VCA Berwyn Animal Hospital

Diagnosis and medical management of liver shunts

Portosystemic shunts can be diagnosed via several methods including:

1) Abdominal ultrasound

2) Nuclear scintigraphy

3) Abdominal CT scan

4) Cranial mesenteric arteriograms

Abdominal ultrasound is considered the least invasive. However, it only has approximately 70% sensitivity (ability to diagnose a portosystemic shunt when present). Abdominal CT scan and cranial mesenteric arteriograms require general anesthesia and are costly, but they provide the anatomy of the shunting vessel. Nuclear scintigraphy is considered the gold standard (best test available) test and it is non-invasive. Nonetheless, patients become radioactive for 12-24 hours. This may require an overnight stay in the hospital.

Medical management of liver shunts is done via controlling clinical signs. This is best attained by using a combination of diet, antibiotics and laxatives. Treatment is tailored to each individual patient.

Departments

Diagnostic Imaging, Internal Medicine
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General Practice

We have over 600 animal hospitals in 41 states and 4 Canadian provinces that are staffed by more than 3,000 fully-qualified, dedicated and compassionate veterinarians, with more than 400 being board-certified specialists.

The nationwide VCA family of general practice hospitals give your pet the very best in medical care, providing a full range of general medical and surgical services as well as specialized treatments such as wellness, spay/neuter, advanced diagnostic services (MRI/CT Scan), internal medicine, oncology, ophthalmology, dermatology, cardiology, neurology, boarding, and grooming. Services may vary by location.

Our family of pet hospitals stands out by delivering the greatest resources in order provide the highest quality care available for your pets. By maintaining the highest standards of pet health care available anywhere, we emphasize prevention as well as healing. We provide continuing education programs to our doctors and staff and promote the open exchange of professional knowledge and expertise. And finally, we have established a consistent program of procedures and techniques, proven to be the most effective in keeping pets healthy.

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Emergency Care

Call 708-749-4200 if you have any questions or concern regarding your pet.

We provide emergency care from 8am until 1am seven days a week. We are closed on holidays.

Some symptoms that may indicate your pet may need to be seen on an emergency basis include:

  • Difficulty Breathing and/or pale or blue gums or tongue
  • Heavy Bleeding - apply direct pressure to the wound
  • Major Trauma - if your pet has fallen, been hit by a car or has multiple wounds
  • Gaping Wounds
  • Collapse/Loss of Consciousness
  • Paralysis
  • Lacerations and Bite Wounds
  • Poisoning
  • Infections - or if your pet suddenly gets worse while on medication for an infection
  • Difficulty Urinating - frequent attempts to urinate that don't produce a normal urine flow could indicate infection or obstruction - especially in male cats!
  • Eye Problems - redness, tearing, pain, squinting or eyelid spasms
  • Prolonged or multiple episodes of vomiting or diarrhea

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