Animal & Bird Medical Center of Palm Harbor
Medical Database

Gastrointestinal Disorders

Portal Shunting

General Information
Portal shunting is an abnormality of the blood vessels of the liver (portal system) that causes some or all of the blood from the intestines to be shunted around (bypass) the liver and to go directly into the general circulation. A very serious consequence of portal shunting is the increase in blood ammonia levels after eating. Accumulation of blood ammonia seriously impairs brain function and may cause seizures, coma, and death.

Portal shunts can be present at birth (congenital) or develop later in life (acquired). In all cases, however, portal shunting is a serious disorder.

Important Points in Treatment
1. Portal shunting is treated surgically and/or medically. For surgery to be beneficial, the shunt must be in an operable location. Often shunts cannot be reached for surgical correction. While some pets have lived for several years with portal shunts, the condition is usually terminal when surgery is not possible.
2. Portal shunting is a very complicated disease, and diagnosis and treatment involve extensive laboratory tests. Highly specialized x-ray techniques use dyes that are visible on radiographs (x-rays) to find the shunts. Many affected animals are referred to specialists for treatment.

An Important Update From Animal & Bird Medical Center On COVID-19

We are committed to offering a safe and healthy environment for our clients, pets and hospital team here at Animal and Bird Medical Center. The best way to avoid becoming ill is to avoid exposure to the virus. Taking typical preventive actions is key.

In being cautious and mindful of everyone’s safety, we are actively working to minimize your exposure to crowded exam rooms and long waits in the lobby.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have made some changes to our protocols in-hospital for the time-being…

In order to limit exposure while still providing quality care for your pet, we will be implementing special protocols to keep you safe.

We will have our veterinary technicians get a history of the patient’s symptoms and owner’s concerns via phone prior to coming into the clinic.

Our goal is for you to be able to bring your pet in for medical care but have no risk for you or our dedicated staff of transmitting the COVID-19 virus.

The Doctors and staff are dedicated to making sure your pet’s medical needs are taken care of during this national crisis.

We can still fill prescriptions for pick up, however, for those who prefer, non-narcotic and non-urgent prescriptions can be mailed to your home.

As always, careful hand-washing and other infection control practices can greatly reduce the chance of spreading any disease.