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I would never buy another maltese (or yorkie for that matter) without having the results of bile acid tests. I personally think that a breeder who demands that their dogs are healthy and therefore don't need this test is being closed minded. While that may very well be the case, what would be the harm in having the extra piece of mind. The bile acid test is the best indicator of possible liver shunt/MVD without having to opt for an invasive option, such as a biopsy. And, a blood panel would not be enough for me as we have seen other dogs with normal blood levels (ALT) and they still have high bile acids. There are several great breeders out there, I would say to keep looking until you find one that is willing to work with your needs. After all, YOU are the one that has the responsibility of dealing with this once the puppy leaves the breeders hands. And once you get attached to a maltese, there is no giving them up should they become sick one day, or "trading" them for a healthy pup. I would say most everyone just deals with the heartache and takes care of their baby.
 

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QUOTE (Nikki's Mom @ Jul 14 2008, 02:16 PM) index.php?act=findpost&pid=605275
QUOTE (Lori @ Jul 14 2008, 05:11 PM) index.php?act=findpost&pid=605269
After reading this thread, I'm a little confused as to whether or not you should insist on a bile liver test BEFORE bringing your puppy home. Can somebody clear this up for me? I have been in touch with Bea Ane's Maltese and when I asked her if she did this test, she told me that she doesn't need to because her dogs are healthy and she wouldn't sell a sick pup.

Thanks.[/B]

I would ask that the bile acid test be done before I purchased the puppy. No one can tell whether a puppy has a liver shunt or MVD unless the dog is tested, no matter how healthy the line seems to be.
[/B][/QUOTE]

I also agree with this and BrookeB676. As JMM pointed out a few posts earlier, a simple blood chemistry panel may show normal ALT levels even if the dog has MVD/shunt. MVD does not necessarily mean a "sick pup", either. Many of them lead normal, asymptomatic lives well into their teens. Its estimated by Dr. Center that approximately 60% of maltese have MVD. JMM posted the reasons its important to have a baseline test while your pup is young (before you bring them home preferably) in this thread or another. The goal is to identify liver shunt before getting a puppy and the bile acid test along with protein c is the only way to inexpensively rule out liver shunt.

I hope that helps clear it up.
 

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I totally agree with what everyone else is saying. I think that it is almost a must this day and age with the shunts baring its nasty head to do the test. It does not harm the pup. I always wait until the puppy is at least 11 weeks old to do the test. That way they are normally heavy enough to go over night without eating.
 

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Thank you for all of your responses and for clearing this up for me. As I mentioned, I have been in contact with Bea Ane's Maltese regarding her puppies. After reading all of this info. on the need for a bile acid test, I emailed her again and told her that I would only take a puppy home if they were tested first -regardless of whether or not they were showing any symptoms. I asked her whether she would be willing to have the test done at MY expense. Here's her response:

I called my Vet and they said you would be wasting your money. I guess you better try some where else. Best of luck in your search.............b

Hmmm.....I am very shocked that she wouldn't have the pup tested -regardless of whether or not it was a "waste" of money. After all, it was MY money that was being "wasted". Clearly, I will be looking elsewhere for a pup. I am so glad that I found this site to educate me and I thank you all for sharing your experiences with me-good and bad.
 

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QUOTE (Lori @ Jul 15 2008, 11:51 AM) index.php?act=findpost&pid=605702
Thank you for all of your responses and for clearing this up for me. As I mentioned, I have been in contact with Bea Ane's Maltese regarding her puppies. After reading all of this info. on the need for a bile acid test, I emailed her again and told her that I would only take a puppy home if they were tested first -regardless of whether or not they were showing any symptoms. I asked her whether she would be willing to have the test done at MY expense. Here's her response:

I called my Vet and they said you would be wasting your money. I guess you better try some where else. Best of luck in your search.............b

Hmmm.....I am very shocked that she wouldn't have the pup tested -regardless of whether or not it was a "waste" of money. After all, it was MY money that was being "wasted". Clearly, I will be looking elsewhere for a pup. I am so glad that I found this site to educate me and I thank you all for sharing your experiences with me-good and bad.[/B]
Kudos to you for being so patient and extremely responsible in purchasing your new maltese baby. Not to worry, there are so many great maltese breeders out there with puppies available now that would be willing to work with you. I really admire your persistence and understanding how important these things are with this particular breed. I can tell you that I was not this way when I purchased my first yorkie five years ago! While there is no guarantee that with all the tests in the world that your baby will be 100% healthy, it sure does give you a much better chance. After all, who wants to play russian roulette when it comes to purchasing a puppy companion.
 

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Discussion Starter #66
QUOTE (Lori @ Jul 15 2008, 12:51 PM) index.php?act=findpost&pid=605702
Thank you for all of your responses and for clearing this up for me. As I mentioned, I have been in contact with Bea Ane's Maltese regarding her puppies. After reading all of this info. on the need for a bile acid test, I emailed her again and told her that I would only take a puppy home if they were tested first -regardless of whether or not they were showing any symptoms. I asked her whether she would be willing to have the test done at MY expense. Here's her response:

I called my Vet and they said you would be wasting your money. I guess you better try some where else. Best of luck in your search.............b

Hmmm.....I am very shocked that she wouldn't have the pup tested -regardless of whether or not it was a "waste" of money. After all, it was MY money that was being "wasted". Clearly, I will be looking elsewhere for a pup. I am so glad that I found this site to educate me and I thank you all for sharing your experiences with me-good and bad.[/B]
Lori,

I know of two pups available, one male and one female, 16 wks. old, champion sire and dam, they have been bile acid tested already (and got good results). Both the sire and dam have been bile acid tested, too. Feel free to PM me if you would like further details.

MaryH
 

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Across the board, most veterinarians in the US are going to tell you it is a waste of $. I consider my vet a very well educated man. When I brought up Dr. Center, he had no idea who she was. His lab book (a new one) did not list the Protein C. He had not heard of it either. I am on my daughter's snail dial up computer, so I am not looking up much. I get the feeling that the Protein C isn't a new test, but one that got thrown away awhile back. Mary correct anything I am saying if it's wrong.
Most vets believe that testing the pups for liver shunt or MVD is going to come out normal 99% of the time. So, they think it is a waste of your money to do so. Vets in my area don't see very many people being proactive in the health of their dogs. Especially now with the economy crashing. If it's not something you have to have, people are not putting out the money for it. Puppies are not selling right now. Especially male puppies. I have, now with the new puppies, 5 males that need homes. I know of several breeders with puppies available right now. So, in light of all of this, veterinarians are not wanting to do testing that in most cases would be negative. We all know that it can show up at any time in any ones lines. Breeder's do listen to their veterinarians. And that is what Bea is doing. Her vet does't think it important and Bea is following his/her advise.
One area people are not looking at is the trauma we are doing to these puppies at 10 to 12 weeks old. They are being held down and a needle is stuck in their little leg, not once but twice. It hurts, they are scared, it causes trauma. I know this is trivial in comparison to them having liver shunt show up later. As the breeder of Maltese I do take the responsibility of what I produce. In some ways it makes me be very embarressed to whelp puppies, but I like to show dogs and the only way I can afford a dog is to produce it myself.
We've come a long way in the way we take care of pets now.
Tina
 

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My .02. I don't mean to offend, but I have my opinion.

Despite the extra cost and stress, I would insist on a bile acid test before I purchased another Maltese puppy from a breeder. Perhaps some breeders and vets think it is a waste of money and is too much stress for a 12 week old puppy, but I would want to know asap if the puppy had a shunt. Shouldn't the breeder and the vet want to know as soon as possible if a puppy has a shunt? Of course no test is 100% perfect and a shunt can be acquired later on, but we all know that Liver Shunt and MVD are genetic medical issues for Maltese. Approximately 3 months after purchase, the owner usually takes the pup in for a spay/neuter and usually gets bloodwork done pre op. If the pup has abnormal liver values, a bile acid test is usually done. So we're talking about a difference of three months, in stressing the pup.

Perhaps it all comes down to deciding who really wants to know if the pup is okay, and when do they want to know it, and who ends up being responsible to care for a pup who has liver shunt or MVD.
 

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QUOTE (Tina @ Jul 16 2008, 02:24 PM) index.php?act=findpost&pid=606219
I get the feeling that the Protein C isn't a new test, but one that got thrown away awhile back. Mary correct anything I am saying if it's wrong.[/B]
Actually, Tina, the Protein C test is a fairly new test. It is a human test that was modified by Cornell University and first used in early 2006 to test dogs who were suffering from aflotoxin poisoning (related to the Diamond Pet Food recall). Here's a link to that issue and the article talks about the Protein C test.

http://www.news.cornell.edu/stories/Jan06/....dying.ssl.html

QUOTE
Most vets believe that testing the pups for liver shunt or MVD is going to come out normal 99% of the time. So, they think it is a waste of your money to do so.[/B]
As those of us who routinely test our Maltese know, the vets saying this are wrong. My vet, a Papillon breeder, is totally in synch with bile acid testing because of the known prevalence of liver issues in certain small breed dogs.

QUOTE
One area people are not looking at is the trauma we are doing to these puppies at 10 to 12 weeks old. They are being held down and a needle is stuck in their little leg, not once but twice. It hurts, they are scared, it causes trauma.[/B]
Having been present during the blood draws for more than 20 dogs ranging in age from 7 weeks to 12 years old, I promise you that I've never seen a dog react any differently than when they are getting vaccinations.

QUOTE
As the breeder of Maltese I do take the responsibility of what I produce. In some ways it makes me be very embarressed to whelp puppies, but I like to show dogs and the only way I can afford a dog is to produce it myself.[/B]
Tina, you are knowledgeable, act responsibily, and obviously care tremendously for your dogs. No need for you to be embarrassed about anything!

MaryH
 

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The trauma of a blood draw at 12 weeks compared to
LS surgery later is miniscule. Vets who are not educated
in this area should not be taken at their word. Breeders who
are on forums and keep up with the problems in their breed
know vets don't always know it all when it comes to every
breed and disease, disorder and inherited problems.
 

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QUOTE (Tina @ Jul 16 2008, 01:24 PM) index.php?act=findpost&pid=606219
Across the board, most veterinarians in the US are going to tell you it is a waste of $. I consider my vet a very well educated man. When I brought up Dr. Center, he had no idea who she was. His lab book (a new one) did not list the Protein C. He had not heard of it either. I am on my daughter's snail dial up computer, so I am not looking up much. I get the feeling that the Protein C isn't a new test, but one that got thrown away awhile back. Mary correct anything I am saying if it's wrong.
Most vets believe that testing the pups for liver shunt or MVD is going to come out normal 99% of the time. So, they think it is a waste of your money to do so. Vets in my area don't see very many people being proactive in the health of their dogs. Especially now with the economy crashing. If it's not something you have to have, people are not putting out the money for it. Puppies are not selling right now. Especially male puppies. I have, now with the new puppies, 5 males that need homes. I know of several breeders with puppies available right now. So, in light of all of this, veterinarians are not wanting to do testing that in most cases would be negative. We all know that it can show up at any time in any ones lines. Breeder's do listen to their veterinarians. And that is what Bea is doing. Her vet does't think it important and Bea is following his/her advise.
One area people are not looking at is the trauma we are doing to these puppies at 10 to 12 weeks old. They are being held down and a needle is stuck in their little leg, not once but twice. It hurts, they are scared, it causes trauma. I know this is trivial in comparison to them having liver shunt show up later. As the breeder of Maltese I do take the responsibility of what I produce. In some ways it makes me be very embarressed to whelp puppies, but I like to show dogs and the only way I can afford a dog is to produce it myself.
We've come a long way in the way we take care of pets now.
Tina[/B]
Interesting how vet opinions differ so dramatically from one another. While I am not a breeder, and therefore do not have to worry about spending additional money to test my pups, I wanted to add my thoughts in case anyone comes to read this post and interprets possible inaccurate information. I take a strong interest in this particular subject as I have had to read a lot and learn a lot because of our tests with Louis.

I think it is quite the contrary from what you are saying, as in fact, many pups will have elevated bile acids (not normal) even though they actually don't have shunt. Hence why it is estimated 50-60% of maltese have MVD (although I think that sounds a little high and am not quoting that number specifically, the point is that MVD is quite common and would be assumed with high bile acids if no shunt is found).

Also, having a bile acid test performed on a pup doesn't neccesarily mean you have to rely on the Pro C test that your vet hasn't heard of. That just happens to be the least invasive way to assume your pup does not have shunt. Other options that a vet may recommend include a biopsy, ultrasound, or a scintigraphy. All have their pros/cons. I just bring this up because you mix Dr. Center and the Pro C test in the same conversation as the bile acid test. I'm not sure anyone is discussing the reliability or neccesity of the Pro C test at this point.

I would think that in a hurting economy, vets would be even more willing to perform any test that a patient would want. While I would have to agree that you could assume people may not be as proactive in the health of their dogs due to the economy, that doesn't mean that breeders shouldn't be proactive when they are selling pups. I'm also not trying to suggest that vets are greedy, but I certainly wouldn't expect a vet to discourage a test that a dog owner would want, if it gives the owner piece of mind and the vet some additional cash. The original poster offered to pay for the bild acid test to be performed, which seems completely reasonable to me.
 

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I do want to add my experience with vets in my town in this thread. I was and I strongly say WAS seeing a vet that had no clue about liver shunts and bile acids except how to preform the test, did not want to do anything out of their way to get all my adults tested, and when I had my very first test done they had the wrong name on the results. Not to mention their was nine different vets at this hospital. So I changed vets.

In my interviewing of new vets one of the very first questions was their opinion on Liver Shunts and about Dr Center if they knew of her. He began to tell me things that I had learned through the Internet and my mentors, told me where Dr Center is located and so on and so forth.

The point I am trying to make here is, I do not live in a small town. It is not a big city by any means but not a small town. And there were two different clinics with different views on liver shunt and testing. Some vets go above and beyond their call by learning what they can about the dogs and what is going on. While some sit and spin their wheels. And I know for a fact first hand that my former vet was spinning their wheels.
 

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Discussion Starter #75
I don't think we should blame the vets who are advising against doing bile acid tests in all cases. Looking at the big picture, there is only a very very small percentage of breeds who are born with liver issues. In the largest percentage of breeds, testing puppies will produce normal results because they are breeds don't have genetic liver issues. As educated owners we should be sharing our knowledge of our breed with our vets because our vets can't possibly keep current on every issue and every development in every breed. It's what our vets choose to do with the knowledge that should be why we decide to continue using our vet or find a new one. And there really are vets out there who will try to help their breeder clients save money. Some vets are also breeders/exhibitors and they know first hand the costs involved in developing and maintaining a solid responsible breeding program. Of those vet, some (mine for one) are very generous with discounting their charges for their breeder clients. By giving a break to a breeder client a vet helps the breeder to continue to be able to afford to breed and show good sound dogs and in return if the breeder is selling some of his or her pets locally the vet may pick up some new clients.

MaryH
 

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QUOTE
Nikki's Mom wrote: Perhaps it all comes down to deciding who really wants to know if the pup is okay, and when do they want to know it, and who ends up being responsible to care for a pup who has liver shunt or MVD.[/B]
I think you are right with this one sentence. It is something to think about.

All I was pointing out is that Bea is following her veterinarian's advice. I was pointing out that "general" (meaning not specialized) veterinarians think about this issue in very different ways. Even in the same clinic.
 

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QUOTE (Tina @ Jul 17 2008, 12:21 AM) index.php?act=findpost&pid=606591
Nikki's Mom wrote: Perhaps it all comes down to deciding who really wants to know if the pup is okay, and when do they want to know it, and who ends up being responsible to care for a pup who has liver shunt or MVD.[/B]
I think you are right with this one sentence. It is something to think about.

All I was pointing out is that Bea is following her veterinarian's advice. I was pointing out that "general" (meaning not specialized) veterinarians think about this issue in very different ways. Even in the same clinic.


[/B][/QUOTE]
Thank you for clarifying this for me Tina. I was at a loss. And that is why I said what I said about the vets doing things different ways. Some vets obviously do not see the need for the testing. I do not agree with them. But there are those that do and we can not hold it against them for following what their vet suggested.

I do want to add that I was already about ready to change my vet before the incident with the bile acids test. Because of my Ezekiel. We all remember him. And now when I think of it when I told the vet to do what they had to do to find out what was wrong with him in the beginning they did not do the bile acids test. They ran test and I got results. But at that time I did not know anything about the test or liver shunt in general. I had just gotten on a computer for the first time in my whole life. And now hind site 20/20 I truly believe my baby had a shunt even though they said no he did not. He had all of the signs. He produced crystals so bad they had to re route his urethra and litterly made him a vagina. Then he got to feeling better because he was passing the crystals. But not for long. Four short months later he took his last breathe because he blew every disk in his lower back and they said there was nothing we could do but try and keep him as comfortable as possible but did not know if we could even do that. So we made the decision and he went to the bridge.

Now I have a question. Mary, Tina, maybe one of you or someone can answer this. He was producing those crystals for a reason. He showed every sign of a shunt. If he did have the shunt and would have had the surgery wouldn't the crystals have stopped forming and he would have had the padding around his disk that the crystals had taken away? Or am I way off base here on this. I don't know. I guess I just really want answers. And I probably will never get any.

Sorry guys for taking up so much time. I do want to say this before I end this post. All Breeders do things for certain reasons. I test my dogs and take top care of my dogs because I do not want to produce another baby that has to go through what my Ezekiel did and I do not want a innocent loving family suffer the way I still suffer to this day.

OK again I am sorry for taking up so much time.
 

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QUOTE (Tina @ Jul 17 2008, 01:21 AM) index.php?act=findpost&pid=606591
Nikki's Mom wrote: Perhaps it all comes down to deciding who really wants to know if the pup is okay, and when do they want to know it, and who ends up being responsible to care for a pup who has liver shunt or MVD.[/B]
I think you are right with this one sentence. It is something to think about.

All I was pointing out is that Bea is following her veterinarian's advice. I was pointing out that "general" (meaning not specialized) veterinarians think about this issue in very different ways. Even in the same clinic.


[/B][/QUOTE]

Yes, I've come across two vets personally who were clueless about Liver shunt and MVD. The most important issue is the health of the dog. If a buyer is willing to pay for the bile acid test, then there is no reason it shouldn't be done. Find a vet who will do it. But even if a buyer doesn't want to pay, I believe that Maltese breeders should have this test done before they sell the puppies. If their vet won't work with them then they should find another vet. It's the dog's health that is the most important thing here, not the vet's opinion. I respect veterinarians, but they do not make decisions FOR me and never will.
 

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QUOTE (Clabec Maltese @ Jul 17 2008, 12:55 AM) index.php?act=findpost&pid=606600
Now I have a question. Mary, Tina, maybe one of you or someone can answer this. He was producing those crystals for a reason. He showed every sign of a shunt. If he did have the shunt and would have had the surgery wouldn't the crystals have stopped forming and he would have had the padding around his disk that the crystals had taken away? Or am I way off base here on this. I don't know. I guess I just really want answers. And I probably will never get any.

Sorry guys for taking up so much time. I do want to say this before I end this post. All Breeders do things for certain reasons. I test my dogs and take top care of my dogs because I do not want to produce another baby that has to go through what my Ezekiel did and I do not want a innocent loving family suffer the way I still suffer to this day.

OK again I am sorry for taking up so much time.[/B]
If he was a candidate for surgical correction and it was successful then yes, it should stop the crystal formation. Often times medical management can help reduce these problems as well for dogs who are not candidates for surgery. Each case is individual.
 

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I think we should find vets and also breeders that are willing to learn and accomodate the clients wishes. My vet did not know about the Protien C test but she has heard of Dr. Center. She did do Bile Acids on P but she said they weren't necessary on the Malts when I told her I wanted to do it??? Same thing goes for the titers she said "oh they are expensive" I told her "Oh I'm the one paying".......LOL At least she humors me even if she thinks I spend to much time on dog forums and does what I ask even if she has never heard of it.
 
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