• Open Access

Iron Status and Erythrocyte Volume in Dogs With Congenital Portosystemic Vascular Anomalies



Microcytosis, hypochromasia, and low mean corpuscular hemoglobin are frequent hematologic abnormalities in dogs with portosystemic vascular anomalies (PSVA). The relationship of iron status to these abnormalities is unclear. We evaluated iron status and hematologic and biochemical parameters in dogs with congenital PSVA before (25 dogs) and after (11 dogs) partial ligation of the vascular anomaly. Serum iron concentration and total iron binding capacity were subnormal in 56% and 20% of dogs with PSVA, respectively. Transferrin saturation was normal in 68%, decreased in 20%, and increased in 12% of the dogs. Plasma ferritin concentration was either normal (56%) or high (44%), and was not associated with increases in ceruloplasmin concentration. Hepatic stainable iron was increased in 10 of 16 dogs. Mean corpuscular volume (MCV), mean corpuscular hemoglobin, and mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration were decreased in more than 60% of dogs with PSVA. Serum biochemical abnormalities included high bile acid concentration and alanine transaminase (ALT) and alkaline phosphatase (ALP) activities; and low urea, creatinine, cholesterol, and total protein concentrations. Serum iron concentration and clinical status (normal or PSVA) significantly influenced MCV (P= .003 and P < .001, respectively), whereas age, ceruloplasmin, ferritin, cholesterol, bile acids, and total iron binding capacity did not. Partial ligation of PSVA was associated with resolution of clinical signs and the return to normal of iron status and all clinicopathologic abnormalities, except total fasting bile acid concentrations. These findings indicate that iron status is frequently abnormal in dogs with PSVA and that low serum iron concentration appears to be related to the development of microcytosis. The normalization of iron status and clinicopathologic abnormalities after treatment suggests that they are direct consequences of PSVA.