Angel, a 16-week-old puppy was seen and treated by our surgery staff for a portosystemic liver shunt.
What is a liver shunt? In a normal pet, blood that exits the intestines, spleen, and pancreas enters the portal vein. This vein takes blood to the liver, where the liver metabolizes and detoxifies. Shunt vessels are abnormal vessel that connect the portal (blood going to liver to be filtered) to the systemic (blood going to rest of body) circulation. Angel’s quality of life would be greatly impacted without surgery.
To correct Angel’s shunt, surgery staff placed an ameroid ring constrictor around the shunt vessel. In Angel’s case, it was forming a connection between the portal vein and the vena cava. This c-shaped metal ring constricts over time and closes the shunt vessel. This eliminates the abnormal connection. Angel’s surgery went well and she recovered uneventfully before being discharged.