk and expect things to be coming up roses every time you wake up, if you know what I mean. That said, he’s still 100% Bentley. He still manages to make me crack a smile every day. He has about three more weeks of crate time before he can start walking around a bit more. We made a mistake last night and let him stay out of his crate while we were both working upstairs. Bentley let us know his anger at being neglected by peeing on the living room floor. And then he started doing his trademark Bentley “howl” as if to say… “What you gonna do, punk ass?”
I was pissed (pardon the pun) about the piss, but when he started to do his shtick I smiled and took his wobbly ass outside for a proper potty. That dog is too cute to be mad at him for any length of time.
And that concludes this episode of the All My Pugs Update. (Am I the only one that remembers Clarence and the All My Children update?)