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Large portion of dog's liver is missing

By: Dr. Debra Primovic

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Our question this week was:

My 2 year old female mini schnauzer has pancreatitis. We just brought her home after having to stay at the vet hospital for 3 days. She is not overweight and we never fed her table scraps because I was aware that this breed is susceptible to this condition. We also found out from her x-ray, that she only has a portion of her liver. She was born that way. Her x-rays have been sent to a specialist out of town because my vet has never seen this before. We do not know if she even has half of her liver. The vet did say that this is a genetic defect (health problem).

Ten days prior to my dog getting sick and having to be hospitalized, our other miniature schnauzer had the exact same symptoms (vomiting and ears back). She was sick in the morning, then fine the rest of the day, then late that night, she started vomiting again. I called the vet; the on-call vet I spoke with was not concerned. I slept with my dog all night, when I woke up with her, she had already died. She was just over a year, very healthy, had all of her shots, and had never been sick before. We do not know why she died, and could not afford an autopsy.

The breeder had no interest in having one done. We cannot prove her cause of death, but now that our other dog is sick, we cannot help wonder if her problem was genetic as well. Both dogs are from the same parents, different litters. The breeder seems to be doing her best to avoid us, but that's a whole other issue.

If you can provide us with any expertise or input we would truly appreciate it. We are absolutely devastated that we lost our baby and now face the possibility of losing the other. We do not believe that their health problems are coincidence. The breeder suggested that perhaps a raven flew over our backyard and dropped something toxic that our deceased dog ate, causing her death.

Any comments that you can send would truly be of great help.

Thank you,

Karla


Answer

Hi Karla– thanks for your email. I'm very sorry to hear about your dog. You emailed that your schnauzer had pancreatitis which I agree, is a common condition in schnauzers. An article that might be helpful to you is on our Petplace.com is "Pancreatitis"

You also indicated that you believe your schnauzer was born with only a portion of her liver. This is uncommon and not something I have seen. Did they think she had a porto-systemic shunt?

I think without a post mortem evaluation, it is difficult to prove what was and what wasn't it. I think that makes it difficult for you to have any discussion with the breeder.

It sounds like when she was ill (of course hind sign is 20/20) but she could have benefited from 24 hour care with IV fluids and other nursing care. It sounds like you did the best you could.


Best of luck!


Dr. Debra




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