Kasper’s Story

January 24, 2009 by Lisa  
Filed under Blog

My name is Diane and my liver compromised pup is Kasper. He is a white german shepherd/lab/ mix. He is a very sweet dog who just turned 2 on Nov. 11th.

We’ve had incredible problems with Kasper from the outset. He had mange early on which we treated with dips (very harmful for liver shunted dogs, but we didn’t know). Then, at around 4 months of age, Kasper started having bad diarrhea,vomiting and extreme lethargy. We took him to the vet, they conducted a bunch of tests, found nothing, and put him on antiobiotics & anti-nausea meds. He did not get better and seemed worse after a couple of days. We went back and after several more x-rays, the vet wanted to do exploratory surgery b/c he thought it might be an obstruction. We did it (at the cost of $3000, plus the pre-op testing, which cost $500) and found no obstruction. The official diagnosis was pancreatitis. It took Kasper FOREVER to recover from the anaesthesia. One month later, he got another dip. The dip nearly put him over the edge. He was lethargic, totally “out of it”, and even showed signs of aggression.

He seemed to get better at around 6 months, but still seemed rather “low spirited”. I decided to get him a playmate to raise his spirits and Shawnee (a husky/wolf mix) was purchased. Shawnee
is perfectly healthy, although very slow to trust, skittish and very wary. She escaped out of my yard after we’d had her for only 2 weeks (she was 6 months old at the time), and after 2 days of utter misery & despair, we got her back only because Kasper came out and caught her on our street. The two of them are now fric & frac — like husband & wife.

So, at 10 months of age, Kasper started to get way worse…the lethargy, crooked walking, drunken state got really bad one night & I took him in to the emergency vet. They suspected liver shunts right away because of the chronic nature of his symptoms. They conducted a bile acid test the next morning and his numbers were very high (both pre & post feeding). His ammonia levels were also through the roof. We did an ultrasound shortly thereafter and found out about the numerous shunts (both intra and extrahepatic) that poor Kasper possesses. His condition is totally inoperable & the vets gave him 6 months to live (or less). So far, we have beat that prognosis!

He was put on L/D diet, plus Lactulose, plus metranidizole , plus milk thistle. I joined a liver shunt group, and added other supplements/changed his food. He is now on Royal Canin Hepatic LS14 which he gets fed 4 times a day (spread-out meals are much better for these guys). He’s also on hepatosupport (milk thistle plus B Vitamins), VSL#3 ( human probiotic for IBS which has significantly lowered his ALT), Vitamin E, Zinc, VetriDMG and Apple Pectin. He’s still on metranidizole (given 3 hours apart from the VSL#3), lactulose, and also Ursodiol.

He is doing okay — he still experiences some H.E. in the form of lethargy/vacant starting, but not to the extremes that he suffered before his diagnosis.

We (my husband & two small kids) got Kasper when he was only 7 weeks old (New Year’s Eve) as a playmate for my Wolf/White Shepherd mix, Nikki (who was 11 at the time and who lost her playmate Mandy (10) one year before). Nikki died that same night that we got Kasper of a ruptured spleen (cancerous). It’s like poor Kasper was jinxed. We got him, then our baby Nik died (my husband & I had her since she was 3 months old; we got her before either of the kids — she was our FIRST child!). It took my husband forever to even get close to Kasper since he missed Nikki so much. I just pray that we have MUCH more time with Kasper than we were told. We’ve already beat the original diagnosis and are hoping for some more good years with Kasper.