Irish Wolfhound Puppies

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Under the Breed Code of Conduct breeders are asked to test puppies for Livershunt BEFORE they go to their new home.

A liver shunt is actually a natural development while a puppy is growing inside the mother's uterus. During gestation, puppies' livers are not functional. The mother's liver carries the detoxification burden for her body and her litter while in utero.

Toward the end of gestation and even up to 10 days old, the liver shunt is supposed to close, ensuring the puppy's liver is functional at birth. If the shunt doesn't seal itself off, the puppy is left with an open shunt that can be located inside (intra hepatic) or outside (extra- hepatic) the liver - the result of this is that toxins are cycled back through the blood stream instead of being cleansed through the liver.

Livershunt can be a life threatening condition for a puppy and there are different types of shunt, but usually it requires surgical intervention to correct the problem. The majority of surgery to correct this condition in successful in the UK.

In order that puppies are not passed on to new homes with this condition breeders are advised to test before sale. Since puppies often do not show symptoms of livershunt until they are twelve weeks old or more, a blood sample must be submitted for Bile Acid Testing to determine whether the puppy is affected, while it is still with the breeder.

For affected puppies, surgery is expensive at around £7k, if the puppy is insured this may cover the costs of treatment. Dietary Management is also important in an affected puppy and veterinary surgeons are able to offer special diets for puppies awaiting surgery or whose condition is being managed in this way.

Please do not be embarrassed to ask a breeder for sight of the form from the Lab that undertook the blood tests which will indicate that the puppies were clear of the condition.

Look for more information on Livershunt on Irish Wolfhound Health Group