Meet the beautiful Maxie! Maxie is a 9 month old labrador, who has quite the story to tell. Here at Fitzroy Veterinary Clinic, we recommend pre-anaesthetic blood testing prior to any general anaesthetic to check for any underlying medical conditions. This involves taking a small blood sample prior to the procedure and this is tested at the laboratory.
When Maxie was 6 months of age, she was booked in for a routine spay (sterilisation) procedure and pre-anaesthetic bloods were taken prior. In most cases, pre-anaesthetic blood tests return a normal result, however, Maxie's blood results concerned us. The results indicated that her liver was not functioning as it should be. Therefore her spay procedure was postponed and we repeated the blood testing a month later to check if the changes were consistent.
A month later, her blood results still indicated liver changes and Maxie was referred to a specialist. The specialist concluded that Maxie had a large liver shunt. This meant that at least 90% of Maxie's blood was being diverted past the liver instead of going through it.
The next step for Maxie was delicate specialist surgery where they attempted to close the shunt. Without surgical intervention, a pet with this condition may not live much past 10 months of age. Maxie was operated on and although the shunt has not fully closed, her prospects are significantly better than if she hadn't had the operation.
Despite Maxie's major liver issues, externally she appears a happy dog. This signifies the importance of pre-anaesthetic testing to identify major health concerns that may go undetected and put a pet at risk during a general anaesthetic. In this case, pre-anaesthetic testing was able to detect Maxie's condition early on in life. Maxie's condition is unfortunately severe but with treatment, she can still play at the beach and down at the park with her other doggy friends.
Pre-anaesthetic blood testing is especially important in older pets as they are more likely to have had health changes due to old age. If you have any questions about your pet and blood testing, please contact us at the clinic to discuss.
If you're at the local park and spot an exuberant black labrador, make sure you say hello as it might be the special Maxie.