Lack of associations between ultrasonographic appearance of parenchymal lesions of the canine liver and histological diagnosis



Objective: To assess if there are any ultrasonographic features that may enable tentative diagnosis of hepatic parenchymal disease.

Methods: Records of 371 dogs that had abdominal ultrasonography and abnormal liver on biopsy or necropsy were reviewed.

Results: Histological diagnoses were hepatitis (n=77), nodular hyperplasia (n=47), vacuolar change (n=45), fibrosis (n=32), primary hepatic carcinoma (n=30), lymphoma (n=28), metastatic neoplasia (n=27), necrosis (n=21), lipidosis (n=17), haemangiosarcoma (n=13), round cell tumour (n=9), hepatocellular adenoma (n=8), degenerative change (n=6), steroid hepatopathy (n=7) and extramedullary haematopoiesis (n=4). The most prevalent ultrasonographic features were multifocal lesions (63% livers with haemangiosarcoma and 43% livers with hepatocellular carcinoma), diffuse lesions (71% livers with steroid hepatopathy, 44% livers with fibrosis and 40% livers with vacuolar hepatopathy), hyperechoic lesions (71% livers with steroid hepatopathy, 41% livers with lipidosis and 38% livers with fibrosis), heterogeneous lesions (62% livers with haemangiosarcoma), hepatomegaly (43% livers with steroid hepatopathy) and peritoneal fluid (62% livers with haemangiosarcoma). Target lesions were associated with malignancy in 67% instances. Marked variability in ultrasonographic appearance of lesions was observed for all diagnoses, and no statistically significant associations between ultrasonographic appearance and diagnosis were found.

Clinical Significance: Histological examination remains essential for diagnosis of canine hepatic disease.