• Open Access

A Comparison of Hepatic Sonographic Features and Histopathologic Diagnosis in Canine Liver Disease: 138 Cases

Authors

  • S.D. Kemp,

    Corresponding author
    • Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA
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  • D.L. Panciera,

    1. Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA
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  • M.M. Larson,

    1. Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA
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  • G.K. Saunders,

    1. Department of Biomedical Sciences and Pathobiology, Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA
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  • S.R. Werre

    1. Laboratory for Study Design and Statistical Analysis (Werre), Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA
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  • Clinical work was done at the Veterinary Teaching Hospital of the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA.

Corresponding author: Stephanie Kemp, Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA 24061; sdkemp@vt.edu

Abstract

Background

Ultrasound examination is commonly used in the diagnostic evaluation of liver disease in dogs.

Hypothesis/Objectives

To determine if hepatic sonographic features were predictive of findings on liver histopathology. We hypothesized that there would be a relationship between sonographic features and the category of liver disease based on histologic assessment.

Animals

One hundred and thirty-eight dogs in which the liver was evaluated by both abdominal ultrasound examination and histopathologic examination. Twenty-five dogs were included in each of the following categories based on histopathology: normal, degenerative, vascular, inflammatory, and neoplasia. Thirteen dogs had nodular regeneration.

Methods

Retrospective study. Medical records of dogs from 2005 to 2010 were searched for cases in which the liver was evaluated by abdominal ultrasound examination as well as by histopathology. After independent evaluation of ultrasound images, the recorded sonographic features were analyzed to identify abnormalities associated with each histopathologic diagnosis or degree of fibrosis.

Results

Sixty-four percent of sonographically unremarkable livers had histologic abnormalities. Both microhepatia and the identification of abnormal vasculature were significantly associated with a histopathologic diagnosis of vascular disease. Hepatic masses were significantly associated with a diagnosis of neoplasia. Dilated common bile duct and thickened gall bladder wall were significantly associated with hepatitis. There were no sonographic findings consistently present with hepatic fibrosis.

Conclusion and Clinical Importance

Although some ultrasonographic findings, including masses, microhepatia, anomalous veins, and biliary changes, are associated with specific histopathologic abnormalities, sonographic findings are inconsistently detected in many disorders. Overall, hepatic ultrasonographic abnormalities have substantial limitations in predicting the underlying disease.

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