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Marj, the Dr. Center header info was sent to YTCA. This is the yorkie club of America and I believe it was directed to the club, which consists primarily of breeders. Thus, it is pinned by the YTCA. This is my understanding.
 

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I personally would be willing to take home a 12 week old pup and test at 16. But that is part of the individual discussion and decisions that each breeder and buyer must go through.
thanks carina, i agree, i am willing to take home a 12 week old and then test the puppy at 16 weeks or older to be sure to get an accurate reading. and its important to me to feel this way about a breeder in order for me to get a pup from them. that is all part of the mutual interview process. :)

mary, thanks for your explanation, too!
 

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I'm learning alot from this thread- thanks to everyone!!

I got both Casanova and Bijou at 6 months. I had Casanova tested at 8 months, and Bijou tested at 6 months (as part of the initial vet checkup.) Both tests came back normal. But since some shunts can be acquired later in life, should I repeat the bile acid test at some later time to be sure that they have not acquired a shunt later? Or what signs would indicate a shunt, if, God forbid, they did acquire one later?
 

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I'm learning alot from this thread- thanks to everyone!!

I got both Casanova and Bijou at 6 months. I had Casanova tested at 8 months, and Bijou tested at 6 months (as part of the initial vet checkup.) Both tests came back normal. But since some shunts can be acquired later in life, should I repeat the bile acid test at some later time to be sure that they have not acquired a shunt later? Or what signs would indicate a shunt, if, God forbid, they did acquire one later?

I'm no expert, but I just have a complete blood panel done on Nikki once a year. If the ALT (Liver enzyme) level remains in the normal range, I don't see any reason to do another BA test.
 

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I'm learning alot from this thread- thanks to everyone!!

I got both Casanova and Bijou at 6 months. I had Casanova tested at 8 months, and Bijou tested at 6 months (as part of the initial vet checkup.) Both tests came back normal. But since some shunts can be acquired later in life, should I repeat the bile acid test at some later time to be sure that they have not acquired a shunt later? Or what signs would indicate a shunt, if, God forbid, they did acquire one later?
Generally dogs who acquire shunts later in life develop an intrahepatic shunt or multiple microscopic intrahepatic shunts. For the most part these shunts happen in dogs who don't start off with a healthy liver, have concurrent liver issues (read Jackie's post #29 in this thread and follow the link to her webpage about Mikey), or are afflicted with some other liver disease like hepatitis later in life. I do not do repeat bile acid tests on my dogs but would if they were sick and based on CBC results and/or physical symptoms my vet thought that there might be something going on with liver issues.
 

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Mary is right on with acquired shunts. In my experience, I have seen them after an injury/assault on the liver, concurrent with another liver disease (cirrhosis), or following a shunt repair when the liver couldn't handle the newly given load so creates new shunts to relieve the pressure. When dealing with acquired shunts, the dog is having another issue going on (so your dog would likely be sick due to this other problem).
 

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Is there special food I can buy to keep my new baby from getting this? I have heard they can have liver problems but guess I never knew how serious.
 

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I know this thread is old, but I wanted to thank everyone for posting this information. We just got our wonderful Maltese, Chloe, about 4 weeks ago when she was just 12 weeks. Our breeder gave us the results of a BAT that was done around 11 weeks and the results were 1 pre /30 post. We took Chloe to our vet the first week we had her and he thought she should be retested at 16 weeks because he thought 30 was high. The retest was this past Tuesday. We got the results tonight and they were 1.2 pre and 70.9 post. He had indicated that it was probably a shunt and that we need to immediately go to Hills LD food to try to manage the shunt. He was concerned about putting her under for her spay surgery in a few months and wanted to make sure she gets on the Hills LD immediately.

Now, I am glad that I found this site because it has absolutely helped to calm our nerves and educate us on the shunt and MVD topic. However, it is still alarming to us that she went from a 30 to 70.9 in just over 4 weeks. I know that 70.9 isn’t too alarming in and of itself, but is the increase in just 4 weeks an area of concern?

Unfortunately, the breeder did not explain shunts or MVD to us in detail as Mary H would have :angry::angry::angry:, she just said that levels >100 are an area for concern, but since she was 30 she was fine. So naturally we didn’t think anything of the BAT results. When we bought her we went with a reputable breeder that had Champion lines to try to minimize some of the predisposed health risks. You can only imagine my disappointment when the vet said that it is a shunt and we need to be prepared for her to be sick. It’s all a little shocking since we have only had her for four weeks. She doesn’t display any symptoms that I can tell so it makes it even harder to understand.

I mentioned MVD to the vet and he kind of blew it off… I am not sold that he knew what it was. What I do know is that I am close enough to UPenn should I need a second opinion. Any thoughts or opinions on her levels would be appreciated.
Thanks in advance!
 

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Discussion Starter #71 (Edited)
I know this thread is old, but I wanted to thank everyone for posting this information. We just got our wonderful Maltese, Chloe, about 4 weeks ago when she was just 12 weeks. Our breeder gave us the results of a BAT that was done around 11 weeks and the results were 1 pre /30 post. We took Chloe to our vet the first week we had her and he thought she should be retested at 16 weeks because he thought 30 was high. The retest was this past Tuesday. We got the results tonight and they were 1.2 pre and 70.9 post. He had indicated that it was probably a shunt and that we need to immediately go to Hills LD food to try to manage the shunt. He was concerned about putting her under for her spay surgery in a few months and wanted to make sure she gets on the Hills LD immediately.

Now, I am glad that I found this site because it has absolutely helped to calm our nerves and educate us on the shunt and MVD topic. However, it is still alarming to us that she went from a 30 to 70.9 in just over 4 weeks. I know that 70.9 isn’t too alarming in and of itself, but is the increase in just 4 weeks an area of concern?

Unfortunately, the breeder did not explain shunts or MVD to us in detail as Mary H would have :angry::angry::angry:, she just said that levels >100 are an area for concern, but since she was 30 she was fine. So naturally we didn’t think anything of the BAT results. When we bought her we went with a reputable breeder that had Champion lines to try to minimize some of the predisposed health risks. You can only imagine my disappointment when the vet said that it is a shunt and we need to be prepared for her to be sick. It’s all a little shocking since we have only had her for four weeks. She doesn’t display any symptoms that I can tell so it makes it even harder to understand.

I mentioned MVD to the vet and he kind of blew it off… I am not sold that he knew what it was. What I do know is that I am close enough to UPenn should I need a second opinion. Any thoughts or opinions on her levels would be appreciated.
Thanks in advance!
Oh, gosh, I can imagine your panic based on what your vet is telling you but don't panic yet!!! You may want to start a new thread if you don't get responses in this one. I would absolutely take her to U of Penn, especially since you say it is close to where you live. It seems to me that your vet is jumping the gun in saying she has a shunt, but I'll let the experts give their thoughts. I assume you told the breeder all this ? If not, I surely would.

Did you read what MaryH said in an earlier post? (See quote below and you can click on the arrow by her name to get to the entire post.) She mentions "moderately high" ... your Malt's results were 70, which would fall in this range.

At whatever age, if a puppy has extremely high bile acid values (greater than 100) I personally would do a Protein C test next. If a puppy has moderately high bile acid values (50-99) I would think about doing a Protein C test after taking into consideration other factors ... weight, activity level, occurrences of diahrrea and/or vomiting, behavior after meals, neurological symptoms, etc.
 

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Thanks Sher for the quick reply! I did see Mary's post and trust me the "moderately high" comment is what I am hanging all of my sanity on right now. :)

I do plan on contacting UPenn for an appointment since I believe it may be difficult to convince my current vet of the intricacies of the Maltese breed. I feel like even if I continue to see him he is going to make all of his decisions (some more expensive than others) based on his belief that she definitely has a shunt.

 

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Anyone have an opinion on whether it would be beneficial to periodically re-test BA? I have always had the impression that if MVD is diagnosed, then the BAT will always come back in the abnormal ranges (my baby's numbers have always been quite abnormal). My vet however wants to continue rechecking every 6 months to a year. I would prefer to continue running a CBC and monitoring her ALT values which came back well within the normal range the one and only time we have done this.
 

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Repeat bile acid tests are going to tell you one thing and one thing only .... that your dog does not have a perfectly functioning liver. Running an annual CBC is far more beneficial. ALT/AST levels will tell you if the less than perfectly functioning liver is causing problems (which a bile acid test won't).
 

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Repeat bile acid tests are going to tell you one thing and one thing only .... that your dog does not have a perfectly functioning liver. Running an annual CBC is far more beneficial. ALT/AST levels will tell you if the less than perfectly functioning liver is causing problems (which a bile acid test won't).
Thanks! That's what I thought too.
 

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Indy's bile acid test results were 60 pre and 4 post. The test was done at 17 weeks by Stacy's vet.

Indy is healthy, happy, active, and has NO symptoms. However, I am pretty sure my vet is going to recommend a follow-up BA test, but after reading up, I don't think that is needed. My question is what *should* my vet be doing to follow-up? Should we do ALT/AST testing, protein C test? We are going in for Rabies vaccination @ 5 months and to schedule neutering, so I want to be prepared and not bullied by the vets into any testing that we don't need. I do want to make sure though, that we are doing everything necessary to make sure he continues to be healthy and happy!

Thanks so much in advance! There is a lot of great information here on SM, and I am happy to be here and able to ask you all for advice.
 

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There is no reason to repeat the test unless it was done incorrectly. I highly doubt it since I've spoken with Stacy about the test protocol. Your dog is probably absolutely fine. If you are extra paranoid, you can always have the Protein C done. Routine labwork prior to the neuter should be standard (that should include an ALT and ALKP).
 

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JMM - thanks, that's exactly what I was looking for. I wasn't sure what tests are included in the pre-neuter blood work, so I just wanted to check and be sure.

Just want to make sure we are doing everything we can to ensure Indy has a long, healthy, happy life.

I lost my first maltese last year... in the end, he had acute renal failure caused by medications (diuretics) for his congestive heart failure. The only silver lining was that we caught the heart failure early, and with proper treatment, he lived a whole YEAR longer than all the vets (even our cardio specialist) thought possible. I am so happy that we had that extra time with him, so I am keeping my eye on Indy already (hopefully without being too paranoid!!).
 
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