Not so Super Taz

Taz is our five year old 8 pound blonde bombshell shih poo pup who gave us a scare this week. We are particularly sensitive since the death of our beloved Gizmo on Aug 2, 2011.

Taz had a bout of lethargy and weakness last Thursday and we took her to our vet who directed us to the Niagara Vet Emerge Clinic, then to Mississauga Vet Emerge Clinic on Friday when she rapidly deteriorated to life threatening. She was stable and brought home over the weekend. We took her to an internal medicine specialist on Tuesday in Orchard Park.

She’s doing much better. She still tires easily and takes long naps, but she’s getting better.

The internal medicine doctor, Dr. Brummer at the Orchard Park Vet Hospital in the United States, did a bunch of tests and this is what we learned.

Chest x-ray: Taz has a heart murmur (no other vet has picked up on this), but her chest x-ray shows a normal sized heart. The murmur is probably a very small mitral valve leak. Dr. Brummer is not worried about it.

Abdominal Ultrasound: All organs, vessels and structures are normal. There is no bypass or missing vessels that would impede the workings of her liver.

Liver blood work: she has elevated bile acids and still has elevated liver enzymes. She probably has Hepatic Microvascular Dysplasia (HMD). This genetic disease can only be confirmed by a liver biopsy, but Dr. Brummer does not recommend putting Taz through this process. HMD should not affect her life, but she cannot metabolize many medications, so she should never get medications that would affect her liver.

Dr. Brummer does not know why Taz initially became lethargic, but he believes she worsened because they gave her morphine in the emerge clinic. Dogs with HMD can’t metabolize narcotics, so she had a near life-threatening reaction. The treatment made her worse.

Dr. Brummer recommends we watch her and bring her back if she has another bout of lethargy.

One of the key things we’ve learned is the vet care is much more affordable in the US and it is much more advanced. If you have an emergency with your pet we strongly recommend the Orchard Park Veterinary Hospital. They are wonderful and affordable. 

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