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Maltese Liver Disease

My sister's 1 & half year old maltese died Sunday after suffering numerous seizures. The Doctor had found that Winston had a liver problem. My maltese has also had seizures amd we have tested her for End Stage Liver disease. My Chelsea's litter mate died from this disease. My wife knows more about this disease, so if you need any information, or if you have any knowledge on this subject please contact me. This has been a time our sorrow for my family; I am hoping that I could learn more about this and maybe help someone before it is too late.
by Harold Frueh


Please bear in mind when reading topics pertaining to health issues, that many of these questions were answered by helpful Maltese owners with no formal education in veterinarian medicine. When in doubt seek a professionals advise.

Liver Shunt is what I think you are describing. This is something your Maltese was born with. If the dog doesn't have too many shunts, it can be surgically corrected. What liver shunt is, is that before a puppy is born, the blood of the puppy is supposed to by-pass the liver before entering the heart, (because the mothers liver is cleansing the blood of the puppy). After the puppy is born, the blood is supposed to go through the liver to have the toxins removed before entering the heart. In a liver shunt puppy, this by pass still occurs, poisioning the heart of the puppy. It is sometimes only one bypass, sometimes hundreds. This is why liver shunt can show up as early as 8 weeks, or as late as two years. I understand it has been found in dogs older that two years, but this is not as common. This is very common in Yorkies, also has shown up in Shih Tzu and Maltese. I feel that the breeders that have come up with puppies with this problem, number ones concern is getting rid of it.
Carole Baldwin

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