From Widow’s owner: Widow was born in an animal shelter in New Mexico. When she was a few days old, she was taken from the shelter by a rescue along with her mom and siblings, and brought to me to foster. Widow quickly fell behind her siblings in growth and energy levels. At 3 months old she suffered from a severe case of bloat. Although her bloat was treated she continued to have major health issues. Because the rescue was not providing proper veterinary care I adopted Widow outright and took her to an excellent local vet.
At that point Widow was so sick that her new vet told me that euthanasia was a valid option. However we agreed to move forward with some diagnostics. She was tested for Parvo, but given her size and other symptoms the vet suspected a liver shunt. A blood test revealed slightly elevated liver values, and a bile acid test showed extremely abnormal liver enzymes. I was eventually able to cover the cost of an ultrasound which confirmed that Widow had a large exohepatic shunt.
Widow is only 7 months old, but she has already beaten the odds. She was given an estimate of only a week to live after she was diagnosed with the liver shunt. A prescription diet, Metamucil, lactulose, olive oil and milk thistle have kept her going and given her energy and even some sass, even though she has not been able to put on any weight. Despite her spirit, I see the toll it takes on her body. She has not been able to gain any weight and I know that she could develop neurological problems at any time. The sooner surgery is done, the better the odds are that she will survive it and have a more normal lifespan and a more normal life!
Owner: Stephanie Huffman
Veterinary Hospital: Wheat Ridge Animal Hospital, Wheat Ridge, CO