UT Angel Fund

Dr. Karen Tobias and Maya


Where do your funds go and what do they do?


Susan M. Schwarten, CPS
University of Tennessee
Phone - 865-974-5505   FAX - 865-974-5554



Susan Schwarten and Mickey Mouse


The University of Tennessee Angel Fund for Portosystemic Shunts was developed for the following reasons:

1.       to continue to support our breeding dogs so that mode of inheritance can be determined; and

2.       to support other research efforts in the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of this disease.

The Angel Fund is solely for liver shunts....it does not matter what breed.    It is because of the support/donations made to this fund that Dr. Tobias is able to continue her research on finding the mode of inheritance (research is expensive).  We have reduced the price of all shunt surgeries (much based on what we've learn from Angel Fund clinical studies) so that it is often times less than half of other facilities. 

With regards to the support of the breeding dogs.....I would like to explain how this works so folks can understand and there are no misconceptions.   The dogs that Dr. Tobias has accepted as donations for the breeding colony/program had their surgeries paid for through the Angel Fund and then were placed in loving homes within the "UT Family".  I have the 2 males that were selected for the breeding program.  The only expenses paid for from the Angel Fund for these babies is  for the surgery, recheck BAT's and if there would be any other medical expense that would be related to the liver shunt or a pregnancy that would be related to the breeding of these dogs (of which we've only produced 2 litters thus far).  All other expenses incurred for care and such on these babies is the sole responsibility of the individual in who's home the dog was placed.  For example, my youngest one, Mouse, was donated and accepted into the breeding program.  However, he is no longer in the breeding program.  Last summer, he developed prostatitis, spent a total of 6 days in ICU.  Once it was cleared up, Dr. Tobias neutered him.   All the expenses incurred while he was in ICU, etc. were totally my responsibility.

As far as the litters that have been produced.  The first litter was born November 2, 2001 .  We had 2 pups in that litter, a boy and a girl.  Neither had shunts and both were spayed/neutered and are not in the breeding program.  Bruno is the little boy from that litter.  Our second litter was born May 22, 2006 .  Same daddy (my Toughie) and different mother.  We had 2 babies in this litter - a boy and a girl neither of which have shunts.  These pups stayed with mom until last week.  The pups were placed in loving homes - each with one of the nurses at UT.  At this point, Dr. Tobias is not going to spay/neuter either.  When they become of age, she would like to breed each of them with one of the corrected shunt babies in the colony.

UT does not have a program whereby people can apply for financial assistance for liver shunt surgeries or other medical care.    However, we do occasionally pay for shunt surgeries if the surgery will help us learn something new/ further Dr. Tobias's reseach (for example, we did have 2 Deerhound puppies with intrahepatic shunts that were paid partially by the Angel Fund and partially by a clinical study being done with our radiology department on the use of a CT scanner in diagnosing shunts). 

We do now offer Care Credit that people can apply for.

I hope this clarifies/explains the functions and purpose of the UT Angel Fund.


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