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Portosystemic shunts can be diagnosed via several methods including:

  • Abdominal ultrasound
  • Nuclear scintigraphy
  • Abdominal CT scan
  • Cranial mesenteric arteriograms

Abdominal ultrasound is considered the least invasive. However, it only has approximately 70% sensitivity (ability to diagnose a portosystemic shunt when present). Abdominal CT scan and cranial mesenteric arteriograms require general anesthesia and are costly, but they provide the anatomy of the shunting vessel. Nuclear scintigraphy is considered the gold standard (best test available) test and it is non-invasive. Nonetheless, patients become radioactive for 12-24 hours. This may require an overnight stay in the hospital.

Medical management of liver shunts is done via controlling clinical signs. This is best attained by using a combination of diet, antibiotics and laxatives. Treatment is tailored to each individual patient.

See our departments

Internal Medicine

A board-certified veterinary internal medicine specialist is a veterinarian who completed an internship and residency (an additional 3-5 years of training after graduation from veterinary school) and passed a rigorous examination to achieve board certification in the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (ACVIM). These doctors have a deeper understanding of a pet’s internal body systems, as well as greater knowledge of unusual or uncommon conditions in pets.

Often called the “puzzle solvers of veterinary medicine”, board-certified veterinary internal medicine specialists have advanced training in disorders affecting the kidneys, liver, gastrointestinal tract, lungs, blood & bone marrow, and hormone-producing organs. Common diseases that affect these organs include:

  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Canine hypothyroidism
  • Pneumonia
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Canine chronic bronchitis
  • Chronic cholangitis in cats
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Cushing’s disease
  • Liver shunting disorders
  • Feline asthma
  • Addison’s disease
  • Chronic-active hepatitis
  • Feline hyperthyroidism
  • Infectious diseases (i.e.: tick-borne infections; fungal ailments)
  • Immune-mediated diseases

Our board-certified veterinary internal medicine specialists and their team of experienced licensed veterinary technicians use state-of-the-art diagnostic equipment and employ therapeutic interventions not generally used by family veterinarians, including:

  • Ultrasonography (abdominal, thoracic, and cervical)
  • Fine needle aspiration
  • Upper & lower gastroenteroscopy
  • Laparoscopy for liver biopsies
  • Cystoscopy
  • Feeding tube placement
  • Arthrocentesis (joint fluid sampling)
  • Bone marrow sampling
  • Computed tomography (CT/CAT scan)

To help ensure pets receive the best possible healthcare, our internal medicine team collaborates with family veterinarians by providing second opinions, complex diagnostic procedures, around-the-clock nursing care, and specialized therapies.

Our Internal Medicine Services

Abdominocentesis
Bronchoalveolar Lavage BAL
Bronchoscopy
Colonoscopy

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