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Sheltie Health Alert

Discussion in 'General Health' started by Ann, Mar 3, 2017.

  1. Ann

    Ann Moderator

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    We've touched on gallbladder mucoceles in a few threads here, but the ASSA recently released a study on it that is important for all Sheltie owners to read. Shelties are a breed prone to this issue, and it is most frequently seen in older dogs, over age 7.

    Mucoceles can form when there's sludge in the gallbladder. The problem can be identified by an ultrasound performed by your vet and, if needed, treated with medication. If left untreated, it can be fatal when it becomes acute unless surgery to remove the gallbladder is performed quickly.

    All Shelties should be screened for this by ultrasound after 8 years of age!

    If your Sheltie is diagnosed as a candidate for mucoceles, a simple medication can keep it under control. My vet recommends putting older Shelties on high quality canine milk thistle if any sludge is detected, even if there's no sign of mucoceles. He recommends Marin Plus, available on Amazon and at Chewy.com.

    Symptoms of mucoceles can masquerade as something less serious. An otherwise healthy dog who suddenly begins to vomit is one; a dog who walks with his back hunched is another. Persistent diarrhea can be a symptom. These symptoms can become acute in 24 hours, so it's important to get to a vet. Surgery to remove the gallbladder, if performed in time, is successful in most cases and the dog can live a normal life.

    Here is a link to the ASSA study with more information.
    http://americanshetlandsheepdogassociation.org/gallbladder-mucolceles-2/
     
    Cleo2014 likes this.
  2. Shelby's mom

    Shelby's mom Forums Enthusiast

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    Thanks Ann. We lost our 1st Sheltie, Hollie at the age of 13 from a mucocele. Looking back I do regret not realizing what was really wrong with her. I still think that if we would have realized that the issue was really her gallbladder and not her Lyme and anti-inflammatory meds we would have caught this sooner and would have been able to have it treated. I hope this helps other owners to not have to experience what we had to.
     
    Ann likes this.
  3. Hanne

    Hanne Forums Enthusiast

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    Thank you so much, Ann - your post is activated

    - is it possible for someone to describe this word -mucoceles -with other words - I simply can not find this word explained in Danish.
     
  4. Caro

    Caro Moderator

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    Wow, thank you for posting Ann, I'm heading to the vet on Monday to discuss. I wonder if it's just American Shelties or if the same issue arises in British lines.

    Hanne - a mucocele is the accumulation of mucous (slime). With GBM, as I understand it, thick mucous (slime) builds up in the gallbladder wall, so the gallbladder can't work properly and can eventually burst.
     
  5. Ann

    Ann Moderator

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    I don't know the answer to that, Caro. As far as I can tell from research, GM isn't linked to any of the typical things such as genetic lines. Although it stands to reason if the breed as a whole is prone to it, it must have started somewhere in the breed's development so there must be some genetic component. I printed out a copy of the ASSA article and took it to my vet. He had already read it and was familiar with the problem, but some vets are not.

    Also, it's important to note in the study that some flea and tick preventatives, such as K9 Advantix, contain an active chemical that is also implicated in GM. There's an older thread on the Forum about that here. Mine had been on Advantix for years. I've switched them to Frontline Plus.
    http://sheltieforums.com/threads/gallbladder-mucoceles.24432/
     
  6. Hanne

    Hanne Forums Enthusiast

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    Thank you Caro - Slime - now I understand :yes:
     
  7. ghggp

    ghggp Premium Member

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    Thanks so much Ann for this post!
    I lost my first rescue to this disease long before I knew about the signs and symptoms!

    Billy was my first rescue and had a massive attack and I had to take him to a specialist facility where he was in ICU for 5 days. It was touch and go and we almost lost him! The doctor recommended they NOT have the gall bladder removed as he was near 13 and they felt it could put him at too great a risk in his weakened state. I was told to have an ultrasound done on his gall bladder every 6 months as a follow-up. He had another massive attack and he stopped eating after only 5 months. We lost him days later!

    Mr. Chance also was diagnosed with this disease! I was hipper vigilant when I first noticed the signs and put him on medication immediately! I know it gave him many more years! This IS a serious issue and I am grateful Sheltie Nation exists so that this information can be shared to help others understand and be aware of this devastating illness and take proactive steps!
     
    Ann likes this.
  8. sable

    sable Premium Member

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    Thanks Ann, great info. Always great info on the board. The shame is, consequences do help all of us having our shelties.
     
  9. Caro

    Caro Moderator

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    I've got both mine booked in for an ultrasound on Friday, Deska's getting his teeth cleaned at the same time.
     
  10. Caro

    Caro Moderator

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    Both of mine had their gallbladders scanned today. Deska is fine but got a surprise with Tully. She has sludge build up in half of her gallbladder. The vet said it looks thick, usually the build up is thinner and flows and settles according to the dog's position whereas Tully's was like silly putty, and there were no signs of stones causing it. The fluid may resolve, but it may just as easily turn into a mucocele.

    So she's on a medication to see if we can clear the sludge, it's called Ursofalk. It's really expensive - about $5 per capsule, the suspension is even more. I'm trying the capsules first - have to open the capsule and split it into 2 doses, one for morning one for evening. If that doesn't work I'll have to use the suspension - but it's citrus flavoured and dogs do not like citrus. She's on this for 2 months and then will get another scan. If the build up hasn't gone by then, or has increased, I'll have to decide if we do surgery.

    Quite a shock really. Even though I'd read all this info I didn't actually expect they'd find anything. Tully is very fit and active for an almost 10 year old. I would never have guessed she had this gallbladder problem if it wasn't for the scan. So we are lucky this information came out when it did. I really recommend people consider getting the gallbladder scan as part of a senior panel.
     
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2017

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