Portosystemic Shunt

This condition, which is caused when a blood vessel in the liver that is supposed to close soon after birth stays open, is sometimes found in Deerhound puppies. Many breeders test their litters before the pups go to their new homes (testing is recommended by the SDCA Health & Genetics Committee). Surgery is possible in some cases to correct the problem, including a promising new, non-invasive procedure currently being done at UC Davis.

The University of Tennessee has been at the forefront of research into the causes and treatment of liver shunts. Their web page is a great resource for information on this condition:


Click here for John Dillberger’s 2004 Claymore column on liver shunts.

Click here for the July 28, 2015 post on liver shunt testing.

The SDCA Health and Genetics Committee recommends that all puppies be tested for portosystemic shunts. Many labs do bile-acid testing; talk with your veterinarian about where to run the test and for protocol details.