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Interventional Radiology Used to Treat IHPSS

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Interventional Radiology Used to Treat IHPSS

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Dr. Ryan Cavanaugh, a board-certified veterinary surgeon with specialized training in Interventional Radiology, treated a congenital liver defect in a 10-month-old Labradoodle at Specialized Veterinary Services on Saturday without ever making an incision.

The puppy suffered from “intrahepatic portosystemic shunt” (IHPSS). IHPSS is an abnormal blood vessel (shunt) between the portal vein and caudal vena cava. It is most common in larger breed dogs, such as Labradors. Normally, blood from the portal vein travels into the liver to be detoxified before joining circulation. In IHPSS, toxins remain in the blood stream and cause illness and failure to grow/thrive.

Interventional Radiology (IR) utilizes specialized catheters, placed in a peripheral blood vessel (e.g. neck, leg), to reach the liver and the shunt. Real time x-ray (fluoroscopy) provides a way to see the shunt and the catheters so that an incision into the abdomen is not necessary. Small specialized devices, called coils, are delivered into the shunt via a catheter. The coils close off the shunt which redirects blood to the liver.

Symptoms begin to improve immediately, and fewer daily medications are needed. The recovery time after this procedure is minimal, and most patients are able to go home the following day. To learn more about Interventional Radiology at SVS, click here.