WSU veterinarian performs potential life-saving surgery

A dog with a portosystemic shunt now has a chance to live after a surgery performed by a WSU veterinarian. 

The shunt is a condition where toxins in the blood are not filtered by the liver and are sent directly back into the bloodstream. Dodger, the dog, was rescued from Puerto Rico when she was just 14-weeks. 

In an initial check-up, Dr. Boel Fransson told the owners that Dodger was living on borrowed time. 

Recognizing Dodger as an extremely rare case, the Petersons were referred to the largest veterinary referral center in the Pacific Northwest — WSU’s Veterinary Teaching Hospital.

In an attempt to apply some pressure and open Dodger’s blood vessels to begin filtering his blood, Fransson took a novel approach by placing two stents in his shunt.

In most cases, a stent, a small tube, is used to open blocked passageways. In Dodger’s case, it was quite the opposite — it was meant to block the passageway.

In a week’s time, the small blood vessels in Dodger’s liver began to function.

Fransson said it could take up to a year for Dodger’s liver to function correctly. Hopefully, the vessels will have opened all the way so toxins that need to leave his body will be filtered from Dodger’s blood.