We took an emergency call from a vet practice yesterday asking if we could take in a little 5 month old Pug called Penny.  She was suffering with a deep eye ulcer which was at risk of rupturing. This is an extremely painful condition and it was agreed the best option was to remove the eye. Sadly brachycephalic (flat-faced) breeds such as Pugs are prone to eye problems. There has been a lot of press recently advising puppy buyers to avoid brachycephalic breeds due to their health problems. We are really grateful that Penny was signed over to us but if you are going to buy one then it is even more important that you either have insurance or alternative means to cover the increased likelihood that your dog may develop breed associated health problems. 

This is a relatively straight forward operation but sadly for Penny it was discovered this wasn't her only health issue. Prior to surgery the vet took a blood sample as they were concerned by how small Penny was. Unfortunately the results of this show Penny very likely has a liver shunt. This occurs when the portal vein, which carries blood from the dog's system to the liver for detoxification, is abnormally connected to another vein, allowing blood to bypass its trip through the liver and remain unfiltered. When blood is not properly detoxed by the liver, harmful substances build up and are carried throughout the body, having adverse effects including stunted growth, abnormal behaviour and seizures.

The only treatment for liver shunt is complex surgery that requires referral to a specialist vet. It obviously carries with it a number a risks and has no guarantee of success.  However Penny is such a happy soul we want to give her the best chance of a normal life. Her only other option would sadly be euthanasia as without surgery to attempt to fix the liver shunt the symptoms will only worsen and she will have no quality of life.

Penny's eye removal surgery was successful and she is up and about. She is bright and is eating so has been discharged and has moved into one of our incredible foster families. She has also started medication to reduce the effects of the liver shunt to ensure she is as stable as possible before her first trip to Langford's for specialist assessment and treatment. The cost of eye surgery is £500 and specialist care for her liver shunt is likely to be in the region of £5000. If you can help Penny on her way to the life she deserves, we would be so grateful. 

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