Can a reaction to the dog Lyme vaccine mimic liver shunt's disease?

14 week maltese had a reaction to Lyme vaccine, shaking and tremors. 6 days later developed seizure like activity, unable to walk, did not recognize name. Went to Tufts Univ. Hospital, appeared to be fine. 2 days later had the Bile Acid test done. Bile Acids (fasting) results were 21.9 and Bile Acids Post Prandial 52.9. How often would symptons occur in Porto-systemic shunt? Would eating (Eukanuba, Bil-Jac, Royal Canin all small breed puppy) cause hepatic enzymes levels to be elevated?

  • Vetinfo

    By: Rebecca Osterfund El Segundo, CA

    Replied on 04/19/2011

    A portosystemic shunt (PSS for short), better known as a liver shunt, is caused by abnormal blood vessel(s) which causes a large portion of the blood supply to bypass the liver. The liver is responsible for filtering any toxins or other abnormalities from the blood, so if the blood bypasses the liver these toxins and other products can impact the rest of the body. Symptoms of a liver shunt can include your pet pressing its head against the wall for several minutes, changes in mentation or personality and sometimes seizures. Neurologic problems are often seen soon after your pet eats. The bile acids test determines if the liver is functioning normally, but is not a conclusive test for a liver shunt. Maltese dogs can have a slightly abnormal bile acids test result just do to the breed. Your pet will likely need x-rays and other tests to determine if he or she truly has a liver shunt. Some shunts can be surgically corrected, others cannot. Certain prescription diets that are low in protein can help lessen your pet's neurologic symptoms following eating. If a bag of dog food is contaminated with a toxin it could cause elevations in liver enzymes but is not the likely cause in your pet's case. Vaccine reactions can manifest in several different ways. One rare but very severe reaction can cause inflammation within the nervous system which can result in changes in mentation, inability to walk and seizures. The only way to determine if your pet is suffering from this disease is to collect a fluid sample from the spinal canal (commonly called a spinal tap). Rebecca, DVM

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