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Open Vet J. 2023; 13(5): 541-549

Ultrasonographic appearance and possible clinical relevance of hyperechoic foci of mineralization in the canine intrahepatic biliary tree

Federico Puccini-Leoni, Caterina Puccinelli, Tina Pelligra, Eleonora Gori, Veronica Marchetti, Alessia Diana, Nikolina Linta, Simonetta Citi.

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The evidence of mineralizations in the canine liver is usually considered an incidental finding of unclear clinical significance, frequently observed in small size old dogs.
To describe the ultrasound features of intrahepatic biliary tree foci of mineralization, to assess their clinical relevance and their possible relationship with other gastrointestinal pathological disorders.
A retrospective analysis evaluating the database of canine patients admitted to two referral veterinary centers we carried out. All dogs under study underwent an abdominal ultrasound examination in which intrahepatic biliary tree mineralization was found. Clinical and anamnestic data of the included dogs were reviewed.
Approximatively 90% of the patients showed ultrasonographic abnormalities regarding the biliary system, and over 85% presented ultrasonographic abnormalities of the hepatic parenchyma. In 81.2% of dogs, ultrasonographic anomalies in the digestive tract were observed. In approximately the half of our patients, we evidenced increased liver enzymes (ALP, ALT and GGT). At clinical evaluation, 84.4% (23 out of 32 dogs) of patients showed signs of gastrointestinal disease that persisted for over three months.
The presence of intrahepatic biliary tree mineralizations is an unusual and frequently incidental finding that could be related to a bile stasis condition, a chronic inflammatory disease involving the biliary system and the hepatic parenchyma, and it could be associated to a liver-gut axis alteration.

Key words: Intrahepatic biliary ducts, Cholelithiasis, Liver, Abdominal ultrasound, Dog

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