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Canine Cholangiohepatitis


Sharon A. Center

, BS, DVM, DACVIM, Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University

Last full review/revision May 2015 | Content last modified Jun 2016

Cholangiohepatitis in dogs is rare and usually associated with suppurative inflammation and ascending biliary tree infection with a wide variety of bacterial organisms (both gram-negative and gram-positive enteric bacteria, Salmonella, Campylobacter jejuni, coccidiosis). Canine cholangiohepatitis is most commonly associated with disorders causing stasis of bile flow, biliary mucocele formation, cholelithiasis, and surgical manipulations of the biliary tree. Clinical signs include anorexia, vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, PU/PD, fever, and abdominal pain.

Laboratory abnormalities are consistent with hepatic cholestasis and include hyperbilirubinemia and increased activities of ALP, GGT, and transaminases. Ultrasonography may or may not reveal abnormalities involving the biliary tree or gallbladder. In some cases, a coarse hepatic echogenicity is identified, reflecting portal tract inflammatory infiltrates and connective tissue. In some cases, ultrasonographic findings may indicate need for emergency surgical intervention (eg, mature gallbladder mucocele, cholelithiasis associated with EHBDO). Aspirates or impression smears of liver or bile may reveal suppurative septic inflammation. Samples collected from liver, bile, and sections of the biliary tree should be submitted for aerobic and anaerobic culture and sensitivity. Antibiotic treatment should be based on cultured organisms, and other treatments should target underlying disease processes. Initial treatment with combination of ticarcillin, metronidazole, and enrofloxicin is commonly used before culture and biopsy results are available. For best outcome in animals undergoing surgery, antimicrobials should be started before the surgical procedure.

Hepatic Disease in Small Animals
Overview of Hepatic Disease in Small Animals
Hematology in Hepatic Disease in Small Animals
Coagulation Tests in Hepatic Disease in Small Animals
Enzyme Activity in Hepatic Disease in Small Animals
Other Serum Biochemical Measures in Hepatic Disease in Small Animals
Hepatic Function Tests in Small Animals
Imaging in Hepatic Disease in Small Animals
Cholecystocentesis in Hepatic Disease in Small Animals
Liver Cytology in Small Animals
Liver Biopsy in Small Animals
Pathologic Changes in Bile in Small Animals
Nutrition in Hepatic Disease in Small Animals
Fulminant Hepatic Failure in Small Animals
Hepatic Encephalopathy in Small Animals
Portal Hypertension and Ascites in Small Animals
Portosystemic Vascular Malformations in Small Animals
Acquired Portosystemic Shunts in Small Animals
Other Hepatic Vascular Disorders in Small Animals
Hepatotoxins in Small Animals
Infectious Diseases of the Liver in Small Animals
Feline Hepatic Lipidosis
Biliary Cirrhosis in Small Animals
Canine Cholangiohepatitis
Canine Chronic Hepatitis
Lobular Dissecting Hepatitis in Small Animals
Canine Vacuolar Hepatopathy
Metabolic Diseases Affecting the Liver in Small Animals
Hepatocutaneous Syndrome in Small Animals
Nodular Hyperplasia in Small Animals
Hepatic Neoplasia in Small Animals
Miscellaneous Liver Diseases in Small Animals
Diseases of the Gallbladder and Extrahepatic Biliary System in Small Animals
Cholecystitis in Small Animals
Canine Gallbladder Mucocele
Other Disorders of the Gallbladder in Small Animals
Other Disorders of the Bile Ducts in Small Animals
Extrahepatic Bile Duct Obstruction in Small Animals
Cholelithiasis in Small Animals
Biliary Tree Rupture and Bile Peritonitis in Small Animals
Feline Cholangitis/Cholangiohepatitis Syndrome
Hepatobiliary Fluke Infection in Small Animals
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