• Open Access

Intravascular Occlusion for the Correction of Extrahepatic Portosystemic Shunts in Dogs


  • The work was completed at the Purdue University Veterinary Teaching Hospital, West Lafayette, IN. The data within this manuscript were presented in part at the Comparative Society of Gastroenterology Winter Meeting, 2009, Playa del Carmen, Mexico.

Corresponding author: D.F. Hogan, School of Veterinary Medicine, Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, Purdue University, VCS-Lynn Hall, 625 Harrison Street, West Lafayette, IN 47907-2026; e-mail: hogandf@purdue.edu.


Background: Congential extrahepatic portosystemic shunts (EHPSS) are common in dogs. An effective minimally invasive technique for correction of EHPSS could result in reduced morbidity, reduced costs, and reduced hospitalization times.

Hypothesis: Use of an intravascular occlusion device can effectively and safely result in acute complete occlusion of EHPSS in dogs.

Animals: Seven dogs with naturally occurring EHPSS that presented to the Purdue University Veterinary Teaching Hospital.

Methods: Prospective, clinical trial. The 7 dogs were consecutively enrolled over a 2-year period. Results of serum biochemistry, total serum bile acids, fasting plasma ammonia, abdominal radiography, and ultrasonography suggested the diagnosis of portosystemic shunts in all dogs. Definitive diagnosis of EHPSS was achieved with cranial mesenteric arterial portography and acute occlusion was attempted by the deployment of the Amplatzer vascular plug (AVP).

Results: EHPSS were identified in all dogs consisting of 5 portocaval and 2 portoazygous variants; 1/7 dogs (14%) were intolerant to temporary complete occlusion of the EHPSS. Of the remaining 6 dogs, 5 (83%) had complete occlusion of the EHPSS by the AVP. There were no complications and resolution of abnormal clinical signs and laboratory values was achieved in 4/5 (80%) dogs with complete occlusion.

Conclusions and Clinical Importance: Intravascular correction of EHPSS by the AVP is a viable option to surgical correction while larger studies will be required to determine the clinical applicability of this procedure in the broader portosystemic shunt population.