Gendry is at the emergency vet being tested for a liver shunt. I've been reading up on it, but I wanted to reach out and see if other corgi owners have had this problem. It is mostly passed down through heredity. Is this something my breeder could have known about? I would like to ask them if any other puppies from their litters have had liver shunts. When I got Gendry they said the parents were tested for genetic defects and were fine. I don't want them to continue breeding dogs that are passing this on. I love him to pieces, but no one should go through this with a brand new puppy. The vet testing alone will be $2500. They surgery is anywhere from $3000-5000 with additional overnight care, follow up tests every few months, special diets and endless worries.

If anyone has been through this I'd appreciate it if you'd share your story. I'm trying to get a better picture of what we will be going through immediately and long term. Thanks.

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Hi Jee, so sorry to hear what you'e going thru, here's a link for more info. We have several members who've been thru surgery with great success, I'll let them chime in. If no one informs the breeder, they may not know about it. All the best to you and a speedy recover for Gendry.

Thanks for the great video Sam. We will get an update later this morning after his ultrasound. I'd love to hear from people who have successfully been through the surgery. It is so scary not knowing what will happen.

I am so sorry to hear about Gendry. I don't know too much about the surgery and have not dealt with the question.

Based on what little googling I've done, it seems to be a polygenic recessive with incomplete penetrance, and no genes identified. What that means is you can have two dogs with no history at all of liver shunts and breed them, and get a pup with the problem. I don't think it's a really common problem in Corgis.

So I would tell the breeder, but not blame the breeder as they probably had no reason to suspect a problem.


Jee...I am so sorry about what you and Gendry are going thru.  I have no experience with it but wanted to add my thoughts and prayers.  Please keep us posted on how he is doing.

Thanks for the well wishes and support. Gendry does in fact have an Extra-hepatic (outside the liver) liver shunt. He is staying at the hospital for another night until the surgeon can see him. He looked perky and happy when I visited today. I feel so much better knowing what the problem is and that it has a solution with a pretty good 85% positive outcome. Surgery is still a scary prospect, but we will do what we have to do to get this pup better! He will  have to wait to have surgery until his stats improve and he gains some weight. They said his liver is very small and they can't determine which vessel is causing the problem so he will need a CT scan. At least he gets to come home tomorrow!

Hi there, my 4 year old Corgi, otherwise healthy and asymptomatic, has elevated ALT and bile acids test.  We go for an ultrasound on 11/3.  Would you mind sharing your experience and let me know how Gendry is doing?

It is so helpful to hear from others who have been thru the similar experience.

I wanted to let you know that both my corgis have had elevated ALT tests. They were put on Hepato Support which is milk thistle plus some other vitamins. It has kept their levels normal. They were asymptomatic so we did not do other testing.

Hi Stacey,

May I ask if they also had bile acids tests?  My corgis ALT have been 306, 289, then 306 after denamarin for a month.

Were your corgis numbers higher than 306?

Thank you for the input!

We never did the bile acid tests. The tests I can find had ALT in the high 200s (up to 297). Using the hepato support we have brought them down as low as 57. One of them vomits bile occasionally but he is almost 11 now and he has been taking the supplement for several years and just was retested and is good. It took a little while to adjust the amount they needed. They both take 1 1/2 capsules a day. One weighs 26 lb and the other 20 lbs. I did worry about a liver shunt on the smaller one and did a lot of research but he is almost five now so if he has anything like that, it's probably mild. The good thing is the liver is one of the few organs that can regenerate itself if there is not a severe problem like a shunt. If he had been worse and we had discovered he had a shunt I probably would have gone to the university of Tennessee. They have had a lot of success treating liver shunts. Btw both eat a raw diet exclusively for the past couple years so in their cases the protein level doesn't seem to affect them. Hope your pup doesn't have anything major.
Hi Amy,

Vets performed the surgery. He made it through the proceedure, but had an extremely large shunt they weren't able to diagnose from the ultrasound... not sure I believe that.

Gendry only lived a few months post proceedure. It was a very difficult time. His little body was bloated with fluid his liver couldn't process. I took him into the emergency vet a few times after the surgery because he was "drunk walking". They drained fluids but that is just a temporary fix. He was never going to get better.

Personally if I had to do it all again. I wish the vets and specialists had been more honest and forthcoming with his prospects. I wouldn't have subjected him to the prolonged pain if I had known his chances were so low. It is sad to say but these veternary hospitals are businesses with a primary goal of making money.

If the prospects are not good I'd try to cherish the time you have. Best of luck with your dog.

Heartbroken to hear this about your beloved Gendry.  I hope I didn't open old wounds for you....not sure you can ever get over such a huge loss.  I am scared but optimistic.  The ultrasound is Nov 3rd, so I will cross my fingers until then.  Thank you for sharing your experience and God bless.

Good Lord. I'm so sorry to hear of this sad and difficult news. 

I think you're so right about the money motive too often seen in "care" offered by some (not all) veterinaries. Back in my German shepherd phase (which occupied most of my adult life), I once had a veterinary suggest a pup was so infested with dysplasia that I should pay to have BOTH HIPS replaced. Fortunately, by then I had already developed the "ALWAYS GET A SECOND OPINION" philosophy. Second vet noted the X-ray the first group had done was so poor nothing could be concluded from it; did a second X-ray; sent it in to OFA; and produced a report from OFA experts opining that if the dog had hip dysplasia, it was so minimal that it could and should be ignored.

Heartbreakingly, it sounds as though the best advice for this pup would have been to put him to sleep. If I'm not mistaken (and yes, I'm often mistaken...), putting the dog and you through all that suffering was criminal. But profitable. Very profitable.


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